I’ll try to make this quick, but I can’t promise anything. I have something to say about this picture:
I’ve seen it all over Facebook. PETA is sharing a picture of candy that illustrates exactly where the gelatin in much of it comes from — and person after person after person in the comments is talking about how “amazing” all these processed candies are and how they don’t really care at all where their “food” comes from.
PETA is right on this, for the record. Not only is that exactly where non-vegetarian gelatin comes from (the majority in America is said to come from pig skins, but it can also come from other animals including cows and fish), but due to the nature of the way the leftovers are collected, the production of gelatin has been known to be somewhat…inconsistent, to say the very least.
But that’s not even the point. People were clamoring over themselves to talk about how they “don’t care” what’s in candy, they just love it. I don’t know how many comments I read with the words “don’t care” and some quip about how they were going to run out and get some candy right now.
Apparently candy companies could literally piss in these people’s candy and they’d be fine with it if it tasted the way they expect it to.
Regardless of one’s stance on PETA, the attitude of not caring where our food comes from is part of why giant corporations are able to give even less of a crap about what they put in our food. They know very well that the blissfully ignorant masses just don’t care, so they can totally get away with using low-rent, synthetic and nutritionally void ingredients.
The truth is, I don’t even see candy anymore when I look at that picture, or really, when I look at most conventional candy packages at the grocery store. You know what I see?
A potential chemical assault on my body.
GMO sugar beets and dextrose from GMO corn, both courtesy of Monsanto, a company that produces and sells poison for profit.
High fructose corn syrup, (which we can’t even really say is “fine in moderation” like the propaganda commercials try to reassure us it is because HFCS is in so many things, it’s hard to avoid let alone moderate) that is probably made in a chlor alkali plant with mercury cell technology because we still have those here, meaning it’s likely tainted with the neurotoxic heavy metal mercury.
Artificial colors dyes made of coal tar, aka nothing more than a byproduct of the petroleum industry. Things that are banned in other countries because they cause behavioral problems in children are in the majority of foods which are straight up MARKETED to children here (like candy, cereals, snacks, cheap sugary drinks etc). Some of these dyes have also caused tumors in lab studies.
I also recently learned that some well-known, popular chocolate pudding mixes not only contain no real chocolate, but if they did not contain artificial colors, they would actually be green instead of the expected brown.
Artificial flavors made of random chemical mixtures as well.
Natural colors could mean things like carmine — a red coloring that is actually created by boiling tens of thousands of female cochineal insect shells in a vat of ammonia or sodium bicarbonate solution. Starbucks took a lot of heat when it came to light a few years back that the coffee giant was using carmine to color it’s strawberry frappuccino drinks (you know, instead of…actual strawberries).
Natural colors and flavors aren’t necessarily healthier just because they use the word “natural” in the name. “All natural” on a label doesn’t mean jack in this country. Castoreum is a “natural” raspberry flavoring used regularly in the food supply…and that stuff is made from beaver anal secretions.
Vanilla extract isn’t just vanillin, the primary component of the vanilla bean, but vanillin mixed with several hundred different compounds. Pure vanillia is scarce, and thus, expensive. Demand worldwide far outweighs supply. For some people, vanillin and artificial vanilla have triggered allergic reactions and caused migraines.
The “confectioner’s glaze” sometimes called shellac that is used on many hard candies is literally made of the feces of the female lac bug. That’s not even the worst thing here by far, but still. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. Again, all natural!
Propylene glycol, produced by Dow Chemical Company and others, isn’t just a plasticizer and chemical solvent that’s well-known as the main ingredient in antifreeze, but it’s also allowed as a food additive in America, and Americans eat it in tons of products on our grocery store shelves, although like other items on this list, it is not cleared as a general-purpose food grade ingredient or direct food additive in the European Union (meaning it’s banned there).
Or how about soy lecithin? That stuff is in everything these days. Not only is it made of GMO soy (unless it specifically says “organic soy lecithin” in the ingredients list and not just “organic” on the whole package, see below on that), but the process used to extract it involves harsh chemicals like acetone and hexane, a neurotoxic chemical solvent and jet fuel additive which can cause nerve damage with long-term inhalation exposure.
There’s even a video on it from the Cornucopia Institute:
Yes, hexane is another lovely byproduct of gasoline refineries, and it has been surmised that the hexane-extraction process may be the leading reason why soy baby formulas have been found to cause terrible irritation to the linings of some baby’s stomachs. While the CDC recognizes hexane as a neurotoxin and the EPA declares it to be a “hazardous air pollutant,” here in America, that apparently means it’s just fine to eat it.
(Oh, and even though an organic version of soy lecithin has been available since 2004, and the National Organic Standards Board could have voted to dump conventional soy lecithin, instead the board voted to keep the dry version of soy lecithin on the allowed substances National List in 2009, so even organics with the certified seal can still include hexane-extracted conventional soy lecithin in their products as well.)
The list goes on and on…potentially carcinogenic preservatives like BHT and BHA. Caramel coloring that just might contain a known cancer-causing byproduct called 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) which government studies have shown “caused lung, liver, or thyroid cancer or leukemia in laboratory mice or rats.” That’s why 4-MEI is on California’s list of chemicals known to cause cancer!
And you can barely even buy a gum without the excitotoxin aspartame in it…but aspartame is a whole separate report by itself. (I know. I’ve written several. Here’s one now.)
Again, let’s be clear: we no longer live in a country where you look at a food item and what you see is all it is.
Far from it.
A burger patty probably isn’t just a burger patty made from nothing but “100% beef”. Consumers have to also consider what that cow ate (GMO corn? GMO soy? Trash? Candy?) on top of the cow’s treatment as it was raised.
Think about it. You release stress hormones when you are upset. These can wreak havoc on your body, especially if you are under chronic stress. Animals release similar hormones and when they live in the places many animals are raised in in this country, you better believe many are living in fear with trauma and releasing hormones in response to it.
And then…what? You slap cheese and condiments all over that stress and trauma and eat it? Can’t be good.
Many animals are raised in Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in America. I’ve personally visited a few of these places and I can tell you, it’s a horror you just have to witness for yourself. They’re like animal concentration camps. On top of that, you’ve got all the pharmaceuticals administered to the livestock in this country…arsenic to make chickens fat…antibiotics to cows for the same reason (and to fight off diseases due to the nasty way they are being raised)…things that make cow’s hooves fall off…it’s just unreal.
And we’re eating it!
Our food is highly centralized in this country. About ten mega corporations own almost all the brands you’ll find on the average grocery store shelf:
It’s sad we live in a day-and-age where a person is expected to get a freakin’ chemistry degree just to be able to truly comprehend what’s listed on their food labels, but we can’t just wait around for the government to protect us from …well, from our food. They haven’t so far. Hell, they can’t even protect themselves.
But reading that PETA picture comments section was more than just disheartening. It’s a period on the end of a long sentence about how we’re all so disconnected from what’s on the end of our forks, most of us have absolutely no idea what we’re even putting in our mouths in this country.
Well, we all need to get right with that, and soon. Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. We don’t do that anymore. Sickness is rising fast in this country. Food allergies (gluten intolerance, anyone?), autoimmune diseases, diabetes, obesity…all going up and up and up. The government has announced it expects the rates of cancer to double in the U.S. by 2050 — and cancer is already off-the-charts now!
People need to snap out of it and put down that fork for a sec. Think about what you are eating. Really think about it.
Not caring about how our food was produced or what’s in it is what got us here in the first place — and it’s simply not an option anymore.
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Contributed by Melissa Melton of Nutritional Anarchy.