Words By John Burchell Naturopath
How do you think of food?
Food is many different things to many different cultures.
Food is often first thought of in terms of culinary desires and the media rich images of how food should look and taste. As the consumer industry grows with businesses looking for new ways to define them selves, the concept of food has evolved into art forms, scientific creations, alchemic wonders and taken to the extremes for the senses.
The question I ask is what you want from foods. What do you want your foods to contribute to your life and have you given thought to the rules you might apply to food?
Rules for foods are broken into several categories. The priorities will vary depending on your choices as to the role foods play in your life.
- What foods appeal to you?
- What cooking methods appeal to you?
- What flavours are you drawn to? The basic flavour senses are salty, sour, bitter, sweet, spicy and pungent. Texture may be a priority.
- Is food for pleasure? If so do you consider pleasure in every meal and do you associate pleasurable foods with “bad” foods? Many of the best health orientated foods can be pleasurable.
- Do you consider food as fuel for the machine?
- Do you have specific allergies or intolerances?
- Have you ever explored incorporating foods as corrective nutrition for illness or weight issues?
- Do you consider the level of processing of a food or the additives to a food?
- Foods in their raw form can be difficult to source unless you grow or produce your own, so the “biggy” in foods is sourcing what it is you re after.
Homogenised, Pasteurised, Hydrolysed, modified, preserved foods are a no brainer! If that’s your shopping trolley, then you re easy to shop for, if on the other hand garden fresh and free range produce is your preference, then there is more research required for reliable sources or you may consider setting up gardens and growing poultry. Even a few salad and herb pots on the patio can enhance your whole eating experience.
Some things to consider:
- Foods are often produced with volume and aesthetics in mind rather than taste and nutrition.
- Foods are most likely long term cold stored or preserved.
- Many foods are “quality enhanced” through use of colours, flavours and texture alternatives etc. Herbicides, Pesticides, antibiotics etc are all unseen and unlisted processes to consider.
- There is no precedent of a generation living on such foods and early results of observations are suggestive that long term health may not be sustainable where diets consist only of “processed or modified” foods.
- Many of these processes reduce the nutritional aspects of foods by reducing plant enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Some foods have high levels of undesirable components; Soy is a good example in having high levels of oestrogen like phyto-steroids.
This article is to get you thinking and is not so much in the negative as it is to give information to assist in making culinary choices. In a future article I will look at food categories for consideration in corrective nutrition and some guidelines on keeping all your culinary desires within reasonable health orientated limits.