Conspicuous Consumption

No wonder we suffer from overeating and obesity in U.S. Food is everywhere. Images of food invade our consciousness through television ads, radio spots, internet images, billboards and just business signage. We cannot escape food.

On the 5th day of my dietary experiment, excluding gluten and refined sugar from my diet, my boyfriend and I traveled to a local chain bookstore. Bookstores inspire detailed inspection for J. I opted for a cup of tea. Torture. Cheese cakes, cupcakes, crispy rice cakes, I could go on. The bookstore, a place offering intellectual stimulation, subjects us to further fat exposure. Granted, the counter of decadence is located at the back of this particular outlet but served tea from the counter next to case of gluten and sugar laden hazards.

In early January, 2011, I suspected that I suffered a gluten intolerance and began an experiment. For more than a decade, I suffered from stomach pain, which dozens of medical tests failed to diagnose. By mid-February, a test with very, very excellent cake produced the determinative results: gluten caused my stomach pain.

Since that time, my eating world changed dramatically. Importantly, I’ve developed a reprogramming plan. When an advertisement presents itself for a food I love but should not eat anymore, I think about the effects that the food will have on my body. My mouth may water but imagining the stomach pain, the headaches and the foggy brain remedies the impulse to run out and purchase a pizza, lasagna, cake…etc. In fact, many name brands now generate a negative response immediately rather than the former craving.

The choice to forego refined sugar for a month has sharpened by observation of these pervasive food exposures. No wonder Americans suffer from obesity and lack of awareness of what we eat. We stumble through life bombarded by images and sales and mouthwatering offerings of food. Without awareness, we consume these products ignoring the ingredient and nutrition labels. We pay no mind to the quantity or quality of the items placed before us on a plate or wax paper or out of a foam box.

No wonder then that our collective failure to attend to our diets leads to increased obesity in adults and children, increased diabetes and hypertension in people of all ages. That we lack the ability to discern a craving from biological need to replenish resources leads to the consumption of the wrong foods for the wrong reasons.

If the adults in our society lack the ability to differentiate between the needs of the body and the “joy” of eating whatever one wants, how will children ever learn to care for themselves?

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1 Comment

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One response to “Conspicuous Consumption

  1. Aiken

    NOW I understand. THanks! I’ve always loved that many women’s magazines tout articles that deal with exercise and diet on the side part of the cover, flanking a lucious dessert. I hope you do well with this dietary excursion and I find it almost inspiring.

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