Naturally I assume that all my blog readers live in the industrialized world. So, if you’re a pygmee sitting in the bush with a hand cranked laptop, please log out and look for lions, or something. Since this post will discuss some activities that happen in supermarkets.
This post is in line with my general idea that one should be mindful in everything that one does. I have discussed how food affects your health in previous posts. Not just your waistline and your physical health and appearance, but perhaps more importantly, most commercially processed food available in supermarkets today slows down your brain, and take away all your energy.
How? Carbs. Also known as Carbohydrates. Most of it is found in sugar. It is cheap and readily available and goes in most food. And it’s almost a large industry as the oil industry. Since the 50’s, as the western society adapted from war-time industrialism, the concept of mass-production was adapted to the food-chain. Suddenly the war was against hunger, and to produce food at a cheapest possible price, while keeping profits high. Today corporations own most steps in food production, and my point here is that food you find in the supermarket has been processed, some part has been taken out, while other parts are added.
For instance, sugar and corn-syrup, corn-starch, salt, and starch (as in potatoes) are dominating a high percentage of food together with fat. Some times these are combined. A meal of french-fries with ketchup, contains all of these (and very little else).
Most sugar is not even natural, it’s refined with some nasty chemicals. According to Wikipedia:
Raw sugar is first mixed with heavy syrup and then centrifuged in a process called “affination”. Its purpose is to wash away the sugar crystals’ outer coating, which is less pure than the crystal interior. The remaining sugar is then dissolved to make a syrup, about 60 percent solids by weight. The sugar solution is clarified by the addition of phosphoric acid and calcium hydroxide, which combine to precipitate calcium phosphate. The calcium phosphate particles entrap some impurities and absorb others, and then float to the top of the tank, where they can be skimmed off. An alternative to this “phosphatation” technique is “carbonatation“, which is similar, but uses carbon dioxide and calcium hydroxide to produce a calcium carbonate precipitate.
Most of our food has been engineered to streamline the production, packaging and sale. In nature, before industrialism, humans had very little access to carbs. So, our brains release hormones and trigger brain reward chemicals that are as addictive as crack cocaine. And that is why it’s so hard to stop eating sugar, and why the food industry has millions of addicts. Of course people are addicted to food – we can’t live without it. But the problem is most people are addicted to bad food – the kind that drugs you and steals your energy.
Think carefully. Have you ever wondered why you get hungry almost immediately after eating chinese food? Have you wondered why you tend to buy sweets in the form of chocholate energy bars almost every day? Do you find yourself eating snacks all day even if you enjoy 3 or 4 regular meals a day?
Carbs. Chinese food don’t contain so much carbs, although you can find it in rice and noodles. But nowhere near a quarter pounder from McDonalds. And you are used to eating bread?
Next time you go to the supermarket, try to remain very attentive to details. In fact, I want to give you two exercises.
One. Start controlling, for a week or so, the level of carbs in any food you buy. Bread can have as much as 60 grams of carbs per 100g of product (That is 60% carbs!! ). Check your other stuff that you eat. Try to get familiar with the number of grams of carbs you eat every day. I know it may be hard, and you may have to get yourself a digital kitchen weight if you want to know the number to the exact. I don’t usually weigh my food as I can calculate from what I eat to a rough estimate. You will want to try to reduce the number you get in half. And take away anything your body doesn’t need, like Coca-Cola or Pepsi. The result should be that you suddenly find that you have more energy and can think clearly, do stuff that you just were too exhausted to do, and to rid you of food addiction, especially your addiction to sugar (and salt).
Once you start cutting products to control your carb intake, you start to understand that potato chips, beer, cola, french fries, potato and pasta are bad choices. As well as hamburgers or any type of processed meat. And you also avoid fruits, as they are high in carbs. You can eat vegetables, beans and fresh unprocessed meat, and yes, even fat in moderation. Your body starts burning fat as long as carbs are low.
Two. Start checking out what other people buy, by looking at people in the other checkouts in the grocery shop/supermarket. Look what people are doing. I was noticing today one guy just bought a six-pack and two bags of potato chips. On a saturday, that is all he is having. Two other people each bought: Two cases of 1,5 litres of Coca Cola and other sodas, 3 bags of potato chips, microwave-ready frozen food (mostly pasta) and beer, and chocolates. The only greens I saw was the ready-made salad with the dressing that comes with it. I read that the dressing contains 30% carbs, where 5% corn starch, 25% sugars, then rest was water, vinegar and fat (creme fraiche), and assorted preservation chemicals.
Try to notice what people are buying, so you see how people are actually not making conscious decisions about their food as you (hopefully) will do. All it takes is some work on your part to try for a week to control YOUR carb intake, and compare after one week with all the OTHERs. See if you have the capacity to change, even for a short time, to see if that can regain you control of your energy and awakenness.
In the long term, controlling carbs, plus reducing fat, increasing exercise and vegetables, will be more healthy. This method I just explained is just to get you started on finding a diet that is right for you, and experiencing just enough difference to wake you up.
As you know you are asleep at this very moment. So was I when I typed this, but I had a moment of clarity to share this experience hoping I am not alone.
See also: Low Carb Diet (Wikipedia)