What We Consume?
Imagine wanting to consume french fries and crafting a simple dish at home with just three ingredients: organic potatoes, salt and oil.
Now compare that to fries containing 19 components, a dozen of which are harmful and void of nutritional value. This is the staggering difference between homemade fries and those from McDonald’s, a fast-food titan with over 40,275 outlets, infamously called toxic potato diffusion sites.
At first glance, making fries might seem like a straightforward process. McDonald’s, however, takes this simple recipe and introduces a cocktail of chemicals, fats, and acids. Ingredients like beef flavoring, dextrose, TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone), and Polydimethylsiloxane turn this humble dish into an unhealthy concoction.
Beef flavoring, devoid of actual beef, sneaks its way into the fries to boost taste. Dextrose, a sugar variant, gives fries their iconic golden hue. TBHQ, a chemical preservative, prolongs the fries’ shelf-life but may cause health issues. And finally, Polydimethylsiloxane, an anti-foaming agent used in skincare products, also finds its way into the familiar red box.
Other ingredients, such as citric acid, hydrolyzed wheat, and milk, contribute to the fries’ shelf-life and flavor. The cooking process includes several stages of chemical exposure and frying, resulting in a product high in trans fats from the hydrogenated soybean oil used for frying. Consumption of trans fats is linked to cholesterol problems, heart disease, and strokes
What We Consume Based on Location?
McDonald’s continues to be a cultural icon providing quick, cheap food. In the US, there’s about one McDonald’s for every 24,000 people. Fast food has become comfort food. It’s known to make us feel good, and is rarely the healthiest choice.
Surprisingly, the toxin load varies globally. Most McDonald’s outside the US shy away from the chemical overload. In India, the recipe includes potatoes, salt, vegetarian palm olein oil for frying, and a dash of dextrose. Similarly, in the UK, the focus is on non-hydrogenated oils for cooking.
In Australia, Denmark, and Israel, canola oil is the go-to choice for frying. The discrepancy in ingredient choices between the US and the rest of the world is glaring.
Despite McDonald’s assertion of the necessity of its ingredient choices, the global branches’ distinct divergence sends a strong message. So, why the complex chemical mixture used in the US? This disparity should make us pause and consider what fast food is feeding us.
And asking questions about the source and preparation of our food is up to each of us. There is beauty in slowing down and enjoying the journey, especially when we become aware of what and who we consume.
There is Another Healthy Path
Now, forget about fries for a minute. Microgreens, the just-sprouted seeds packed with vitamins and nutrients, could potentially revolutionize our approach to healthy food supplies. This tiny powerhouses of nutrition, as revealed in a 2021 Penn State study, could be instrumental in addressing malnutrition in challenging environments.
Each tiny leaf is a treasure trove of concentrated nutrients, making microgreens a viable option to supplement diets in regions where nutrient-rich food is scarce. They’re not just popular on Earth; even NASA has explored their potential as a nutritional source for astronauts during space missions.
Topping the list of healthy microgreens are broccoli, kale, and arugula, according to the Royal Society of Chemistry. Loaded with carotenoids that boost immunity and vitamin A, along with being rich in antioxidants, these microgreens offer a host of health benefits. Their nutritional potency combined with the ease of cultivation could make microgreens a game-changer in keeping us healthy.
Imagine we no longer have cheap fast toxic food, and instead healthy food, that sustains us and is available equally to each of us. Simplifying our choices and knowing what we’re actually consuming.
Consuming toxins in our food, water and air is harmful to our health. Becoming aware of what energy we consume in every aspect of our lives is possible. And we can make healthier choices, which our bodies will thank us for.
Surround yourself with healthy local food. Support farms and restaurants that care about your health and wellbeing. And know that the healthiest medicine we have comes directly from nature. Our imagination can create a beautiful landscape of dishes using healthy ingredients that fuel us.