Since year dot the first necessary area of work has been the one that fills our bellies. Collecting food, cooking, eating and entertaining have all been cultural staples through time. In ‘developed’ countries of the 21st Century food production is no longer labour intensive; it is an industry manipulated for supermarket profit using labour efficient, mechanised processes that produce nutrient poor, chemically adulterated foods.
Supermarket food is programmed for sale and places little emphasis on nutritional value, employee incentives or positive communal atmosphere. Compare a supermarket to the open format market – the latter ensconced with owner pride and panache in sales pitch while the whole surrounding environment vibrates with a carnival resonance that is personally enriching.
My garlic usually comes from China (who produces 77% of the global output) but recently it’s been Argentina, Mexico and Spain! If fossil fuelled transport and harvesting costs were realistically priced rather than being globally subsidised to the tune of $200 billion dollars a year, then local produce would be competitive and the community could benefit from local sales and increased employment (as long as outlet cartels were willing to buy local produce at a price that reflected the true worth of labour.)
cultivation and harvesting techniques require the uniformity of broad scale watering and the use of fertilisers, pesticides and weedicides
- all of which place production in front of nutrition. Then there’s the production adjuncts: fumigants like Methyl Bromide sprayed
on imported garlic; steroid hormones used to increase growth rates in cattle and sheep; pesticides of the nenicotinoid family that
have been severely restricted in Europe due to their affect on bee populations while at the same being used in the US as an essential
part of mass cereal crop production; glyphosate sprayed on wheat crops to get an even moisture content prior to harvesting.
Mechanised cultivation and harvesting techniques require the uniformity of broad scale watering and the use of fertilisers, pesticides and weedicides - all of which place production in front of nutrition. Then there’s the production adjuncts: fumigants like Methyl Bromide sprayed on imported garlic; steroid hormones used to increase growth rates in cattle and sheep; pesticides of the nenicotinoid family that have been severely restricted in Europe due to their affect on bee populations while at the same being used in the US as an essential part of mass cereal crop production; glyphosate sprayed on wheat crops to get an even moisture content prior to harvesting.
Genetically modified organisms/foods (GMO) have also been developed with the intent of increased production and profits without there
ever having been a long term study on the health effects of GMO foods. Most packaged foods have soy or corn additives (check the small
print) and most of these will have come from genetically modified sources. Researchers affiliated with the Committee for Independent
Research and Information on Genetic Engineering concluded that:
‘...the data — which Monsanto claimed proved the corn varieties were safe to eat — actually suggest potential kidney and liver problems ... as well as negative effects in the heart, adrenal glands, and spleen.’
There are currently 64 countries that require labelling of genetically engineered foods and the US is not one of them. Add to this the requirement of buying new seed every year and you get the Indian farmer dilemma which has allegedly resulted in 250,000 suicides in the last decade - although these figures have been refuted and the debate has become increasingly heated. Then there’s the Indian ‘cancer trains’ which trace back to an age of pesticide use which was at the time an essential part of the food production process.
And why create artificial life forms when the same results can be achieved using
And why create artificial life forms when the same results can be achieved using natural processes.
‘Using intricate, yet traditional crossbreeding techniques, experts have learned to develop multiple strains of "Green Super Rice" that's resistant to salt water, tough against droughts and able to produce above-average yield without the use of fertilizers or pesticides. The rice, which is environmentally safe, is specifically bred for taste and feel according to the region that it's grown in.’
Do we need or want more food at a cheaper price when the spin-offs are ‘plastic foods’ and diminished employment? If our health is directly influenced by the microbial content of our digestive tract then why should we eat foods that are sterilised, preserved, genetically modified, artificially flavoured and generally denatured?
Our health dictates our moods; overindulge in escapist revelry and the next day is forgotten. The strange thing is that those escapes may alter perspectives, or secure mateship bonds, or provide memories that ultimately make life more meaningful. Meaning is essential to life but so too is a ‘healthy’ lifestyle.
‘Increased consumption of more energy-dense, nutrient poor foods with high levels of sugar and saturated fats, combined with reduced physical activity, have led to obesity rates that have risen three-fold or more since 1980 ...The obesity epidemic is not restricted to industrialized societies; this increase is often faster in developing countries’
- World Health Organisation Report - 2003
Although this weight gain is supposedly related to an increase in energy-dense foods and a drop-off in physical activity, the facts have to be more complicated given that most of us would rather be trim. In large part the truth is right in front of us and surrounds the accepted and widespread use of the poison called sugar.
‘We can eat as much fructose as we can shove down our throats and never feel full for long. Every gram of fructose we eat is directly converted to fat. There is no mystery to the obesity epidemic when you know those simple facts. It is impossible not to get fat on a diet infused with fructose.’
Refined sugar stripped of nutrients leaches precious vitamins and minerals from the body, ultimately leading to multiple disease states while at the same time making us hungrier. Natural sugars like maple syrup, honey or unrefined sugar cane are better although still high in fructose.
Natural forms of salt (sea water) are essential for health and contain all the minerals and trace elements needed for tissue growth, but conversely refined Table Salt (sodium chloride plus additives) is extremely negative to health, damaging the circulatory, lymph and nervous systems, while also making us hungrier. The hamburger bun contains both refined sugar and refined salt and is designed to make us want another one.
Hunger sensations can be decreased by avoiding refined sugar and salt, and by increasing water intake, drinking green tea, eating dark chocolate, nuts, avocados, apples, oatmeal, oily fish, ginger, cinnamon, walnuts, chillies and many more nutrient rich foods.
Once hunger is controlled you can move on to eating naturally which includes intermittent periods of not eating (akin to fasting). Give the digestive system a break by only eating twice a day a couple of times a week. The body uses these breaks to strengthen the immune system by breaking down bad stuff and renewing the stem cells that are an essential part of longevity.
Refined sugar and salt increase our appetites while trans-fats are used to cut food processing costs; both deliver food industry profit which then has a spin-off in medical industry profit and leads into the hugely lucrative industry of patented pharmaceutical drugs.
The microbial content of the intestinal tract is extremely important to health with links to depression, anxiety, autism and irritable bowel syndrome. The type of microbes that reside in our tummies is determined by the foods we eat with the positives being fermented foods, natural yogurt, mushrooms, blue and Brie cheese; and the negatives being food preservatives, food colourings, pesticide residues, animal antibiotics, glycotoxins and GMO products.
Natural practitioners, using time proven remedies, have a place among the marvels of modern medicine, especially so as the ‘baby boomers’ reach their use-by date. We need more health care practitioners and a greater knowledge of the complex and holistic nature of the human body. There is potentially a huge labour market for naturopaths, herbalists, acupuncturists, homeopaths, hypnotherapists, oriental medicine practitioners, chiropractors, massage therapists, yoga instructors, home care helpers, community welfare workers, fitness advisors, leech therapists (!), etc; to go alongside medical professionals - many of whom are overloaded with stress, excessive hours of service and the complications of pharmaceutical drugs that require further medication, and in most cases the eventual use of invasive surgical procedures.
In a Dan Rather interview (episode 524, AXS TV) on the subject of ‘Obamacare’ (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), Lew Morris, (Chief Counsel for the Office of Inspector General) envisioned that:
Under the new law-- drug companies, device companies, and others are going to have to publish on the website of the secretary all the payments they make to doctors. This will help beneficiaries understand what kind of payments their doctors are getting so they can have an informed discussion with the physician and ask, "Are you putting me on this drug because you're on the payroll of the pharmaceutical company or is it because you genuinely believe it's best for me?"
Contrary to popular understanding saturated fats from free ranging animals, lard from pigs, coconut oil and monounsaturated fats like olive oil actually quench the appetite and are good for you. But don’t let the fast food industry fool you with polyunsaturated fats from vegetable oils which have been heated or processed and contain toxic trans-fatty acids which are the major cause of clogged arteries, heart problems and stroke.
‘… most trans fat is formed through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, which causes the oil to become solid at room temperature. This partially hydrogenated oil is less likely to spoil, so foods made with it have a longer shelf life.’
Trans-fatty acids are common in commercial cakes, cookies, pie crusts, potato chips, corn chips, popcorn, French fries, doughnuts, frozen pizza crust, cinnamon rolls, most margarine’s, and many more.