Hope for The American Diet
This past Christmas Eve I was driving my parents from Washington D.C. To Atlanta, and at hour seven I must confess…I grabbed for my mom’s bag of Cheetos.
As I reminded myself not to eat the entire bag, I remembered my mom’s previous comment, “Cheetos are my comfort food.” I looked at the damage I had done already and told myself I had one more handful to enjoy before leaving the rest for her (she was sleeping).
In true Ron Burgundy style, I thought, “Well that got out of hand quickly!” I connected my desire to continue eating to the popular slogan, “Bet you can’t eat just one!” And truly, it WAS tough to stop. And then I thought, “These scientists sure know what they’re doing to make our ‘food’ so addictive!”
Driving and lost in a continuous stream of thought I continued, wondering, “What hope is there for us (Americans in particular, but I suppose everyone) if I, a model of Paleo adherence, require such willpower to defeat these urges to feast on…junk?” I mean, willpower and discipline are my THING! My greatest strength in my physical accomplishments has never been led by any physical act, it’s been led by the strength of my mind.
What Hope Does the Rest of the World Have Then?
I pondered, “We are conditioned culturally through our youth to eat the foods we eat. We drink sugar water (pop/soda) as if it is the best thing on earth. We don’t bat an eye when a “juice” contains only 5% real juice in its solution! And pizza is almost universally beloved, is it not? Growing up, how popular was mom or dad to when bringing home pizza?”
This is our culture! How will it ever be overcome for the health and betterment of our future? Marketing, advertising, and lobbyists have certainly prevailed…this force is too big to be stopped!
And then I realized our hope.
“People don’t know what they want or need until we show it to them.”
So what model of hope for the American diet do we have? To my Paleo folk,…you’re not going to like this answer. Perhaps our best model is that of veganism.
While we may lose the diet battle with older generations, the hope of our future lies in our youth. But it won’t necessarily start with them. The only way to promote this change is truly one person at a time. The change will start with any and everyone, and take advantage of the malleability of children. Vegans have successfully given us great examples of parents passing their dietary values onto their children.
It Can and Has Been Done. Let Us Remember the Model of Success.
Regardless of whether veganism, Paleo or any diet is the answer to our nation’s dietary problems, we are united in that the model of success for Change will be to educate and expose others, especially our youth, to an alternative to our fast food/junk food nation. Only then will they know their options.
We are seeing it happen already, but we must understand why change is happening. The movement for Change, not specifically veganism, Paleo, or any other diet, begins with exposure. Education and exposure allow the future of Change to see an alternative. Then it will be up to that future population to decide what they want to do, but they will make their decisions knowing there are options!
We can battle it out through dietary dogma for superiority, or we can embrace our commonalities. We aren’t that different. We have common enemies. We have common challenges. And we have a common goal for Change of the American diet if not for our generation, for the future generations.
Already Change is growing in momentum. Natural foods stores are growing in number. Commercial grocery stores are beginning to cater to the desire for organic, grass-fed, and more natural products! The government is subsidizing organic farming. Change is gaining momentum because we are demanding it! Maybe not united, but we are nonetheless providing the demand for new and improved products.
While contemplating thoughts of our commonalities, I realize there is hope for the American diet. And while we can certainly battle it out for a title of dietary superiority that has no actual crown, we would be better served to unite in our common interest – Change.
Hope for the American Diet by Mario Singelmann