Photo by Peter Bond on Unsplash

A Worrisome Reflection of People at a Check Out Stand with 3 Tough Health Challenges

Why your Shopping Cart may be a small dangerous vehicle driving into health or sickness destinations … but watch for unexpected corners that make it even tougher

The problem of being a teacher is carrying the banner of learning … described as process of understanding behavior, skills, attitudes and values. Almost nothing upsets me more as watching a young mother pushing a shopping cart loaded with boxes, cartons, bottles and bags of processed foods with a case of pop underneath.

It’s why I feel like setting up a small kiosk in a grocery store that would outline, if nothing else, the basics of nutrition of whole foods nutrients versus processed food stuff minus nutrients. Unfortunately, nutritional info would just be the tip of the iceberg about how our food system is manipulated to the detriment of our good health starting at a young age.

My stump speech

We have not changed biologically in the past twenty thousand or so years, but the changes we have made in our environment are dramatic and the challenges we face are different from any other species. We have constructed a new world of foods in an environment that’s changing faster and faster. We humans must adapt to each change we make in the world, but can we question our ability to change if information is manipulated, incomplete or misleading? But how can our inner ecology cope with this outer world ecology?

At one time, humans were hunters, gatherers and farmers of the forests, fields and grasslands. Our physiology remains the same built upon grains, vegetables, meat and fish and vigorous exercise in pursuit of game and tilling the soil. Now we are “hunters” of the supermarkets, filling our “buggies” or caches with a welter of boxes, cans, bottles, cellophane, plastic and Styrofoam. Everything is so refined, reconstituted and fortified with everything synthetic, sweet, hydrogenated, and processed dead nutrients.

We sit in our caves and bow before the masters of mass advertising who do homage to Big Food Manufacturing Margin Profits and we sadly wonder why we’re not walking that spryly or feeling that well today. And we wonder why so many children are developing lifelong habits for long-term poor health like osteoporosis or health risks.

Stop! Beware Two Sharp Dangerous Predators

Most of us know that the two biggest health predators are too much sugar and too much saturated fats.

Too much sugar is empty calories with no nutrients linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes and aggressive behavior.

Too much saturated fats in the form of trans fat lower the good cholesterol that may increase heart disease risk. Also avoid partially hydrogenated oil as ingredients that help to increase shelf life of packaged goods.

But as you wander the aisles checking the colorful inhabitants selling themselves as “Healthy,” it’s not always your fault about what looks good enough to place into you cart for your children’s meals.

Can’t often trust food labels

Front labels often try to entice you into purchase products by catching your attention to convince the product is healthy. A general rule of thumb is to scan the first three ingredients as the main contents.

Examples of words creating misleading claims are light … multigrain …natural …organic … no added sugar … low calorie … low fat … fruit flavored … zero trans fat. What exactly does this all mean?

Learn more: How To Read Food Labels Without Being Tricked

What not to put into your family shopping cart

A general rule of thumb is avoid refined grains, sugar and or hydrogenated oils. Basic examples are:

Sugary cereals … lack fiber and protein (check cereals link below)

Microwave popcorn … hydrogenated oil and salt

Crackers, chips, corn puffs, snack foods … loaded with salt and fat (rank 7 snack foods on how unhealthy they are)

Margarine … combination of saturated and trans fats

Soda … based on large amounts of simple sugar called Fructose … liquid sugar does not make you feel full … 13 ways sugary soda is bad for your Health

Fruit juices … 160 calories per cup, almost all fructose

Boxed macaroni and cheese … loaded with sodium and preservatives that develop tastes for salty artificial foods

Fruit roll-ups or fruit snacks … dried fruit instead

Granola bars … read ingredient list with real nuts, fruit, whole grains, no high fructose corn syrup … easy enough to make at home

Flash fried frozen finger foods … chicken nuggets, fish sticks … too much sodium, saturated fats and preservatives made from poor quality meats … high calorie counts

Canned frosting … oils and preservatives provide a long shelf life

But what if your child is crying, “Buy this mom. I saw it on game.”

Advertisers spend billions of dollars per year to ensure their product is promoted in front of your children’s eyes, hooking them from cradle to grave … TV, internet,games etc.

Junk food marketing to kids is a two billion dollar per year industry to create emotional connections, exploit insecurities and peer pressure, and then collect and track data to help predetermine their tastes, preferences, and even locations. This is an immoral predator against innocent children and must be avoided around every corner.

Must read article: Marketing to Kids … what is the impact of advertising on kids

Mothers, We Have Problems

What kind of greater power can help guide us to shop well for food for our growing families and long term health? The shopping cart is a small vehicle driven by a caring mother on a tough road with three health challenges:

  1. Uninformed consumers about cellular nutrition. Good health and / or disease begins at a cellular level.

2. Over processed food industry is a modern monopoly with large companies forming conglomerates that control every link in the food chain from farm inputs, commodity processing, food manufacturing, distribution and grocery retail. Examples: Nestle, Pepsi, Kraft Heinz and Cargill as the main beef and poultry producers as well as industrial products.

3. Overt advertising can spend more than 50 billion dollars yearly (2019) aimed at the youngest to the oldest to make sure people like the menus, tastes and habits of these food conglomerates.

Before the next grocery trip … two things

1. Make healthy whole foods a priority … make your own food from scratch. What’s so hard about boiling a handful of macaroni (5 minutes) and adding some grated cheese with maybe a teaspoon of cream and butter.

2. Take time to read some professional articles about such topics as listed below.

Then, as a final strategy, follow my direction, as I make a trip around the store’s perimeters from fruit, vegetables to meat to eggs to dairy bypassing the center aisles where enticing labels hide half-truths and lack nutrients ... except for olive oil and spices.

To smart informed grocery shopping with Nature by your side,

Annemarie Berukoff

author’s drawing

Fat in children’s food...what you need to know

How Food Companies are Manipulating you into Buying Their Foods — and What You Can Do About It

Index of Phytonutrition Articles for Wellness Lifestyle

Retired teacher — wisdom of Timely Tools for Changes: self-franchise internet marketing, social media attacks, ecology

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