Being college students makes it a lot harder for us to access healthful foods. Though organic foods generally come from trustworthy farmers, the majority of foods we buy remain mysteries.
We have no clue where our food is coming from and whether what we eat presents health risks. We just scoop up whatever grub we can find at the dining hall, not thinking twice that, in the long run, it might bust up our brains and pick away at our insides.
Many students are aware of the unappetizing methods that the majority of fast-food restaurants use to produce “food,” such as the notorious McNuggets from McDonalds. But it’s not only this popular product that is being altered. What’s really in my food?
Genetic engineering and modification of food is a growing problem. A genetically modified organism is made when DNA has been altered in a way to produce an unnatural outcome. Because it’s cheaper to make and, therefore, can go on the infamous dollar menu at McDonalds, those foods are more accessible. Unfortunately, cheapness isn’t always the healthful option.
Besides GMOs, there are many other unhealthy ways that foods are being altered. Pesticides, estrogen, hormones and myriad other chemicals are being found in an increasing number of produced foods, all posing as a threat to our health.
Although in many cases, tests show no harm to our bodies, the presence alone of such chemicals is disturbing. There are limits set on the use of chemicals, but those limitations are sometimes violated. And although pesticides in tolerance are assumed to be safe, their nature alone is toxic and has yet to be directly tested on humans.
Pesticides and neurotoxins used in many foods can cause damage to brain and nerve tissues. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t willingly eat something that I knew contained cancer-causing toxins.
Several fruits and vegetables contain the highest number of pesticides, including apples, strawberries, bananas, potatoes, spinach, lettuce and broccoli.
And how about those chicken nuggets? Do you know how McNuggets are made? Well, let me tell you. First, the leftover parts of poultry are ground together from hundreds of different rundown chickens. Those parts are blended together into what appears to be flesh-colored soft-serve ice cream.
Then, the meats are soaked in ammonia to break down the immense amount of bacteria present.
Once the ammonia works its magic, the chicken tastes disgusting. Therefore, the nuggets are introduced to artificial chicken flavoring, creating the realistic chicken taste your mouth longs for.
After flavoring the chicken, the meat becomes discolored. Because of its new gray color, the meat is then dyed white to appear like real chicken. Sounds yummy, right? If you don’t believe me, search online for the pictures yourself.
It seems inhumane that people would mix up these obviously unhealthful concoctions for human consumption, not revealing their secret recipes.
Besides eating organic foods, there are other ways to lower your intake of dangerous chemicals. Make sure to wash fresh produce thoroughly. Although the peels on produce consist of valuable nutrients, peeling produce can also reduce risk of increased pesticides.
When it comes to meats, try buying local or organic produce. The Athens farmers market on East State Street is always a good option. You get to meet the people who raised the meat you’re about to eat. And if you’re feeling daring in the dining halls, try checking the ingredients to seek out the most-healthful options possible.
As college students, we are constantly moving quickly, trying to keep pace with our hectic lives and busy schedules. But next time you’re on the go and think about getting some good ol’ fast food, try to consider more-healthful options. What do you really want to put into your body?
Olivia Harlow is a sophomore studying journalism and photojournalism and a columnist for
The Post. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.