Saturday, 6 July 2013

Eating healthfully in 2013: A nightmare?

Is it just me, or has eating healthfully become quite, er, complicated in the last few years?  Following a healthy lifestyle seemed so easy a few decades ago (or perhaps I was just being blissfully ignorant?): If you ate lots of fruit and veggies, healthy grains and lean meats; cut out or limited your junk food intake; exercised regularly and got enough sleep, you were there.  Easy.

But then came the realization that (some) food manufacturing companies add junk to some of these "healthy foods" in the name of "enhancing its taste" or "lengthening its shelf life" - you know, stuff that can cause life threatening illnesses in the long run.  No biggie.  Fortunately the culprits weren't that difficult to spot (MSG, aspartame, acesulfame K - and there are many others) and avoid, so we became food label reading experts.  Crisis averted.

Soon after that, though (and this is simply the sequence of my own journey), we became aware of the fact that many of our meaty "lean protein" sources (poultry, beef, etc.) were being injected with routine antibiotics and hormones for the sake of, well, making more money (see article here).  So onto the Free Range bandwagon we climbed.  Because heaven knows, the symptoms of ingesting a bunch of random additional hormones are something we can definitely live without.  


Then, while riding along on the Free Range Bandwagon, we came to yet another realization: Most of our fruits, veggies and grains are being sprayed with pesticides.  Poisons (see reference here).  Which we happily ingest along with our healthy doses of fruits and veggies.  Sigh.  So we started washing and scrubbing frantically and buying organic where possible, which can be pretty darn pricey!

Ella's Kitchen - 100% organic.

And then, more recently, came the GMOs.  Genetically modified crops were first approved for commercial release in South Africa in 1997 and although conclusive data from sufficient long term studies is not yet available on the effects of GMOs on human health, there is plenty of data from shorter term studies hinting that going the GMO route may not have been the best idea health-wise (refer to articles here and here).  So I'll rather pass.  But the problem is: GMOs are everywhere.  Think ("healthy, wholewheat") bread (and white bread too, if that's the way you roll); "healthy" canola oil; "mielie" meal; breakfast cereals...  and the list goes on.  It really is everywhere.  A handful of South African and global companies have, thankfully, gotten on board and committed to using only non-GMO ingredients in their products, while others are labeling their products as "containing (above a certain threshold of) GMOs".  Thank goodness.  But there's still a long, long way to go and, in the meantime, it seems  that the very carefully studying of food labels and supporting only official non-GMO companies is the only way to go.  Which is becoming just a tad exhausting. 

La Mandorle is non-GMO and organic - yay!
So my question is this: Is this what healthy eating has become in 2013?  A bit of a nightmare?  Because I, for one, want to enjoy my food.  And enjoy my life - not spend it worrying about the junk that I'm being fed by some of the food manufacturing companies out there.  I simply want to put into my own and my family's bodies what is best for it.  Is that too much to ask? 

Do you make an effort to eat healthfully?  Do you also find that trying to avoid all the nasty stuff can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare?

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more. It is one of the tough things about trying to switch my diet at the moment.


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