I have just been reading this excerpt from Richard Bach’s “Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah”. I get it. Almost. Let me explain that: I understand cerebrally why abandoning oneself to the current is seen to be of high spiritual significance. There always arises the question, though: What is the current? How do general people, leading general lives define the current? How do they identify which is the current and which is the rock that they are clinging to, to their own detriment? I feel that “go with the flow” as a life style dictum, is over used and under valued. I think people do tend to use the term and interpret it quite loosely when faced with nutrition and food habit choices. Let us take the ubiquitous Potato chip/crisp. It is present at every barbecue, gathering, in many school lunch boxes, and most families would harbour a packet or more in their pantries all year around. I know it is addictive ( though the jury still seems to be out on that). We all agree that it is, perhaps, not the best choice for our health. Yet we continue to buy it, present it at parties, and eat it. Because that is what we do. It is the flow. Why are potato chips considered so heinous? Fatty, and Salty? Two anathemas to good health as denounced by nutritionists, dieticians, medical professionals, personal trainers, general public… I agree. Yet, when we go to a party and there is a plate or two of crispy chips lying there, its salt and artificial flavours induced aromas wafting in the air, what do we do, we have “one or two”. We know it is not good for us, but it is okay, because it is “okay in moderation.” It is easier to eat it, than to refuse it. “come on! One chip or two will not do any harm!” “YOU? You do not need to worry! Look how skinny you are!” “ Just eat, it is a party, after all, just relax!” Yet I feel that the saltiness and fattiness of the chip is only part of the story. We need food for nutrition. Because the right foods in the right amounts keep us healthy. Nutrition is a lot more than the absence of salts and fats. It is not the presence of those substances, which the body can process efficiently in small amounts and in occasional bouts, (In fact, both salt and fats are, to some extent, necessary) that occurs in what we liberally term “junk food”, but the absence of nutrition that turns such food, into un-food. One day, in a rare burst of spring fever, I was cleaning under the kitchen shelf, and guess what I found? A crisp, crinkle cut, curved and still brightly yellow. I took off my gloves and picked it up in my bare hands, curious and fascinated. As I brought it close to my face/nostrils, I could still smell the chicken flavour on it. It felt slightly soggy to my touch, but it had not deteriorated in any other way. Packed with salt and infused with heaven knows what preservatives, it was still relatively fresh, and if it had been sitting in an airtight container, I would have been tempted to pop it into my mouth. As it was, I stared at it for a while in fascination, before I chucked it out and got on with cleaning. Remembering back to the last get together at home, which would have been when I had bought the packet of chips, it was probably six months ago, or so. Now, I ask of you, which vegetable lasts six months without proper food storage, like refrigeration, without becoming mouldy, rotten, runny, smelly, and generally non-vegetable like? It is basically because it was once food, and jam packed with nutrition, that it becomes rotten. Invisible life forms, floating about recognised that it was food. These same life forms, knew to avoid that crisp piece of un-food. So much more intelligent that humans. So much more self-respecting that they would not settle on this piece of debris, knowing that they would not survive. There are certain categories of processed food, that do only harm, and some that may have some benefits, but can do harm if had in too high amounts, and there are some processed foods that somehow seem to still be nutrition dense. So when we pop that chip into our mouth, are we really going with the flow, or are we just indulging, and using philosophy as an excuse to hide behind? I submit that the way we use “go with the flow” in our daily lives is the rock., that we must question our need to cling to. Here are some helpful tips to release oneself from the habit of over indulging in … chips.
In case you are wondering what nutrition dense processed food I am familiar with, leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.