Today I went out for lunch with some coworkers. We went to a small, comfortable, local family restaurant. In my old food lifestyle, I very much enjoyed getting their tuna salad wrap, or their huge grilled chicken cobb salad for lunch. Today I was at a loss what to get. The tuna salad has regular mayo in it, which I’m assuming consists of the ingredients listed below (Hellman’s and Best Foods brand mayonnaise ingredients):
Soybean oil, whole eggs, vinegar, water, egg yolks, salt, sugar, lemon juice, natural flavors, calcium disodium EDTA (used to protect quality).
I have a problem with everything that’s bolded. The soybeans are GMO; genetically modified foods have been proven to cause problems with infertility and organ damage, as well as diabetes and obesity. The whole eggs and egg yolks are from GMO-corn-fed factory farm chickens. The salt is iodized table salt that has been processed to remove all of its nutrients, and actually has to pull minerals from your body’s stores to process it. The sugar is refined. The lemon juice is reconstituted from the lowest quality non-produce-section, non-organic lemon juice. Natural flavors is code for MSG. Calcium disodium EDTA I had to look up, because that’s certainly not in my cupboard.
“Calcium disodium ethylene diamine tetraacetate is the calcium salt of disodium ethylene diamine tetraacetate more commonly known as EDTA, which is a polyamino carboxylic acid that is produced synthetically from ethylenediamine, formaldehyde and sodium cyanide. It produces a colourless, water-soluble solid that is used in many products as a chelating agent, emulsifying salt, anti-oxidant, preservative, stabiliser, and as a sequestrant.
Holy SHIT. Why would I want to put THAT into my body?? That’s just the mayonnaise. JUST THE MAYONNAISE. Then we could talk about the canned tuna in water (also full of MSG), and the tortilla with its refined white flour and preservatives.
I turned down the cobb salad because even though I could order it without grilled chicken (pumped full of antibiotics, fed a diet of government-subsidized GMO corn at factory farms and kept in tiny cages unable to stand up fully for their entire lives, then processed at a centralized meat processing center manned by exploited immigrants in unsafe conditions), eggs (from similar chickens), bacon (from factory farm pigs fed a diet of government-subsidized GMO corn, etc. then cured using nitrites and several kinds of excitotoxins aka MSG), or dressing (a chemical soup of preservatives, pesticide-laden herbs, highly processed government-subsidized GMO corn syrup and thickeners, and several kinds of excitotoxins aka MSG). I’d be left with non-organic greens grown in nutrient-deficient soil 2,000 miles away and laden with pesticide residues and possible e-coli contamination from the manure put on the lettuce fields, which comes from feedlot cattle (meant to eat grass because they’re ruminants) fattened and sick with a gut full of e-coli from eating government-subsidized GMO corn) and a few slices of non-organic avocado, and a weak little non-organic orangish tomato from 1,000 miles away.
These were my choices. Seriously. Our food system is so very broken. Food is not just AVAILABLE; it is aggressively and deliberately MARKETED based on whatever the food producer pays the marketer to emphasize; fat content, calorie content, flavor, appearance, status, ideology, personal vanity, shelf price. Food is not marketed on what truly matters about it: the nutrition your body can use from it. The source and conditions it is created in. What the true costs of the food are, not just the final shelf price. Where it comes from, how and how far it’s transported, how it’s processed, the effects all of these elements have on the final product set in front of you. The information the majority of people use to make food choices is a chaotic jumble of disconnected “facts” that have nothing to do with the actual nutrition of the food being consumed. There’s a very good reason for that, which is if the curtain was drawn back on where our food originates, most people wouldn’t BUY that food. They’d demand, with their voices and dollars, real food with real nutrition, as local and fresh as possible, without chemicals, without processing, without unsustainable animal-rearing practices void of basic life ethics and rife with horrific abuse worthy of a post-apocolyptic blockbuster movie.
I ended up ordering a portabella mushroom on a plain no-butter toasted kaiser roll with tomato, lettuce, and onion. It came with kettle chips. It was expensive, and I didn’t eat most of it. But it did make me think, and it inspired me to write, and to add my voice to the rising tide of voices that are slowly but surely being heard. Pulling back the veil that is drawn carefully over our food system is necessary. It is a very large windmill, and we are all riding very small donkeys. But maybe the agility is just what we need. Giddyap!
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