5. Questions & Answers
There's one aspect of junk foods that you overlooked. The ecological benefits from avoiding all junk foods.
Thank you. That is also a very important area, and it may help some people end their consumption of these foods. Ecologically, junk foods are a disaster. Right now there are millions of acres of trees and rain forests in South America that are being destroyed forever by a major hamburger chain. They are clear-cutting trees hundreds of years old so that they can raise more cattle at a cheap price for their hamburgers. Not only that, but millions of trees are sacrificed annually so that these hamburgers and french fries can be packaged in paper and wrappings.
Junk food is a rich source of both external and internal pollution. Litter from junk food products is astounding, and it is everywhere. My family and I were once picking peaches in a large orchard that allowed the public to pick and eat all the peaches they wanted., We were happily picking and eating tree-ripened fruit right in the orchard. Suddenly I noticed that all over the grounds of the orchard were candy bar wrappers, chip bags, empty soda cans, and bags from rake-out fast food places.
Here were thousands of luscious fruits all around us—the natural food for man, and the best available, just for the picking. What were people doing? They were bringing in bags of junk food and throwing the remains on the ground. They had become so blinded and desensitized by their addiction to junk foods that they could not even recognize wholesome foods that were literally hanging before their very eyes.
Not only that, but after eating such foods, their consciousness was so deadened that they threw the trash and garbage from these foods all around them. It's sad, but people that eat junk and trash foods often act trashy. There is no way that you can claim to be concerned about the environment or ecology and still eat junk foods. It's a contradiction, and junk foods are a significant part of the pollution affecting our planet.
My problem is other people. They all think I never have any fun because I won't eat their "fun" foods, like potato chips and cookies. They tell me that I'm cheating myself out of some simple enjoyments. What should I say in return?
The main problem with junk food is that so many people see it as a harmless pleasure or as a legitimate form of entertainment. Food should be pleasurable to eat,
but too often it is used just as social entertainment. Why people think that you must eat health-destroying foods to be sociable is a mystery. Often you will find people that eat junk foods do indeed know better. They realize that they are making poor and incorrect food choices, and no doubt they unconsciously resent it when you do not "join in" and give your support to their bad habits.
Probably the best thing to say when offered junk foods is a polite and smiling, "No, thank you" without any further explanation. If you're pressed, simply say that you feel much better when you don't eat such foods. Make it sound like your rejections of these foods is a personal choice and not an attack on their dietary habits.
People dislike being told that they are doing the wrong thing—especially when they already suspect it. By remaining pleasant and exhibiting a well-balanced attitude toward such foods, you may make a positive impression on the person and thereby encourage them to also give up junk foods. By no means should you lecture to the person or point out how much better you are than them. A well-balanced, healthy person is usually a strong enough argument for the avoidance of junk foods.
My friends always tell me that fast foods are a cheap way to eat dinner, and that they really couldn't afford to eat just fresh fruit and vegetables. Now you say that these foods are actually costly. What's the truth?
Fast foods are deceptive. Certainly you can fill your stomach up for every little money, but this "full" feeling is because of the heavy amounts of grease and fat present in these foods as well as the cheap white bread and filler that they use.
Junk foods may seem like a cheap way to fill up, but they are an expensive way to get nutrition. Proper eating is not just having your stomach full. When these same people who get a cheap meal at a fast food place later have to pay hundreds of dollars on dental or medical care, they don't see the connection. When they later have cancers, heart problems, kidney failure and premature aging, they never suspect that they are results of too many "cheap" meals.
You cannot cheat your body of the nutrients and foods it needs by just "filling it up" with cheap, greasy bulk. The best way to eat inexpensively is to select those foods that promote the highest level of health—regardless of financial costs. You see, even if you spend twice as much for good foods than for junk foods, you're avoiding the much greater expenses of pain, suffering and ill-health.
Junk foods are nutritionally worthless and health-destroying. Yet they still make up, half of the average person's diet. Why? Because the economics of junk food production and promotion make them a high-profit and a highly visible item.
People are first manipulated by the manufacturers into buying junk foods, and then they are controlled by their psychological addictions to continue eating the foods.
Eliminating junk foods from a person's diet depends upon a three-fold approach. First, intensive nutritional education. This is the rational appeal. Next, a concrete illustration of how much money can be saved if junk foods are eliminated (actual costs of the foods, expensive sicknesses caused by such foods, etc.). This is the material appeal. Finally, an explanation of the psychological factors in eating junk foods (how they serve as an emotional substitute, how they are used to "reward" or "punish.") This is the emotional appeal. An education program of this sort is effective in breaking the junk food addiction.