Fact: I like Coke.
Also fact: My body doesn’t.
How in the world do I reconcile these two? There’s that taste…that spicy sweetness. And the memories. Poking a Coke float with my straw, sitting on the deck on a hot, summer afternoon.
But then my grownup self thinks “what in the world is IN this stuff? It’s gotta be really bad for me!” And it is, of course.
I took an honest look at Coca-Cola for my guest post at Keeper of the Home. I looked at why it’s bad for your body, and how this beverage has spread to nearly every country in the world, often with fierce criticism in its wake.
I also mulled over something that’s been on my brain for a while now:
The Coca-Cola company, like other processed food producers, entices us to eat their unhealthy products by building a relationship with us through their packaging.
My love for Coke isn’t just built on taste–it depends on nostalgia. Those unmistakable logos and glass bottles and polar bears that I’ve seen throughout my life have worked their way into my brain. Coke is a comfortably familiar product–I wouldn’t look twice at a cheap, store-brand soda if a Coke was in the room!
Maybe you’re not a Coke person. Is there another processed food that you eat, partly because of the packaging? Maybe Oreos are your thing. Or Pringles, or pop-tarts, or Twizzlers. Brands that are familiar to you, that you grew up with.
I think that packaging–that buying brands instead of food–is one major factor that holds us back from embracing a real food diet.
When we go to the grocery store, we don’t see food anymore. We see packages. We see colored boxes and bags vying for real estate in our cart (unless we stay in the produce section the whole time!).
Here’s my challenge to you: Undress your food. Take off the labels and see it for what it really is. Research what’s inside that tube of Pringles or that box of frozen pizza. Learn the unhealthy truth behind the label of Coca-Cola and other processed foods.
Whenever you can, buy food that is unpackaged; no wrappings. Start by shopping the outer rim of the grocery store, picking up blocks of cheese, whole produce, fresh bread. Sometimes you’ll have to think outside the grocery store altogether. You’ll have to visit the open-air market or a local farm. You may have to take to the woods to gather wild berries.
In short, you may need to be a bit adventurous! But it’s worth it. You will learn to love food in a whole new way, and your body will respond with more energy, more vitality, more richly rooted life!