Recently I ordered a green tea in a regular coffee shop (I never eat in non-organic food establishments, but on occasion I'll order a tea or coffee). I didn't feel good afterwards.
Then it hit me- I forgot to check the tea bag. Nowadays, many beverages including tea contain 'natural' flavors. While natural flavors may seem to be quite harmless, the truth is that companies have a lot of wiggle room and can list almost anything harmful and toxic under the category of natural flavors.
In fact, MSG is considered 'natural'. Yes, MSG occurs naturally in some foods, but when it's highly processed and in free isolated form, it becomes incredibly neurotoxic (brain toxic). It is also addictive. It's no wonder that so many kids, and adults, are on Ritalin and Adderall for hyperactivity and inability to concentrate. Companies add MSG to their foods to cause the consumer to crave more food by fooling their minds to thinking that the food is nutritious and tasty. They can hide MSG under the ingredients: whey, whey protein, Yeast Food, Yeast Nutrient, Autolyzed Yeast, Gelatin,Textured Protein, Soy Protein, Soy Protein, Glutamic Acid (E 620) Glutamate (E 620), Anything “hydrolyzed”, Any “hydrolyzed protein”, Carrageenan (E 407), Bouillon and broth, Stock, Any “flavors” or “flavoring”. Many Restaurants use MSG as a flavor enhancer and preservative. MSG is commonly found in processed meats as well.
It's no wonder that so many people are overweight or obese. Their minds are fooled into thinking that they can't live without their MSG laden foods. They are literally convinced that if they don't eat their chicken, ice cream, or cheesecake they might not make it. It doesn't matter that the food is ruining their health. They are classic examples of food addicts. Studies have shown that Food addictions can be more powerful that heroine addiction! The Sugar, MSG, and toxins in our food ARE KILLING US!
When are we going to wake up? I have seen families with kids who are sick yet their parents can't give up their food addictions, they can't stop buying the junk food, and the kids just get sicker and sicker. People think its completely acceptable to be addicted to food, they don't even realize or admit that they have a problem, even when they are clearly overweight and severe health problems. Some people decide to do gastric bypass, yet they are unaware of the health risks until its too late. Many wind up in chronic pain eating apple sauce for years. In the meantime, the only people making money off of these insane food addictions are the doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies.
But it gets so much worse. And this is where the crux of the issue lies. Food has spiritual properties. According to many Rabbis, such as the Or Hachaim, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, and Rabbi Shalom Arush, certain Foods can help enhance our spiritual well being, and on the contrary, other foods can actually cause us spiritual harm.
Today Many natural and artificial flavors are tested on aborted baby fetal cells. Americas top food companies such as Nestle, Pepsi (all Pepsi Soft drinks, Mountain Dew, Ocean Spray, Tropicana, Gatorade, Aquafina Fina water, Frappuccino etc..) and Kraft have partnered with a company called Senomyx. Senomyx tests their chemical flavors on aborted baby fetal cells. Senomyx uses human receptors from the cell line HEK293 -- HEK stands for Human Embryonic Kidney cells. HEK293 came from a healthy aborted baby whose cells were then harvested and cloned. Then they create chemical flavors which fool the brain into thinking these flavors and real and tasty. Food manufacturers can hide their chemical flavors under the category of 'artificial' or 'natural' flavors.
The use of aborted baby fetal cells in general as well as in the food production process is immoral. I believe that it could negatively affect our spiritual health. We could potentially be harming our souls with every bite.
In Parshat Acharei Mot, the Or Hachaim explains that if a person detects a sudden negative spiritual change in himself, then its possible he ate something that contained something bad or 'souls of people'. Yet these companies are intentionally playing around with aborted baby fetal cells.
After antiabortion groups in America boycotted Campbell soup products, so Campbell decided to cut off all ties with Senomyx. I make a point not to eat anything with natural flavors (of course I avoid artificial flavors as well.) In fact, I don't buy anything from these big corporations on principal. I just don't trust them. When greed takes precedence over morals, there is no way of knowing what is truly in their food.
On the flip side many Rabbis talk about the positive spiritual effect that specific foods can have. In The Garden of Healing Rabbi Shalom Arush writes "Every food instills different character traits in each person. Clearly, processed foods which are made to be physically appealing but are filled with artificial flavorings, colorings, and other additives cause a person to be attracted to tht edesires of this world and enhance the senses to the extremes. In contrast, basic natural food products, like fruits and vegetables, cultivate the quality of modesty in a Jew, and distance him from base desires and appeals. .....Similarly the less appealing a food appears on the on the outside, the greater its intrinsic holiness benefits to the body and soul, and ability to satisfy hunger. In contrast foods that draw and tempt a person, such as fried food or sweets, distort the senses are harmful to one's health and cause him to eat more and more without providing satisfaction."
In the Talmud (Tractate Baba Metzia (page 107 side 2) it discusses the health benefits of eating bread salt and water (or wine) in the morning. The Talmud explains that There are 83 diseases that start in the digestive system and spread to the rest of the body. These 83 ailments are cured by eating Pat Shacharit, which is (proper) bread with salt in the morning and a jug of water (or wine according to Rashi).
The Gemara continues to talk about the healing properties of bread: "13 attributes were said about Pat Shacharit (Morning Bread): it heals you from chama (diseases of heat), from tzina (diseases of cold), protects you from zikim, from mezikim, machkimat petti (makes you smart), zoche b'din, helps you to study Torah, helps you to teach Torah, people will listen to your teachings, you won't forget your learning, you wont get fat, its good for libido, kills worms/ parasites in the intestines, and some people say it removes jealousy and increases love (Rashi explains: when your body feels good then you won't be as angry or irritable, therefore, it increases love)."
In Talmudic times, bread was actually considered to be a healing food. At Joseph's Organic Bakery, bread is made as it was in the times of the Talmud. Their proprietary grinding and preparation process ensures optimum nutrients and enzymes in every loaf.