The Anger Diet
How to become healthy when the system is set up against you.
If you’d like to eat for better health and are looking for a new motivation: try anger. But don’t be angry at yourself. There’s something that’s been going on in America for years that has stacked the deck against consumers: let’s call it “systemic unhealthiness”. The reason you’re likely feeling the ill effects of a poor diet is because the system in place promotes massive consumption of processed grains and sweets rather than produce. How does this happen and why aren’t we more selective at what we eat?
Farm subsidies play a major role. In the early part of the 20th century, the government attempted to protect certain crops by fixing prices and buying excess to stabilize demand. Farmers naturally produced more of these crops, like wheat and cotton which caused a surplus. These grains became cheap and widely available. All by itself, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, as this grain is easy to store and cheaply feeds our masses. But over the years, the program expanded beyond it’s usefulness.
Today, the two most heavily subsidized products are wheat and corn. Corn is grown so heavily that most of it doesn’t even make it to our tables in anything resembling the plant itself. Beyond high-fructose corn syrup, most corn is made into ethanol, processed and fed to industrially raised cattle. And these subsidies don’t support the independent farmer proudly working their land in a responsible and regenerative way. These industrial operations utilize 225 million acres of prime farmland, spraying loads of industrial fertilizers, which does not hearken back to the days of farmers toiling the land, but to a new reality of a low-nutrient monoculture.
How should this make you angry? These foods get ultra-processed and make it into almost all of the packaged food on our grocery store shelves. Along with sugar, they form a list of ingredients likely to ensnarl our bodies in a roller coaster of hormonal spikes and crashes beyond our evolutionary bounds. The industrial food complex doesn’t stop there; their marketing departments look for ways to jack up profits by normalizing the over-consumption of these substances. If they can land a contract for school lunches, or get their vending machines into cafeterias, how much will profits improve? How about cartoon polar bears or Santa Claus to convince us that we should drink more soda? What if we put sugar in ketchup? You may not taste it, but it might release dopamine and make you eat more. Or what if we fund studies that show a sugar calorie is the same thing as any other calorie?
Let’s not pretend that politicians and industry doesn’t know this. They do. Do you think soda companies and fertilizer companies lobby government out of the goodness of their hearts? Do you think installing snack and soda machines was big grain’s way of fixing the food deserts that are school cafeterias? As we watch obesity rates climb and younger children get type 2 diabetes, these companies still want to sell more. Are we to blame the unhealthy children? I think we should become more educated on these dangers and cut processed foods from our grocery lists
There is growing evidence that the food we eat not only affects our physical well-being, but our mental wellness, as well. If you are struggling with stress, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, there are a myriad of nutritional deficits you should address before you start knocking on another governmental influenced industry: healthcare. Most of these nutrients can be obtained by a diet low in processed foods and not contributing to the industrial machines that are seeking better ways to addict you to their trash.
The only way to stop this madness is to stop eating it. All of it. Even if it says it’s a ‘part of a balanced breakfast’, ‘fortified with vitamins’, is a ‘kind’ bar, or has ‘real fruit inside’ or even if it’s ‘grrrreat!’, you must start replacing it. You might be addicted; so don’t worry about falling off the wagon, but don’t treat these snacks as innocent bystanders. They are the problem, and the sooner you recognize them for what they are, the sooner you’ll start to recover. And if we all recover, maybe we can pull back our health and face the world with a strong mental and physical foundation.