This is probably the single biggest problem we have as a society with how we feed ourselves these days. Wise words from my father in law earlier this week.
We had been chatting about why we don’t have a particular food in our house. I told him I was going to use his comment in an article to help other people.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t all consume the occasional food that isn’t good for us, but I think all things have a time and place. What we normally eat matters and I am pretty frustrated with the marketing in this world based on false information, marketing hype, ‘nutritionism’ and loopholes.
Before I go on, let me clear up two words in my last sentence that might need to be explained. Nutritionism is the practice of taking a single scientific ingredient out of a food and claiming it is the only valuable reason for it to exist. Like saying you don’t need to eat an orange, just have some vitamin C or that bananas are only good for potassium. That’s just not true.
Whole foods contain so much more than the sum of the parts we understand. For the record – potatoes, tomato sauce, watermelon, beets, sweet potatoes, squash and a lot of other foods have more potassium than bananas. That’s just effective marketing using nutritionism to sell you stuff. We all remember bananas have potassium, because marketing experts have told us enough times that we remember it.
Loopholes in nutrition are things like being legally allowed to call something ‘trans fat free’ or say it has ‘zero trans fat’ when in fact, it does. The rule is it has to have 0.5 grams or less per serving to be declared free or zero grams. The secret then, is to reduce the serving size to attain the goal of 0.5 grams, knowing full well that nobody would eat such a small amount.
Which brings me back to the original point – so many of our favourite things are not good for us, but they are ‘edible and we like them’. We live in an amazing world of choices and that has it’s good and bad points. I am a huge fan of real food. I am lucky enough to have the recipe for pancakes that my grandmother gave me when I was seven years old. When she passed away, I inherited a few of her cookbooks, one printed in 1942. It’s a prized possession.
Her pancakes are made with things like: eggs, butter, flour, sugar and vanilla extract. While I currently usually make much healthier food as a rule, when I want a special treat once in a while, we make these pancakes and they are amazing. There is no margarine, food colourings, additives, preservatives, emulsifiers, fillers, flavouring, texture gum, etc. Just real food. We serve them with real maple syrup, fresh fruit and real whipped cream we whip ourselves.
Can you picture your favourite food or desert? Usually made by a grandma or aunt historicall – the smell, the taste, the amazing experience of sharing food with family. So the problem now is that you can go to a big store and buy an apple pie for example, that has a picture of a grandmotherly looking lady on it. It will probably be called ‘Taste of Home’ and proclaims all the goodness you remember.
But when you read the ingredients, and I always do – you will find that your dearly beloved grandmother would never have had ingredients like this in her kitchen. These ingredients came from a laboratory, with the sole purpose of impersonating real food in taste, texture and smell but in a cheaper form and a longer shelf life.
Technically, it is edible and you might even like it. Ultimately, that doesn’t make it food, nor does it make it something you should eat. Call me old fashioned, but if you want a really great apple pie: learn to bake one and use grandma’s recipe.
***Scott McDermott is a local business owner and regular contributor to the Sylvan Lake News through his Health & Wellness article***