One of our Word of Wisdom Living 13 themes is organization. The biggest reason we buy unhealthy food is we have to get something on the table and when we’re not organized we’re forced into the convenience of the modern American diet (MAD). It could be take-out pizza, fast food, packaged meals from the freezer aisle, or something in a box. There are a lot of unhealthy but convenient choices.
So Healthy Change #3 said to write a weekly menu. Healthy Change #16 recommended using a shopping list. And Healthy Change #29 suggested keeping a checklist of your favorite healthy foods, lest they be forgotten. So now we come to the last Healthy Change for this theme.
The Advertising Age
I read old books to understand how the American diet went so wrong in the last century. It’s a fascinating mystery, how people threw away 200 generations (the time of recorded history) of food tradition in just one century. In this post I’ll jump over the Industrial Revolution inventions that created the modern American diet (MAD) to talk about how this was so successfully sold to us suckers.
We’re at the 50th anniversary of a business classic—Confessions of an Advertising Man—by David Ogilvy, a clever Scotsman known as the father of modern advertising. Ogilvy brought elegant reasoning to the marketing business; he and other talented people persuaded America to abandon home-cooked foods for convenient factory-made food-like products. It was quite an achievement.
It wasn’t just convenience they were selling, but also novelty and modernity. Housewives across America became hooked on the newest new thing—about 20,000 new food products are introduced each year. That’s crazy. It’s expensive to create these but Food Inc also spends about $10 billion each year to keep us buying the MAD diet.
It’s a big waste—all this money spent for a bad purpose. Food Inc is stuck in this cycle—if we don’t give them our money for novel food-like stuff they will go the way of Wonder bread. Actually, the bankruptcy of the corporation behind Wonder bread is an encouraging event.
Bottom line: When we buy the MAD diet, we fund their bad behavior and, worse yet, we undermine the health of our families.
Stronger than the Government
Because of all the money we’ve given them, Food Inc is now more powerful than the U.S. Government. How do I support this? Just tell me one unhealthy food product that the government has banned. Cigarettes? Not exactly a food but you inhale it and you know how successfully they fought off the government.
In the last decade just about everyone has become aware of how unhealthy hydrogenated trans fats are. Yet they’re still sold in every store. The USDA is a coconspirator in this because they allow them to advertise foods as trans fat free if it contains 0.5 gram or less of trans fats. Go figure.
But Food Inc has an Archilles’ heel: They need our money. They live or die on the daily decisions of us humble citizens pushing our carts through the grocery stores. The best way to support the food reformation and send a message to Food Inc is to stop buying their unhealthy food-like goods and eat real food.
Healthy Change #42:
Vote with your dollars—only buy healthy food products!