Nothing is as it appears anymore

Do not be misled by what you see around you, or be influenced by what you see. You live in a world which is a playground of illusion, full of false paths, false values and false ideals. But you are not part of that world”
Sai Baba 

Life has become like one of those old cowboy movies. The posse has high tailed it out of town after the bandit. You decide to stroll down an alley off the main street. Just 5 steps reveal that you are not in an old west town. You are in a stage set that is made to look like an old town. Upon closer inspection the street is made out of cardboard. It’s not real, but seconds before it was totally convincing in its appearance.

Many things in our life are like the old west stage set.

Bread is a great example.

When I buy bread from the shop or the supermarket (hopefully not) I expected that I am buying bread. I believed that I knew what bread is. How it is made. What ingredients are used and so on. Sadly it turns out that I did not know.

Bread is no longer bread like the bread that we baked and survived upon for 5000 years. In 1961 scientists invented Chorleywood. A cheaper, longer life bread like replica. It looks like bread, but it is really nothing like bread except in appearance. It is not nutritious. It is what Michael Pollan would call ‘a food like substance’.

Our response is to go back to basics and learn how to bake for ourselves.

Another example is ground beef. Pathologists have recently studied what is in a burger patty. Shockingly for carnivores only 2% to a maximum of 14% meat was detected. That means you’re not eating burger. What you are eating now is a hormones, parasite, steroid, filler and pink slime (ammonium hydroxide) patty. Ammonium is being added to kill the fatal levels of e.coli and neutralise the faecal matter that is present in that tiny bit of beef in that patty. Trouble is ammonium really isn’t that great a thing to eat. It begs the questions – why are companies serving up bleach patties instead of beef patties?

Farmers used to solve the e.coli problem by taking their stock to a fresh green field with plenty of space for all the animals. E.coli would be gone in a couple of days as the cows feed on the fresh pasture land. Now it is cheaper just to drown beef in chemicals, keep them knee deep in their own feces in a crowded pen and then try to use chemicals to cover up.

Our response is not to eat beef or any meat whatsoever, but if we did eat meat we’d keep our own hens, pigs and perhaps some other animals. Bring back husbandry!

An apple is no longer an apple. We have grown accustomed to our fruit being perfect, large, uniform, and somewhat tasteless. Through this cloning and highly pesticide intensive production processes of industrialised horticulture our fruit genes have become weak. The apples we see are manufactured to look exactly like apples. They are the appearance of an apple, but they are not a real apple.  As a result of selective breeding and cloning of fruit many wild fruit genes are in decline and many others have already been lost from this planet. This is our food. We need this genetic diversity in our seed stocks.

There is no comparison between an apple that you grow in your yard and one that you have bought from the supermarket. Your fruit will be smaller, oddly shaped, pitted from the weather, but in terms of taste and healthfulness it will be unbeatable. Becoming a gardener takes you on a journey to realise that store bought produce is mostly rubbish.

Illusions are not confined to our food either. We are undergoing this transformation toward superficiality ourselves. Consider the body builder that looks to be the epitome of health, but who is raked with pain, smokes heavily, and has precursors of skin cancer from tanning. A healthy appearance, but generally a very unhealthy individual. And what of the beauty queen who is one part collagen, two parts silicon and more than a dash of plastic surgery?

Nothing is as it appears anymore. Best not fall into the same trap as us and assume you know what things are or how they are made. The men in lab coats would prefer that we didn’t ask. Their friends in marketing work very hard to keep the curtain closed, but for the sake of our health and this planet we need to understand what they are doing backstage.

Once you have tasted a real apple, or eaten real bread or met a truly vibrant, healthy person it can make it very hard to settle for the impostor.

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