Yesterday my daughter Ella went down the fields and harvested a big bunch of kale she wanted to make kale crisps. I was impressed, who am I to stand in the way of a child who wants to voluntarily eat kale, I thought to myself!
Mostly though it is the other way around, often getting our kids to eat more vegetables can be a struggle, why is this? Why isn’t eating an apple, (or indeed kale crisps) instead of a chocolate bar easier? Why is doing the right thing sometimes so difficult?
Why is our food system not better, healthier, kinder to us and 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 want to eat real food?
Both questions are linked. I did a stent 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 taste buds in the right way at the right time to make them irresistible.
Many of the processed foods including health bars and vitamin drinks that line supermarket shelves are about as healthy as eating spoonful’s of sugar, generally they contain high amounts of processed apple juice or conventional cereal and sugar substitutes. They rely on wonderfully creative science and marketing to make us believe how good for us they are, and of course they taste amazing.
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 the planet.
So how is this system fair? How is it that these processed products have taken centre stage and are often seen by us the consumer as a prized food that can be sold for maximum profit? This is the carefully constructed reality we have been fed, it is not our fault it is just the way it.
It is simple, cheap commodity ingredients are processed and packaged to be sold as healthy alternatives to real food, that achieve maximum profit for manufactures and retailers.
Deciphering what is good for our health and the planet is next to impossible these days. But it doesn’t have to be so complicated.
There is one extremely straightforward step any one of us can take right now to revolutionise our food choices, the principle is simple:
“EAT MORE FRESH ORGANIC PRODUCE”
We cannot eat too many vegetables and vegetables in all their guises are good for us. That’s pretty simple right?
So, choosing fresh organic locally grown food and working more fruit and veg into our daily routine is a magnificent way to improve how we feel and our long-term health, not to mention the benefits for the planet.
So, Ella, go for it, all the kale in the world is yours!
Get a box of real, simple organic food delivered to your door anywhere in Ireland or Northern Ireland here.