Why is it that we crave coffee, candy, cookies and all the goodies that are so bad for us?


A visit to any location of the world’s most successful coffeehouse chain provides an clear glimpse into the American food addiction. As a nation, we’re now experiencing more disease, obesity, depression, relationship troubles and general life dissatisfaction than ever before. One of the biggest reasons for all the problems is that our food — make that our fuel — is destroying us. Rather than eating healthy food that builds up and nurtures our bodies, we continually make nutritional choices that are decaying our bodies, and slowly eliminating us from the human species (our poor nutrition is a huge factor in our rising infertility rates). Yes, it’s that extreme!


Can you imagine what the farmers who helped settle our great country would think of us today? Once upon a time, there were no such things as lattes, instant breakfast shakes, frozen yogurt, pizza, or protein bars. People actually worked hard to grow natural (organic) food for themselves and their families. Today, we have the luxury of not needing to grow our own food, but we’ve become so spoiled and lazy that we think it’s too much work to visit a health food store, buy nutritional food, cook our own meals and eat healthy.


You might wonder, “Why are you being so harsh? I do all right. I exercise and eat pretty well . . . most of the time . . . OK, some of the time . . . well, maybe you do have a point.” Sometimes we need a kick in the pants to drag us out of our misery.


The truth is that your nutritional health is up to you. Commercial food companies don’t have your best interests at heart — they employ food scientists and engineers whose sole job it is to make them richer by getting you to consume all these so-called “great tasting” foods. How about calling them what they are — extremely addictive and void of nutrients.


Sure, they make us feel good temporarily. But they ultimately are empty, even dangerous. Have you ever wondered why it’s gotten to the sad state that we’re so in need of immediate gratification? When did we decide to give up control over fueling our own bodies, minds and spirits? Are we so desensitized to our nutritional needs that we’re willing to endanger our lives and our children’s lives for the sake of another grande cappuccino or sugared breakfast cereal?


You are your children’s first role model. They mimic what they see you do. If you don’t value nutrition, you are teaching them not to value it either. Poor nutrition stunts our mental and physical growth; in children, this leads to disease, obesity and poor studies.


In our fast-paced, frenetic, get-it-done-yesterday world, we’ve lost the ability to relax, nurture ourselves, eat well and savor our food. We’ve become addicted to caffeine and sugar because they provide the temporary high to get us through the next project, meeting, or extracurricular activity. And in our depleted, depressed emotional states, they give us momentary comfort and satisfaction.


However, when our bodies are stressed and run down, what they really need is time out for renewal and recharging, not another instant pick-me-up. Medicating ourselves with caffeine or sugar is a lot like attaching a rocket to a car that’s run out of gas. It shoots you where you need to go, but quickly burns out — and soon you will need another boost that is stronger and more powerful to achieve the same result.


Just as keeping your car regularly gassed, oiled, and maintained is a much better strategy, continually nourishing your body with good quality organic fuel will keep you alert and functioning optimally all the time. Next time you think about pulling into that fast food restaurant or visiting your neighborhood coffee joint, you might consider the nourishment factor of your decision. You can justify it with a comment like, “It’s just this one time,” or you can plan for a healthy future and keep on driving to the health food store.