Call me uninformed or naive but I never really understood people when they talked about the government subsidizing food. I chose to write this article because I didn't know much about it and I wanted to really understand what all of this means. 

According to the Collins dictionary, a food subsidy is, "a financial aid supplied by a government, as to industry, farmers, or consumers, in order to make low-cost food available to poor people." So essentially, the food that the government is paying farmers to farm (in excess) and basically paying us to eat. 

The U.S. government currently subsidizes nine foods, corn, wheat, soybeans, rice, beer, milk, beef, peanut butter, and sunflower oil. If you think about it, these 9 foods do make up the majority of the typical American diet. And while some may see these foods as healthy, in their whole form, most of this is turned into highly processed foods. Surprisingly right? (Not.)

Children of the Corn

Carly Koemptgen

Corn is, in my opinion, one of the "silent killers" of our nation. While an occasional grilled corn on the cob during the summer is delicious, many people are unaware that just about everything processed in our diet contains at least traces of corn–high fructose corn syrup, anyone? And a lot of it is also turned into feed for chickens, cows, and basically of the factory farmed animals that our society eats. 

This statement from an article on government food subsidies helped put things into perspective for me, 

"Of course, they are not growing all of this corn because Americans can't get enough corn on the cob … they are growing it because the government pays them to, to the tune of more than $77 billion a year to produce corn as a raw material that can be processed into "food." You could not eat most of the GMO corn that is grown in this country unless it is processed at the factory into something that tastes better."

We all know that the drive behind most anything in the United States, and in the world if we're being honest, is money. Farmers a growing what will bring them the most income and that's going to be these subsidized foods. 

How do we get back to our roots?

broccoli, carrot, vegetable, farmer's market, shop local, local farm, local vegetables, fresh vegetables, organic vegetables, swiss chard, kale
Sam Jesner

Thankfully small family farms are on the rise thanks to farmers markets and farm to table restaurants but that doesn't deny the fact that fresh, organic, REAL foods are more expensive than these processed foods we are talking about. In my opinion, our health is worth the investment. Obesity is at an all time high in the United States and that is due to the convenience and low cost of these heavily processed foods that do nothing but bad things for our health. 

What is our real diet?

I mentioned earlier that a lot of this corn is being processed into foods (or things like high fructose corn syrup) but it is also being turned into feed for the farmed animals. Cows are meant to eat grass, chickens typically eat insects and other greens, pigs eat plants, too. Not grains. If it weren't for us humans coming in and processing everything to feed these animals, where else would they get the processed grains in the wild? Just a thought. 

What it means for you

corn, cereal, pasture, vegetable, popcorn, meat, maize, wheat, hazelnut
Kirby Barth

I understand that the majority of us are ballin' on a budget. I get it, college is tough. Life is tough. But all I am asking is to be aware and understand the foods you are putting in your body. We are what we eat and while something may be easy and cheap, that doesn't mean it is the only option. I hate that we are living in a society that revolves around money but I'll just leave you with a little thought...

So, the government is paying these farmers to produce these products which are then heavily processed (usually turning into cheap junk foods) which consumers then eat (in excess). This leads to an obesity epidemic and consumers paying for medical expenses due to the conditions that came from all of this processed foods as well as buying into diet culture. All of that money is going around and around in a cycle–starting and ending with our goverment. Now, I don't want to point any fingers and I don't want to act like I know best but I am just saying to pay attention to the things you are putting into your body. Food is very powerful and in my opinion, can cure a lot of things rather than just putting a bandaid on it (like a lot of medicine or quick fixes do).

That's all for now. I am going to stop writing before I get too preachy. Eat real foods, my friends, it tastes better and it's better for you