Ever been in a restaurant that serves fresh bread, and you eat it all and ask for more? When your belly starts pooching out, do you unbutton your pants? When your food comes, are you still hungry enough to eat it all, and do you control yourself, even though you really really want to lick the plate? Do you unzip your pants all the way down and then feel in the mood for a little something sweet? When your dessert comes, do you hold your fork up to stab any hand that comes in for a sample before you eat every crumb all by yourself? Do you say, multiple times, “I’m stuffed” then, if there’s any bread left, do you reach for it saying, “I really shouldn’t eat this, but?” After you ask the waiter for more butter, do you finish off every piece of bread, even if it’s several slices? 

Then you’re just like me. I curse myself on the drive home. “You big fat cow,” I scold, “you eat like a pig!” Well you know what? I was right! 

We eat like livestock.

Most big commercial ranchers want their animals to get fat in a hurry, so they feed them spaghetti, corn chips, cakes, cookies, pizza, dinner rolls, crackers, dressing, cereal, popcorn, bagels, and muffins. Well, not exactly in those forms, but with those main ingredients – corn and other cheap grains that quickly fatten up their cows and pigs before they’re sent to the grim reaper. 

“Oink Oink!”

Grains are actually unnatural food for livestock, and unnatural for us – it’s part of why we’re always hungry even when we eat a ton of food. Look at any cow in a field and what are they eating? Just plain old grass. That’s what their bodies were designed to eat. But commercial farmers can’t have millions of cows stinking up long stretches of freeway if they’re spread out in lush green pastures. Many cows spend at least some of their time gorging on grains in feedlots and slurping up medicine because they suffer all kinds of health problems from what they’re given to eat.

Natural foods for human are meat, fruit, nuts, and vegetables. Cave people weren’t tempted with all those aisles of grocery shelves jammed with grain-infested snacks and convenience foods. They picked some berries, ate some nuts, killed a wooly mammoth every now and then. Our food today has been engineered with tastes so addicting you live for your next bite. Just like a smoker, once you get hooked on grains, it’s dang near impossible to quit.

Just like cockroaches – grains are everywhere, especially in all our favorite foods. Don’t believe me? Look at the ingredient list of any food you crave and I bet you’ll find wheat, corn, barley, rice, oats, or rye in some form in the ingredients. Not just obvious things like bread, cereal and pasta. Grains cover corn dogs and fried chicken, they’re in gravies, soups and sauces – places you don’t think about.

The packages will claim that they’re whole grains. Oh boy – we’re becoming pigs on whole grains instead of partial grains. That’s like bragging about getting shot with a really fancy gun. Our doctors give us prescription after prescription for diabetes, high blood pressure, foot and leg pain and auto-immune problems caused by our bodies having to deal with all the bad food we’re eating. We don’t understand how we got this way or what to do about it, any more than the cows out there in the feedlot. All we know is that we crave something to eat all the time.

The clothing industry isn’t helping. They figured out a way to engulf the extra 20 or 50 or 100+ pounds of fat that we carry around. It’s called stretch pants. Law have mercy! You could get a size “10” pair of stretch pants to cover the backside of a mastodon. It’s a perfect combination – get us addicted to a ton of cheap grains and then sell us cheap polyester – the fabric that will grow with us.

The tableware industry is no better. They’re making plates the size of manhole covers. When I first saw those giant plates and bowls I said, “Oh hell no! We’re doomed!” Compare one of their cereal bowls to one of your grandma’s teensy tiny bowls. Today’s bowl is the same size as the serving bowl she loaded with enough mashed potatoes to feed the whole family at Sunday dinner. Every morning we fill that gargantuan bowl with “healthy whole grain” cereal or that enormous plate with a stack of pancakes and bacon, scarfing it down like we’re about to run a marathon even though we’ll be sitting in a chair all day. And we’re hungry again an hour later.

We can’t stop thinking about food. We need it like we need a smoke or a shot of booze. We tell ourselves “my granddaddy smoked a pack a day and lived to be 90” or “I’m not an alcoholic, I’m just a social drinker,” or “I only eat like this because I’m stressed.” These are all ways the addiction is the boss of us, and food cravings may be the hardest addiction to break, because a lot of us have been eating this way for years, probably raised to eat this way. We’d rather die than give up these foods.

Healthy people who eat vegetables and fruit, a little protein, and a small amount of starches and sweets (if any) are the ones who have the energy to exercise every day, play soccer, hike. They eat to live! The rest of us fill our grocery carts with salty sugary grains that, no matter how much we eat, we never feel full, and we’re always tired and sore though we haven’t done much. We sure don’t have the energy to exercise. We do everything we can sitting down – working, watching TV, playing computer games – or standing in one spot because moving is such an effort and often painful.

We say we would change if we had the willpower. We say we have a bad (fill in medical excuse). We say it’s in our blood – we inherited it from our (fill in other family member who was as addicted as we are). But bottom line is – we’re addicts – not to nicotine, not to alcohol, but to unhealthy food.

We’re eating like livestock, but the difference is, they don’t have a choice.