Monday, June 17, 2013

processed to our liking

One of my favorite cereals is Shredded wheat, I should probably put one of those registration symbols next to the name but I’ll take my chances that I don’t get sued by the giant food conglomerate that produces the coveted breakfast product.

I’m not sure what it takes to make shredded wheat but when you start to think about the process the food becomes far less appealing.  As you all probably know, wheat comes as a grain, a very hard grain that grows in a little kernel; it does not come off the stock shredded.  Since its natural form is hard, like a pinto bean it needs to be processed in order to become shredded.  The term shredded means torn, threadbare, warn or frayed and in connection with the cereal I’m not sure how or why they come up with the name shredded.

Because of the exorbitant price, over $5.00 a box and the relative cost of wheat as it comes naturally the level of profit from processing is probably more than 500%, not too bad for destroying the very essence of the grain, boiling out its fundamental nutrients, crushing it, and mangling the once pristine grain into a long crispy strand combined with thousands of other strands that create the coveted biscuit, not an English biscuit, that’s a cookie but a more traditional American biscuit like a cracker or a wafer, don’t get me started with these differences it’s kinda like the differences between a large stream and a small river…

After reading more about the nutritional values of different cold cereals, Shredded Wheat is in fact quite healthy and with little added preservatives, sugars or other processing chemicals like dyes or stabilizers leading me to believe that the essences of the wheat kernel is the reason, not the shredding, not the processing into more palatable forms like the frosted mini wheat’s (again the need for the registration symbol, of which I will totally ignore and hope the cereal police to not come knocking at my door).

The problem with shredded wheat or any other processed foods is the specter of thinking that these foods are better than the original.  Don’t get me wrong I like processed foods, I love the taste, I love the excessive salt and sugar and the overwhelming fat content that you can actually feel, filling the arteries and clogging the digestive system to such a degree that normal bodily functions are drastically impeded, but they taste so good, who cares right?

There really is nothing wrong with processing our foods but when we process to excess we run the real risk of risking our health.  It’s like my father used to say, an apple is good for you but an apple pie is not, but who among us would pass up a slice of warm apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side, not me.  And here in lies the dilemma, the quandary and to some the impassible impasse of having to choose health or down right decadence.

It’s not that shredded wheat is bad for you, it’s not, in fact its more good for you than bad and has real health benefits if used responsibly, it sounds like I’m talking about using a hand gun here, but you get the picture, I think.  The problem with foods like shredded wheat is that they turn us, so ever slightly away from the pristine and the perfect, skewing the absolute with doubt and relativism, clouding our minds with only a slight shadow of the once perfect to the almost as good.

I’m not blaming shredded wheat, I would be eating it each morning, if I could afford it, but I am blaming the ever so popular process of moral relativism as it slowly but inexorably takes us away from the original kernels of truth and replaces them with a seemingly more palatable option, a more immediate sensation of pleasure with the comfortable printed labels of health and benefit on the side of each box.

Whole foods (not the store chain) do not need a nutritional label they are the truth of good health but even these innocent kernels are being affected by those same massive international conglomerates as they engineer, patent and legally protect their creations in order to stabilize the costs of production, increase profitability and keep us dependent on what they process, produce and procure.

Wheat is not alone in this conspiratorial epicurean coup; corn also is changing the way the world eats, and soy and rice as well.  It’s gone way past the nutritional benefits of a certain grain, it’s now into the final stages of profit over humanity, the morality of suspect companies not simply profiting but of engineering our lives toward their directed outcomes, ”Soylant Green is People

OOH gosh I hope not, I had trouble when a fly flew into my mouth just as I was biting down on an overly processed Sun Chip, I think it’s still flying around in there….