What You Need to Know About FOOD AND FOOD ADDITIVES
Michael A Snyder
Many people like yourself are questioning the need for additives and the use of refined foods. How did we get into these habits? What can we do?
IMAGINE you have been able to buy a new automobile. When you picked it up from the dealer, it had everything you needed; power steering, air conditioning, a medium-sized engine, comfortable seats, and radial tires. The first thing you do with your new car is drive it to a scrap yard, where you have it crushed into a metal block. Then you take the crushed remains of your new car and have it pulled apart and painted until it resembles its old shape. You have a new engine installed and some accessories put in. It costs a fortune, but you're just following an accepted style. Sound crazy? Of course! But this analogy is similar to the process that the refined foods you eat go through. Bread, for example, often is so commercially processed that it only vaguely resembles in some aspects the wheat bread great-grandmother used to make.
Why Additives and Processing?
The refined-foods trend grew out of food prepared for royalty. Food was milled and carefully sculptured to please those in high standing. As the economy became more diversified, use of refined foods spread to the middle and lower classes. Today, increased usage of food additives and processed foods have arisen as a result of basic, fundamental changes in our society. Over a period of several decades, our Western society has become time and economically oriented. As one person characterized it, we have become an "instant pudding" society. Everything must happen now! And there's the key word in understanding the rising use of food additives! As the pace of our society accelerated, people began to demand ready-packaged foods. For example, businessmen saw that people often get out of bed at the last moment, occasionally missing breakfast because they didn't have time to eat it. The use of whole grains as a breakfast food was already wide-spread, so they simply took it one step further to cut down time in both preparation and consumption by the family. They refined the grains to make them more palatable and easier to prepare — then sweetened the product to make it more pleasant tasting. The result? Millions of people now will rise in the morning, hurry into the kitchen and gulp down a bowl of presweetened cereal. Unfortunately, many of the vital nutrients were ripped out of the whole grain when it was refined, so companies compensated by adding artificial 'vitamins and other additives. Again, we can see our crushed car analogy. This life-style continues in the evening, where the husband and wife both arrive home from work tired and hungry. Neither feels like expending more energy in preparing an elaborate meal, so one reaches into the freezer and takes out a couple of frozen entrees to stick in the oven. While that's heating up, a can of peas (with various chemicals added to preserve the color and flavor) is opened and heated on the stove. Both the husband and wife feel like relaxing with a cool drink, so one mixes up a couple of before-dinner drinks — using powdered mix available from a liquor store. After the hastily prepared meal is consumed, our family turns their interests and energies to other pursuits — perhaps one is attending classes or there's office work to do. At any rate, little planning or advance work for tomorrow's meal will be done. A well-stocked cupboard of processed spaghetti, frozen or canned vegetables and preserved meat products will provide ample sustenance.
Is This What We Want?
We can see then, the use of additives and food processing is the result of a change in society. Additives and refined foods provide a short cut to save time, and in many instances, money. Because of the advances in technology, most processed food is cheaper than its unprocessed or unaltered counterpart. Food with additives is easier to store and easier to handle in terms of mass production and distribution. Few people realize that vegetable farmers face a very critical period from the harvest of their crop and its distribution to market. In a matter of hours, thousands of dollars can be lost through wilting lettuce, shriveled tomatoes or over-ripe berries. So faced with the problem of providing food to millions of people, companies have resorted to artificial means of preserving and storing foods.
Understanding the Reason
The reason for massive use of additives points back to one thing: the family. Inside our families our individual decisions on lifestyle mount up into one collective impetus: do as much as possible, experience as much as possible — in the shortest period of time. To understand the use of additives, we must look for causes, not merely the effect. In any society, the smallest and most fundamental building block is the family. It is a well-recognized fact of political science that whatever families do or tolerate, so follows the collective society. It therefore follows that if families begin to develop new lifestyles — ones that don't allow time for properly preparing food, cultivating a garden for fresh vegetables — then the society will follow suit. And there you have it! It's time to realize what the change of family in our Western culture is doing to us! Both internal and external pressures mount to alter our life-styles and relationships. For years, The Plain Truth has thundered the warning that the family institution is in danger of crumbling! Confusion of roles within the family, nonaligned goals, zero communication between partners, or parents and children, create complex pressures and problems that leave precious little time for things like worrying about proper nutrition! Hence, enter additives and refined foods. The academic jury is still out as to the long-term effect of these substances. It seems that consistent human opinion on nutrition is nonexistent. Concerning this, God gave a very interesting prophecy in Isaiah 3:1-2, 4: "Behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away... the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water, the mighty man [those honored in the community]... the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent [people with proper knowledge and understanding] and the ancient [those experienced and wise]... And I will give children [those without understanding and experience] to be their princes and babes shall rule over them." In plain modern words, God will remove from us the basic understanding — including the wisdom — required to practice proper nutrition on a wide scale! And if you look at the Babylon of confusion that surrounds academic and commercial disciplines of nutrition today, you have to admit that something is sorely lacking! Concerning practicing good nutrition (a term most nutritionists steer clear of because they recognize no final authority), let's look to a source we can regard as authoritative. That source is none other than the Bible! "Thy word is TRUTH" reads John 17:17, so let's see what the Bible says. About 2,500 years ago, an unusually bright young man and his three companions were given the opportunity to attend a very prestigious school. This school was sponsored by the then most powerful man on the face of the earth. The young man Daniel and his three friends enjoyed a tremendous opportunity to partake of what was then considered to be the most advanced culture and literature of its day. Given the political climate of the time, one might think that it would be wise to "play ball" in whatever fashion the king desired — especially since Daniel was there as a Jewish captive, the entire nation of Judah then being slowly absorbed into the state of Babylon. But Daniel had strong principles. He knew the importance of proper diet and health. So he bucked the system. "Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank..." (Daniel 1:8). Pretty courageous for a teenager in the court of the then world-ruling king! Daniel spoke with the man who was in charge of him (Daniel 1:8-10) and talked him into changing his diet as an experiment. "Please test your servants for ten days," Daniel said to the man in charge of him and his friends."Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men [who attended the royal school with Daniel and his friends] who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see" (Daniel 1:12-13, New International Version). The result? "At the end of the ten days they [Daniel and his friends] looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food"! (Daniel 1:15, NIV) From the context, we can surmise that the king's food Daniel was referring to probably was of a refined nature — royalty was privy to gourmet-type foods, while servants and peasants had to eat coarse, whole-grain foods. (Today, this same stigma of food preference exists. Many older people who went through the great economic depression of the 1930s will not eat whole wheat bread because to them it smacks of having to eat home-baked bread. Many were unable to afford anything else during this period) The wisdom of Daniel's dietary practice was reconfirmed by the United States Department of Agriculture and a report by a U.S. Senate committee. They recommended that people eat less red meat and consume more vegetables and whole grain foods! The other possible inference gained from Daniel's refusal to eat the king's food is that it may have been unfit to eat by God's standards. According to God, certain meats are perfectly fine in moderation for human consumption. God wants you to enjoy food (Psalms 103:5; 104:14-15; Genesis 1:29-30), so He gave certain guidelines. In Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 you will find God's instructions on what meats to eat and not to eat. Notice that when you begin to have heart problems and high blood pressure or digestive problems, which meats your doctor will tell you to abstain from. Yes, medical science, in its way, confirms God's dietary instructions! (For more information on this eye-opening subject, write immediately for our free reprint, "Is All Animal Flesh Good Food?")
Building a Happy Family
Tying everything together now, we see that certain elements of our personal lives must be changed before — we can develop sound nutritional habits. Chiefly, time must be made available — both so food can be prepared and enjoyed. You should be able to know why you are eating certain things and not be the pawn of advertising. Don't allow others to make the decision for you by way of the electronic media — get the facts, understand them and make rational decisions. Long before it was "chic" to write or be knowledgeable about nutrition, Editor-in-chief Herbert W. Armstrong was exhorting people to practice many of the things asserted by nutritionists today. In one publication, he wrote almost a decade ago: "The Almighty God made the human body so that — even though composed of material substance from the ground (Genesis 2:7, 3:19) — its normal condition is one of robust, invigorating, radiant GOOD HEALTH! "Sickness and disease are ABNORMAL — they are the PENALTY OF VIOLATION OF NATURAL LAWS." He continued, giving the following advice: "There is another area in which our English-speaking peoples ruin their own health. They take a good steak, or a mixed green salad of uncooked leafy green vegetables, and then RUIN them with sauces, gravies, or dressings that will wreck any stomach — at least in time! People think they must mix foods into conglomerations of meat with starch, sugars, condiments, artificial flavors, preservatives, sea-`foods,' and unhealthful mixtures — IN CONFUSION! The 'best' chefs are those who can concoct the most injurious sauces and conglomerations." God wants you to enjoy life (III John 2). But you can't enjoy anything unless you're healthy. As the saying goes, there's nothing so precious as good health. Would you like to know more about natural health laws and what the Bible says about how to obtain good health? We have available a free booklet, Principles of Healthful Living. It will show you how you can improve your physical qualities of life and will show you how medical science is confirming the laws set by God!