Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: What is Food? - You are Food

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What is Food? - You are Food

As I said in the introduction to this series, most of what I talk about here is common knowledge. Most of what is wrong with humanity today is not just that we are ignorant, but that we also fail to give due consideration to what we already know.

So, here, we start with something simple that we already know – a cliché most of us have heard at one time or another:

“You are what you eat.”

I prefer to say, “You are food” because it actually goes both ways, but the gist of it is that every molecule in your body is made of matter you’ve consumed. Primarily, matter is ingested, although it is also inhaled and absorbed through skin and other membranes. But little beyond what we eat is under our control as individuals, so to emphasize air quality when talking about lifestyle choices would be a practice in futility. Basically, you, your growth, your health, your sanity, your personality, everything about you is made of what you eat.

A healthy body is dependent on having good building materials around. If all you have are bricks lying around, you get nothing but brick buildings; forget windows, doors, sinks, toilets, or anything else that makes a structure function properly. Too much or too little of essential materials makes for dysfunctional structures that affect the whole of the system; deficiency or excess = disease. In some matters, there is no such thing as a deficiency – such as would be the case with poison, but I do believe there to be such a thing as too much of anything.

We in affluent nations are all aware of how easy it is to suffer from diseases of excess related to meat consumption. America, in particular, is nearing an epidemic of obesity related medical problems because we eat nothing but corn, wheat, soy, milk, cows, pigs, and chickens. These seven items are consumed in ridiculous excess while most everything else is in deficiency. So, we have osteoporosis, anemia, heart disease, cancer, and morbid obesity all in the same nation – sometimes in a single individual. Aside from polluted air, tainted water, unfiltered sunlight, and a bit of genetics, we have little explanation for our poor physical health except for a poor diet (and maybe a little radiation).

Diet also plays a major role in our mental health as well, for obvious reasons. This reality gets little attention perhaps because it is not the only actor within our spheres of influence. For our sanity, we also need a better social environment, but food done right can come to our aid in this matter as well; I’ll have to get to that later…

For now, just spend some time thinking about what you are – not your job or anything fascinating like that; I mean your existence…

You are food.

6 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

My personal mantra IS “You are what you eat" - it holds so true!

jessy said...

what a great post, Jennifer! and you're so right - our society kinda has tunnel vision with just a few foods that we eat too much of! it's just not good. i know that it effects us physically, but i never thought about how it effects us mentally, too! you gave me something to chew on - thanks! :)

you are food. i love it! and it really makes me stop and think about what i'm consuming.

Bianca said...

Right now, I am coffee. And water. And the leftover sweet potato bread that I had for breakfast. But later I will be family-style tofu with sauteed squash and green beans....I am tasty.

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Jessy - I appreciate the love, but I did not write this piece, this is Brett's food series. Our writing styles and views on the world are quite similar so I can see why you would have gotten confused, I just had come on here and note that I wasn't the author, I can't take credit for Brett's awesome work. ;-)

Courtney said...

This is so simple and true that we often forget to think of it this way--thanks for the reminder!

What I find sad is that the same holds true for children, and they often have little control over what they eat--they are introduced and provided with hot dogs, fast food, chips, milk, etc. at such a young age and are often not provided with healthy choices...

Courtney

Wet Blanket said...

Veggiegirl - soooooo true. Given what most of us eat, it should be little wonder that we're not at the top of any predator's list of favorite foods.

Jessy - Kudos! What we eat affects our mental state. Our social environment, however, is at least as important. Of course, what's the point in being a social animal if not to acquire sustenance?

Bianca - Funny! Right now, I'm coffee and cigarettes, soon to be tomatoes, salt, and taco salad.

Jennifer - Thank YOU for the love!

Courtney - This could not be more important to a developing body/mind. Part of the problem, as I see it, is that children seem to have TOO MUCH control over what they eat. But losing that control makes little difference with parents who don't know how to take good care of themselves. What's worse is that children develop poor eating habits from the beginning - something that only gets harder to undo over time. Food is but one way in which children have come to be the controller in the parent/child relationship. I believe diet would be a good starting point from which to address most behavioral problems. But that's just my opinion...