What is going on with our food? When did it get hijacked and hidden from us, what do any of us really know about the origin of the food we eat?
The short answer is probably very little, and we can all be excused from this responsibility. How are we expected to know? You would need a degree in detection and a lot of free time to really understand what exactly it is we are eating most of the time. The ultra-processed food industry has made it their business to impact our eating habits with all the tools of modern science, and in so doing, have clouded the trail to the truth about our food.
Not only that but we are promised so much, fat free, sugar free, gluten free, fortified with vitamins etc and yet somewhere along the way this food has had its true goodness removed. Why is our food system not better, healthier,and kinder to us and our planet? At what point did food stop being about the food and start being about profit?
Because when it is all about the bottom line, our health and the environment become mere after thoughts. The very building blocks of our health and an industry that covers so much of our planet seems to have lost its way. We are sold the idea of free choice, but the reality is that nearly all of the big brands on our shelves are made by 10 giant multinational conglomerates. An industry built on cheap commodity products wrapped and packaged and sold as healthy, driven by profit, derived from a complex unsustainable food chain, produces most of our food and it is damaging our health and destroying our planet.
How did we get ourselves into this crazy retail race to the bottom and how come it is so hard to value and even want to eat real food? Why is it so hard to do the right thing? Why when we know that diet can reduce the risk of so many diseases, type II diabetes or chronic inflammation or heart disease or the growing level of obesity does the healthy option just feel like an endeavour we will tackle tomorrow? All these questions are linked.
I did a stint in a major pharmaceutical company in the US as a research scientist. A friend of mine at the time worked in the food division, occasionally she would bring cookies to lunch for us to try that had been engineered in her lab to within an inch of their lives. Texture, flavour, taste, and crumbliness had all been optimised in the lab to allow just the right amount of sugar fat and salt to hit our tastebuds in the right way at the right time to make them irresistible. Thesefoods change our culinary habits and desires. But amazing fresh food, rich in taste and texture can quite quickly change our habits back, we can reset the dial so to speak and become accustomed to what real food tastes like again, it has a goodness and a wholesomeness and that cannot be mimicked by processed products.
Hippocrates was the one who said,‘let food be thy medicine’. Sure, not all our aliments can be eliminated by decent eating habits but there is one thing I know for sure it will certainly help. Show me the doctor that has ever prescribed a reduction in eating fresh real food, for there I believe lies our ability to heal our selves and our planet.