Splenda Nation

To avoid dependence on fossil fuels, we drill more. Or we grow bio fuels and buy away our guilt with carbon offsets. To get ourselves off sugar, we create miraculous substances like NutraSweet and Splenda. The same goes for fat, the frantic reworking of which gave us such joys as transfats and CoolWhip.

But where is all this innovation getting us? If you ask me, I’ll tell you exactly where: adrift in polluted waters, with the engine out of fuel and all of us too sick and fat to swim to shore.

My solution? So glad you asked that, too!

I say take a step back (as many are doing) rather than rushing forward. All of the new-fangled solutions aren’t getting us off oil or making the world a more peaceful place. Many folks have actually started to listen to rather dismiss the flower-hugging messages: drive more fuel-efficient cars, walk, bike, and take public transport, and live close to work to begin with!

And slowly, those conscious drivers, walkers, bikers, and bus-ers are lifting the heavy yoke of oil dependence. Forget Bush’s heroic crusade for more oil at the cost of wildlife and coastline and think of the rosier picture of SUV plants shutting down and dozens of bikers whizzing by on their morning commutes (I counted 32 yesterday on my street alone!)

Why not try it with food? Some are. They’re cooking with natural, unprocessed sweeteners (fruit juice, honey, agave nectar, maple syrup) or learning to appreciate strawberries without the sugar. As for the fat, they’re slathering on the real stuff like Grandma used to eat (butter — remember that?) and using fats that are part of whole foods (avocados, nuts, coconut). 

Food and nutrition gurus say it’s not so much the populations that eat more fat and sweet stuff who end up obese. Just look at French people with their crepes, cream, and bread! It’s really the populations that eat this new, laboratory-crafted junk, or too much in general.

I can’t help but see a parallel in all these woes, and also in the solutions. These ideas may sound primitive, but I think we’ve gotta do it. Going back to erstwhile ways may be our only chance of getting ahead.

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