Food Food Everywhere but Not a Drop of Nutrition - Health

Food Food Everywhere but Not a Drop of Nutrition   by Nick Grimshawe

in Health    (submitted 2006-07-12)

The title maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but I wanted to draw your attention to a serious issue regarding the food we eat.

Fact One:

Since 1963, the beautiful tomato has lost 61% of there calcium. Other so-called healthy foods are losing nutrition at a similarly alarming rate.

As conscientious food consumers, struggling to put quality, good tasting food on the family table, the findings suggest that the foods we eat are not as healthy as we thought.

This decline goes back several decades. I remember reading an article my a doctor in the pages of (I believe) Omni magazine, describing the decay of nutrition in our food, to such and extent that we faced third world mal-nutrition in a society awash with food. I went on a vitamin, buying binge at the time to counter act the loss of nutrition in our food. I follow the good doctors instructions on the vitamins and minerals I should take religiously. I even choked down a nasty tasting tincture of iodine and water.

This obsession passed when I move to a place where I could grow my own food using good organic methods that return nutrients to the soil. I spent ten years on a farm with lots of room to have a huge vegetable garden and my concern waned.

However, I'm back in town, just in time for the issue to rise it's ugly head again.

The cause for the decline of nutritional quality of our food appears to be our intensive farming methods that rely on inorganic fertilizers, (the same stuff terrorist use to blow things up, isn't that scary) along with intensive irrigation that leaches the soil. This causes a build up of unwanted elements in the soils, such as higher sodium levels. Lack of crop rotation also contributes. Crop rotation, once the norm for most family farms, taught that different crops take different nutrients from the soil and often leave behind a nutrient the next crop can use. As an example, legume crops are used to fix nitrogen in the soil.

Fact Two:

The carbohydrate content of broccoli (the iconic health food) has increased by 15% since 1963, and the salt levels in almost everything have risen dramatically over a similar period.

Take that fact and the rising incidence of high blood pressure and you get a glimmer of the consequences of our industrial farming.

In another article I recently read, the author points to the way we feed our food animals as cause for serious concern. His example concerned steers raised for food on grain, because it fattened up the beef for market. You have all heard the stories of feedlots where animals are sent just before going to market. These animals are fed grains, something not part of their natural diet, grass. The consequences of such a diet leads to mal-nutrition and disease.

Quite recently, the stories of Avian Flue and a coming Pandemic has brought to the forefront the way we raise our food animals. What once made common sense seems to have been lost in a mountain of hype. I remember my Granddad warning against feeding animals their own flesh and the diseases that result, back in the 1960, and this was passed down knowledge from his Dad!

Yet, animals are still being fed food that contains animal by products!

How to Protect Your Family

Think carefully about what you buy to minimize your exposure to these dangerous foods. Buy organic, preferably from the farm gate. This can be difficult but there are buying clubs spring up all over the country and farm gate marketing is staging a major revival.

Many families now make the trip to an organic market garden part of fun family activates.

Where possible, get to know your butcher. My butcher, Larry, knows the farmers he buys his meat from. He goes out of his way to find you exactly what you are looking for. Grass feed beef, ah yes; Gerry up the road raises all his beef that way. Range raised organic chicken, that's Margaret over in such and such.

Reduce your consumption of processed foods. These days' fresh vegetable, fish, and meat are nearly always available. Follow the good old Italian tradition of eating with the season.

Finding your food maybe a little more difficult, than at the huge food factory grocery store, but the effort will contribute to your family's health.

Finally, educate your self.

Armed with knowledge you can avoid that slightly pink thing signed as a field grown, vine ripened "tomato" with low calcium, high sodium, no taste and as hard as rock.

After all, if a tomato doesn't taste like a tomato, it probably isn't a tomato.

Nick Grimshawe