I have been taken aback by recent social media responses to the closing of the iconic Hostess and the death of its beloved Twinkie. When was the last time you ate a Hostess product? I remember the Susie Q being a separate food group during my high school years, 22 years ago. Would I have eaten them if they were not available at my high school? Probably not.
With all this talk about the demise of the Twinkie, I have a different perspective. In my mind, it is a collective shift in the way our country is looking at food. We are questioning what is not only in our foods but the whole food supply system, as well. Finally.
From the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on the ballot in California with Proposition 37, to the increase in organic food demand and the rise of farmer’s markets across the country, a large segment of our population is questioning what we are eating and why.
Mayor Emanuel is currently doubling down at the Chicago Public Schools to remove junk food from vending machines as an initiative to get students to eat healthier. According to an article on the Huffington Post, last month, CPS received a $4.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support the launch of “Healthy CPS,” an initiative aimed at tackling obesity rates and tobacco use among CPS students.
This action is not what the far right would like to call the “nanny state” but rather a concern about the health of our fellow citizens. There is one major reason that Hostess is closing: we are changing the way we are looking at food and what it does to our bodies and there is not enough demand to justify the supply. The recent news of unions versus owners is merely a reflection of this lack of demand.
Overly processed foods is the cause of much of the disease in our country including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancers. The rest of the world is unfortunately following us to their own demise. Health professionals around the world have taken notice and the collective thought is that if we do not stop this trend, for the first time in history we may begin to see life expectancy decline.
Sure, Twinkie was an iconic staple that represents our youth, but look at it like this: the time when the Twinkie was born was when our food system became mechanized and Big Junkfood & Big Agro changed the way we were eating food and began to remove all of the essential nutrients from our diets.
These billion dollar corporations — worrying about the bottom line and marketing — began to replace these nutrients with chemicals, additives, preservatives, artificial flavors, carcinogens and poisons. “Everything in moderation” does not work when you are dealing with highly addictive foods like processed white sugars, fructose, and white flours.
The most frightening trend is that these same corporations are seeing the trend towards health and are greedily buying-up organic food companies. Why? Intuition tells us that they not only want a stake in the game, but once they own them, they can ride the wave of the healthy lifestyle paradigm shift and manipulate the ingredients to meet their bottom lines and in the end continue to replace real, whole-food nutrients with all the crap in the rest of their product line.