The Health Food Store. Church of food righteousness. Disneyland promise of a new you, free from moobs and flatulence.
Merely by its name we expect it to be a place where all the criminals of the food world have been rejected. But many health foods are not what they appear, masquerading Jimmy Saville-like in their eco paper packaging, parading their fake sausage in the red light cabinet windows, promising slimline happiness, while they secretly plot to rape and kill us.
Should we expect our health food store to only sell healthy food?
We don't expect to walk into a church and find porno mags with the bibles. Or to go to our grannies house and find a nudist ayahuasca retreat going on in the garden.
When I was growing up the health food store was a sad dingy affair with a few brown foods run by a grey macrobiotic in an Afghan jerkin. Today the billion dollar industry has spawned temples of eating promise, run by Aberzombie and Fitch supermodels sporting Barefoot Runners and wheatgrass fuelled pectorals.
These new high rise health havens promise a new you, as long as you can knit your own money. Fat food-industry cats are getting fatter from our quest for skinniness. Shopped naively, the health food store can put us right back to irritability with our bowel, elasticated waistbands and even allergies, cancer and diabetes.
In our quest for perfection we buy fattening high fructose, testicle shrinking tofu, mouldy nuts and vitamin blocking grains. We are still rendered bloated with candida, high blood sugar, calorie overdosed and in a processed food daze. Even the foods that are actually healthy often taste so bad they could kill you in a fit of choking.
It is easy to innocently buy foods no better for us than a Mars bar. Here are a few of the worst:
High Fructose Corn Syrup plays havoc with our blood sugar and increases our risk of type 2 diabetes. If you want cheap contraception, eat commercial soy products. They can cause infertility, low sperm count, menstrual troubles and increased risk of cancer. They can make you zinc, calcium, copper and iron and protein deficient, and can cause endocrine disruption and thyroid disorders. Worryingly, GM soy made animals grow hair inside their mouths. Even nuts can be bad, once shelled, nuts are usually covered in mould, thus feeding candida in the gut and prompting yeast infections.
Agave syrup has a higher fructose level than any other sweeteners on the market, 70-90% whereas HFCS has 55% making it even worse for you than HFCS.
Grains host bacteria and turn to sugar in the blood. They prevent absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc.
The Drinks Cabinet: fruit drinks, carbonated health drinks and flavoured water are all full of sugar, fructose or agave, spiking our blood sugar and causing candida, cravings and weight gain. Carbonated drinks rot our teeth. Apple juice has 9 teaspoons of sugar per glass or 8 for orange juice.
If you really want to go the whole hog and become that hippie in the rainbow bobble hat, use only unbleached tea bags and tampons otherwise apparently you'll be ingesting chlorine.
Next week... the expanded list of what's good and bad in the health food store and why, and what some of the surprisingly healthy things to indulge in are...