Food, drugs and tax - a perfect system
Why do we eat what we eat? What drives us to choose certain products over others? Why do we habitually consume from the same food groups? Is it a conscious choice, or the result of influence? Are we naturally seeking out food that our parents fed us as children? Does clever marketing and convenient product placement manipulate us? How do we really know what we need?
For years, these questions have plagued my thoughts. Despite the fact that nutritional requirements for every age, gender, weight, etc. are publicly available information, we often find ourselves eating by habit or snacking on whatever is available to us. In five years of research, I have never met anyone with a “perfect diet”, because this is impossible to obtain without the use of mathematics. Even dietitians struggle to calculate a perfect balance, for themselves or for their clients, because their knowledge stems from either books or gut feelings.
The answer to all of the above questions is that it is our environment that shapes our choice of sustenance. Or rather to say, that ‘choice’ is simply an illusion. Every person eats just as every person breathes – it is for the most part, an unconscious action. We evolved over millions of years, alongside plants and animals that we gathered, hunted and eventually cultivated and farmed. So why do we now choose off-the-shelf junk food as a replacement for entirely natural food sources? Biologically, everything we need to thrive can be found in meat, fish, eggs, milk, fruits, vegetables and nuts.
What has changed in the past few hundred years or so is the emergence of large food corporations. Like any business, they strive to make a profit. To put it mildly, these large corporations do not make a profit by selling onions from local farmers, but by taking ingredients and processing them to create something more convenient to the consumer. However honourable the initial intentions may have been, the fact remains that the majority of diet-related illnesses and non-communicable diseases in the world today can be attributed to highly processed food, and not raw ingredients. Fizzy drinks, candy bars, sugary cereals, to name but a few, whose consumption of has been linked to obesity and diabetes, as well as numerous other conditions.
Food has changed so much, but our physiology has not quickly adapted. Ergo, the emergence of an obesity epidemic which is growing through Europe and the Americas, and even North Africa and the Middle East. Why is this happening? We have the same access to the same local foods that we had before. The cultivated grains, vegetables, farmed animals, fruits and even more variety. It is because of the prevalence of money-driven corporations in almost every aspect of life.
Large food corporations feed us with junk we do not need. The supplements industry provides us with expensive tablets to fill the nutritional gaps. When we get sick, big pharmaceutical companies sell us drugs to cure our every ailment. All the while, citizens are paying money for the privilege, and our governments are collecting revenue in the form of VAT or corporation tax. It is a perfect system. Manipulate society to buy useless products, weaken our health, and then charge us to become healthy again. Our governments provide just enough information to keep us healthy in our younger, tax-paying years.
This may sound like a cynical approach. But ask yourself… Do you really believe that your government wants you to live to be 100? If you work and pay taxes until you are 65, and then are going to claim a pension for 35 years, will you be ‘profitable’ to your nation’s government? The entire system is finely tuned to ensure that we survive just long enough to work a full life, and to minimise expenditure. Observe Britain’s national health service. The work they do is no doubt extraordinarily challenging and nothing short of a miracle, but the truth is, people over 70 with complex illnesses are often put on the scrapheap instead of spending money on treating them, whilst younger people with the same illnesses are immediately treated so they can quickly get back to work. Money, money, money.
We have the capacity to live a hundred years or more. Even to 150 years. I truly believe, that with the right nutrition in constant balance, we could almost double our life expectancy. If our lifespans are increasing due to advances in medical sciences despite an obesity and malnutrition epidemic, imagine what we could with the right fuel in our bodies…
If you believe what I believe, join Nutriculate and take the power into your own hands.