What We Eat.

Lets first take a look at the food our ancestors ate.

Throughout history people have eaten food essentially as nature produced it.  people are whole and unprocessed vegetables, fruit, grains, beans and chicken, fish and other animal foods.  Small amounts of sugar and honey or some wine and beer in the diet were balanced by regular physical labor from sunrise to sunset for every member of the family.  They had no cars, plains, trains for bicycles for transportation.  Life was active.

Our ancestors would not recognize the food in todays supermarket.  In the last 100 years or so, large scale food processing has become the norm.  Breads and other baked goods that were once made of whole-grain flour are now made from processed, white, bleached flour that is far less nutritious.  In addition to leaving out or removing essential nutrients, processing foods generally involves adding sweeteners, colors, flavours and preservatives.

Sometimes manufacturers try to reintroduce nutrients to foods by a process called enrichment.  But a lab can’t possibly reintroduce all the vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, phytochemicals and fiber that the original plant source contains.  A single tomato contains more than 10,000 phytochemicals.  When you see the word “enriched” on bread labels, such as “enriched white flour” or “enriched wheat flour,” it means they took out the good stuff in the processing and tried to put some of it back at the end.  A similar process occurs with fortified cereals, which typically feature highly processed grains and sweeteners.  The fact that we have to inject nutrients back into our food demonstrates how strange our eating habits have become.  Not that long ago we ate what was fresh and available.  Now we eat food that are cheap, fast and convenient with little thought about weather they give our bodies enough nutrients to get us through the day.

One of the most profound ways to experience the energetic nature of food is to notice the properties of organic food.  Fresh organic produce contains more vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other micronutrients intensively farmed produce.  Some research suggests organic fruits and veggies have 50-60% higher levels of cancer-figting antioxidants than non-organic fruits and veggies.  Another reason to eat organic is to avoid GMOs, also known as genetically engineered foods.

Lastly we can look at the environmental effects of our food choices.  Our personal food choices not only have an impact on our bodies, but also on our environment.  Each meal is made up of food  that requires a significant amount of energy and resources to reach your plate.  The journey of our food is a much longer process than many of us realize. Some people refer to this journey as food miles, which is the distance food travels from field to plate, and the higher the milage, the larger the impact on the environment.

Food for thought.

Evolved Living

Source: Integrative Nutrition by: Joshua Rosenthal

Categories: Total Health Tuesday