The insidious evil of processed food and I'm not even talking about crappy ingredients, insane amounts of processing, and horrendous preservatives

A press release with this heading just hit my in-box, and I am so angry I can barely see straight: "Special Packaging From GPI Takes Oscar Mayer(R) Deli Creations(TM) From Fridge to Mouth in 60 Seconds."

Why am I infuriated? Because this whole "fridge to mouth" thing is precisely, PRECISELY, what is wrong with processed food.

Let me explain ...

The horribly, dangerously, insidiously slimy nature of processed food
We know the ingredients can range from non-food (phosphoric acid) to foods we might not want (high fructose corn syrup) to processed ingredients (artificial flavor) to preservatives (calcium disodium edta) to levels of sodium that make our head spin (59% daily value based on a 2,000 calorie diet).***

I'm not even talking about that. I'm talking about how processed food has ruined our palate and made us expect food to be available fast, fast, fast.

Processed food has trained us to crave sugar and salt and fat, oh my
Take a kid who goes to McDonald's. Do it often enough and that's all he wants. He has no appreciation for fresh strawberries. Or arugula. Or even whole grain bread. No, he has been indoctrinated into the fast food trinity of sugar and salt and fat. And would any of us be surprised to learn he has an obesity problem to show for it?

Processed food has trained us to expect food the second we want it
It's the tyranny of the microwave, isn't it? We might not like the 30 minute commute to the office, but we know it is a normal part of out life so we live with it. But we don't find a way to make the best of a 30 minute cooking session, do we? No way! We buy an "
OSCAR MAYER(R) Deli Creations(TM), which use an award-winning QuiltWave(TM) microwave receptor tray to create hot restaurant-quality sandwich melts in just 60 seconds."

And our health, our waistlines, and our palate pay the price.

The better way
We certainly should follow Michael Pollan's great diet advice in his January 28, 2007 "New York Times Magazine" article entitled Unhappy Meals and "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Which certainly means we should eliminate processed foods from our diet. And, along with that, we need to educate our palates to the wonderful world of fresh food. And learn to enjoy cooking. It doesn't have to be elaborate. But it does have to be more than 60 seconds.

***Where did all those ingredients quoted, above, come from?
Why an Oscar Mayer Cold Cuts Deli Creations Hot Sandwich Melts. Specifically, the 450 calorie Deli Shaved Steakhouse Cheddar. Mm mm mm, phosphoric acid and high fructose corn syrup and calcium disodium edta. Sure does sound tasty, doesn't it? Makes me kinda wonder why the press release mentioned none of these ingredients. None at all.

Anything else about the press release that seems, well, wrong?
Oh, where to begin?! How about this, from the very first sentence in the release: "Sandwiches may vary in style and content, but two ingredients should always be constant - good taste and simple convenience."

Now, call me healthy, but I think the key ingredients are nutrition and nutrition. Nutrition for the body. And nutrition for the soul.

After all, the point of food is to nurture both.

So where do we go from here?
Good question. Great question, in fact. I'm going to answer it, tomorrow.