A day after the US Government gave a stern recommendation that Americans eat less and better foods, the snack food lobby, whose main goal is to get Americans to eat more unhealthy snacks, declared February as “National Snack Month”.  It’s grotesque to me that these corporate lobbyist do not care about the health of their family and friends.  Or if they do, they don’t care about everyone else’s but their own.  We don’t need another “snack day” or “snack month”.  Isn’t enough that there are still millions of Americans who are out of work?  Isn’t it enough that Americans, by far, are the most obese out of all the nations on this planet?  Must we continue, as a way to make more money, kill our fellow citizens in pushing unhealthy snacks to our faces?

My wife has been working hard on the classes she’s been teaching and as she works, she likes to snack.  Isn’t it enough that as she walks by, she says of her Goldfish Xtra Cheddar snacks: “It’s extra cheddar because they put powder on top.”  [By the way, she wants everyone to know, that she is not obese!]  This isn’t to condemn anyone for buying snacks and eating snacks – snacks from Nabisco or the like.  I like it, you like, we all like it.  But where is the line drawn in reaping millions and millions of dollars in getting people to be obese in this country?  According to 20eat.org:

“Here’s the report’s headline number: $4.2 billion, which is how much the industry spent marketing its wares in 2010.

To put that amount in perspective, consider the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the USDA’s sub-agency that “works to improve the health and well-being of Americans by developing and promoting dietary guidance that links scientific research to the nutrition needs of consumers.” Its annual budget? $6.5 million,according to The New York Times reporter Michael Moss.”

$4.2B and $6.5M.  How can we compete?  Part of it is educating ourselves to understand that while Goldfish snacks are not evil per se, we don’t need 3, 4, 5, or 6 packs of them as our daily snack ritual.  We have to undertand that while the Sunday coupons may give us an extra $0.50 off that Pepperidge Farm snack, it is still 4 or even 5 times more expensive than a bag of carrots, celery, apples, or grapes.  No, carrots and celery are not as sexy as a bag of Pepperidge Farm cookies, but it’s also a lie that we need to eat a bag of carrots to stave off starvation.  It’s a lie that we need to chomp on 3 or 4 Pepperidge Farm cookies and wash it down with a glass of chocolate milk as a snack to be fulfilled.  The amount of sugar in that snack is pushing our diabetic culture spiraling out of control.

It starts with us.  It starts with our generation where we can educate our kids and our kids’ generation that natural foods are good tasting.  But we also have to cook more.  Our kids will not understand the value of nutrition if we continue to call Dominoes and bring home McDonalds as a piss poor substitute of a family dinner.  The “Leave It To Beaver” generation of Sunday dinners are gone.  So far gone that less and less people eat at home on a weekly basis than ever before.  Watching Jamie Oliver‘s “Food Revolution” should wake us up when our kids do not know what a tomato or potato looks like.  As Jamie Oliver said in his TED Awards speech: “[Clutching a fistful of french fries] This is not a vegetable.”  To end this blog with this quote from John Seymour seem to bring it all together for our culture:

“Undoubtedly there is much labor in the preparation of meals from fresh ingredients. To shell a bushel of peas, for example, takes a long while and you can do nothing else at the same time. But those of us who are privileged to live in a home where the ancient skills of preparing and cooking food are still carried out often wonder, as we contemplate another culinary delight, if the time saved by the “modern” housewife is really worth it. For, my God, what a world of difference there is in taste between the heated-up instant meal and the meal that is carefully prepared and cooked from fresh ingredients.”
– John Seymour, Forgotten Household Crafts