A few weeks ago I cold smoked a bunch of trout that I caught out of my mate Jacks dam. Being fish that live in still water they can taste a bit muddy at times so I opt for the smoking approach, which tends to distract you from the earthy flavour of dam trout. And let’s face it, who doesn’t like smoked trout?
After I dropped the kids off to school this morning, I made myself a fine breakfast, albeit late. The cold smoked trout was the centre piece. I cut off a few slices from a loaf of sourdough I baked last night, scooped out some ripe avocado, lay over some slices of the smoked trout, topped it with grilled jalapeño, added fennel fronds from the garden, and finally crumbled over soft goat feta on top. A season of salt and pepper and breakfast was made. It was delicious.
As I sat on the stool looking out through the kitchen window, munching and enjoy the food, I thought about all the ingredients for my meal. I was content that I knew what was in my food, and how the ingredients came to be on my kitchen bench. Then I thought a lot about a bag of grapes. Yes a bag of grapes. No I wasn't eating the grapes, the grapes I was thinking about where in a bag that was offered to us at a diner we visited after school yesterday. The lovely lady that owns the diner offered my kids the grapes to eat as her son could no longer eat them. She explained that he now has an allergic reaction to them, he comes out in hives. I had a spell of hives when I was a kid once, it’s not cool.
I looked at the packet of fresh looking grapes and noticed in large letters printed on the plastic bag ‘ALLERGY ADVICE, MAY CONTAIN: SULPHUR DIOXIDE’. I pointed this out to the lady at that just offered them and she was amazed that she had not noticed this health warning that was clearly printed in large print. I thanked her for the offer, but wasn’t keen for my kids to eat them so I declined.
I took a photo of the grapes though and loaded it to my instagram account with the caption ‘amazeballs’. Because, well quite frankly I find it amazing that we are offered food that has been treaded with something like sulphur dioxide to keep it ‘fresh’. There are lots of cases where sulphites are used as a preservative in foods, and wine, and they do an amazing job of keep food preserved. They also cause some reactions in our humans bodies too. Hives is one example, but shortness of breath and asthma is another, and there are many more, some I’m sure we will learn about well into the future.
The point I’m making is (and you can call me a hippy here) I just find it amazing that we tamper with our food so much, without 100% categorically knowing the implications and adverse effects it may have on our health. We as consumers buy this stuff, we eat it, and thus we introduce certain chemical compositions into our bodies. We do this happyily trusting that it’s safe. There was a warning on the packet, so that should do the trick right?
It’s a bit of a gamble though. Not all of us have a medical science background. Not all of us have spent a lifetime researching the effects of preservatives in food on humans. Not all of us have lived a full life of consuming such food to see what happens at the end. But we continue to eat it. Fully trusting in government legislation and regulation. That is until something fucks up, like say contracting Hepatitis A from imported frozen berries from China. Now don’t think I’m simply taking this weeks hot food scare story to bolster my message about eating real food, there is so many bad food stories out there that I could write something about it each week, this weeks Hepatitis A food news is not an isolated incident. There is an endless supply of stories about how peoples health is effected by packaged food, processed food or any food that’s been treated with pesticides or preservatives. Then there’s the modern western illness of obesity and it’s long list of health implications. We could go on about it for hours, days, months.
I guess what I’m trying to say is the writings on the wall. It’s been on the wall for a long time. There are many people that will poke fun at this message, and that is to be expected. Poke fun as they may, the principle reality that shit food equates to shit health will still remain.
The reality is that our bodies are natural machines that run well on natural fuels, not tampered food. You don’t even need to be a scientist to comprehend that principle. I like this reality, it’s what I try to live my life by. It’s one of those realities we can’t change, just like the one about nature not needing us, but us needing nature. The planet would survive quite happily without humans, but we desperately need natural resources to keep us alive.
One reality that I find a bit shitty, is that western humans simply will not change. The isles at the supermarkets will continue to be stocked with ‘food’ that is highly processed and that eventually will make us sick. The fast food chains will continue to have millions of robotic customers through their doors, and as a result we will continue to get fatter, sicker and eventually reduce our life expectancy. And you know what? Who gives a shit?
A minority of people give a shit. A minority of people are prepared to make change in their lives, for their health, for the health of their family and for the health of the natural world. It’s not a matter of Us Vs Them. You either think it’s important or you don’t.
I don’t really want to engage in any discussions about this anymore. It’s like flogging a dead horse. It’s becoming a real waste of time arguing with people that seem to be siding with the idea that processed foods are ok, and everything is alright. Well it’s not. And I figure most people are going to continue to remain ignorant, and they can because thats the beauty of personal and free choice. The only problem with this system is that by the time I’m old and needing health care, the medical system will be full of sick people that could have made a change when they where younger. That pressure on the health system will be phenomenal. And that’s a reality I’d like to see change.