Not all food is produced equally. Do you ever wonder what has gone into producing the food you are about to put in your mouth? How that food is produced impacts the nutritional value of it, from the soil it was grown on or in, how much processing it has undergone and how far it has travelled to get to you.
Let’s think about the current western diet, by and large it is based on excessively packaged, processed foods that have been produced through an industrialised food production system (think large feedlots, continual cropping of the same land with little to no breaks between each cropping cycle).
Now think about the diet of people 100 years ago, food was produced locally and not shipped all over the world, cooking was a skill passed down in the family, home cooking was the staple diet and processed foods were few and far between. There were no restaurant chains and snack foods, vitamins and frozen foods did not exist. Small family farms were the norm.
There are a few key reasons we have strayed so far from how we used to eat 100 years ago:
- Traditional family roles have changed
- We have become busier in our working lives and spend more time than ever working
- Access to and demand for cheap, convenient foods are at an all time high.
So what can we do? As humans we have a right to a healthy diet and as consumers we have a choice to vote with our dollar. It is not about buying the most expensive ingredients and it is not about making fancy meals or keeping up with food trends. It is about thinking more critically about what food you are putting in your body and how close that food it to it’s natural state.
There are a few key principles you can use as a guide to eating, a healthy sustainable diet that will nourish your body and give it what it needs to function well:
- Buy local seasonal foods – it has traveled a shorter distance, is fresher and therefore likely to have a higher nutritional benefit
- Where possible buy organic – organic food is grown using more traditional farming methods, is usually smaller scale and does not rely on the use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides
- Make food fun – cook your own food, try new things, eat a diversity of foods.