For the first part of my adult life I was a sleeping consumer. I would question a few things, bitch about something here and there, but generally speaking, I simply accepted the culture I'd been brought up in, and got on with my life.
My first serious job was stacking shelves at a Kmart store at a large shopping mall called Eastland. It was a horrible place, still is. It really is a temple for for mindless consumerism. When you're in it, when you part of the machine, it's hard to see the full story. But really this place, in the scheme of things is just a tiny cog, a part of a much larger machine, one of many around the western world where people buy a lot of stuff that they can most definitely live without. Sure these places serve a purpose in our society, they sell us things we can use everyday like clothes, food and tools, even the computer I'm writing on, but much of the stuff available is fairly useless, in a practical sense. However, all of it at some point has utilised natural resources to be manufactured and distributed. Every piece of stuff has a cost, be it human or environmental, and to ad salt to the wound, most of the stuff ends up in landfill. A similar reality exists in regards to food; natural resource utilisation, human and environmental impacts, excess leading to waste.
For years I simply did not understand food. I did not know about the impacts of my diet choices other than how much it cost me at the register. I had a very limited understanding of nutrition and the impacts of lifestyle choice on personal health. I guess when I was younger I felt slightly more invincible. My mum recently reminded me "you can't put an old head on young shoulders" which is so true, but jeebers I wish I was a little wiser much earlier. I have only my life experience thus far to examine when asking the question "why do most people not care about food like they should?" It's not like I'm super awesome, know everything and always make perfect choices, but for the most part I'm mindful of how my food is produced, it's true cost, and what it's likely to do to my insides.
I've been trying to figure out why (on average) most of us continue to make fairly poor food choices, and when I say most of us, I'm probably not referring to you, you're engaged in the topic, you're reading a post that's a bit political. Instead I'm referring to the general public that probably has no idea this conversation exists, but is also the majority that has little or no understanding of the impacts of food. A recent add campaign cemented my belief that it's all just a bit confusing for many people out there. I'm not going to harp on about the commercial, who starred in it or which supermarket it was for, instead I think it's important to highlight that it's yet another mixed message about nutrition and health that adds to the sleepy consumers state of bewilderment. I can understand how you'd just not want to care any more. There are so many voices, yet so little clarity. One voice tells you that it's important to look smoking hot and skinny, another says to be comfortable in your body, another says drink green smothies, and one faint voice said something about superfoods. It's all just a load of horse shit.
The answer is so simple, it's actually rather ri-dick.
If you are interested in being slightly healthy, then eat lots of unprocessed plant material, (veg, fruit, nuts) and apply sensible moderation for the meat, eggs, diary and stuff made with flour (if possible go for the naturally fermented breads).
If you're super interested about long term health, read the label on every food item you consume, and learn about the true ingredients of your food, get educated. Not all processed foods are bad, cheese is processed, as is yogurt. But also know that not all processed foods are created equally. Again, if you care enough about health, then get educated.
If you don't like the idea of eating meat, or animal products then don't eat it. But beware that just because a processed food is meat free doesn't make it a healthy choice, shit processed food is still shit processed food. The same can be said about organic. Organic cola is still a cola, loaded with sugar. Be sensible.
Every now and then, if you feel like a treat, eat a burger and wash it down with a beer, or two.
If you give a shit about the impacts of your food other than just your own personal health, then be mindful about where your food comes from. Buy local, and reduce the miles your food travels. Buy food that hasn't had synthetic chemicals applied in it's growing stage or in it's processing stage. Buy less packaged food, reducing impact on environment. Buy food made in your country, even better, within your state, even better within your local food bowl.
If you give a shit about how the animals and humans that produced your food were made, then opt for fair trade, or agriculture practitioners that embrace some animal welfare standards.
Generally speaking, if you get educated, if you become informed, then you're empowered to make better consumer choices. This general rule can be applied to all manner of consumerism.
As simple as this approach is, it will not likely be embraced by the masses, maybe only 10 people will read these words, and not all will agree with the logic. No matter what the case might be, the reality is that If people continue to buy the product, the retail outlet/fast food chain will continue to stock it. At the end of the day, if it makes money for the shareholders, it remains for sale, that's what drives corporations, I know this, I've worked for some of the worst.
There is a lot of food out there that for a long time has been impacting our health, it's making us obese, it's giving us hyper tension, anxiety, depression, food intolerances etc and as long as it remains out there for the population to purchase, the resulting health effects will remain, as will the impacts on the natural world.
If we chose not to support it, then maybe we may see change.
So I guess the change we want to see is within our power?