Friday night: On the way to see a film, a friend and I passed by the Nolita neighborhood for snacks. While waiting for the food, I sauntered over to the sweets section and picked up a package containing one peanut butter cookie. The name of the brand is called This Chick Bakes. This particular cookie was gluten-free. I asked the owner if she liked their cookies seeing that she was “gluten-intolerant.” (She had mentioned this earlier for some reason.)
Holding up one of the packages, she said convincingly, “honestly, this is like … the best cookie ever.”
“Okay, I’ll give it a try”, I said feeling simultaneously excited and a tad bit skeptical. These days, I’m rarely impressed when it comes to baked goods — especially vegan or gluten-free. This one medium-sized cookie costs two dollars and seventy-five cents including tax.
While in the theater, I gingerly released my cookie so as to not make the other moviegoers jealous. It tasted a teany tiny bit better than peanut butter cardboard but I ate the entire cookie anyway. Almost immediately, I was disappointed in myself.
I felt like a sucker — again. I had intended to write about options for gluten-intolerant folks but that’s not happening. Here’s what came to mind the morning after my cookie let-down.
We, meaning society, take a natural item such as flour or sugar cane and basically–Mom, cover your ears–fuck it up. I’m clear it had everything to do with making life easier and feeding a growing family i.e. a growing population. However, many years later, when the gut responds negatively to the environment of industrialization and refinement, new products are created eliminating the main ingredients that made it so incredibly yummy in the first place. And a sugar-free, fat-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, less free society is born.
What about acknowledging that we made a mistake or have gone too far? How hard would this be? After reading a few articles and papers on the history of wheat, I am not clear as to how we can go back to harvesting that ancient stone ground hexaploid grain but I don’t feel like it’s being explored by the food manufacturers. Alternatively, new products are being produced and it’s driving me mad. Plus it seems to be adding to the growing hysteria around what to eat. The agriculture powers-that-be are taking full advantage of our appetite for ANYTHING new and cool. And in my humble opinion, our insatiability is wearing us out–mind, body, and spirit.
Historically, the wealthy or so-called cultured classes were introduced to something new — whether it be technology, white flour, liquor, weapons, drugs, or plain old sugar. In the case of wheat, a staple of humankind for thousands of years, milling transformed an ancient grain into white flour or commonly referred to as “rich people’s flour”. This industrialization of wheat meant that the proteins, lipids, vitamins, and essential minerals were stripped away. Industrialization spread throughout the country, the green revolution was born, and the average western citizen was finally blessed by the white flour fairy. The story pretty much goes downhill from there. Many Americans became malnourished beings and craved even more “food” which has led to over-consumption. This over-consumption has resulted in diseases of the digestive and immune systems (to start) which culminates into a multitude of other issues.
I also believe that issues around food have bled into a social pathology affecting many others areas of life: family, relationships, traditions, collective goals, and values. We are suckers over and over again … suffering from new and improved syndrome.
We want more.
more meat, more money,
more bread, more butter,
more drugs, more women,
more men, more “likes”,
more gadgets, more time,
more clothes, more stuff.
We think having options denotes freedom but it has basically created a culture of consumerism and vapidity.
Now add to the “more” list, more gluten-free, fat-free, sugar-free options and it seems as though we, as a society, are growing sicker. And the powers-that-be are getting richer (by commercial standards) and more greedy, similar to many of us but we have little to show for our greed, only more disease, higher rates of depression, too much stuff, plenty of extra fat, and exorbitant doctor bills.
So what can be done?
K.I.S.S. Start here.
My internal response is Keep It Simple Stupid. This means, eat as many fresh fruits, vegetables, sustainable meats, whole grains and whole grain breads from your local farmer’s market, food coop, health food store, and bakery.
Please share any ideas, thoughts, or suggestions below. Love to hear from you.
Take good care of yourself and loved ones!
Hugs and Light,
p.s. if you read last week’s post, my co-worker had a soda-free week and reluctantly admitted that he slept better. he even called to tell me what he had for lunch the other day … a big salad and seltzer water. all i could do was applaud!