Have you ever just randomly walked the aisles of your local supermarket and taken a mental note of what takes up most of the shelf space? Surprisingly, for a place that’s supposed to sell food, there’s actually very little of that seemingly endangered substance around.
Oh sure, on the peripheries you will get your meat, diary, veggies and fruit. But that only accounts for about 10-20 percent of the total shelf space. Wander through the rest of the store and all you will find is an endless variety of processed “foods” such as crackers, cookies, canned concoctions, and a whole aisle of “super nutritious” sugar frosted breakfast cereals.
“Oh,” but you retort, “those items ARE food.”
Really? Since when?
Let’s me ask you this, would your great grandma eat that stuff or consider it to be food? I doubt if she’d even allow it in her kitchen.
So when exactly did food become something that was manufactured instead something that was grown, raised, harvested, or foraged?
In his book, In Defence of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, Michael Pollan provides several criteria to determine real food from the processed fake crap that has increasingly come to dominate our modern western diets.
For example, he argues that a product that has some sort of health claim on the label, is probably not real food. “High-Fibre” breakfast cereal, “low-cholesterol” baked goods, and anything that is “low-fat” is most likely produced in a factory with a mix of artificial flavours, sweeteners, additives, preservatives, with a large dose of processed carbs thrown on top.
The humble avocado, on the other hand, doesn’t come in a package, has only a small sticker affixed, makes no boasts of it’s healthy properties. Yet, it’s is one of the healthiest items in the store.
Why is this important?
Pollan and a rapidly growing number of scientist, writers, and nutritionists, argue that “…the chronic diseases that now kill most of us, can be traced directly to the industrialisation of our food: the rise of highly processed foods and refined grains; the use of chemicals to raise plants and animals in huge monocultures; the super abundance of cheap calories of sugar and fat produced by modern agriculture; and the narrowing of the biological diversity of the human diet to a tiny handful of staple crops, notably wheat, corn, and soy.”
What are your thoughts? Do you agree? Or do you trust the dietary practices promoted by the US government and the Food Industrial Complex?
In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing some thoughts and observations based upon my own experience and research into this tasty topic.
Until then, bon appetit!