Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Don’t have time to cook- or is that just what you’ve been told?

A former commissioner of the FDA, David Kessler, joined faculty and students at Stanford University for dinner on 2/4, followed by a thought provoking talk on “the insatiable American appetite”.

If everyone were given access to lots of cheap cocaine, we’d probably have pretty high rates of addiction, right? Well Dr. Kessler thinks that restaurants and food companies have managed to find the perfect combinations of sugar, fat, and salt to make many foods affect our brains just like addictive drugs do, inducing dependency. And since these foods are cheap, found absolutely everywhere, high in calories and engineered to be easy to chew and swallow, we eat a lot and gain weight.

What can we do about this? Go back in time to when the foods we had around were not addictive? The solution is easier than time travel- buy some meat or beans and vegetables and cook your own dinner. With a little practice, it takes less time to whip up an omelet or to heat up some lentil soup that you made on your day off than it does to drive to a restaurant.

The problem isn’t a lack of time to cook, it’s that ads for restaurants and frozen dinners have brainwashed us into believing that we don’t have the time or skills to prepare food. We’re out of the habit of cooking- once you get back in the habit you’ll see how easy it really is.

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