It’s not so long ago, in terms of human evolution, that our forebears could eat whatever they wanted. Back in the day, they consumed food naturally such as picking fruits and berries right from the source. Soon they found that fish and shellfish as well as animals were fair game, too. The discovery of fire led to cooking food, and ultimately to making a meal out of enemies killed in battle.
As society became more sophisticated, our eating habits followed suit. Cannibalism was banned at the instigation of the church. Go figure! While condoning the Inquisition for roasting of alleged witches and heretics, it considered eating human flesh as inhumane. But i digress.
Sometime along the way, food had gone through a transformation. It had become not only as a means to survival, but also as a ticket to the good life. Many historians trace the origin of the “Eat to Live” slogan back to that period.
Fast forward to the modern era. What we eat has come a long way since the time of the Garden of Eden. With creativity and increasing ingenuity, what we put on the table have evolved from the raw and as nature intended approach to the discrete and cooked up manner (no pun intended). In simple man’s lingo, we’ve become a society thriving surviving on processed food. If Adam and Eve were alive today, the forbidden fruit would have been turned into a pie.
So what exactly is processed food? It’s real food that has been tinkered with and preserved using additives and chemicals in order to prolong its shelf life. It’s also food consumed second hand. For example, a cow falls under this category. A cow is what it eats. A Scientific American article quoted a study that revealed beef used for making hamburgers in the states come from cows that are raised on a diet of corn. If that’s true, a cow is just corn in a different manifestation. As a result, food activists don’t see the logic of eating second hand corn fortified with growth hormones and antibiotics when you can go for the real thing.
Although studies have linked processed food to modern day diseases such as cancer, obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and hypertension, it’s here to stay. There’s no way we can get away with it because it complements our current lifestyle. We crave it. It’s convenient. It tastes good and easy on the wallet, too. Besides, it can be argued that processed food can’t be totally blamed for the spread of these diseases. It can play a part, but other factors should be considered as well. I think it’s safe to eat as long as you do it in moderation. As your mother will say, even good food can be bad if you overindulge.
As things stands, we’d likely be living on processed food for a while until such time the powers-that-be substitute it with something totally rad. Synthetic food, perhaps? On handy capsule form ideal for space travel? Who knows? It could have been in the works already. Stay tuned!