If a stranger approached you, who was nice looking, clean cut, in professional attire, with a smile on his face and offered you a little white pill, would you take it? What if he said hello to a few of your friends and called them by name. What if he was okay with you asking a question or two before you chose whether or not to take it. What would you ask?
Maybe you would think a bit and then ask, “What is it?”
To that question the stranger, offering you the little white pill, responds with his pearly whites gleaming back at you, “Why does that matter? Trust me, it’s okay to take this. But if my word is not enough for you, here is an ingredient list for your reading pleasure.”
He hands you a list of words that are basically unpronounceable and non-descript. But, he did answer your question.
You look at the stranger quizzically. He seems so nice. Your friends seem to know him. He is clean shaven, handsome, well dressed. He does not seem like the type who would be trying to hurt you. It’s not dark outside, he doesn’t have mean scary tattoos plastered everywhere. He is not unclean with bad teeth.
You decide to ask him another question.
You ask, “What will it do to me if I take the little white pill?”
He smiles back, almost as if he was expecting that question. He walks over to you, puts a gentle hand on your shoulder and says, “There is nothing to worry about here, you will be fine. My partners and I have taken great pains in being certain that you have nothing to be concerned with. Go ahead, take it.”
Would you swallow something when you have no real idea what it is? Especially something that has been offered to you by a complete stranger? A stranger who is however, beautifully packaged and well spoken. A stranger who seems trustworthy and whom others seem to like or accept.
Most of us would say “NO!”
Most would exclaim, “I don’t have enough information about the product or the person!”
Face value sometimes needs to be questioned.
All right, I realize that this scenario possibly has you uncomfortable. But what I am proposing is, most of us partake in this exact scenario every time we walk into a grocery store.
Go with me here for a moment.
Have you ever read the ingredient list on the back of a bag of Doritos? Doritos are beautifully packaged in red, blue, yellow. Your friends like them, a lot. They are the perfect item to share at a party. And, let’s face it, they taste good.
But, what is it? What is a Dorito?
Besides corn, vegetable oil, cheddar cheese and other pronounceable common items, there is Maltodextrin, Monosodium Glutamate, Artificial Color (including Yellow 6, Yellow 5, and Red 40), Whey Protein Concentrate, Dextrose, Natural and Artificial flavor, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Enzymes, Disodium Inosinate, and Disodium Guanylate.
Is the what is a Dorito question answered? Technically yes. But do you know what those items are or what they will do to you?
How about a Pepsi. A glass of Pepsi over ice can be so refreshing. Do I dare ask, “What is it?”
It is… Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, sugar, Phosphoric Acid, Caffeine, Citric Acid, and Natural Flavor.
My point is not to pick on Doritos or Pepsi or anyone who eats those items. My point is to encourage you to pay attention to what you are swallowing. Just because it is tasty, and the packaging is pretty, or your friends eat it, or it is easily accessible, or the television or billboard succinctly say it’s just what you need; does not mean it is okay to consume.
The body is a very complicated and amazing machine. It functions best on nutrients from the ground, not from the factory. An apple is an apple. A peanut is a peanut. A tomato is a tomato. You get the point. There is no question about what those ingredients are.
If processed food (food from a jar, a can, a box or a bag) is a part of your recipe or even your regular diet, read the ingredient list. If you can’t pronounce it or you do not know what it is or what it’s purpose is, I recommend you don’t eat it. Here is a general rule of thumb. If there are more than seven ingredients in the processed product, consider using something with fewer and possibly more natural ingredients.
Don’t let the grocery store, the sales jargon or a product’s packaging be the determining factor in what you consume. They are essentially the stranger; looking nice, acting professional and enticing you to “just take it.”
Do yourself a favor; be informed, be intentional and be healthy.
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