Saturday, May 2, 2009

Our foods are anemic

I once thought that you could get all of your nutrition from foods. I was VERY opposed to supplements and what they were supposed to give you. The bio-availability of supplemental vitamins and minerals couldn't possibly be better than telling someone to eat a whole food that contained that vitamin... right?

Unfortunately, this isn't true.

Due to the intensive growing practices and overuse of the soil, not to mention the dedication of our society to the massive over production of food, we have created a food chain that is limited in variety and lacking in nutrients. Frankly, our foods are deficient. Even the organic movement that sets itself so much higher than conventional foods (and rightly so) still is lacking in variety and they still breed their plants for higher yields, larger plants, and more consistency in size and color... instead of health benefits of the varieties that are less desirable in the fields, but better for our bodies.

A very simple example of nutrients and health of food is mold. Yes, MOLD. One of my teachers in high-school had a Twinkie sitting on her shelf. When the year was coming to a close I finally asked her why she had a Twinkie on her shelf... she said that she was waiting for it to mold. It was her own personal experiment. And it hadn't just been sitting there for one year, it had been sitting there for seven. Seven YEARS and not a spot of rot. That is more than 2500 days at room temperature. That is scary. Now think about it this way: If microbes that make up mold (which don't have brains) don't want to eat that, why the heck should we? The microbes want exactly what we want. They want nutrients to grow big and strong and fight disease and reproduce. It sounds strange, but if it won't rot, we shouldn't eat it!

It all comes back to eating locally and eating small for me. Small local growers can use the varieties that you wouldn't be able to grow by machine, because their veggies are grown by hand and only shipped short distances. They can give you more variety and better quality... giving you more nutrients for your dollar. Seattlites buying apples from Argentina when you can get them from Yakima (100 miles from here) just doesn't make sense to me. How do you think those nutrients are being stored? What did they have to do to the food to make it last that long on a plane or a ship? They truth is, they chose varieties that didn't have many nutrients in the first place. When the way we choose our varieties to grow is based on how far they can travel before they go bad, well, something is lost. And it ends up being the nutrients.

Other reading on this subject:

The Downside Of Modern Agriculture

Farm Fresh, a growing trend

The Living Soil

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