We wouldn’t feed pizza to a rhino, so why are we feeding it to our children?
Think about the so-called food available to us today.
Imagine you are visiting the zoo, and you see the zoo keepers feeding the animals. They put the food out for the big rhino, buckets of roughly chopped up vegetables, perhaps some pieces of fruit, and all seems well. During a demonstration talk, the keeper offers the rhino a jam doughnut as he cracks some joke about “even this big guy likes a treat each day” and most of the spectators laugh as the rhino eagerly gobbles down the doughnut. A few people would quietly be thinking ‘you shouldn’t give things like that to an animal, it’s not right, it’s unhealthy’ but they don’t say anything, they keep their opinions to themselves for fear of appearing to be an extremist.
But now let’s say things are different, let’s picture a different scenario. Imagine our rhino is kept in a muddy, grassy enclosure and fed bucket loads of pizza, burgers, chips, pies, pastries, cakes, ice cream, chocolate bars and biscuits. Every day the public visit this zoo and watch the keepers fill our rhino’s drinking trough with cola or beer or milkshake, and the ground of his enclosure is littered with French fries, pizza crusts, cheese sandwiches and cookies. What would the vast majority of zoo visitors say then?
They would be appalled, almost every one of them, we would all be shocked and saddened and we would all know this was wrong. There would quickly be widespread public outcry, the irresponsible zoo would swiftly draw terrible criticism, the local press would instantly cover the story and then such exposure would probably quickly draw the attention of national and even international level press coverage. Animal mistreatment stories are a press favourite, drawing interest from newspaper readers all over the world. The zoo would come under terrible criticism from every angle.
Why? What would be the objections? What would people say?
“They can’t do that, it’s not right, it’s cruel.”
“They shouldn’t feed all that crap to that poor rhino, it’ll get sick, it’ll die if it eats all that junk food.”
“An animal shouldn’t eat food like that, it’s not natural.”
“That poor creature, he doesn’t know that what they are feeding him is really bad for him.”
And so on.
I feel certain that 95% of people would readily agree that you shouldn’t feed a rhino (or a gorilla, gazelle, hippo, tiger, monkey, chimp or elephant) that junk food, such as M&Ms, choc chip cookies, potato wedges, fizzy drinks, meatball subs and beef chow mein. Yet we humans eat all that stuff all the time. Some people live on that stuff every day of their lives!!
But we humans are animals too
Over the last 5 million years, as we have evolved into modern Homo sapiens, until just 13,000 years ago we too were ‘just another wild animal’ living under Mother Nature’s natural order of things. We lived in the dirt and the grass and the trees with all the other animals, we shit in the woods like all the other animals, we had our place in the food chain like all the other animals, we had our place in the circle of life, like every other plant, animal, fish, bird, insect and organism. We were all crawling around in this thin band of soil and oxygen clinging delicately to the surface of Earth, all eating each other and in turn being eaten to nourish another species.
In the grand design of life on Earth, the amazing constant recycling flow of carbon, oxygen and nitrogen that makes most of life on this beautiful planet, we and the rhino are just the same, two large powerful wild animals with few natural predators to trouble us. This garbage called modern ‘food’, we wouldn’t give it to a rhino, or a gorilla, or a chimp, or a tiger, or an elephant, so why do we feed it to ourselves? Worse still, if we know that it is such nutritional garbage that we wouldn’t give it to a wild animal we’ve never met before and have no personal loving relationship with, why do we give this stuff to those we hold dearest and love the most, our own children?
Normally, when we hear that question, it is asked rhetorically, or it is asked in such a way that a logical, factual response is not expected. The question “Why do we eat this crap?” is usually more of an exasperated statement, than an actual question. But let us take it literally, as a question, and answer it literally.
Question: Why do we eat this garbage that we wouldn’t feed to a wild animal? Why do we feed our kids this crap, when we readily accept it is bad for animals to eat it?
Answer: Because it TASTES so nice.
Seriously, that’s the answer, that’s it. It tastes nice. It’s really yummy! It’s super tasty and we love it.
Smoking cigarettes feels nice, I know, I have smoked 100,000 of them, they were all nice, I enjoyed almost every one of them. They taste so nice, it makes you just want to keep smoking them. One leads to another. They are addictive. But they were not good for me.
Eating sugar tastes nice, I know, I have eaten thousands of cakes, chocolate bars, sweets and ice creams, they were all nice, I enjoyed almost every one of them. They taste so nice, it makes you just want to keep eating them. One leads to another. They are addictive. But they were not good for me.
You see any similarity there?
The sugar habit
Food manufacturers and distributors want to make a profit, they know sugar is addictive, and they know that adding sugar to our food makes the food taste sweeter, which means ‘nicer’ to most people. They know that if they make the food sweet, people will buy more and eat more, and that makes a profit. It’s that simple. Our so-called food has become polluted by sugar and chemicals in the pursuit of profit, and it is making us all fat and sick.
We humans LIKE sweet things, and many other animals do too. This is one reason why people on temporary fad diets struggle so much, because the diet products are always sweet tasting - chocolate, vanilla and banana flavour shakes, or chewy oat bars with chocolate chips - they just play to the desire for sweet tastes, making it harder than ever to resist sugar. Most dieters eat loads of fruit - because it’s sweet! We have all seen pet dogs ‘killed by kindness’, where an owner has fed their beloved dog sweets, cream cakes, iced buns, hot dogs and pastries, and the poor dog is obese, it’s legs straining to handle the weight. Refined sugar is a drug, an addictive substance - just like other white powders and white crystals, it is a bastardized variant of a once-natural plant, taken into a factory and turned into an addictive drug that ultimately kills people. Think that sounds melodramatic? I’ll bet refined white sugar is responsible for FAR MORE deaths every year than all the cocaine, heroin and opium on earth added together 10 times over.
We overeat because food tastes so sweet we just want more and more of it. It’s that simple. Natural foods do not have that effect on us. When was the last time you over ate a meal of JUST broccoli? Just peas? Just cabbage? Just plain roast chicken? Water? Melon? Turnips? We eat too much of most foods because they are sweetened artificially, and because we put too many things into every meal, too many choices, we are simply overrun with choices, and we usually overeat because the meals we prepare are just so delicious, so plentiful, that we overeat day after day after day.
We eat too much because the food is so tasty, and refined sugar is so addictive, that we just can’t stop ourselves. We open ourselves to this temptation day after day in our lives because food has become a pastime, a leisure activity, a high point in the day for many people, and we expose ourselves to so much choice, so much variety, so many tastes and smells and sights, that we cannot resist. A typical modern supermarket stocks 40,000 products. By comparison, think how many food items would have been available to ‘caveman’ in any one week. In summer, living somewhere warm such as the tropics, then maybe caveman would have had choices of a few dozen fruits and plants, eggs, several birds, plenty of fish, a few animals, possibly a couple of hundred foods is feasible, in any one week. In winter, in a harsh climate like Northern Europe, caveman would have been lucky to see more than 1 or 2 things he could eat.
By contrast, in the modern age, we walk into a shop and without expending any calories at all in order to catch or harvest our food, we can pick what we like from 40,000 products, all packaged to appeal to us, and most of them packed with added sugar, sweeteners, chemicals, preservatives and other additives - all to make those ‘foods’ taste nicer so we eat more so that in turn we go back and buy more. It’s no wonder we eat too much and the affluent world is becoming obese.
Food is fuel
The thing is, food is fuel, Mother Nature never said food was meant to be fun. It CAN be, but does not HAVE to be, not every day. Mother Nature gave us ways to have fun. It feels great to run and chase each other, to wrestle and play and tickle. Sport is fun. Sex is fun. Laughter feels good. Fresh air and warm sun on your face feels nice. Eating a warm meal on a cold day, sure that feels good. Eating anything when you are really hungry feels good. But I don’t think Mother Nature ever invented food as a leisure activity, it was designed as a way to stay alive, to further our species. Just as a tree takes nourishment from the ground, in order for its branches to grow, so it can spread out and spread its seed further, so animals eat in order to procreate, multiply, and further their own species existence.
Food was designed as a way to stay alive, it is fuel, to give living things the strength to do more important tasks, like breeding, nurturing the young, learning, exploring, expanding.
Think about that. Imagine how different our lives would be, if we actually had so much great stuff to do - breeding, nurturing our young, learning, exploring, expanding - that we didn’t have time to over eat, drink too much, and then collapse on the sofa for 3 hours afterwards because we felt too full to move. There’s a thought.
That food has become a leisure activity is an entirely human mistake. That so-called food has become a mass-produced chemical product, made in factories instead of farms, is one of the biggest mistakes the human race at large has ever made.
Who ever said food HAS to taste nice? It doesn’t. It has to nourish us, it has to support cellular growth in our bodies, it has to give us energy, it has to make us strong, it has to keep us warm, it has to cleanse our insides, it has to keep us healthy - food has many functions, but being tasty is not one of the essential functions of food. Of course, Mother Nature designed some aspects of food around taste, usually with good meaning. Clearly Mother Nature thinks we should eat red-hot chillies in smaller quantities than beef or lamb, so she made chillies in a way that would discourage us scoffing great bellyfuls. Some food is naturally very bitter, and some is sweet, but in truth, the sweetest natural foods are fruits, and man has selectively bred them to be bigger and juicier and sweeter than they were in Mother Nature’s original design.
Who ever said food should taste nice?
Food, for bodily nutrition on a day-to-day basis, does not need to be delicious tasting.
I love to walk in the countryside and breathe the clean air early in the morning, far from the traffic-clogged city. Clean fresh air is wonderful, but it is not so tasty that we overdose on it and make ourselves sick. It’s great, but it’s not addictive. Fresh water trickling down a mountain stream is lovely to drink and to wash your face in, cold and refreshing, but it is not addictive, you would never gorge on so much as to be bloated and uncomfortable. Yet fresh air and clean water are the two most nourishing things on the planet, without them you and I would be dead in minutes, literally, minutes.
Food however, is far less important. Mother Nature designed our bodies in such a way that we can go days or even weeks without food, and still be OK. But we humans, while polluting our air with fumes, and sterilizing our water with chemicals, have made food far more important, we have turned it into a hobby, we’ve made it sexy, we’ve photographed it in endless close-ups with soft focus edges, and we print fabulous books full of these gorgeous pictures. We have invented thousands of recipes, endless ways to enjoy food, we have made TV stars of our chefs, and we watch TV shows about them and their creations. We spend obscene amounts of money dining in sumptuous restaurants, and we glorify select foods as status symbols, such that only the privileged few can enjoy the finest beluga caviar, the best champagne, and so on.
How far removed is this ‘celebrity of taste’ from the original purpose of food as fuel?
Natural food, REAL food, is far less addictive. I have done a pretty good job, personally, of cleansing my palate over the last few years, and while I still succumb to the occasionally mouthful of something sweet, I generally only eat real, nutritious, natural food now. With my taste buds working again, no longer poisoned by the constant barrage of refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, additives, sweeteners and chemical preservatives, I can taste real food now, and I think many of the real tastes of nature are delicious. Roast lamb. Lightly steamed broccoli. Fresh spinach. Savoy cabbage. Leeks. Mushrooms. Oven baked tender chicken. These flavours are delicious, but they are not addictive the way sugar is. When I am hungry I feel as though I could feast on these delights, but as I tuck in, and my belly fills, then I am happy to stop once I feel replete. It is hard to over eat on real food, unless you have too many choices, a dilemma caveman rarely faced.
Popular public perceptions are wrong
As I said, there are roughly 40,000 product lines in a typical supermarket, and a huge number of them are so-called foods in boxes, tins, bottles, cartons, bags and shrink-wrapping, that are all full of sugar and syrup of one type or another, and they mostly have long shelf lives because they are full of chemical preservatives and additives. We should not eat food that isn’t fresh. Can you think of any other animal that eats anything else that isn’t fresh? When the lion makes a kill, he eats it still warm. Birds catch live insects and worms. Big fish chase little fish. Ruminants eat grass that is growing, not old dead grass. All creatures still in tune with Mother Nature (that’s everything except humans and a few of our over-bred domesticated pets) know instinctively that food is other living things. Eat life, to give life. It’s the circle of life. Dead things offer no life force, no natural creature walks around eating dead things (a few birds scavenge carrion, but it’s never very old) because they know they are devoid of life force, there is no nutrient value in death.
Yet these thousands of boxed, tinned and plastic-wrapped products in the supermarket make up the bulk of calories consumed by many people every day of their lives. Sure this stuff will keep you alive, for a while, but not in good health. But millions of people, hundreds of millions of people, billions of people in fact, wrongly TRUST the supermarkets and the big food manufacturers, because they are there, they are legal entities, they have been there for years, we grew up with them, and EVERY BODY ELSE does the same thing, so we trust them. We wrongly assume that what they are selling is real food.
We make assumptions by extension, that if it is legal to sell all this stuff, and they have been doing it for years, and everyone else eats it, then it must be OK. We follow without question, we assume without doubt that because these BBQ flavoured crisps, these chocolate coated flakes of corn, these ham and pineapple pizzas and these shaped pieces of cheese are sold without a health-warning label on them, that they are OK for us to eat.
Think about this for a minute - we would not feed any of those items to that rhino back at the zoo, we instinctively know that the rhino would be ill if it ate that stuff, but we eat it ourselves.
The rhino is made of bone, muscle, sinew, blood, skin, hair, eyes, ears, organs, heart and lungs - and we humans are made of all the same stuff. We instinctively know it’s bad for the rhino, but we can’t see that it is bad for us. Mass public misunderstanding.
We all accept that cigarettes are bad for us, because they come with a health warning label on the packet that says “Smoking will kill you”. But those other garbage products are directly marketed to us, to our taste buds, and to our children.
Because the packet DOESN’T say:
- This is BAD for you.
- This will make you ILL.
- This will make you FAT.
- This will make you SICK.
So we wrongly assume the opposite:
- This is real food.
- This is good for you.
- This is normal.
- This is healthy.
- Everyone eats this.
But this is all wrong!
People need to understand that just because there isn’t a label stating “this product is bad for you” it does not mean the opposite is true, that the product is good for you. The great irony is, factory-made food has a label on the packaging, telling you the nutritional content of the product, calories, vitamins, amount of fat, etc. Yet real food, REAL food, is rarely packaged and rarely has a label on it. So the irony is, the foods with a label telling you what they have in them, are most likely the foods you should avoid, and anything without a label - a shoulder of pork, a head of broccoli, a large cabbage - is likely full of far more goodness than anything boasting a label listing its vitamin and mineral content. If those real foods had labels listing their nutrients, you would see they are far better than the garbage made in a factory.
Wake the hell up people
I could rant about this for days, but let me try to pull together some kind of conclusion here.
Humans are animals too. Until ‘recently’ in biological time, we hunted, ate, slept, pooped and fornicated in the grass and the mud like every other animal on Earth. We won’t give this garbage that is sold as food to our zoo animals, farm animals and domestic pets (well, that we do, too often), but we eat it ourselves, and sadly we feed it to our children. This is MADNESS.
I have said before, my personal mission with MotherNaturesDiet is not to be some crazed extremist, living in isolation in a mud hut screaming at everyone that the end is nigh. My goal is to show normal folks just like me, how to make healthier choices for ourselves and our children, so we can navigate through modern life the best way possible, free from obesity, sickness and disease.
I am NOT proposing that we all go back to living in the dirt like wild animals, but I want MILLIONS of people to WAKE THE HELL UP, WISE UP, take NOTICE, switch your brain to OPEN LEARNING mode, stop taking the world around us as established truth and start to question the madness that our food supply chain has become. Over the last 13,000 years, since the beginnings of agriculture, we have come a VERY long way from our natural origins, as animals, crafted perfectly by Mother Nature for 5 million years.
People need to UNDERSTAND that this disconnect from Mother Nature is a one way road to self-destruction, and each and every one of us must take some personal responsibility to look after his or her self.
Mother Nature designed us, just like every other plant, bird, animal, fish, insect and micro-organism, to fit in our own place in the food cycle, the great circle of life. Once we understand how far removed we have become from the natural order of things, we will be able to make better choices for our future health and for our children.
The sad truth is, that for billions of people:
- We no longer eat real food
- We no longer use our bodies (typing on a keyboard, versus hunting and foraging)
- We no longer sleep naturally (we sit up half the night watching TV)
- We breathe polluted air and we drink inert water, and not enough of it
It’s ALL wrong.
And then we wonder why our bodies “go wrong”. We call it obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and many other things.
We need to start fixing the source of these problems. We need to move, get outside, breathe clean air, drink more water, and eat only real food, fresh, natural, health-giving real food. We need to stop obsessing over food, fancy tasty dinners are great once a week, but the rest of the time, food is just basic fuel. That fuel should give living things, like us, the strength to do more important tasks, like breeding, nurturing our young, learning, exploring, expanding.
There is nothing at all wrong with taking a few meals each week and using those meals as an opportunity together friends or family for shared conversation, love and celebration. Food has an important place in culture, and I am not against the ‘meal as a social gathering’ concept at all. However, if your life is too focussed on tasty food and fancy meals almost every single day, and if your love of food is all about consumption and flavour, when it should be focussed on nourishment and fuel for living, to enable you to live a life built around growth, service, nurturing others, learning, exploring and expanding your mind and your abilities, then maybe you need to take a serious look at what is important to you, and what you are doing with your life, and think long and hard about your priorities.