“Natural” and “Real” as selling points…

While on my break during work I wandered over to the nearby Orange Julius stand and ordered a Raspberry smoothie.  The description above the list of flavor options proclaimed in bold letters that the smoothies contained “real fruit.” My question is, why is that a selling point? If one is ordering a fruit smoothie from a place shouldn’t real fruit be implied? And what are the qualifications required to meet the standard of “real” fruit?

As I watched the worker make my smoothie, I noticed a mysterious powder being added.  I asked for no “power boost” thus cannot toss the mystery onto protein powder.  Since when do raspberries need mysterious powders? After tasting the too-sweet-to-be-simply-raspberries smoothie, I wondered if this odd addition was sugar.  Why add sugar? And where were the seeds that ought to have been getting themselves stuck in my teeth? Don’t real raspberries have seeds?

My experience at the Orange Julius today was typical for any time I dare venture into the average food establishment.  Mysterious ingredients and qualities that ought to be givens used as selling points for quality abound in most popular food industries.

How often have we been taken in by a box of uber-processed cereal because it proclaims in fancy script that the ingredients are “all natural”? What are the implications if things are not all natural? Should not a product that we are soon to take into our bodies be a product of natural processes? Shouldn’t this be a given? Something we needn’t think about?

And yet, we are bombarded with advertisers’ claims to “real” and “all natural.” Despite these claims, however, how often do we read the ingredients on these supposed “all natural” foods?

We have all heard of those quick to cook ramen noodle packages that come as a light brick of solid noodles.  On the top of the package, “All Natural” is nestled right aside the name of the noodles.  But the ingredients listed on the back amount to all manner of strange and baffling words we can hardly pronounce, let alone imagine as an existing food.

The truth is, a bundle of chemicals does not amount to real food.  And it certainly isn’t natural.

What occurrence created this world in which the origins and identity of our food are hidden from us? Why do food producers need to convince us that their products are better because the food they sell is real food? As opposed to what? Pretend food? It seems obvious that we should fight hard to keep our food that we know is real.  We know it because we have seen from where it comes.  Or maybe even grew it ourselves.

Disturbing as it is, however, most of what we eat would not be recognizable as real food if we took it back a few generations.  Most of what we eat is not food.  It is a mess of chemicals and “added benefits” that will supposedly aid in the well-being of our bodies.

I once read a slogan that said, “If we don’t process out the nutrients we don’t have to add them back in.” This is so blatantly obvious!!!!! But every single day we eat food that may have at one time had nutritional benefits but lost most if not all of them during the processing that is done to supposedly keep our food “safe.” I must admit, I don’t feel terribly safe while eating a piece of bread that contains such ingredients as high fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin, dextrose, canola oil, refined flour, and fifty other ingredients the nature of which are is as mysterious as to why bread requires such a long list of ingredients.

When I make bread, I use flour, water, yeast, salt.  That’s it.  What exactly are soy lecithin and dextrose? And what about refined flour? Is refined flour more likely to appear in the court of the British Royals? And don’t even get me started on high fructose corn syrup and canola oil.

What exactly are we eating? Besides saying, “fake food,” I haven’t the slightest idea.  Have you?

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