I’ve been on a journey lately to improve my health. Not just to lose weight, but to increase my sense of vitality and wellbeing. That journey is notoriously filled with rabbit holes. There are so many aspects of our health that have been neglected and even derailed for the short-term gain of suppressing symptoms that have been annoying us.
A big revelation for me recently has been a deep dive into sugar and how it has invaded our grocery stores. Beyond what I know I put in my coffee each morning (or was), it’s the sneaky sugars the food industry slips into our everyday food that has been eye opening. I started looking through the pantry and refrigerator to see how many products contained added sugar. I’m not talking naturally occurring sugar in the food itself, but sugar that has been added under one of its more than 50 disguises.
Here are just a few of the surprises I found: black forest ham, rotisserie seasoned chicken, ranch dressing, alfredo sauce, chili flavored ramen, peanut butter (ok, not such a surprise), but even my favorite salsa contained added sugar! WHY???
The answer seems to boil down to greed. For the food industry to increase profits, they of course need to sell more food. Much of what is available in grocery stores today is highly processed, non-food products. At most, they offer us the sensation of chewing and take up space in our stomach. Our bodies don’t recognize any of the nutrition it needs to preform optimally, so it sends a message back to our brain saying. “I’m still hungry.” We satisfy that with more non-foods because we’ve become so dependent on their convenience, creating a vicious cycle leading us to a slow breakdown of the body’s systems. Then we’re told, “That’s just part of the aging process.”
Sugar is as addictive as any drug out there, but it’s far easier to get and socially acceptable, so why not, right? It’s so socially acceptable in fact, that you could be the weird one just for choosing NOT to have a donut at the office, or a piece of birthday cake. But that’s just the obvious stuff. What about all the other unassuming savory products that have sneaky sugars disguised as 3-4 syllable words in the tiniest font possible?
We have become so conditioned to just accept what’s on the shelves at the store that the idea of moving away from processed foods to whole, natural foods leaves people dumfounded and perplexed as to what is left to eat. That realization was a big tipping point for me. After being advertised to and manipulated so well, for so long, we can’t imagine what eating real food would be like, let alone take the time to prepare it. I’d prefer to begin letting my microwave start collecting dust, as I get out a cutting board, sharpen a knife, and cut up some fresh fruits and vegetables.
I don’t know where you are on your health journey right now, but I’ve decided to be more curious about food labels, more discerning about what ends up in the cart, and more adventurous in the produce section. Eric Edmeades, from WildFit, says, “It’s far better to get more of the good stuff in than it is to remove the bad stuff.” Because, once you begin giving your body the nutrition it needs to function optimally, the desire for the non-foods decreases. Your body is a miraculous machine. Give it the fuel it needs to perform. Healing begins within. Don’t let the sweet invasion corrupt, or worse, even halt, your healing process.
Blessings on your journey!