What Our Eyes Tell Us We Should Eat

If you had to guess what foods human beings are biologically programmed to seek out and consume, what do you think they would look like? I can’t help believing we’re genetically inclined to seek out food that is pleasing to the eye. And the human eye is naturally attracted to bright, vibrant colors.

I don’t think people are naturally inclined to eat things that are brown. Brown is the color of feces, and it would be a design flaw in our species if we were inclined to put into our mouths things that looked like shit.

Sure, cooked meat is brown, but evolutionarily speaking, we have not changed since before primitive humans created fire. In other words, humans are more prone to be attracted to red, raw animal flesh than they are the brown stuff we now eat today. And as I can’t imagine that being particularly attractive, I tend to believe people only sought out raw, bloody meat when more pleasing alternatives weren’t available.

I can see how the eye of primitive humans were drawn to seeing other animals as appealing. Besides vibrant colors, the eye is drawn to motion. So I can see how a primitive human would enjoy looking at a leaping gazelle, perhaps even to the point of wanting to try tasting one. But I have to think they would be desperate before they actually did so, because capturing and subduing a gazelle, water bison or wild boar is much harder than capturing and subduing a pineapple or an ear of corn. In fact, the whole process of tracking, killing, gutting, and eating a wild animal would seem to be infinitely harder than picking an apple off a tree or digging a carrot out of the ground. And that’s not to mention the risk of danger to the human. I have noticed, after all, that most animals are not inclined to being eaten and do whatever they have to do in order to avoid it. I cannot recall ever reading about a human being mauled by a tomato.

No, animals much prefer eating to being eaten. Which is why humans realized it is much simpler to ensnare them rather than duke it out with them. I imagine even a rabbit would be capable of hurting a human when struggling one on one with it, but catch it in a snare and it is rendered helpless. A pike could take a nasty bite out of a human if they were to tangle mano y pescado, but catch him in a net and pretty soon you’ll be eating fish filet.

It’s important to think about our biological inclinations, because there are those out there who wish to take advantage of us by manipulating those biological inclinations. They think about our biological inclinations A LOT, and are always looking for ways to exploit them. Not unlike the way our primitive ancestors suckered animals into a trap or fish to bite into a hook, we too can be tricked. When it comes to filling our bellies, humans are not appreciably more sophisticated than a rabbit or a trout.

In the animal kingdom, the predator goes after the easy pickings. Quite often it is the young who fall prey to the predator because they are easier to catch. In the dog-eat dog world that is the market place, corporations also go after easy prey, the easiest of them being children. Like a primitive child who is prone to pop a bright berry in their mouth, the modern child is likely to want to eat whatever is in the most colorful wrapper or advertised in the brightest way possible. Candy bars and Happy Meals are the corporate world’s equivalents to bear-baiting and Mepps lures, prompting kids to impulsively lunge towards whatever they are made to believe will provide nourishment. Or is at least tasty.

Taste the rainbow, kiddies. This is what food is supposed to look like. These corporate predators don’t have a windowless van to lure children into, but they do have prime shelf space at every grocery store and gas station near you. Sure, it’s artificial coloring, and the palm kernel oil used is helping to destroy the rain forests which house the animals that were the inspiration for your favorite stuffed animals, and the corn syrup is going to cause obesity and diabetes that will never allow you to enjoy good health. Just swallow it down, kids, don’t worry about the hook.

Parents are biologically programmed to do most anything, take most any risk, to protect their young. I see it daily as geese guard their goslings or as redwing blackbirds chase away far larger crows from their nest. But apparently it’s not just the children who are capable of being lured into the traps set by predators. Adults, too, are always sticking their foot into the snares that are set out for them, set out for their children. Instead of falling for the bright colors, adults fall for the empty words written on the packaging, words like “gluten-free” on something that’s made from pure sugar or “wholesome goodness” on something that’s unwholesomely bad.

Parents are living in an environment where their children are constantly at risk from predators, like a primitive village that falls victim to a lurking lion who senses an easy food source. The only difference is that the predator has an incredibly effective p.r. firm that diverts all the blame away from the lion and places it on the parents, blaming them for not taking care of their kids. Primitive humans would know what to do about the threat the lion poses to their children. But then, they didn’t have their thoughts muddled by a lion propaganda campaign. I don’t blame a lion for wanting to eat human children, I don’t blame parents for a lion wanting to eat human children, but I do blame parents who internalize the blame rather than seeing the predator for the existential threat that it is.

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