We had a beautiful week in Northern Canada and Simon and I attribute this to the lovely people who helped host us. In general, Canadians seem very genuine and friendly.
As Australians who had left behind glorious summer sunshine, the sudden abundance of snow at times left us feeling rather isolated. Some days, the local shops and supermarket would close down at lunchtime as the snow storms would make the roads too dangerous for driving.
I was contemplating the severity of the weather as I wandered the supermarket one morning and I remember being quite stunned. There were literally aisles of pre-cut, prepared salads (with ready-made dressings) and pre-cut vegetables, all sealed in plastic containers that literally lasted a week in the fridge with no evidence of imminent browning, wilting or spoiling. There were also aisles of glossy, glamourous looking fruits. I couldn’t help but wonder just how far these fruits most have been flown? How long ago would they have had to have been picked?
One of our Canadian friends interrupted my train of thought to share her excitement in being able to cook for me this amazing canned product that she held in her hand. Inside was a perfectly prepared bun-mixture that was divided into sections that simply needed to be cooked in the oven and “wha-la” it turns into a life-size, iced, swirly, glazed bun just like the ones you’d find in a bakery.
Now, I am not naive enough to suggest that in Australia we do not have similar convenience products and large amounts of imported produce. Indeed we have an incredibly similar predicament.
It was however, the severity of the winter weather outside and the huge variety of summer foods readily available in the supermarket that highlighted for me the arrogance of modern society.
We seem to be so disconnected from nature that it no longer seems odd to us that we are able to buy salads and summer fruits in winter.
We appear to have little conscience about the countless resources involved to bring snow peas from Africa for example. Or the unregulated use of pesticides in third world countries and the environments that are destroyed to pander to our Western whims.
To not care about the “quality” of the foods we choose, nor the growing methods utilised to bring them to our table, unfortunately means in all reality, that we do not care enough about ourselves.
If we choose the enormous red strawberries and glossy stone fruits ready for consumption months before nature would have intended them, means we are choosing nutrient deficient and toxic foods for our family. By choosing glazed iced pink buns laden with sugar and preservatives and other snack foods swimming in additives, we are making room for foods that are incompatible with good health.
Foods should nourish and nurture our bodies.
The human body is a magnificent vessel. Many scientists have compared the body’s functionality with finely tuned machines, yet whilst far superior, the human body’s inherent needs are also far removed from any machine. We are “living” beings with very special needs and our “food” is our life source.
If we pay no attention to the way our soils are replenished, how our food is grown, harvested, processed, stored and sold – we become “disconnected” from life itself. When we choose to remain “permissive and submissive” about how farmers and big business utilise poisonous chemicals for immediate gain, this continues to reflect society’s inherent attitude towards the food we sustain ourselves with.
By allowing food technology to advance further with more potent pesticides, genetic modification, refining processes and irradiation, we turn our back on the fundamentals of nature. These attitudes reflect humankind’s ability to ignore the lack of integrity we have to our individual health, our earth and our children’s children.
As we have discussed many times, our children’s long-term health is ultimately influenced by the bio-accumulation of our parental health choices.
We can not expect to build our health or preserve our planet by continuing with “survival” behaviour.
Our foods need to be authentic, delicious and true, not convenient life-less rubbish.
It would seem that the only significant way to SPELL OUT for big business that we want authentic foods grown via respectful practices is to stop buying their FALSE products. As always, money talks!
I would be misleading you if I didn’t acknowledge that there are times that we buy or eat convenience items. These times fortunately are few and far between though. Most probably because the long lasting and disgusting after-taste these products leave in your mouth, always leaves me calculating the number of artificial ingredients consumed. That then mixes with the guilt of having fed our “suddenly” angry or hyperactive children, a PRETEND food item. I am then again, eternally grateful that Simon and I love to cook and that we pride ourselves on almost always feeding our children high quality nutrition.
Perhaps in time, our Department of Agriculture and our Health Department will converse and establish an intimate relationship which focuses on building the awareness of our nation.
SUGGESTIONS for 2008
– Whenever possible buy local, fresh “IN SEASON” produce, Farmers Markets are a fabulous opportunity for this.
– Buying “IN SEASON” organic produce is cheaper than you think and supports farmers who work extremely hard for a brighter future of our planet.
– Find a good SEASONAL KITCHEN COOKBOOK which will helps you to be creative when providing your family with nutrient rich meals.
– If possible try to shop without all the children, this allows you time to READ LABELS CAREFULLY
– Purchase foods in their natural state
– Utilise the True Food Network https://sites.greenpeace.org.au/truefood True Food lets Australians know which companies and products contain genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) this site also makes activism easy.
Greenpages – the Hub of Sustainability www.greenpagesaustralia.com.au Their print publication, Greenpages magazine, lists a range of stockists and products for those looking to decrease the size of their consumer footprints on the planet.
Here’s to strengthening our collective consciousness and our nations health!.
With love & respect,
Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani
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