There has never been more availability or variety of food available in Britain (like America and many other Western counties to boot), presumably because we persist for some obscure reason on importing all kinds of stuff by air, sea and land from all around the world (and without doubt ruining the environment in the process). In the UK we used to be able to feed ourselves, but not anymore, eh? If we were in WW2 now the Germans wouldn’t need to bomb us out or even invade us – we would simply be starved into submission, wouldn’t we?
Therein lies the start and the root of the basic problem, doesn’t it? Too much food, too much junk food, too much obesity (particularly including children), and too much food waste into the bargain? Of course that is all compounded as well by too little exercise or physical activity (particularly including children).
With the products on the supermarket shelves you are faced with the likes of a best before date, number of servings, a use by date, energy, saturated fat, red tractor mark, Guideline Daily Amount, fibre, emulsifiers, illustration, colour coding and a traffic light system (red amber green –whatever that tells you), pie charts, lion mark, calorie information, spices, information tombstones, price, vitamins, energy per 100g, additives, description, preservatives, salt level, minerals, freedom food mark, contents list, Es, fats, added water, colourings, product name, protein, volume, iron %, production method stamp, allergy highlights, producer name, sugars, weight, country of origin, organic identification, carbohydrates, gluten free, soil association mark, and god knows what else – all written in a typeface so small that despite having an airline pilot’s 20/20 perfect eyesight, you would need a portable electron microscope to decipher it (so all old people who are more likely to need the information are stuffed, aren’t they?). Inconsistent ‘voluntary’ systems are deliberately designed to comatose the consumer and totally mislead them (like labelling unhealthy products ‘one of your 5 a day’, and processed foods as healthy).
In past times the UK general population didn’t have fridges to keep their food in – they had simple cool larders. They didn’t need to be told when perishable food was off, they bought only the food they needed, they knew how to cook, and they didn’t waste food. They eat locally produced stuff, bought from their regular small competent retailers, paid a fair price that supported the suppliers, and of course regularly used seasonal fruit and veg. Household emergency food came in the form of tins which could rest in the pantry for a decade (and in Alpine mountain huts for half a century) and still be safe to eat when unexpected guests arrived – but now it often goes to landfill as the tin comes with an end date stamped on it.
Women never needed to go on a diet and certainly there was no such thing anyway. People never had to face buying adulterated products such as low or reduced fat xyz, light mayonnaise, polyunsaturated spreads, half fat cheese or whatever, or indeed the rubbish likes of rendered redtop milk. While salt (which draws out the water) and sugar (acts as dehydrator on microbes) were commonly used for centuries as food preservatives in established products such as say salt beef and jam, the normal food you bought was not heavily laced with salt and sugar simply to defraud your taste buds, mask the loss of natural flavour, and provide extended product shelf life.
So let’s cut to the chase shall we? We should all follow some simple rules to keep ourselves free of the mendacious marketing cons that so often control our food buying and eating:
- Do not use any product that promotes itself as being 0 fat, reduced fat, contains no saturated fat (academic studies show it does NOT cause heart decease), or the like
- Ignore any food that tells you it is ‘Light’ which means that it has been adulterated – probably with something that would utterly disgust you if you knew
- Beware anything that tells you it is reduced or lower sugar or salt as you can be sure it has still got it and a lot in there – just a bit less excessive
- Ditch processed food as much as possible, particularly stuff labelled ‘new/improved recipe’ – if it was bad before what confidence can you have now
- Don’t necessarily believe the label that claims something is fresh – may well have been frozen. New potatoes have been often harvested and stored for half a year or more before the supermarkets dupe you into buying them as just out the ground
- Give it a miss when it says ‘wafer-thin’ meat – it will be utterly tasteless even to the powerhouse taste buds of a professional food taster
- If it is labelled ‘healthy’ be suspicious – such claims often hide the truth and it is a lawless game
- Products that describe themselves as ‘Premium’ are probably anything but – no rules apply here and honesty is not a strong point with manufacturers
- Ignore stuff marketed under trick farm or non-existing illusional places as trade mark brand names masquerading as wholesome food – deceptive names made up by the marketers like farm xyz, country xyz, natural xyz, harvest xyz, lochxyz, farmer’s xyz, xyz’s Choice, weight xyz, diet xyz, accompanied by meaningless descriptions farm fresh, rich in xyz, wholesome, and the like. Nothing is covered or prevented by legislation you see.
- Don’t be fooled into buying lookalike products where packaging is a close clone of the real thing
- If you favour organic labelled food be wary as it could be as much as a third inorganic and still qualify
- Avoid like the plague unpalatable, lazy, time shortened, excessive yeast, secret additive, factory produced sliced bread even if it is called granary, wholemeal, hovis, seeded, brown, white, soft, wheat, whole grains, whole wheat, half & half, or the like. Find a proper genuine bakers (difficult these days of course) and buy some real bread, or better still get in some quality flour that still includes minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium, and vitamins, and make your own non-bland true bread each day (it is remarkably simple). British so called fresh today bread is often these days actually crisped-up from frozen dough brought in from wherever, and it includes unlisted unnatural additives to boot.
The real secret here is to only eat natural products that have been around for much over a century, including butter (margarine & spreads actually cause artery-clogging trans-fats), cheese, and full fat milk – but do so in moderation, as our society used to do. Cook simple meals yourself at home, control what goes in them, and cut down on all meat intake including chicken (red meat is not basically harmful and provides a micronutrient acid ingredient that reduces cancer risk, and other conditions) to about four ounces a day – but increase vegetables and of course seasonable fresh fruit. It is not rocket science and no diet is required, is it?
All the time we get publication of new research that identifies the falsehoods peddled about food by the processing guys perpetrating myths about healthy eating. Butter is actually better for you health wise than the heavily advertised synthetic spreads. For instance the most recent Canadian research endorses the fact that full fat dairy foods is good for you; a fatty acid it contains reduces the levels of sugars and fats in the body resulting in lower body weight, no less.
[When buying food you need to keep in mind that the food industry will without conscience lie, cheat, adulterate, misinform, risk health, manipulate, mislabel, circumvent the regulations, and if necessary kill to make money – caveat emptor (buyer beware)].