Thursday, December 14, 2006
HO HO HO...Merry Christmas. Let’s all go down to the local fast food joint and suck up some trans fats. Bah humbug, trans fat lovers, the end is near. The latest blow struck against heart-deadening trans fats was struck by the NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF HEALTH, which voted to ban the devilish creatures once and for all.
Trans fats are the chemically modified food ingredients that raise levels of a particularly unhealthy form of cholesterol and have been squarely linked to heart disease. Long used as a substitute for saturated fats in baked goods, fried foods, salad dressings, margarine and other foods, trans fats also have a longer shelf life than other alternatives—no doubt one of the more appealing characteristics for cost-cutting food production operations.
More than likely, other municipalities throughout the country will follow suit, spelling the end of one of the many vile and unconscionably inedible additives foisted upon an unsuspecting populace by the omnipotent chemical cartels, ushered past regulations and sensible testing by the industry pimp, otherwise known as the FDA. Of course, concerned food conglomerates like McWenKing-FriedNabisGenFoods were always thinking of our health and well-being—after all, they were feeding the nation and the world. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the same upstanding citizens who oversaw the major tobacco, petrochemical and arms manufacturing companies were on the various boards of these “food” giants, just to make sure they followed their usual high safety standards.
But I digress. Most fast food companies, along with the other gigantor manufacturers of packaged product labeled “food” that we find in supermarkets everywhere, are removing trans fats as we speak. Thankfully, outfits like DOW CHEMICAL, MONSANTO and the like have graciously created various other unique compounds to add or fry in that contain no trans fats. In the coming decades, I’m sure we’ll see the effects of those fascinating products, but it’s a step in another direction.
It reminds us we’re not on the right track with the sprawling strip-malled panorama of pizza chains, burger chains, chicken chains—our souls are in chains. I think back to what I grew up eating, especially when my grandparents were doing the cooking. Everything was bought fresh from a small purveyor, cooked lovingly with all pure ingredients. There was care and thoughtfulness behind it all. I know that when the first chain restaurants began to come out, it was a novelty and the food was fun. It was also freshly made from mostly unadulterated ingredients in the beginning. Then the corporations began to grow, go public, become driven by unscrupulous money grabbers until we have what we have now—industrialized “food” product manufacturers that use the same assembly line mentality and manufacturing techniques applied to making inanimate objects. The problem is, food is supposed to be the most animate object, full of life force with which to nourish and build humans. Something went terribly wrong.
Just take a look at the movie FAST FOOD NATION. It is based upon the book with the same name that was painstakingly researched and shows some insight into what a large hamburger packing plant is like. The realities of mega food manufacturing are harsh at best, downright evil at worst and never nutritious in any way shape or form, except perhaps to the shareholders’ bottom line.
We are on a collision course with a future where no one who has known fresh air, pure water and naturally delicious food will be happy. I understand the power of the corporations and industries that are established and doing bang-up business, and I don’t want to deny them their profits. I just want the consciousness level of all their leaders to be raised enough so that the focus of their various enterprises begins to shift toward the more sustainable, more holistically thought out (judging the ramifications of their actions on the whole of society), and less greedy,…you know, not that much to ask for.
I would venture a guess that a company like—let’s say, a giant petrochemical company—when offered the opportunity to maintain their leadership in the industry by shifting their focus from deadly polluting chemicals to more environmentally friendly versions, so they may ultimately become the leaders in that, would be happy to do so. Wouldn’t a gigantic food company be open to creative ideas about how to restore real nutritional value in the products they make, if they could continue to be leaders in the field? It’s not unrealistic, folks, just takes a bit of creativity, a dedicated effort by society to only accept quality with conscience and a willingness to redirect the course of modern civilization to one aligned to the natural world.
We really have no other viable alternative. Ignorance as a social statement is no longer cute, sexy or even fashionable. Denial, greed and arrogance are dead too. You want to really be hip in this world, start thinking about how to make it safer for the future—and I don’t mean by arming everyone with bigger weapons. That has nothing to do with safety. Safe means everyone on earth knows that the people around them give a damn about them and everybody else. Safe means safe air, safe water, safe food, safe societies, safe from desperation, need and unfairness.
It’s the holiday season. Close behind comes the New Year, a time for reflection and rededication. Why not reflect upon how dismal our oligopologically (that works) based economy has become and how magnificent that same resourcefulness and techno-brilliance could be if rededicated towards the betterment of humanity…all of humanity. Peace on Earth, goodwill toward (hu)man.