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Through My Lens…On the Difference Between What Goes On and In Our Bodies

By Nadirah Angail

I don’t usually do my clothes shopping at Walmart, but I’ll pick something up if it’s cute and cheap. Not everyone is like that. Some people I know wouldn’t buy a pair of socks from Walmart. For them, if it doesn’t say Gucci, Prada, or Fendi (or at least Banana Republic) it’s not coming home. I ask them why they buy such expensive clothing and the answer is always something along the line of “I don’t like cheap stuff. I only wear the best.” Ok, makes sense. After all, shouldn’t we all want the best? But a lot of these same people that wouldn’t be caught dead in non-name brand clothing will order a quarter pounder and McFlurry from McDonalds in a heartbeat. What happened to only wanting the best?

A lot of us get outraged when we see the price of organic food. We think “Why would I pay $4.99 for this juice when I can get regular juice for $2.50. I’m not made out of money.” (That’s the catch phrase people throw on the end of things when they need an excuse for not buying something.) Most of the time, it’s easy to see the difference between name brand and cheaper clothing. It’s not so easy with food. At first glance, those two bottles of juice look the same, but they’re not. Check the ingredients.  The average juice drink has more “drink” in it than juice. And what is “drink,” you ask? It’s a combination of water, sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and food coloring.  If you’re lucky, you may see some familiar ingredients like apple, orange, or grape juice. Natural juices, though they may look similar, have far fewer ingredients. The list usually looks like this: juice from apples (or whatever other fruit you like) and maybe some water or ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). Still, people may wonder, “What’s the big deal? A little sugar never hurt anyone.”

And they’re right. A little sugar doesn’t hurt anyone, but most juices don’t have just a little sugar. They have anywhere from 2-3 tablespoons per serving. (Remember, most people drink 2 to 2.5 servings in one sitting.) Add that to all the other sugary, food-like products we consume daily. I won’t even go into the harmful effects of high fructose corn syrup (which is like sugar on Crack) preservatives, and food colorings. The average American eats tons of processed, fatty, sugary, artificial foods and very few fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In fact, our palettes have been so corrupted by these altered foods that many of us cringe at the taste of a whole food. A piece of whole wheat bread? “Yuck, it’s hard and nasty.”  A grapefruit without sugar on top? “Gross, it’s too tart.” A bowl of veggies not doused in salty sauces? “Ick, it’s too plain.”  We’re completely unaware and intolerant of the fact that this is what food tastes like. Before Kraft, General Mills and Nestle came along, this is what food tasted like. Before everyone got too busy to cook at meal in the oven instead of the microwave, this is what food tasted like. And before we decided it was ok to eat things we couldn’t even pronounce or identify, this is what food tasted like.

But it’s not just about taste. It’s also about functionality. Food should function as an energizer, a stabilizer, a strengthener, and a supporter of the body. It should help us to do the many things we need to do in this life. Most foods these days don’t do that. Today’s foods do everything but that. It has become our entertainment (I’m bored; let’s eat) our significant others (I’m lonely; let’s eat) our therapists (I’m sad; Let’s eat) and out rewards (I’m happy; let’s eat). We get everything from our food except what we really need: nutrients.

It can be hard to get used to the idea of ditching Ding Dongs and Doritos, but it’s for our own good. There’s no reason anyone should be more concerned about what goes on his body that what goes in it. The clothes you wear won’t make you sick, lethargic, or overweight. They don’t cause cancer, heart disease, or high blood pressure.  Low quality foods do. They deny us nutrition and infect us with sickness. They rob us of our vitality and arrest our natural beauty. They do far more damage than cheap clothing ever could.  So buy wholesome, unprocessed foods; your body will thank you. And if you’re a strapped for cash, sell some of those expensive, name brand clothes.

Nadirah Angail–“Empowering women- through knowledge, recognition & guidance”


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