We boomers have seen change in our decades on earth. Lots of it. Some is for the better, but not all. BoomerCafé co-founder and publisher David Henderson is nostalgic for some of the good things we had not long ago … and has figured out how to get them back!
Not long ago, I received one of those daisy chain emails with a subject line that said, “Reminiscing with Pictures.” There were images of S&H Green Stamps, a drive-in movie, Lincoln Logs, an erector set, a Kodak Brownie camera, car hops at a drive-in restaurant, and so on.
I especially loved the picture of a TV test pattern, something I hadn’t seen in decades. I never understood why there was the image of a Native American in full headdress used on a TV test pattern.
Maybe those images are nostalgic for some baby boomers. For me, they were a reminder of what we have permitted our environment to become. We grew up in a simpler world than today’s. It was a time of greater substance and quality, I believe. We may not have had much money but we were richer in many other ways.
Among the images in that email were two that really caught my attention – one of a nickel Coca-Cola, and the other was a McDonalds’ sign advertising a burger for 15 cents. I remember that Cokes tasted better back then, and only later learned it was because they were sweetened with sugar. Today, Cokes are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, a chemical brewed from genetically modified and inedible type of corn and toxic acids. Our bodies digest sugar because it is a food while corn syrup lacks any nutritional value, is high in starch, and makes us fat. Burgers at McDonald’s tasted better back then because the meat was leaner. Those were the days when cattle grazed on grass; today, they are fattened in feedlots on that same inedible corn mulch and antibiotics.
While there may not have been the abundance of food choices we have today, the quality of food we had while growing up was better. Then it all changed, and the American diet became corn-based … and many Americans became obese.
Today, corn syrup is ubiquitous in the food we buy in grocery stores even though it is a harmful chemical and is banned in many countries around the world. Walk through the aisles of most supermarkets and read the ingredients. Not only is corn syrup used in nearly every soda drink and many so-called “natural” juices but even in whole wheat bread, wrapped in a label that suggests it is good for you.
Quite a bit is being written about the hazards of consuming high fructose corn syrup. A study by Texas researchers, for example, shows that the body converts fructose to body fat with “surprising speed.”
An article in August 2008 “Wellness Letter” from the University of California carries an article, “High Fructose Corn Syrup – Not Such Sweet News.” It warns, “If you consume lots of HFCS-sweetened soft drinks and foods, or lots of any type of added sugar, cut down.”
I wrote about the hazards of corn syrup last December in my BoomerCafé piece, An Edible Quest. We are the only country in the world that has permitted proliferation of corn-based chemical substances in our foods that is harmful to our health.
A talented team of young filmmakers – Ian Cheney, Curt Ellis and Aaron Woolf – has produced a documentary, King Corn, that reveals that almost everything Americans eat contains corn. High fructose corn syrup, corn-fed meat, and corn-based processed foods are the staples of the modern diet in the United States.
Today, nearly everything at McDonald’s and the other so-called fast food places is corn-based. Why? Because corn processed food is cheap to produce. It may not be good for you but it’s cheap.
Not only is the corn-based diet directly linked to obesity in America but also to an increase in heart disease and Type II diabetes, which is ravaging urban areas. America’s addiction to corny sweets is killing us, and our government is subsidizing it, according to King Corn, by providing financial incentives to farmers to grow greater amounts of the inedible modified type of corn, using powerful herbicides. By the way, it’s the same kind of corn used to produce ethanol that is mixed with gasoline to fuel our vehicles.
My wife and I, by contrast, have consciously avoided corn syrup and corn-processed foods for several years, preferring instead wild-caught fish, organic vegetables, and fresh fruit from local sources when possible … and we have been healthier, I believe, because of it. Eating better may cost us a little more but there’s an upside. We are returning ourselves to a time when quality of food was more important than it is now, and when food actually tasted nutritious because it was.
It took watching King Corn, shown recently on PBS Television, to remind me of the dangers present everywhere in the normal American diet, and what we have allowed the American food chain to become. That’s something to be really nostalgic about!