This morning, I watched my children eat a breakfast of cheerios, apples, and toast with strawberry jam, as they engaged in their early morning routines of being silly at the table. A leftover cup of rice and beans from the night before awaited me in the fridge, and it and I embarked on our twelve day routine: Into the microwave for 1 minute, let cool for another minute, add spoon, begin culinary boredom.
At breakfast this morning, the taste of the last 33 meals I’ve consumed sat in my mind like the lumps of cold leftovers I put in the microwave every day. I turned to my five year old son, engaged him in the serious look only a Father and son can share, and spoke the words which will forever be etched on his soul:
The thrill is gone
The thrill is gone away
The thrill is gone baby
The thrill is gone away
It’s now a few hours later, and because of ADD, he’s probably already forgotten the immortal words of B.B. King spoken to him by me, but one thing is for sure: I’m singing the blues today because I am bored by rice and beans.
Just as nature abhors a vacuum, the 21st century mind hates monotony. But why? What programs me to not be grateful for warm, nutritious, fat free, high protein, and rich in fiber food? Am I such an addict to the entertainment of food that I can’t even focus on eating a simple meal on a regular basis? Is this a new form of ADD? Attention-Deficit Food Disorder? What is the 21st century diet doing to me?
According to a study published a few days ago in the Journal of Physiology, “what you eat affects how you think”. The author Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at UCLA, administered high fructose corn syrup to rats and then tested their ability to navigate a maze. They were slower and showed less synapse activity (http://bit.ly/Hn0yKb). Sugar is officially scientifically shown to make us dumber.
The Corn Refiners Association, which benefits from the sale of High Fructose Corn Syrup, immediately came out and said fructose and glucose are completely safe for human beings. But they offered no studies to show that it was beneficial for human beings. The best that biggest beneficiaries of high fructose sweeteners could offer is to say that it’s “safe”. Isn’t this exactly what Big Tobacco said about smoking fifty years ago? The evidence is overwhelming that high fructose corn syrup is causing obesity, and obesity is causing death, so how is it safe? (http://bit.ly/d7wvnO).
In a world which knows that obesity and being overweight kills us, what better lab test is there than to see how people respond in a healthy way to the maze of food at the grocery store? Do people who consume unhealthy items choose the food which will save their lives, or do they choose the food which will eventually kill them? Let’s be honest about this. How much free will do we think we have?
Two years ago a study by The Scripps Research Institute showed that the same molecular mechanisms which drive people toward drug abuse and addiction are the same as those which push people to overeat and be overweight (http://bit.ly/dwOH5t). It’s about time that we come to our senses and realize what our senses have been telling us for years: Our diet is killing us. 3 billion people on the planet are suffering from the addictions and poor decision making of millions of us in our quest to have what we want. Like parents addicted to crack who spend their rent money on getting another fix, we’re trading our children’s futures for sodas, candy, and fried foods. Either we’re addicted, too dumb from sugar to notice, or both. But whichever it is, we have to make a change for our selves, for the sake of billions of people right now, and the billions to come in the future.
As of today, I’m 12 days sugar sober, and right now I’m having the clearest thoughts of my life: I want to be done being a dumb, bored, sugar addict. I hope to break through my culinary boredom to be fully grateful for rice and beans creating a community which has produced the change which I’ve needed my whole life. I look forward to allowing this change to join the change of others in a world revolution.
You can contribute to my own struggle here.