Choice

Food manufactures often claim that they offer consumers choice, and if you go to any grocery store it certainly appears that this is true. After all there is an entire aisle for both breakfast cereal and frozen dinners. You could eat one of each and not have to repeat a meal for months.

When I realized that I needed to avoid vegetable oils, I figured there was still plenty of food I could eat, but it turns out 90% of processed foods contain the kinds of oils I’m allergic to. Its an industry standard. So my options were actually quite limited when it came to processed food: one kind of dried fruit, no cereal, one kind of bread, two kinds of TV dinners. Eventually I realized that the only way that I could have any variety was to make my own food from whole unprocessed foods. Interestingly when people find out that I cook all my own food at home they claim that this is not an option for them. “I don’t have time to cook.” Or the snide put down “Wow I wish -I- had enough time to cook.”

When I was an older child my grandpa revealed to me how he used the fact that his house had two bathtubs to get my mother to take baths. Instead of asking whether she would like to take a bath he would ask “Would you like to take a bath upstairs or downstairs?” She would worry about which option was better and he could avoid the whole issue of whether she wanted to take a bath in the first place. He called it deflection.

I came to the conclusion that this kind of presentation was deceptive and even if my grandfather had only meant well, it could be used to harm people. It didn’t help that I had been tricked this way, it worried me that I hadn’t seen through such an obvious ploy. I even spent time trying to see other choices that I had missed seeing because of the way that they were presented to me. Whenever I found a situation that reminded me of my grandfathers bathtub trick I would carefully assess whether I was being harmed by it and what options were being hidden. I took great delight in choosing options not presented to me.

It occurs to me that the “choices” that food manufactures offer are really the same ones dressed in different colored boxes with different flavorings. Processed foods almost always have vegetable oil, corn, gluten, soy, sugar or high fructose corn syrup, GMOs, MSG and other flavorings, and chemicals.

By cooking my own food I’ve chosen the un-offered option: none of the above.

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