Saturday, September 26, 2015

Just say NO, dammit!

Yesterday's lunch included garlic flavored Freedom fries French fries at what turned out to be a great food place.  After that, I kept burping garlicy fumes the rest of the afternoon.  As I walked by the river, I worried that the birds would drop dead from my exhalation ;)

Fried and greasy foods appeal to us humans.  Sweets also do; I should know that well, after finishing the Haagen-Dazs mango sorbet that was in the freezer. There are "forces out of your control" argues this essay and, therefore:
Even the most disciplined consumers are not fully in control of what they eat.
I can understand that. If I, who leads a regular and orderly life to the point of being boring, can succumb to the garlicy French fries and mango sorbet, then not even the alleged gods out there can help most of the seven billion!
Studies have shown that decisions such as when, what and how much to eat are often shaped by subtle forces outside of our awareness or direct control. These environmental forces can cause us to overeat by taking advantage of biological, psychological, and social and economic vulnerabilities. This helps explain why two billion people worldwide are overweight or obese, and why no country has yet been able to reverse their obesity epidemic.
I suppose we need our own nutritional Ulysses Pacts, so that we can avoid the call of the sirens from the ice cream freezers, the bakery, and garlicy French fries, ...
People eat more when served larger portions, regardless of how hungry they are. ... for food, out of sight often means out of mind
You need an example, eh!
Google provides free snack foods for employees, and found that employees were eating too many M&Ms. So they placed the M&Ms in opaque containers and made healthier snacks more visible.
Simply placing M&Ms out of sight from the 2,000 employees in the New York office meant they consumed 3.1 million fewer calories in just seven weeks.
Of course, one could ask why Google is providing all those snacks in the first place, especially when it is concerned that its people are junking out on them.  The answer is simple--Google, like all the tech companies, would like the employees to be at work for as long as possible.  They are similar to how the Chinese employees at Foxconn factories work and live in the huge compound.  Anyway, that is for another day's post.  I need to focus on food and health here ;)
Unhealthy foods are often inexpensive, making them especially appealing to those on a tight budget.
This is the one that drives me crazy.  It is the reason that students often give--healthy options are more expensive.  The other day I bought two Cara Cara oranges.  They were more than a dollar apiece.  For the nearly $2.25 that I spent on those two awesomely tasty and healthy oranges, I could have had two bean burritos at Taco Bell, which would have been the best bang for the buck in terms of calories/money.

Unprocessed and natural foods has its own complications as well.  Why?  Consider this:
Full-fat milk sounds a lot more natural to people than 2 percent or skim milk. Cows don’t produce skim milk. You have to process it to take out the fat.
Heh, when we were kids, the milkman delivered the milk right after milking the cow or the water-buffalo, and boy the milk was without fat.  For that matter, it was without milk too, thanks to all the water he always added but claimed that the animal had too much water to drink ;)

So, what is apparently the trend now here in these United States?
The new report, which was published last week by the Credit Suisse Research Institute, found that sales of butter in the United States rose 14 percent last year and climbed another 6 percent in the first three months of 2015. Sales of whole milk rose 11 percent in the first half of this year, while skim milk purchases fell 14 percent. The report also predicted that consumption of red meat and eggs would climb in the coming years.
The trends reflect what appears to be a shift away from processed foods and toward those that are considered more wholesome, even when they contain saturated fat and other macronutrients that were once vilified as unhealthy
We live such strange and twisted unhealthy lives!

3 comments:

  1. You missed the important dimension of taste. We eat French Fries or sweets because they taste good. Most of "healthy food" tastes awful. And that is the problem. I don't think anybody deliberately eats unhealthy food - its just that they are delicious.

    The solution is obvious. Soylent !!

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  2. Most healthy food tastes awful, Ramesh???? When is the last time you ate a strawberry or a tomato just-picked and still warm from the sun? Or homemade wheat bread fresh from the oven? Sublime!

    Sriram, you paid over $1 for an orange? Clearly professors are overpaid. :)

    It is possible to eat quite healthy on a budget. I've done so for years. It requires planning and cooking and some creativity, but it is within reach of most people. It is hard to do after working 8 or 10 hours though, when those $1 burritos sing their siren song of ease and speed. Cooking Light magazine has a monthly column showcasing four recipes that feed four people dinner for under $10. Try feeding four at McDonalds for $10.

    Specific serious health issues aside, most people have room for both healthy food and garlic fries chased by mango sorbet. We must make choices and attempt moderation. And we must practice what we know is best for us but is so hard to implement.

    A single piece of dark chocolate awaits . . .

    ReplyDelete
  3. Indeed, the article I referred to also reminds us about how we humans are wired for sugar and grease. Think of the two year olds. You don't have to force them to eat sugar, right? But, parents can have a hard time feeding them healthy stuff.
    It is, therefore, quite a challenge for us humans to walk away from that decadent chocolate fudge and walk towards carrots and celery ;)

    No point talking to Ramesh about the ripe tomato or the freshly baked bread, Anne.
    Yes to moderation. But, again, to live a life of moderation requires us to consciously decide to walk away from that decadent chocolate fudge, which is not exactly what our internal wiring will direct us to do ...

    ReplyDelete

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