Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 306- Nutrition Bites

Raj, author of  Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System,  held up a mangled Snickers bar to symbolize how disconnected we are from our industrial food system and the power that lies behind it. He described the ingredients list on the Snickers bar as "one mysterious thing after another, a concatenation of obscure, weird stuff." Even the first ingredient, "milk chocolate," is a mystery. If the chocolate comes from the Ivory Coast, as the majority of the world's chocolate does, then there's a small but significant chance that it comes from child slavery. However, Raj was most interested in ingredient number 4: lecithin, a widely used emulsifier used to stop fats and water from separating out. The primary purpose of lecithin is not for our enjoyment but to give the bar of chocolate an inordinately long shelf life so that it can last for years and years. "After the Apocalypse it'll be the cockroaches and this Snickers bar that remain," Raj joked. Even more interesting, Raj continued, is that lecithin comes from an ingredient we eat every day without knowing it. This ingredient -- soy -- is in 3/4 of all processed foods in US supermarkets and nearly 100% of food sold to us by the fast food industry. By looking at soy, we can understand volumes about what's wrong with the food industry. As a plant, soy is wonderful. It's the pin-up plant, sexy, enormously flexible. Soy fixes nitrogen, it's tremendously robust, it can lose lots of foliage and keep on growing, and can produce amazing beans with a protein profile that looks more like an animal than a vegetable. It can be used in everything from vegetable oil to newspaper ink to adhesives, lubricants and plastics.

~Address given by Raj Patel at 2009 29th annual Ecological Farming Conference

Sugar Preacher's Experience
You might think twice before you eat a snickers and soy products! Soy can be used for newspapers inks, plastics, and lubricants! Wow!! I heard that soy is a harmful product, but I didn't know it was used for so many other purposes! Raj's research is impressive, and I am excited to read his book!

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