My day started out just great – the sun was shining, the temperature’s warming up and spring is right around the corner. The fact that it’s Friday (who doesn’t love Fridays) and anticipating a date night with my wife, it was just the kind of day I’d like to repeat every day. Then out of the blue, it all got ugly. I made the fatal error of reading the news. Most of it was the same old, same old but one article jumped right out at me and slapped me in the face; “Study: Bacon Linked To Causing Cancer.”
My first thought was I must have misread the headline. It probably meant to say “Banking” was linked to cancer. I could live with that headline, I mean who likes standing in line at the bank? But BACON? Seriously?
Here’s part of the article that wrecked my day:
“Researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer say that bacon acts as a bit of a double whammy in that it is both a red meat and a processed meat.”
“In a question-and-answer session, a committee of scientists from The World Health Organization explained how exactly red and processed meats are carcinogens.”
“According to the most recent estimates by the Global Burden of Disease Project, an independent academic research organization, about 34,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide are attributable to diets high in processed meat,” scientists said, adding that “diets high in red meat could be responsible for 50,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide”.
Now my mind immediately started doing something I really don’t appreciate at times. My brain began to spew logic into my conciseness. When it comes to bacon, I had learned over the years how to suppress the logic that such fatty, processed, red meat is surely not on the top of the list of health foods. It really was quite easy, you see the flavor of perfectly cooked slices of bacon with hash browns and eggs over easy, or one of my specialties, a delicious BLT made with eight slices of bacon, thick slices of garden fresh tomatoes, lettuce and a nice layer of Miracle Whip on toasted old fashion white bread (my mouth is watering as I type this) simply do the trick. The pleasures to the palette have always overridden that pesky logic part of my brain and I can’t say I regret it.
Now I’m sure I’m not alone. I’m sure most of us have a few guilty pleasures when it comes to food. Whether it’s about sugars, fats or carbs, over time our bodies are taught to crave these flavors, thus the multi-billion dollar fast food industry. So why is this important to discuss?
Both hunger pangs and food cravings are extremely powerful stimuli on the human body. I recently read a book about an escapee from a North Korean labor camp (Escape from Camp 14). His story was quite unique in that he was born in the labor camp – he never knew any other life. In spite of daily being fed only a very meager amount of food, just barely enough to survive, not ever knowing anything different, still each day his hunger pangs drove him to do things unspeakable for just a little more to eat. One might think experiencing the same diet every day, he might have grown accustomed to survival rations – not so. Those hunger pangs never left him. In fact, it was the stories of roasted meat told him by an older prisoner that almost drove him to insanity and created such strong cravings, it led him to risk his life in planning and executing his escape.
I remember trying to lose weight in high school. I was a wrestler in the 155 lb. class. I needed to lose five pounds so I just fasted – ate nothing. I seriously thought I would die. I even began hallucinating about finding rotten apple cores in the gutter and devouring them. That was the worst, and it didn’t help that I wasn’t that great of a wrestler. I don’t think any of us enjoy the pangs of hunger and many of us wish we could turn those cravings down just a little – I think you know what I mean. I was quite envious of my college anatomy professor who was in an automobile accident where his injury included severing his vagus nerve. As a result, he never felt hunger or satiation. And yes, he was a very slim man. Is there an operation one can have?
Hunger will change human behavior quicker than just about anything. It can turn honest, law abiding people into desperate monsters. There have been far too many stories over the centuries where good people have resorted to terrible acts to feed their families.
In 1906, Alfred Henry Lewis stated, “There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy.” Since then, his observation has been echoed by people as disparate as Robert Heinlein and Leon Trotsky. The key here is that, unlike all other commodities, food is the one essential that cannot be postponed.
As adults, we may feel we can tough it out for a few days if necessary, but what about our kids? If you have children who are crying and pleading for something to eat, what would you do? Just how far would you go to prevent your family from starving? I sincerely hope none of us are ever put in such a terrible predicament. Fortunately, each of us can take action today to insure we never have to make such terrible decisions. Please don’t let procrastination put your family in jeopardy. Take action now to insure the well-being of your loved ones.