Marketing expert Louis Cheskin proclaimed: “For the consumer, the package is the product”.
If that doesn’t dazzle you with the virtuosity of its cynicism, read it again.
Part two of “Avoid Anything That’s Advertised” is: Avoid anything that advertises itself. In other words, anything that comes in a package.
Nowhere on this package will you be told that the flavoring is artificial or that the juice was stored in “million gallon containers for up to a year” (See last week’s posts). Or that the nutrients are no more than vitamin tablets added to the questionable liquid.
Avoid the package. Simplify.
The idea that we, as the world’s richest nation, can have fresh orange juice every day for breakfast is seductive. But most of us can’t. What we have instead is an artificial product, with a few lies added to convince us that we’re getting what we want.
What is the alternative? It’s that we can’t always have these luxuries, but what we can have is more luxurious: An occasional, depending on our geography, glass of fresh juice which will thrill with its flavor and which will in fact be the luxury we were seeking.
Packaging rarely benefits the consumer. The gains are for the manufacturer, packager producer, etc. Branding is nearly impossible without elaborate packaging. In fact, food packages were almost unknown until the 20th Century. Just another ‘improvement’ on the perfection of life itself.
Avoid the package. Seemingly random rules like this promote randomness, and that promotes creativity and discovery. They steer us away from chains and franchises to interesting, new things.
It’s time to start thinking out of the box, and stop eating out of it.
Can You Handle The Truth?
So much of what we seek in life lies buried in the truth; taste is no exception. But while the philosophers debate the nature of truth, we can agree on one thing: Nature is truth.
For our bodies, food is our truth. That’s the ultimate simplicity, the ultimate Simplovore principle. What makes your body strong is truthful to it, and for it, and in that there can be no controversy.
Good taste is that which allows you to survive in the best possible way: with health and pleasure. And, as with any truth, taste doesn’t belong to anyone.
There are trivial truths and the great truths. The opposite of a trivial truth is plainly false. The opposite of a great truth is also true.
When we apply the philosophy of reason to the subject of nourishment and dining, we often create new mysteries. Truth can be elusive.
But truth can also be a beacon to lead us out of our current dark ages.
As we climb the culinary tree, the millions of choices we all make in our diet should always try to cohere to truth. Truthful choices create an honest diet. Dishonest choices create disease and pain. Who makes the rules? Don’t worry, they were made for us a million years ago, and are renewed every day. You only have to learn to listen.
Truth doesn’t come from chemical labs, or artificial flavorings. Truth is there all the time, waiting for us to be bored with the lies.
Truth rarely comes in packages and is rarely found in advertising, and therefore the more food you eat that has no package the closer you will find yourself to the truth.
One of the many invisible lies of packaged foods, this one about orange juice, (from Civil Eats):
“The technology of choice at the moment is aseptic storage, which involves stripping the juice of oxygen, a process known as “deaeration,” so it doesn’t oxidize in the million gallon tanks in which it can be kept for upwards of a year. When the juice is stripped of oxygen it is also stripped of flavor providing chemicals. Juice companies therefore hire flavor and fragrance companies, the same ones that formulate perfumes for Dior and Calvin Klein, to engineer flavor packs to add back to the juice to make it taste fresh. Flavor packs aren’t listed as an ingredient on the label because technically they are derived from orange essence and oil. Yet those in the industry will tell you that the flavor packs, whether made for reconstituted or pasteurized orange juice, resemble nothing found in nature.“
Can you taste the difference? You can if you train your palate. But in our society you have to first understand these things intellectually, and then search for the truth intuitively. In other words, target your tastes. It’s backwards, it’s upside down, but that’s the world we live in. And if you just insist on drinking the stuff out of a box because you believe you like orange juice, remember that you’re not drinking orange juice, but year-old, deaerated liquid food products, and you’re not tasting orange juice, but rather artificial “flavor packs”. Your body does know the difference.
This search for the truth will take you to many places. With luck, some places where lies cannot go. But the truth is only useful if you recognize it, so you have to train yourself to see the truth, your truth, and learn it’s secrets. Truth, in beauty, in culture, or in health, thrives best in simplicity.
And it never has to hide.