Real Science, Junk Food

Around the time I moved to Brooklyn, I started developing an interest in “real food” – unprocessed, whole foods like fruits and vegetables, eggs and meat, dairy, whole grains, etc. I started experimenting with my diet, slowly cutting out preservatives, artificial flavorings, refined flours and sugars, and pretty much anything I couldn’t reproduce in my own kitchen with readily available ingredients. Food should be made in kitchens, not science labs, right?

As my diet changed, so did my health. I wasn’t following any particular “diet” – low fat, low carb, vegan, paleo, whatever – and I wasn’t losing weight or anything, but I felt so much better! My skin cleared up, my energy levels soared, and moods stabilized. Hippocrates had it right when he prescribed food as the best medicine available. We really are what we eat.

This growing interest in and passion for real, whole foods has been one of the driving forces behind my decision to pursue an apprenticeship in sustainable agriculture. America, and to a lesser degree the world, is sick and I believe our food is to blame. The standard American diet (SAD), heavily processed and laden with chemicals, is killing us. Literally.

Which brings me to an interesting article published in the New York Times earlier this week: The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food.

It’s long and for that I apologize, but I promise it will be time well spent. I’m not sure if I should be impressed or disturbed by the lengths these companies go to to provide their customers with the ‘perfect’ product. Give a read and share your thoughts!

7 thoughts on “Real Science, Junk Food

  1. Wow. Cool stuff you’re doing. As much as I love real food, and seek to figure out where it all comes from, I don’t know if I have the wherewithal to be a full farmer—just a farmer’s friend.

  2. Very interesting article. Many sides to it. I tend to fall on the side of personal responsibility and values. If I want to keep fitting into my clothes, I have to consciously steer clear of the snack ailsles. I value my appearance more than the temporary “bliss” of foods that becon. 🙂 (I wish I could say it’s about my health, but right now that’s not a big concern, even if it should be.) But I do happily indulge now and then. Moderation.

    Also, as anyone who prepares their own food knows, it takes lots of time and planning – particularly when compared to prepared foods. I’m organized and usually buy, chop, cook, and freeze food in batches so it’s not a daily activity. This saves time, but it’s still a committment. (And I only have my tastes to consider.) I can imagine it must be very hard for people with families and full-time jobs (single parents!) to do the same. But I agree it’s important that they/we do, especially when kids are involved. As with TV watching (quality and quantity), video-game playing, money-management, etc., temptation to regularly indulge is everywhere. But these can make for great teachable moments – if parents are practicing what they preach…

    • I very much agree. At the end of the day, it all comes down to priorities. Cooking is a lot of work and can be extremely time consuming, even if you are really well organized about it. But it can also make for great family bonding time if everyone helps and what could be more important than that!

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