Monday, July 11, 2011

Coke. Bread. Steak. Fries.

I drank a Coke. Some of you may be thinking I've gone crazy as in "Big deal, you drank a Coke." Those who know me well will think I've gone crazy because I'm apt to point out the downside of soda drinking to those around me.  In fact, a friend recently blogged about my cola-lecturing ways. I was flattered. And, I'm aware I could be considered "one of those people" who is always blathering on about health and what we do to our bodies. My health and your health matter to me. No apologies.

At any rate, I drank a Coke on Friday. And, it was incredibly tasty. What? Why? Soda that was good? Yes, indeed, because I was in London. Chilled Coke, straight from the can into my glass, into my mouth. Yummy! Many places outside of the United States have stricter regulations on what chemicals and other fake stuff can be added to food.

In the United Kingdom they don't have things like high fructose corn syrup or sucrose in their Coke. It is sugar. Plus, there are no added preservatives which we cannot count on in the US. Many of the preservatives added to drinks in the US (including sodium benzoate) do harmful things to your body (like damaging your mitochondria).

  For the benefit of those of us who've forgotten our high school biology lesson, mitochondria is the power producer for the cells in your body. They give energy to the cells so they can carry out their mission. Mitochondria also control cell growth - perhaps cancers are a result of damaging these little guys... And, per Wikipedia, "Mitochondria has been implicted in several human diseases, including... cardiac dysfunction and may play a role in the aging process." I don't much like the word "implicated" in the quote which makes it sound like rogue mitochondria are out there doing damage on their own. Doubtful they've gone rogue, more likely they've been harmed and have lost their way.

And, even more than the Coke I was reminded constantly during my week in Paris and London that I could feel reasonably good about eating every meal at a restaurant. Food is different in Europe. It tastes different and it makes you feel different. I had steak and frites in Paris. Pain au chocolat as often as possible (which was alot). I had fish and chips with my Coke. Probably more espresso than advisable. And, I ate a great deal of bread and butter and jam. The indian food (called curry) in London? Divine. I could look at a menu, select something that looked good and not have too much worry about what chemical or additive or process the food has been subjected to before it arrived at my table. For a person that eats few meals out in the US and chooses pretty carefully when doing so, I was able to eat whatever I wanted and I felt great. Granted, I was on vacation and walked at least five hours each day, but I could (and boy did I) eat anything that appealed to me and not have a moment of that "ugh" feeling after eating something you know isn't good for you.

I'm home now and I'm distraught. Yes, because vacation is over and mostly because we are not afforded the same "luxury" in the US. I don't want Coke with high fructose corn syrup. I don't want oatmeal from McDonalds with more than 20 ingredients. I want to be able to go to a fast food place and get a piece of real whole Cod, lightly battered in real flour and deep fried in real oil. No, I won't eat it every day (and nor should you), but wouldn't it be nice to know, when you did so, it was real?

I am not a chemist or a biologist. I don't (yet) have a PhD in nutritional science. I can't cite dozens of double-blind clinical studies which prove to you the chemicals and additives in the things you choose to eat are doing damage to your body. What I do know? I feel better when eating things which grow naturally. I like to be able to eat without wondering or worrying if I'm starting the clock on a nutritional timebomb which will show up in my body at some point. I like the taste of real food.

Come on US. We can do so here. Is this really asking too much?

No comments:

Post a Comment