Food is the pathway to health. If what we eat is below par, that’s how we’ll feel. Health is more than simply the absence of disease. Health is the process of meeting the maximum potential of our existence. Eating real food is a major step to optimizing our physical performance and wellbeing.

It’s embarrassing what the Standard American Diet (SAD) has morphed into and what the corporate food industry has foisted on the American public. Not without guilt is the Federal government and its food and drug related agencies like the USDA, FDA and complicit legislators. The government spends billions subsidizing the very food crops and industries that drive the food-related diseases of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, to name only the Big Three. Our lives are threatened by a food chain that is designed by national and international corporations that forge the links between food and disease just to maximize profit.

Also culpable are we very Americans who fail to take the interest and initiative to become more skeptical, more self-reliant and more informed about our food supply. We reap what we sow: food that makes us sick.

“Salt, Sugar, Fat” Those three are not only mainstays of the Standard American Diet but the phrase is also the title of a 2013 best-selling book by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Michael Moss. Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us takes us inside the labs where food scientists use cutting-edge technology to calculate the “bliss point” of sugary beverages or enhance the “mouthfeel” of junk foods by using fat and manipulating its chemical structure. Moss describes marketing campaigns designed to redirect concerns about the health risks of food products: Dial back on one ingredient, pump up the other two, and tout the new line as “fat-free” or “low-salt.” It’s a technique perfected by tobacco companies.

It’s no mere coincidence that processed food has become as deadly in its own way as cigarettes. Tobacco profits plummeted in the late ‘80s because the smoke and mirrors used by Big Tobacco could no longer hide the skeleton in closet. Undaunted, the creators of the Marlboro Man, “More Doctors Smoke Camels,” “light tar” and “low nicotine” ciggies found another way to profit from addiction. They bought food companies.

Philip Morris Tobacco became the largest food corporation in the world. That’s right. The company that made its mark dealing Marlboros, Virginia Slims, Parliaments, Benson & Hedges, L&M’s, Chesterfields and other coffin nails further fattened its coffers by selling the likes of Tang, Kool-Aid, Kraft Lunchables, Cool Whip, Miracle Whip, Lifesavers, Altoids, Toblerone, Raisin Bran, Shredded Wheat, DiGiorno’s Pizza, Miller Beer, Oscar Meyer wieners. The list goes on and on. You thought Kraft Food was big? Hell, Philip Morris bought Kraft Food. And many other food companies.

Big food companies had already figured out how to hook Americans on junk food with a clever balance of salt, sugar and fat — all now known to be addictive. And they hooked Americans on a new drug: convenience. That drug is the worst of all. We have come to sacrifice quality in nearly every walk of life for the “C Word.” Think of it.

Ever have a dropped call on a landline? No. But we’ll live with dropped calls and “No Service” for the convenience of having a cell phone in our pocket. Is there a chance in hell that an MP3 sounds anywhere near as good as a CD or, God forbid, vinyl? No. For those of you who have never heard music from anything but an MP3, let me assure you, compared to almost any other format, MP3s sound like crap. But we forgo quality for the convenience of carrying our entire music collection in our pocket. Same goes for food. Salt, sugar, fat and convenience have us eating crap that is killing us. The food companies know that but they keep inventing new ways to keep us hooked.

Moss does an amazing job making the humdrum life of a food engineer read like a Bond novel. These white-coated lab rats know exactly how to tweak a formula to take us to the bliss point while shaving the quality of ingredients to max out the bottom line. And they were doing it before Big Tobacco got involved. Big Tobacco just elevated the game. Moss’ book will open your eyes to real food and close your mouth to the industrial version. Read it.

Thought you were vegetarian? Are squeamish and don’t like fish bladders in your wine. Did you know it’s common (and has been for centuries) to clarify wine by adding a fish bladder to the cask? Of course, in the 21st century it’s a more sophisticated process but most wines contain fish bladder protein called isinglass. It’s used in beer, too.

GMO ice cream Worse, a gene from the blood of an arctic fish is added to low-fat ice cream to make it creamier. No lie. The gene is a sort of antifreeze for the pout fish. Yuck.

Be well.

Heartland Healing is a New Age polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. It is not an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or The Reader. Visit for more information.

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