If I were to go downtown and hustle heroine to people that walked past me, someone would eventually call the police and they would lock me up.
Rightly so. No argument with that.
Heroine is an overwhelmingly addictive neurotoxin that would eventually eat your brain. That’s not news.
However, right now, in my town – in fact, within a stone’s throw of my office – there are people peddling something far more addictive and far more damaging than heroine. And the government not only doesn’t prosecute them, it gives them a license to do it.
They look innocent enough, but they have been systematically hooking people around the world to these toxic chemicals for 60 years.
They should call the workers at McDonalds “dealers.”
I know it sounds tongue-in-cheek, but the reality is very serious. Fast food is not only dangerous to your body, it is intentionally addictive. If you want to keep a business profitable, you have to make people want to come back again and again. With food, it’s easy, because you can blend in chemicals that are known to stimulate dopamine production, and nobody will ever know the difference. They will just come running back to your door every day.
Watch this short video by food editor Michael Pollan. He’s got it spot-on.
Food addiction is not an accident, it’s a business strategy. The longer you can keep people hooked, the longer you can stay profitable. I love where he pinpoints that they call it “cravability” or “snackability.” That’s like painting a smily face on the skull-n-crossbones sticker we put on poison.
The problem is that nobody in that industry seems to care one bit that their food is linked to every kind of gastrointestinal disease, cancer, stroke, heart attack, aneurism, obesity, diabetes, and premature death. Just last week, the World Health Organization listed prepared pork products (bacon, sausage, etc.) among knows carcinogens – right next to asbestos – and the fast food industry didn’t even flinch. Of course, we’ve been saying it for years and they just brush us aside, so this is exactly new. Addictive food is cheap to produce and enormously profitable.
What have we been doing to ourselves?
It’s A Drug Addiction
One of the most difficult things I do is try to wean people off their junk food cravings. It’s the quickest path to optimum health, but it’s hardest path to get on and stay on. Worse, there’s no stigma associated with relapse. If you relapse on crystal meth, everyone feels bad that you are wasting your life that way. If you relapse on McDonalds, people ask if they can share your fries.
Are you kidding me??
We wait for the medical community to find a cure for obesity. We wait for the government to pay for our treatments. If we would just treat fast food like we treat crystal meth, most of the medical/pharmaceutical community would become obsolete.
If I saw that you were walking off a cliff into shark-infested waters, wouldn’t you want me to warn you? Yet, people think I’m infringing on their freedoms by suggesting that they lay off the french fries. It’s insane.
Anyway, this week I want you to pay close attention to what you put into your mouth. I know that sometimes we eat for convenience, because we’re bored, or because we’re sad. But like the video said, make an effort to only eat things you’ve prepared yourself.
Some will say that I’m pushing back progress – I’m dismissing the conveniences of 21st century living that free up our over-committed lives. Maybe. But if you go back to preparing your own food this week, and only eating what you prepare, you will begin to experience better health. Aside from the fact that stoping periodically to produce and consume your own food will increase your energy reserves, you will gradually notice that your skin will clear up, your hair will soften, and you will have less gas, fewer headaches, and less pain in your stomach, back, and joints.
Somehow, I suspect that you already know that. You’re just having a hard time letting go of your favorite crave-food.
I understand completely.
Remember that your addiction to bad food is a FEELING, and you don’t want to be pushed around by your feelings, do you? You want to be guided by your principles. Eating right is a principle that will lead you to a PROMISE of better health.
Think about it this way: you are being manipulated by a gigantic, multi-national corporation, whose only goal is to control your behavior. Suddenly, your Doritos don’t taste as good, do they?
Or this: You can have that Diet Coke or an extra day with your grandchildren (as well as your eyesight), but you can’t have both.
“At the end of your feelings is NOTHING. At the end of your principles is a PROMISE.” — Eric Thomas