Junk Food In Disguise

Jacob and Esau

Let’s talk about a bible story about tricks and disguises.In Genesis 27, we can read the story of two brothers. One brother was a mama’s boy gardener (Jacob) and the other one was a super buff hunter (Esau). Their dad, Isaac, was pretty old and before he was about to die he told Esau to go catch him some wild game and cook him up his favorite meal (my kind of meal) and afterward he would bless Esau.

Isaac’s wife heard all this go down and decided she didn’t want Esau to have the blessing. So instead, she told Jacob to go get two of their goats so she could cook a meal for Isaac and have Jacob give the meal to him so that he could get the blessing instead.

Of course, Jacob is kind of confused. He’s all, But mom, Esau’s all hairy and manly and I’m just…not. But she’s not worried about that cause guess what? Isaac is blind and she’s got a plan.

goat

The Clever Disguise

After cooking the goats, Sarah (the mother) dresses Jacob up in Esau’s clothing so that he smells like Esau. After she’s got him looking all ridiculous in clothes that don’t fit, she straps some goat skins to his neck and arms to make him good and hairy.

You’re probably thinking there’s no way this stupid idea is going to work. At least that’s what I was thinking. Come on…who would fall for that? Isaac. That’s who. He totally believed it and gave Jacob the blessing instead of Esau. Esau and Isaac weren’t too happy when they realized they were tricked, as I’m sure you can imagine.

No one likes being tricked but we’re constantly surrounded by tricksters. Maybe it’s literally someone pretending to be something they’re not. Maybe it’s Satan trying to convince you that something you know is wrong isn’t really that bad. Or, more to the point, maybe it’s food companies trying to trick you into thinking their junk food is actually healthy.

Food, Dressed Up

You know those boxes your food comes in that say things like: No sugar added!, Low-Fat!, or More Fiber! You’d think that means they’re healthy, right? Wrong. Today we’re going to look at some clever disguises food marketers dress their food up in to trick us into giving them their blessing.

When it comes to what you’re eating, don’t be blinded by health claims. Just because it says it’s healthy….doesn’t mean it’s true. It’s probably just junk food wearing goat skin and a ridiculous outfit.

All right, let’s do this.

organic

Organic

WHAT?! ASLDFKJASDLKFJ!!!….. (That’s you being so confused and furious that you can’t even form words, by the way.)

I know, organic OBVIOUSLY means it’s healthy. This blog post is clearly nonsense. NOT. What does organic mean? According to the USDA, it means that whatever it is, was grown using

materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems and that integrate the parts of the farming system into an ecological whole

So basically, it’s probably good for the environment but that’s all organic really means. Should you buy organic fruits and vegetables? If you can afford it, sure. The less you can do to harm the environment, the better.

But if you’re buying organic cakes/cookies/chips/granola bars/etc. and thinking you’re being healthy…you’re not. Those foods are still bad for you. A box of macaroni and cheese is a box of macaroni and cheese no matter how the ingredients were grown.

cagefree

Cage-free/Free Range/Vegetarian Fed

Just because it’s not being raised in a cage, doesn’t mean it’s living a life of luxury.
According to the USDA, all cage-free means is that it’s in an open room. That could mean it’s in an open room with a ton of chickens and literally can’t move. There’s no rule as to how big the room is. Oh, and they have food and fresh water. But let’s be honest…if they didn’t have food or water, they wouldn’t be very useful.

What about free range? Basically the same. Except they have continuous access to the outdoors. That’s great! Right? Nope. (Man, I’m being a debbie downer today) Most of the time “continuous access to the outdoors” means that they have a tiny cat size door to an outside cement patio type thing that’s fenced in. The chickens usually don’t even go outside because they don’t know what the door is for. They’re used to being inside a cramped room all day and they don’t know any different.

Well, at least they’re vegetarian fed, right? Haha…I think by now you know what I’m going to say. Chickens are omnivores! They’re meant to peck at the ground and eat bugs. That’s why God gave them beaks and claws. I don’t know how the idea of vegetarian fed hens came about but it just makes me mad when I see it. Let them eat bugs! Don’t force them to live on GMO soy.

Long story short, don’t spend a huge amount of money on these products. They’re practically no better than regular chicken. If you want to be sure that you’re getting a good quality chicken, buy from a local farmer and talk to him about how he raises his chickens or even ask to visit the farm.

lowfat

Low-Fat or Fat-Free

Well, aside from the fact that I don’t think fat is unhealthy (more on that in a future post), how do you think they get the fat out of these products and how do you think they keep them tasting good? They load them up with weird chemicals/sweeteners/artificial sweeters. Duh.

Not to mention, most vitamins are fat soluble meaning that in order to absorb the vitamins, your body needs fat. When you eat something with all the fat taken out, your body doesn’t absorb the vitamins as well. So not only are you getting weirder ingredients than the full-fat counterpart, what vitamins are left after processing, aren’t being absorbed into your body very well.

Here’s a good article on foods you should eat instead of their low-fat counterparts.

Whole Grain!

If you must eat grains, don’t fall for this trick. OH MY GOSH IT TOOK ME SO LONG TO FIND BREAD INGREDIENTS ONLINE. Wonder why? Something they don’t want me to know?Betty Crocker Cheeseburger Macaroni Whole Grain Hamburger Helper

ANYWAY. Here are the ingredients for a popular brand of bread that says “includes whole grains” on the package:

WATER, WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT FLOUR, ENRICHED BLEACHED FLOUR [WHEAT FLOUR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, FERROUS SULFATE (IRON), THIAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), NIACIN (VITAMIN B3), FOLIC ACID], WHOLE GRAIN CRACKED WHEAT, SUGAR, WHEAT GLUTEN, YEAST, SOYBEAN OIL, WHEAT BRAN, SALT, CULTURED WHEAT FLOUR, BUTTERMILK, WHEAT SOUR, ETHOXYLATED MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, VINEGAR, CARAMEL COLOR, MONOGLYCERIDES, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE, CALCIUM SULFATE, CITRIC ACID, ASCORBIC ACID, AZODICARBONAMIDE, CALCIUM PEROXIDE, SOY LECITHIN; MAY BE TOPPED WITH FLOUR.

Okay, yeah…Whole Grain Wheat Flour is in there…but then what? Enriched bleached flour…that means they bleached the flour, stripped it of all its nutrients…then added some back in when they were done. Let’s see what else…Ugh, I don’t know. Everything. I don’t recognize most of those ingredients.

If you’re going to eat bread, check the ingredients. Try to find something that only contains foods you recognize and has a minimal amount of ingredients.

But don’t forget that bread can raise your blood sugar higher than sucrose (table sugar). Bread has a glycemic index of around 70 while sucrose has a glycemic index of around 60 (the lower the number the better).

No Sugar Added

Less Sugar!

Less sugar than what?

Less sugar than a candy bar? Less sugar than a bag of sugar? Ever notice that they don’t usually say what they’re comparing their product to?

Or, it will sometimes say “No Added Sugar!”…which could really mean anything. They didn’t add any sugar but they added honey, fruit juice, high fructose corn syrup. Or they didn’t add any more sugar than they were already planning on adding.

A lot of companies will use multiple types of sugar so that it seems like they aren’t using as much. Hopefully you know that ingredients on a package are listed in order of how much is in the item. By using different types of sugar, companies can avoid having to list sugar as their first ingredient.

Here are some other words for sugar to look out for:

barley malt, beet sugar, brown sugar, buttered syrup, cane-juice crystals, cane sugar, caramel, carob syrup, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, date sugar, dextran, dextrose, diatase, diastatic malt, ethyl maltol, fructose, fruit juice, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, glucose solids, golden sugar, golden syrup, grape sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltodextrin, maltose, mannitol, molasses, raw sugar, refiner’s syrup, sorbitol, sorghum syrup, sucrose, turbinado sugar, yellow sugar, Agave nectar, Brown sugar, Cane crystals, Cane sugar, Corn sweetener, Corn syrup, Crystalline fructose, Dextrose, Evaporated cane juice, Fructose, Fruit juice concentrates, Glucose.

I’m sure I’m missing some but…you get the picture, right?

If it says less/no sugar but it’s still sweet, they’re most likely tricking you.

glutenfree

Gluten Free!

My reasoning for this is basically the same as the reasoning I used in the whole grains section. I’m all for not eating gluten (obviously) but not when it involves highly processing other foods (corn, potatoes, rice) to make the same junk. A cookie is a cookie is a cookie is a cookie. I saw a sign somewhere on the internet that said something along the lines of “Coke and heroin are also gluten free, watch out for health buzzwords.”

Just because it doesn’t have gluten, doesn’t make it automatically healthy. Eating gluten free for health shouldn’t mean replacing gluten-filled foods with non-gluten replications. It should mean replacing those foods with real food like fruits and vegetables.

Watch Out for Clever Disguises

There are so many more silly food tricks that I want to write about but for the sake of time, I’ll stop here. Food companies work really hard to put a great disguise on their food. Jacob wore a disguise so that he could get his father’s blessing and prosper in life. The food companies are doing the same thing. They want your money so they can prosper. They most likely don’t care about your health. If they can dress up a package of GMO corn and soy to look like something that will improve your health, they will…and they do.

Here’s your solution. Are you ready? I’m not sure if you are….

Okay, I’ll tell you. STOP EATING PROCESSED FOODS. If it comes in a package and has an ingredient list, don’t eat it. Unless it’s a cucumber wrapped in cellophane and the ingredients say – Ingredients: Cucumber.

But…but…but… Okay, okay. If you must, absolutely must eat that junk, don’t rely on the front of a package to tell you whether or not it’s good for you. Flip it over and read the ingredients. If you don’t recognize half the junk on the list, try to find something different. But really, there’s no better replacement for that stuff than real food.

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