What happen if you eat unintelligent food?
You are what you eat. How could it be any other way?
The statement sounds simple and obvious, but think of the implications.
Food is living matter, formed under the guidance of the intelligence of Nature. The soil from which our food grows is made by a vast array of living organisms, organised by Nature's intelligence to work in concert. Our bodies, too, are living matter and are a unique product of the intelligence of Nature. You are what you eat: to maintain the intelligence in your body, you need to eat intelligent food grown in intelligent soil.
Food-like substances are made in a factory. Some of their constituents may once have been 'food' but after the machines and added chemicals have done their bit, the results may say 'food' on the label, and may even look like 'food', but they are nothing like what your body recognises as food. The number of added E-numbers, artificial vitamins and things with long chemical names, all disguising the lack of food actually present, should give you a clue: food-like substances have lost their intelligence. Can a body made of them maintain its own intelligence?
Pollan's disturbing views on 'food' have plenty of scientific and documentary evidence to back them up.
Replacing the work of the intelligent life in the soil with lifeless, man-made fertilizers has measurably eroded the nutritional value of the crops grown in it. Poor diet can lead to early aging. But then it gets worse: the crops whose intelligence is already compromised are processed into food-like substances and fed to ourselves and to our livestock.
Processed foods, it seems, produce processed brains which are too dull to function and become depressed, or go into an uncontrolled spin and get hyperactive, get aggressive, can't sleep, and can't think straight.
Processed fats produce processed blood which is too dull to flow: it drains the energy and clogs the heart. Processed fats also produce processed brain cells which can't remember things, and get moody. Do unintelligent fats, it seems, produce unintelligent blood and unintelligent brains.
And processed sugar? Processed sugar is pure fuel, and a body made from pure fuel is unimaginable. The body doesn't know what to do with all that fuel but is stuck with it. In desperation, the body stores it up and stores it up and stores it up ... until the whole system drowns in a sea of sugar. One in ten UK adults are obese, and the figure is rising year-on-year. Scotland is ranked fifth in Europe for obesity. Not surprisingly, obesity is strongly linked to diabetes.
One person in Scotland is diagnosed with diabetes every 40 minutes: over 4 percent of the population has been diagnosed diabetic and a further 60,000 are thought to have the disease but be unaware of it. (The picture in the USA is even worse. The Center for Disease Control and Protection predicts that within 40 years the prevalence of diabetes could increase to as much as one in three adults.) Side-effects of the disease include blindness, amputation, heart disease, kidney failure, and stroke: these are crippling and life-threatening. Processed energy-rich sugar even makes you tired: no question about it, it's not intelligent.
The cost to the UK Health Service in picking up the pieces of these bodies full of unintelligent chemicals, unintelligent fats and unintelligent sugars, which swell them up but can't hold them together, is £9 billion a year or £1 million an hour, that's 10 percent of its entire budget.
In your digestive tract, the microbes vital to maintain health, are being forced to eat unintelligent food too. The last thing your body needs is unintelligent bugs inside it.
Food-like substances are calorie-dense, nutrient-deficient, addictive-additive laden, pre-digested chemical substitutes for the real thing. You are what you eat: an overweight, protein- and micro-nutrient-deficient, prematurely aging, brain-damaged, chemical-addict. Whatever goes in at your mouth is absorbed in a sieve-like fashion, because your digestive system, which is what you eat too, has lost its intelligence.
Now, guess what is the major source of all this food-like junk fat, junk sugar and chemicals? Yes, GM maize, GM soya and the intensively-reared livestock fed on the same junk. You are what you eat: the biotech industry is not only busy redesigning food-crops, it's redesigning your body too.
The source of life's intelligence is manifest in its DNA. Artificial DNA is not intelligent DNA. Plants whose DNA has been messed with are stressed, and science has shown the stress is permanent, you can't breed the stress out of them. You are what you eat: stressed.
GM herbicide-tolerant plants are made chronically sick by the weed-killer they absorb. You are what you eat: chronically sick.
And don't forget that GM plants are specially designed to be part of our modern intensive farming system dependent on unintelligent chemical fertility.
Recent estimates suggest that junk food claims 30,000 lives a year in the UK. Unintelligent food is a killer.
And what is the Government doing to get the 'food-like junk' out of our diet? Banning junk food on the grounds of health and safety seems the obvious choice, but in a land of junk-food addicts plus an economy dependent on exporting junk food to addicts overseas, this would be political suicide. So our regulators have hatched a plan to 'nudge' people into choosing a better diet.
The 'team' chosen to draft their new policy on diet-related disease includes McDonalds, KFC, PepsiCo, Kellogg's, Unilever, and Mars UK, the biggest manufacturers of unintelligent food on the planet, plus a bunch of advertising industry lobby groups to make sure the spin's right.
A Department of Health spokesman explained the idea was that our behaviour could be changed most quickly using “collective voluntary efforts”.
The Children's Food Campaign group described it differently “The easy ministerial access given to giant food companies is nothing less than a corporate takeover of public health policy”. It pointed out too that the food industry is a very powerful lobbying force with a history of blocking progressive public health initiatives.
So, those with everything to gain by making us sick and nothing to gain by the advent of intelligent behavioural changes on our part, are expected to volunteer to nudge us into intelligent eating, and nudge themselves into oblivion at the same time. How intelligent is that?
Here's another, more intelligent, plan. Ditch the junk. Buy fresh food, local if possible, organic if possible, and prepare it, intelligently, yourself. Your body will love you for it.
(This article is adapted from an article which first appeared on GM-free Scotland in December 2010. View an archived copy of that article here.)
- Michael Pollan, 2008, In Defence of Food, ISBN 978-1-846-14096-9
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