Why the Contents of Your Grocery Cart Mean More to Food Policy than Petitioning Ingredients

When it comes to what is in our food, more and more people are making their voices heard. Just in the last couple of years, Subway removed a chemical also used in shoe rubber from their bread, General Mills stopped using GMOs in their original Cheerios, and Chick-fil-A cut out high fructose corn syrup – to name only a few examples.

These changes were made thanks to large-scale consumer pressure, as well as some dedicated nonprofits organizing the cause. While we’re not negating their efforts, as we certainly don’t want to eat shoe rubber, GMOs, or high fructose corn syrup, unfortunately, the bigger problem still remains.

The bottom line is: a processed food is a processed food. If a manufacturer removes one unhealthy ingredient from the mix, all the others still remain, and very likely, another equally sketchy – or even sketchier – ingredient will be added to replace the one removed. Then, we’ll have to protest the new ingredient, and the cycle continues.

Don’t get us wrong: there is a very important function to holding manufacturers accountable for what they put into foods. For one, it may make a food marginally healthier for people who are uninformed of the dangers and consume it on a regular basis. Secondly, it sends a clear message, both to the food industry and to the public, that we are watching them and won’t blindly eat what they give us.

Shopping cart full dairy groceryHowever, when it comes to processed foods, taking things out doesn’t make them much healthier, as it’s what they’re made of in the first place that’s the problem – their entire substance, or lack thereof. This usually includes refined starches, cheap cooking oils, and sugar, sugar and more sugar. Chemical additives make these “foods” worse, but they’re not made of good stuff to begin with.

So, what can we do? It’s simple: we stop buying fake foods. We vote with our dollars, for real food. We rediscover fresh, natural ingredients from the Earth, not from a box. We rediscover the kitchen. We rediscover the fact that we eat to nourish our bodies, not to satisfy a craving likely caused by addictive additives and fake sugars. We teach our children the same.

Over time, if enough people stop buying the chemical-filled garbage that we are petitioning manufacturers to improve, the manufacturers will either have to change their business – towards nourishment – or go out of business. Then, eventually, food policy may actually be about real food again.

-The Alternative Daily

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