When we think about how to make ourselves healthier, we tend to think about what we can DO, EAT or DRINK, how much exercise we can do and what kinds, and so on. What if our health could benefit from what we don’t do, eat, drink? We are always told how our digestive system takes nutrients from food; let’s not forget how it also filters out unwanted stuff and gets rid of it. More importantly, let’s consider how our digestive system doesn’t really know what to do with a lot of stuff we eat these days.
If you take a packet of food from the heat-and-serve section of any supermarket, and read the ingredient list, you will find a whole lot of items which are chemicals created, distilled or extracted in a laboratory. They are each carefully calibrated to trick the body into doing something. Your dextrose and dextrin are designed to produce a high insulin response in your body that will bring you back looking for your next snack sooner rather than later, your monosodium glutamate is designed to trick your taste receptors to perceive flavours more intensely, and so on. This works really well for the people who sell these foods; but at best, it confuses the heck out of our bodies and at worst it eats away at our health, one junk food item at a time.
What about the stuff in your food that doesn’t turn up in the ingredients list? Vegetables that come from over cultivated, artificially fertilised soils are lacking in micronutrients but are richer in unwanted trace elements, including heavy metals. Artificial pesticides and growth hormones also get into the vegetables and stay in them. When we eat these vegetables, all of this unwanted stuff gets taken in by our bodies and much of it just accumulates, because our bodies don’t really know what to do with it. When you eat meat from animals who ate those vegetables, you are getting a high concentration dose of the same chemical fertilisers and pesticides. And in the case of animal meat and products, you can add the routine use of antibiotics and hormones to the cocktail. If you are thinking wild food is the solution, just bear in mind that a large part of the world’s fisheries are contaminated with mercury.
… And as an afterthought, have you considered what trace elements your various non-stick pans and other food processing tools may be leaving in your food?
There isn’t much we can do to escape the trend. We are living in an overpopulated planet, and we are depleting our natural sources of nutrition, but when it comes to looking after mine and my family’s health, I try to go as close to nature as reasonably possible. When I plan our eating, I have a few hard and fast rules that help me keep on the straight path:
- Organic as much as reasonably possible
- Cooked from scratch
- If not cooked from scratch, no more than 3-5 ingredients
- No E-numbers, anything that has a chemical name, or anything that has been extracted, separated or manipulated
- If it’s not meant to be, don’t eat it! (think non-sense like sugar-free syrup, carb-free bread, fat-free butter…)
- Cast iron or stainless steel pans with no non-stick treatments, and only untreated wood, food grade silicone or stainless steel tools
I use a few more rules like these day-to-day; I just wanted to share something simple that you may find easier to use.