By Monica Corrado
As a culture, we eat a lot.
However, the majority of people in our country DO NOT eat REAL food.
So what are many of us eating?
What Are We Really Eating?
We are eating food fractions, like soy protein isolate, maltodextrin, and pea protein. These do not provide the nutrition of whole foods.
We are eating things that used to be food, or still look like food, but really aren’t. Consider genetically modified (GMO) corn and tomatoes. They look like corn and tomatoes, they taste like corn and tomatoes, but they are NOT the corn and tomatoes you think they are because their DNA has been changed. They certainly are not the corn and tomatoes that our grandparents ate and their safety has yet to be demonstrated. Genetically modified foods were introduced in the 1980’s and we’re the guinea pigs.
We are eating food that has been subjected to radiation, heated to very high temperatures through pasteurization and subjected to very high pressures. Why is this a concern? Because all of the above wreck their protein structures.
We are eating grains that are full of anti-nutrients, robbed of their nutrients, and extruded as cereals. It takes more for the body to break them down than they are worth! Why are many cereals and other boxed goods fortified with vitamins? Because any naturally occurring nutrition was destroyed during the manufacturing process, so it’s put back in. But it is not in the digestible form present in unprocessed whole foods.
We are eating bread and bagels and baked goods made from wheat that has been hybridized to have “super gluten” — many times the amount than its forbearers. The wheat was hybridized to ease harvesting. The non-organic versions are sprayed with glyphosate prior to harvesting so that the wheat is dead and easier to harvest. See a trend? Modern wheat has been changed to make harvesting easier but not for the benefit of our bodies or the land.
We eat products from animals that are confined, abused, and fed a non-native diet. The vast majority of our milk and dairy products are made from milk and cream— yogurt, cheese, sour cream, half and half —and comes from cows in confinement, standing in excrement and eating genetically modified soy and corn. And the vast majority of the meat we eat comes from chickens and cows in confinement and eating the same. Most never see the light of day, breathe fresh air, walk on the ground or exercise. How could an animal that is so unhealthy produce healthy products for consumption? Simply put, they don’t because their bodies are toxic.
We are eating vegetable oils like soy, corn, safflower and canola that cause cancer, heart disease, immune system dysfunction, sterility, learning disabilities, growth problems and osteoporosis.
We are eating processed and packaged foods. Food-like substances that were made hundreds or thousands of miles away, in a factory by machines. They are created with flavors that were invented in chemistry labs and are now called “natural flavors.” Things in boxes that are hermetically sealed for “freshness”, with a list of ingredients a mile long (and what ARE those ingredients we cannot pronounce?). Things in jars that are “shelf stable” because they have been pasteurized and therefore enzymatically dead. Doesn’t matter if the label says “organic”. Still processed and dead.
It’s no wonder our children cannot think and our elders are losing their minds. Those of us who are in between those two age groups are obese, diabetic, or worse. What is “Real” Food? It is NOT what is listed above. Depending upon your age, think of what your grandparents and great-grandparents ate:
• Fresh — not boxed, bagged,packaged, or processed
• Locally raised or grown
• As close to the source as possible. Ioften say, “real food has no label”.
Real Food starts with the highest quality ingredients. That means the ingredients are fresh, local, sustainably raised, and, these days, organic or biodynamic. Real meats come from animals raised on pasture, or grass-fed and finished. Poultry is pastured, and eggs come from pastured hens – not just cage free. Real fats are traditional fats, such as butter from pastured cows, tallow and lard from grass-fed animals, raw olive oil and unrefined coconut oil. Real bread is long fermented sourdough where yeast is not listed as an ingredient. Real dairy is from cows that are on pasture, which has not been subjected to heat (i.e., pasteurized) or homogenization. It is certified raw dairy.
All of these foods are REAL and nourishing. And they are most easily digested and their nutrients absorbed when cooked in traditional methods, like our grandparents and great-grandparents cooked. Soaking, sprouting and fermenting grains and beans; culturing milk and cream; fermenting vegetables; and making hearty soups, stews and stocks from the meat and their bones.
The human body is meant to eat REAL FOOD. Not all this stuff that looks and tastes like food, but isn’t. Let us eat the food that nourishes and sustains us. And notice that much, if not all, of the aches and pains, exhaustion and some chronic symptoms fall away, leaving us energized, focused, and deeply nourished. So much better able to carry on our work in the world.
If you would like to learn more about how to cook nourishing, traditional food like your grandparents did, I invite you to see my book, With Love from Grandmother’s Kitchen: Traditional Cooking Techniques for Well-Being, available at www.simplybeingwell.com.