Thoughts on Food and Food-Like-Products

Are you getting what you ordered?

I’ve spent the morning reading about food — or more appropriately food-like-products that we all buy and consume — and I am just disgusted.  There was the revelation of “tuna scrape” that will turn the stomach of any fan of sushi, which in turn lead to the article about the “Gross Ingredients in Processed Foods” (warning: eat BEFORE reading, as a friend said “I might not eat again”).

It seems that in our quest to provide an abundance of cheap food for the masses we have created really cheap something – something that is a lot like food, tastes like food, but isn’t quite food.  Not, at least, when compared to whole, natural food created with whole, natural ingredients.

As Ann has sarcastically said for years, “Better living through Monsanto”.  Lately she’s also taken to pointing out that there several products on the market that are one molecule off from being a heat shield.  This would include pretty much anything with an ingredient that starts with “partially hydrogenated”  - if you don’t know why you shouldn’t eat this, go do a search right now.  I mean now! Go!  I’ll be right here waiting for you when you’re done.

Can your child recognize these foods?

How can we have a clear understanding of what we should eat when we have clearly forgotten what food is or looks like?  I remember watching Jamie Oliver (a British chef whose mission is to teach us how to eat healthy, also a crusader against “pink slime”) on his show based in America’s fattest city (somewhere in West Virginia) – he was showing elementary school kids different vegetables and they couldn’t recognize a single one.  They could, on the other hand, tell you what a French fry was at a thousand paces.  The kids had a hard time grasping that a potato was the basis for fries.

There are arguments that the amount of ammonia in “pink slime” is harmless.  The only reason the product was dropped was because of public outcry.  Yeah, we cried out!  We thought we were eating beef, not a beef-like food product.  And if you think that is just clever wording on my part to make it sound like “pink slime” is worse than it is go read the wrapper on your package of American cheese (Ha! the irony) – it clearly labels it a “cheese food product”. Huh?  Why isn’t it just cheese?  Because it isn’t cheese.  Just like “pink slime” isn’t beef.  If these foods were really the foods they look like – and for the most part they don’t really look like food – they wouldn’t be called “food products”.

Back to that chemicals in our food being harmless thing . . . are they really? Yeah, a small amount in an individual portion is harmless, but what about multiple portions in large quantities over a long period of time? It’s bad enough that we have to wonder about the genetic modification of the foundation of our food or the food our food is eating to then begin to factor in the chemicals that get added in during the processes.

And if we don’t like what’s in our food, we should be freaking the hell out over what goes in to our pets’ food. But we don’t because very smart marketing folks sell us an image . . . And for more on this, go read this month’s Health Matters.  Our guest contributor, Leslie Rugg, has written a great piece on the pet food industry and how we get caught up in buzz words designed to make us think that the stuff in the bag or can is actually food and not something that kinda sorta looks like food (honestly it doesn’t even really look like food!).

If you do one thing to help improve your health make it adding in real, whole foods to your diet and your dog’s diet.  And to define a real, whole food, I mean a food that hasn’t been turned into something else.  Fruits, veggies, legumes are good places to start. Yes, it is going to be more expensive but we’ve seen how they get cheap food to be so cheap (take out the food, add in ???) and in the long run your overall health care costs might balance out what you would’ve saved in buying food-like-products.

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May’s Flavor of the Month is Apple Pie – a good, wholesome treat made with only real food ingredients.  No fake colors or flavors, no soy, wheat or corn.  All of our products are made by hand in small batches so you can give your dog a Tigertail Food treat knowing that it is healthy and delicious.

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