If you label it junk food, should you even be calling it food?
Much of what I've been reading lately (Food Rules, The Cure for Everything, some other blog posts) has been talking about what is food and what is not. Michael Pollan talks about "products" versus food. I can see his logic in that division. Chips (baked, fried, or encrusted with cheese....or more accurately cheeze dust that contains no actual dairy derived cheese) are definitely a product. Twinkies -- product (you know this because they last forever under the car seat and they never go bad). Soda ? Well it's a drink so we don't usually think of liquids as food but still -- product...no getting around that!
Hot dogs? Product.
Cake? Hmmmmmm.....this is where it gets sticky.
According to Dictionary.com, the definitions of food are:
- any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.
- more or less solid nourishment, as distinguished from liquids.
- a particular kind of solid nourishment: a breakfast food; dog food.
- whatever supplies nourishment to organisms: plant food.
- anything serving for consumption or use: food for thought.
So, okay -- cake. It does provide calories we can live off of (not that most of us really need those calories). But maybe nourishment is just as much about sustaining the soul as it is about sustaining the body. From that definition, cake can nourish. So -- food. Then the next question would be:
How much cake do you need to nourish your soul? (Answer? probably a lot less than you are ever served! It can probably be measured in bites -- not pieces.)
But that bag of chips you automatically pick up with your lunch sandwich -- we're already established it as a product but is it nourishing you? It gives you calories, yes. (which, again, you really don't need) The nutrient level is almost nil -- so it's not nourishing your body. Does it nourish your soul? I bet not. I bet NOT EVER.
Who among you has ever been transported to a better place from a potato chip? My guess is no one. (correct me if I'm wrong -- click the comment button and share the experience!)
People, what are we doing? We're eating food we label as JUNK. Why? We're intelligent. We want to be healthy. We value our appearance to one degree or another. What are we thinking???
My guess: We're not. We are willingly being blind to our drives, our needs, and the return on the investment of our calories.
Here's a trick:
Next time you pick up a food product to put into your mouth, try to imagine something that would taste better than whatever is about to go in. If you can come up with anything that would taste better, put the food product DOWN! Don't eat it. You don't want it. It won't nourish your body (because it's junk) and it won't nourish your soul (because you don't even want it).
No JUNK FOOD -- you deserve better. Eat real food. Nourish your body. Nourish your soul.