Is something that kills you slowly rather than abruptly not considered a death sentence? It should be, but we get so used to dying in instalments that the truly long-term effects get trampled by the schedules of day to day life. Nothing goes bad overnight (except maybe avocados, you know you need to stare at them and wait for that 5 minute window when they are just right). The way things go downhill is gradual, we slowly agree to the illusion and pretend it is real.
Every single generation until the mid-20th century ate real food from a clean filed. It may have not been as readily available as it is now and it took more work but when you ate an apple you got three times more nutrients as you do in today’s apple that refuses to rot no matter how long you leave it out. When an organic substance does not adhere to decay it makes you wander. At one point the notion of food as sustenance and a part of life where you’re present through all the steps to get it on your plate changed. We became detached. Food preparation started to be advertised as a bother and nuisance and convenience took the primate over quality. At about the same time chemical companies that made toxins for military use started to get involved into the farming sector in the 40’s and 50’s creating life savers for an ordinary farmer in the form of bigger machines, pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilizers that boosted the crop production and flooded the market and shelves of supermarkets with cheap, fast produced, chemically damaged, pre-processed and subpar produce, flash frozen, precooked, canned, shot up with preservans, hidden ingredients and loosy goosy idle legislature on the necessity to display the ingredients. What once sustained life became chemical auto-warfare and quality took a hit as food was designed not to be tasty and nutritious, but to be fast, cheap, easy to prepare and transport. Alas we had abundance it would seem. And as Twinkies are advertised as an ideal snack for your growing children and you’re a bad mom if they don’t snack on it, when TV dinners are presented as a maid of an ordinary middle class housewife and families smile and have fun around bottles of fizzy drinks, microwave feasts or fast food containers from the adds, the world has never been fatter, more medicated, pone to heart disease, depression, diabetes and a whole array of other food related disorders. Abundance right? Abundance is taking only what you need without depleting or poisoning the resource. A shelf of assorted toxins is not abundance.
As the new millennia crept around the corner we started to wake up, became more aware that we’ve made a wrong step somewhere causing a butterfly effect creating disease as we went along. We got fed up (pun intended) of needing a crash course in chemistry to be able to understand the label on our food. So the slow food project came to life, organic self-sustainable farms, restaurants and initiatives started to form all around, returning to the earth, to the old sorts of produce. We started to heal our tore down worn out fat but starving bodies. We’re not a complete U-turn yet; maybe it’s not possible and the barely food industry is here to stay and will always be prowling on the poorest levels of society, but the turn began and we’ve started to move from factory produced similes of food towards real clean wholesome ingredients one again.
It is virtually impossible to eliminate 100% of toxic traces in your food supply, but we’re far from helpless. What can we do? Support local small producers that grow food the old way, support the family farms that are fighting against a system rigged against them, visit the green markets rather than the supermarket, find producers you trust, plant your own herbs and vegetables if you have a bit of space and some land, You’d be surprised what can flourish in pots on a balcony or in a home, make compost for your plants from organic wastes, learn how to read the labels, if the food is packaged in plastic and has more than a couple of common sense ingredients don’t buy it, relearn what real food looks, smells and tastes like, buy less but of higher quality, choose by smell, not by aesthetics… Learn about food! You’ll rarely spend more rewarding hours than in studying this fundament of life itself. Refuse to pay someone to knowingly destroy your health. What we do matters and the more of us do it, the faster things are gonna turn. A commodity is useless unless sold and we all get to vote the fake destructive food of the shelves with every purchase, but it takes all hands on deck.