Being a kiwi is to be blessed. We live in a country where we don’t have to search far for grass-fed or free-range meat, organic food is easy to find at the local farmers market or organic store. If we have the space and desire we can grow our own vegies and have fruit trees in the garden. The ocean is always close and seafood fresh and easy to come-by. Compared to a lot of places in the world, New Zealand is still reasonably clean and untouched, fresh food aplenty.
Then there is commercialisation and globalisation. Mass production of cheap products and food stuffs, marketed to the masses and shipped around the world. The world has become very small; we can now enjoy any food we desire at any time of the year. It is marketed as desirable and so we demand it. We want our fruit and vegies to be fat and juicy. Our food to be colourful, tasty and have a long shelf-life, we also want everything NOW. Our society has become and instant one. Microwave dinners, just-add sauces, ready-made flavours, anything to make food quick and easy. But at what cost? Colours, flavours, preservatives, MSG, all things added to our food to make it taste better and last longer. Food without some sort of additive is becoming increasingly hard to find. Fruit and vegies come wax-coated to increase shelf-life and aid exportation, again so we can have anything we want any time of the year.
Products are mass-produced cheaply to satisfy supply and demand and to increase profits for the massive corporations promoting them. Fresh produce becomes tampered with to make it bug resistant, high yield, easy harvest, supersized and juicy. Wheat – a grain that started out 3 feet tall with 14 chromosomes has been cross-bread over the years to produce a dwarf strain, highly resistant to pests and disease, very high yield, easy harvest with 42 chromosomes. This wheat can not be grown without special human intervention – you could not grow it in your garden. It has been produced in order to feed the masses for minimal cost, but at what cost to our health? The human consumption of this new strain and its effects have never been studied. Wheat, an ancient grain that was once consumed in moderation (being reasonably labour intensive to harvest and refine), is now a modified ‘super grain’ that is consumed in vast quantities by the masses. The western world eats wheat breakfast, lunch and dinner with snacks in-between. We are eating wheat without even knowing it, cereals, muesli bars, thickening agent in packet sauces, soy sauce, crackers, filler and binder in sausages, not to mention bread, muffins, cakes and doughnuts. Wheat is used indiscriminately in most of the food we consume. A grain, that is its ancient form, was consumed in moderation, has in the last 100 years become a modified version of itself and consumed in masses by the masses. Because of the highly modified nature of our modern wheat, I believe there is no place for it in a natural diet.
Try to take a step back in time, imagine living 100 years ago. What would you have eaten? What was available day to day to put on the table? There were no preservatives (except for salt) or waxes to give long shelf-life. Sugar was expensive and therefore used in minimal amounts. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HSFC) had not yet been invented, if people wanted fructose they had to eat some fruit! Globalisation had not yet kicked in so people had to eat in-season and only foods could be sourced locally. You may think why not make the most of being able to have all foods all year? I sincerely believe that fruit and vegetables have seasons for a reason. If we eat naturally and in season we will not have excessive amounts of anything and our diet naturally becomes balanced. It will contain a variety of fruit and vegetables, each providing us with its own unique set of vitamins and minerals. If you are going to eat out of season just do it in moderation.
If you talk to your Grandparents they will most likely tell you that they used to have lard sandwiches for lunch, left over fat form last nights roast spread on a piece of bread. Today the Heart Foundation would have you believe that this will send you to an early grave – Artery Clogging Saturated Fat has become a catch phrase and saturated fat a villain. So much so that it has been removed from most products you find on the supermarket shelves today. The problem being that if the fat is removed then so is the taste, so sugar is added. Then there is the problem of what to cook with – saturated fats are apparently going to send us to an early grave so instead use Vegetable Oil. Highly processed chemically treated seed oils, very high in polyunsaturated fats, unstable and prone to oxidising in your body, causing cell change which in turn leads to cancer.
I believe we need to think about our food differently. Start eating clean and naturally and as close to the source as possible. Buy food that is locally grown (if you can) and seasonal. To me this isn’t about eating like a ‘cave man’, it is about eating ‘clean’ and as nature intended, without colours and preservatives, added sugar, low fat, heart foundation ticks, just whole natural foods. More planning and preparation may be required but to what end – more energy and vitality, less illness and disease, weight loss, clear youthful skin, happy, healthy kids. This way of eating works, we are living it, it takes time to adjust to cravings and establish exactly what works for you and your family but it is worth it and it really works! This isn’t a ‘fad-diet’ – a quick fix to lose weight, it is a lifestyle change. Not a means to an end but the end itself.