Columns, Opinion

Baran Breakdown: Let’s eat to live, not live to eat

Thanks to the busy bees behind consumer culture, food temptation is being sewn into the seams of society. 

Edible enticements are everywhere, whether you’re window shopping or watching a TV show. Your Sunday stroll down Newbury? Those pretty yet pricey pastries are sure to poke a hole in your pocketbook. Trying to watch TV? You’ll find yourself salivating over both sweet and savory close-ups in commercials in no time. 

In the current consumer climate, food is almost force-fed to us. And from ever expanding fast-food joints to trendy types of toast, our mouths are constantly watering. 

Long gone are the days when eating was solely for survival. In earlier eras, it was easier to control ourselves because there was less temptation, and just less food. Hunter-gatherers had to venture out and either hunt or pick their food. But even once obtained, that sustenance was not ready-to-eat. 

This is an obvious and harsh contrast from how we function today. 

Now, we no longer have to wait for a meal. Services like drive-thrus and diners are often open 24/7 to satisfy any and every craving. Popular apps like Postmates and Grubhub encourage lethargy, laziness and gluttony. 

The masterminds behind these platforms have figured out that food is highly profitable. In fact, it is one of the most reliable ways to bring in massive amounts of money. Humans do not need cars or clothes to survive. But they do need calories, and certain companies have exploited that fact to an extreme extent.

It is wildly unlikely our society will cut back on consumerism, especially in the food sector, so the question remains: how do we function in a society seemingly intent on harming our health? 

The secret to this frustrating question lies in the practicing of a principle: eat to live, do not live to eat.

I am not saying this will be easy to abide by. In fact, I am saying that it will be hard. We live in a world where the goals of the companies that run it are driven by greed, and the food industry is scarily vulnerable to that same selfishness. 

In the lives of the privileged, food is everywhere to be found. Whereas in bygone times, one had to wait a while for only a meager meal, now we can go to McDonald’s at 1 a.m. and munch on a McMuffin. And this disproportionately affects those that can even afford meals like this.

Food is seeping into every nook and cranny of society and this is negatively affecting our health. It is easier than ever to get the stuff in our stomachs. Food has become too accessible, and it is one of the many reasons why obesity has nearly tripled between 1975 and 2016. 

Extreme versions of anything are bad, but in terms of eating, overindulgence can lead to unhealthy weight gain and potential health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. 

Though I believe that self-control is salient in surviving in today’s consumer climate, I mostly blame the CEO’s and heads of these major companies for making us significantly more susceptible to food temptation through their twisted tactics and astute advertising strategies. 

The majority of foods on the menu of McDonald’s, a global fast-food chain, are unhealthy and lack the proper nutrients needed to fuel our bodies. 

Admittedly, McDonalds does offer some salads and healthy options, but they are sparse and are not meant to be the star of the show — that role is reserved for their oily fries and fattening McNuggets.

I am not saying we must wholly resist these temptations of our taste buds. But we should realize that food is not supposed to take up our day — it is supposed to get us through it. While living to eat involves constant thoughts about food, eating to live is only feeding the body when it needs fuel. Healthy diets are about moderation, so you can have your cake, and eat it too. 

We cannot force the pervasiveness of food out of our lives, but we can be more aware of our surroundings and more thoughtful about our everyday choices. We must resist these temptations of taste for the sake of our health, bank accounts and overall quality of life. 

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2 Comments

  1. I have never been able to resist the temptation (fast foods or any kind of stuff).what I am faced problem of unhealthy habits (lethargic mode). that’s why I switched eating veggie stuff that good for health.

  2. Thoughtful article-great writing