Friday, January 25, 2013

Bad Food, Good Food, and Ramen Noodles

ARE ramen noodles dangerous to health?

FIRST, all manufactured food or marketed produce (canned, packed etc)--or even those that are seemingly "fresh" but transported from a certain spot to the next--are somehow injected or infused with agents for longevity (shelf life etc), flavor and/or whatever marketing kick there is... A fact of life, especially in societies where market economy dictates consumer consumption.
Example: Gluten—a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat, barley and rye--gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture. Why do we resort to gluten? No brainer. Mass production. Foods are mass-produced in countries (like the US) where most people purchase than produce themselves, yet most of these foods are thrown away or wasted. Conversely, high volume of foods on the market clog consumer brain, a subliminal marketing hook that works for huge profit.

HOWEVER, there are still many villages somewhere in the world where canning, packaging, chemicals-on-foodstuff madness etc aren't happening. Communities farm and grow, breed and trade meat without knowledge of gluten, organic, antibiotics contamination because of the simple fact that they don't mass-produce their food, they just grow and produce as per needs of their community. I saw and experienced these when I was a child growing up in the mountains of the Philippines and during my travels in small towns in many countries and cities. Hogs, poultry, cows and goats were raised and sold, produce were farmed and delivered/distributed—to exactly what the community needs for basic survival. “Market economy” is literally open marketplace, eyeballs negotiation between buyer/consumer and farmer/vendor.
Here in America, we are over-consuming and still relatively undernourished (or “overnourished”) because most of us are misguided and misinformed—by mostly information that are fed by multi-million dollar research that are funded by giant food manufacturers and business conglomerates that we google everyday. Corporations chuck huge dough on “research” to pitch more of their products (hell, they gotta recoup the money somehow, right?)

FOOD and eating are common sense, I believe. Basic human response to life and living. A huge percentage of food in stores and groceries are packed/manufactured (or “bad”). That is a given. So what are we supposed to do (when we can't plant/produce our food ourselves)? Freak ourselves out? No. We work around it... We should study cooking, practice it consistently, mix “bad” and “good” ingredients (since “good” and “bad” is relative, anyway), and feed ourselves.

The sad thing is, we are so obsessed with being “healthy,” so much so that we are losing the inherent, natural gift of food and eating as integral part of life. You see, we may be able to choose every little bit of whatever we put in our mouth as healthy and good, but when we go out there in the street, there is contamination in the air, the gasoline in the car messes the lungs, the wind and sun bring cancer, what about the water that we drink etc etc. What kills humanity is our mental state that dictates the body. I can eat the best healthy food ever, and then I may question where the hell this shit came from? Mexico, China, Timbukthree? That is freakin' bizarre food, man! There goes our food prejudices... And I will worry about it all day and night, and all through my sleep.

BOTTOMLINE, just chill and eat. The body is a temple, a personal temple—every human individual must know how to worship the body, it's a personal god. Dr Oz or whoever Dr No or Expert Yes will tell me what to eat and be healthy? No way Hosay... I still believe in what my grandmother yelled: “Eat, young man! You are lucky that you have food to eat... It's a blessing. Eat!”
I remember that funny incident when my sis in law in Las Vegas accidentally sent a box of cat food to her relatives in an island town in the Philippines. They knew it was cat food alright (yes, they can read English), yet they ate them like crazy and were very thankful as well. They mixed the cat food with ramen noodles, over and over again... And then, at 5AM, they set out to the ocean, muscles and brawn glistening under morning sun. Their way of life... Their dads and grandparents died at age 92 to 101.

WHAT will make people healthier? Balance. Moderation. Common grandmother sense. Health isn't ushered by just the food that we eat. What we eat, we eventually let them out of our body and some remain inside... Burn the calories, balance our overall equilibrium etc. The mind is very integral in this “production line” that grinds in a human being's anatomy. But balance isn't easy. Yet we try...
I eat ramen noodles, McDonald's burger and Twinkies. But I also cook and prepare food my way, most of the time—and here I am with no ailment that may bring me to monthly doctor's appointment, I am 53 this year...
The Japanese and Okinawans eat a lot of fish that most of us say are Mercury-infested, they also eat a lot of KFC fried chicken. But these people live beyond 90s. As what an 86-year old active Japanese fisherman once told me as I asked him what's his secret. He laughed and said: “Sake, sushi and sex.” Then he kept on laughing.
There you go.

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