Catching Clueless Monkeys

Put an orange in a small necked container. When the monkey tries to pull its hand out with the fruit, it can’t… unless it lets go of the fruit. And it won’t. You think that all the monkey has to do is let go and reason that there’s got to be a better way, but there is no reasoning, it’s instinct, it’s food. That monkey is driven. No reason — he’s got to have that orange. Sadly, we’re the clueless monkeys. We’ve given up our ability to reason and sold out our health for mindless convenience.

Through out-of-control manipulation of food product development skewed to chemically tingle our taste buds and tantalize our brain centers, food scientists in laboratories for popular brand food manufacturers, chain restaurants, and fast food franchises, all in collusion with advertisers have all helped us become a nation of overeaters. We’re mindlessly stuffing our bodies with false ‘food’ putting ourselves on the painful path to obesity and related diseases. Foodwise, there is no “better living through chemistry” (DuPont Chemicals old slogan), but there are huge profits, and we’re paying for it with something more precious than money. We’re paying for it with our lives and the health of our children’s lives.

Food Cues by Design — “It’s all in your mind.” It is. The food chemists know it. They know the brain’s chemistry can be triggered by designed cues to compel us to overeat by manipulating the makeup and chemical content of three irresistible, well known ingredients: fat, salt, and sugar. Lays slogan: “Betcha can’t eat just one” is absolutely true, and they count on these big three cues to getcha. The general American public has succumbed to the addiction of prepackaged, premade foods of any kind, restaurant or store bought. We’re hooked by our chemically programmed brain’s concept of ‘taste’. It’s not all our fault, but making us aware of WHY makes us responsible and aye, there’s the rub. We have to choose to make the effort to change our life’s Wellness and food patterns to literally greener, healthier pastures.

“The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite”, a book by Dr. David Kessler, former FDA commissioner 1990-1997, tells us about how our brain chemistry is being held hostage by the commercial food industry for profit. We’ve been programmed to be overweight, obese, overeaters. FOR PROFIT, did I say that already? In an interview by Monica Eng for the Chicago Tribune, he tells us why we can’t stop ourselves:

“…food is being designed to activate the neural reward centers of the brain and keep them engaged, so that we don’t even know we are full. The food industry also has engineered food to be highly palatable and almost predigested. They inject it with fat and marinades [salts, sugars, chemicals, etc.] so that it’s almost like baby food, it goes down in a whoosh and this combination makes you want to reach for more and more to activate those reward (dopamine) centers again…”

He estimates about 70 million people are affected. This sounds like what it is… an epidemic. The food manufacturers and advertisers have created an appealing and unrelenting atmosphere of desire and consumption ending with us “double dipping” from our own pockets – (1) paying them to make us overeat and then, (2) paying the pharmaceutical/medical industry to cure the incurable because it’s embedded in our brains… behavioral! We’ve been programmed to overreach and overeat. Dare I call it brain dead?

Wellness You Can Count On – There is a growing body of scientific research actually on the side of natural Wellness. Breaking the habitual craving cues is up to us. Imagine how our righting this diabolical wrong will change not only the entire food industry, but the health industry – its providers and policy makers. Imagine healthcare rates going down and benefits going up because we become healthier as we take control. Hopefully, Dr. Kessler, having been the boss of the FDA will have enough heft, so to speak, to influence America, “…explain…what’s going on – how do we break through and help people understand how their brains have been captured?” he said. He suggests keeping food simple. I pose this as a start: home cooking, of course, but more importantly using whole grains, vegetables and cutting back on salt. We can’t live without it, but we can’t live with too much of it. Cut back. Taste your food for the first time. I fully believe that many other cravings, again staying away from chemically enhanced processed/prepackaged foods, will dwindle. BUT it will take time, patience, and your will, just like with any other rehab, to reprogram your brain. Mere thoughts, sights, suggestions, and smells will not be the motivating triggers for mindless, nonstop grabbing and overeating on the way to obesity. Real hunger will motivate and real repletion will rule to be the natural end of meals and snacks.

All of us monkeys out there should give ourselves the gift of personal power, leave that orange in the jar and get out while we still can – it’s most likely chemically engineered anyway. Don’t allow the food industry to short-circuit your body’s self regulating instinct anymore. Dr. Kessler’s plea is for us to “fight back against the industry’s relentless quest for profits while an entire country of people gain weight and get sick.” (Publishers Weekly) Here, here Dr. Kessler. Glad to have you on our side.

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ABOUT: Wellness Chef Helen Sandler
Lecturer, personal chef, teacher, wellness coach, & speaker, Helen promotes a healthier lifestyle through common sense, organic / natural approach to a happier, positive life.

Helen Sandler is used to being an innovator and at the cutting edge of whole foods whole grains awareness. After graduating from SUNY, New York with a teaching degree, she began to follow her real passion for healthy cooking which took her from Los Angeles to Boston to attend the cooking school of the late and great master Japanese natural chef, Aveline Kushi. Later that passion took her to Kyoto, Japan to continue her studies, where she spent four more years learning the art of healthy Japanese cooking (Seishoku).

As Wellnes Chef Helen she is the featured authority at CTNgreen /wellness with articles in the library there and the virtual paperless magazine at CTNGreen Magazine