I’m Eating What?

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last 10 years, you’ve definitely noticed the rise in popularity of the organic trend in our culture.  Most supermarkets these days have at the very least an aisle dedicated to organic foods, but these don’t even hold a candle to the growing number of stores that sell organic products only.  And it doesn’t stop there.  There are restaurants, coffee shops, even bars that fully support the organic way of life. So what’s with the sudden interest in organic foods? Articles like Rodale’s “The 15 Grossest Things You’re Eating shed light on what is really in our favorite supermarket finds and rightfully question what manufacturers are and are not telling uninformed consumers. Can someone pass the beaver anal gland juice? No thank you!  So why would manufacturers add these harmful and disgusting elements to our favorite foods?  Two reasons: marketability and ‘nutrition’. Well, let’s start with the marketability of the product. A number of additives are used in foods to make them look more appealing to consumers. Sadly, what you think is food coloring in your strawberry banana yogurt may turn out to be an African beetle-like insect.  I find this extremely disturbing, because given the choice between my yogurt being the appropriate shade of red or being without traces of bugs, I would go with the latter 10 out of 10 times. These detailed descriptions are not printed under the ‘ingredients’ package label, and for good reason. I would have thought that these findings would encourage manufacturers to practice more humane ways to produce the foods we love. Another reason America’s most well-known brands use chemical supplements in their foods is to manipulate the nutritional facts. Most people (myself included) would agree that fewer calories mean a healthier product, apparently this is not always the case. There are a number of companies now that use chemical fusions to decrease calorie counts, sugar levels and even sodium content for specific foods.  While this sounds like the ultimate dream to most health-addicts, a deeper dive into how they cut calories can be somewhat unsettling.  Many household names have been known to manipulate the chemical make-up of their products using questionable techniques. I try to be conscious of what I put into my body, but every day new information is uncovered that makes me second guess dinner choices. Where a homemade recipe is absolutely the ideal route to take, finding all the ingredients you need and making sure they all fall into your summer diet plan, quickly makes a dinner of mac-n-cheese and chicken nuggets look like the next best option. From here on out, I’ll remember this food for thought.