Preying For Change

Self-indulgent Caveat

I have tried hard not preach from this platform, nor to be too suggestive.  Rather, I have attempted to evoke thought(s) of exercise, mindful eating, and where they should, or should not, fit into the building of one’s day and one’s lifestyle.

 I might be a bit more suggestive today, as I have a request of all of us.  More on that later…

 My Favorite Saying

“The unintended consequences of advancement are…   

 …a lack of advancement.”  me

 Preying For Change

We are animals – literally.  We gather and we prey daily because that’s what it takes to stay alive in the animal world.  We seek energy to continue, so that we can seek more energy to keep on continuing so we can push our genes into the next generation, and so it goes. 

 Since we are human animals, we take the easy way out.  We prey on the dead and rotting carcasses of all those processed foods found in the grocery store and in restaurants – foods that other predators; big business and big agriculture have left behind for us to scavenge upon.  In doing so, our animal exterior is not developing so well.  

 I wonder; how many people reading this truly view grocery shopping, or ordering off a restaurant menu as a more advanced form of primitive gathering or preying?  Really, that’s all food choices are; the contemplation of one’s energy needs, the scanning of the environment to locate the best source to fulfill those needs, and the subsequent taking and consumption of that food for energy.

 But that’s not how we roll – these days.  In our advancement, we have somehow evolved to seek energy sources which slow us down, cause obesity, and offer us various diseases such as diabetes and hyper-tension which can shorten our lives.  Why?

 I argue that as consumers – as seekers of fuel for our bodies, we have forsaken our instincts and our responsibility to prey for our food.  We have become scavengers; processed food buzzards who circle lazily above the easy take provided by others – an unintended consequence of the advancement of our food system.

 My Attempt, That Others Might Attempt

I think this nation could become an improved nation, a wealthier nation, a healthier nation, and a happier nation should we collectively renew one animal habit.  One habit which; if practiced by all, could have a profoundly positive effect on our society.  One habit to be cultivated by each of us, this week, today, right now…

 Read the labels on the foods we eat!  Make label reading a habit wherever we gather or prey for our food!   

 I’m suggesting that we proactively visualize ourselves as hunters and not as consumers.  When we hit the retail jungles, I am asking that we hunt wisely for our kill – like the predators we should be.  I suggest that we take time to observe our prey – to study it before we kill it, that we get to better know our food, it’s tendencies and how those tendencies might help or hinder our bodies and our abilities. 

 I suggest we seek to improve our technique in predatory selection; to learn the difference between the various species we prey upon – the yogurts, breads, pastas, meats, cheeses, cereals, juices, and especially canned, frozen, and pre-prepared meals.

 Identifying Our Prey

As is often the case in animal world, sometimes what we prey upon wants to kill us just as much as want to kill it.  Unlike the animal world, our processed food prey won’t kill us while we are attacking it – it will do so only after we have eaten it, and it will kill us very slowly.  How clever of processed foods to do this.

 Just because it says Trader Joe’s on the label doesn’t mean that it’s healthy prey. The use of terms such as; healthy, low-fat, sugar free, high fiber, or low carb doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s worthy of good health or improved fitness. 

 Those boldly written terms on our food labels are the equivalent to the spines of the lion fish; that they attract us, lure us in, and kill us only after we have committed to them.  It’s called marketing savvy, and it’s what the lion fishes of the food industry do best.

 A Recommended Prey Sequence

Read the backs of labels too.  Look for these above all others:

  1. How many total ingredients are there?
  2. What is the portion size stated on the package?
  3. How many portions are there in that package?
  4. How many grams of sugar and saturated fat are in a portion?

 We should prey on products with fewer total ingredients, minimal sugars, and we should understand how much of our prey we should eat at a time.

 By preying on our foods this way – by just thinking in terms of preying versus shopping, I believe we might stand a better chance as an animal species; war, greed, religion, and prejudice notwithstanding. 

 Perhaps with more preying at the grocery store and on restaurant menus, we might need less praying for better health later on in life.  Be well.  rc

24 responses

  1. “In our advancement, we have somehow evolved to seek energy sources which slow us down, cause obesity, and offer us various diseases such as diabetes and hyper-tension which can shorten our lives. Why?”

    I’m convinced that big business has come up away to addict us to their processed garbage. We have effectively, as a society, become food junkies and a slave to their products. It’s a mindless process that involves stuffing our face full of crap while stuffing their pockets full of money.

    Getting out of the abusive trap these foods relegate everyone into eventually is easier said than done. There’s really no such thing as willpower – but there is knowledge.

    And, thanks for the knowledge (and perspective) this morning.

    • Bobbie: Thanks, as always, for the kind words.

      I have three words for you: Chinese opium trade….

      That is what our food system has come down too; the peddling of consumable, addictive products. Sad. No end in sight.

  2. You read my mind Roy, I have label reading 101 in draft right now. My rule of thumb with food when starting was, if it has to claim to be healthy (fiber in Fruit loops anyone?) then it’s not. Apples don’t advertise, lettuce doesn’t have a huge lobby group but dairy does, I think pepsi is a fairly large company, possibly, I mean they only own half of everything, right?

    The really cool thing that happens when people choose less of these foods? You body doesn’t want it as much, it detoxes that crap. It’s pretty cool. Great stuff, a linking I will do.

  3. I agree, too many times we are taken in by the packaging and words like “low-fat” and “healthy” that we forget to be good consumers.

    I found a wonderful resource in my community that I’m sure can be found in other areas of the country as well. What started out as a simple produce market in my area has expanded to include fresh meats, fresh baked breads and dairy products. That’s it. Nothing in boxes or bags is sold in this establishment. It’s like shopping the perimeter of the typical grocery store. Without all the extra junk, it’s quicker too. I plan to do all my weekly shopping there from now on. The nice thing about this place is that it’s family owned and operated and the owner is open to suggestions. If we had more markets like this available it could take the temptation out of shopping.

    • Karen: I love this concept; food without packaging. I have several farmer’s markets near by, and when I go to them I always leave with just bags of stuff — no boxes, and it makes me feel very good — alive even.

  4. Wonderfully written with practical advice, Roy!

    I realize that for the most part, you are addressing hunting animals, but after dealing with a terrible case of poison ivy, that preyed on me in my yard, for the past few days, I have a whole new respect for the hunting ability of plants!!

  5. This is a great post. I’m sickened by the ingredients in most items in the center aisle of the grocery store. I shop the outer edge of the store only – veggies and dairy – venturing into the center aisle mostly only for pasta. I believe the only way to get companies to clean up their acts is to show our opinion by how we spend our shopping dollars. Don’t even get me started on fast food restaurants – I’d rather eat out of the trash can.

    • Lori:

      “I’d rather eat out of the trash can.”

      Another great line. Sadly, most people are eating out of the “trash can”, and spending a lot of money to do so.

      The only good thing to come out of the center isles of the grocery store is called, Tomatillo Sauce. 🙂

  6. I learned somewhere, it escapes me where, but is the norm now, that by sticking to the perimeter of main stream super-markets, the better the choice, the lower the ingredient list and the healthier the prey!

    Now to convince all those who refuse to see the errors of their ways…yeah, not for many in my current circle!

    • Lisa: See comment above.

      RE others in your circle: better you focus on you, and lead by example. Those in the periphery will probably never follow, but if even one does, it’s a great thing!!!

  7. Just because it says Trader Joe’s on the label doesn’t mean that it’s healthy prey. The use of terms such as; healthy, low-fat, sugar free, high fiber, or low carb doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s worthy of good health or improved fitness.

    OMG, I keep telling people this & same with Whole Foods & other health places.. even restaurants that are health food restaurants!

    Hubby won’t like you on this post as I already spend way too much time label reading in stores.. drives him crazy!! 🙂 Even if I have bought before or even if I have no intension of buying the product, I read the label!

    I have people come up to me in stores & ask me about my label reading.. LOVE IT!

    Roy, a great post!!! And yes, people forget to look at serving size & all the rest of the stuff too…..

    Keep on preaching!!!! 🙂

    • Jody — I suspect you and I have this in common:

      Standing in the grocery isle, product in hand, guns blazing through sleeveless shirts, someone approaches us and says,

      “Is that a good food for someone trying to lose weight…?”

      “Yes”, I say, “and if you want me to help you shop, I will be glad too.”

      Never EVER had a “taker” on that request. Sad.

  8. Great stuff Roy!!

    I’m all for reading the labels on the foods we eat…although…as I look at what we had for dinner tonight (pizza…followed by ice cream) …not so good.

    That said, I mostly avoid the processed foods or pre-prepared foods when I’m at the grocery store. And I also notice…when I don’t…I just don’t feel as good….hmmm….how about that…

    • Lance: Allow me to introduce myself, Roy “Pizza Eating Fool” Cohen.

      It’s not so much about when guys like us eat pizza, as it is about what guys like us eat “in-between pizzas”. 🙂

      You get a pass on that from me.

      Guy Who Is Going Out For Pizza Tonight. True

  9. Dear Roy,
    Was great seeing you and your friends last night.
    Your exercise program and eating habits are working, since you are looking great. Actually, you should upgrade your picture on your mailer, since you look better and younger now than ever. Just ‘Food for Thought.’
    Lots of Love and God Bless!

  10. When I am eating well, I usually do pretty well with this aspect too. I admit that there are a few convenience foods that I like and they have some scary ingredients. Like my black bean burgers. But I think you are right, we have fallen prey ourselves to the marketing and the food manufacturers.

  11. How on earth could I miss this great post?

    I so believe in buying food that has NO labels at all, food that has only one ingredient but even that does not guarantee it will be good for me (remember dyed salmon in many stores? do they still do it?).
    Still, I don’t find it difficult to live on whole foods. I can mix the ingredients myself, as many as I wish, and not worry I cannot pronounce their names.
    And to all pizza lovers out there, make your own. It is fun and there will be less guilt, I promise.

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