One of the epiphanies of my life, and there have been quite a few, came a couple of years ago when I realised through watching the habits of some clean eating friends, that I was feeding my family a whole lot of toxic food. I would have described myself as a pretty healthy person, but my concept of what ‘pretty healthy’ meant back then, was miles away from what I know now. For simplicity and convenience with young kids, I had fallen into the trap of feeding them what I knew they’d eat, rather than what I knew they SHOULD eat. Their diet wasn’t bad, there was no takeaway food or much obvious sugar, but pre-packaged snacks had snuck into their world, and they weren’t consuming anywhere near enough plant based foods.
So a fairly radical overhaul of my fridge and pantry occurred, to the point today where we barely have any packaged foods, and almost no processed foods. We are a bit partial to a certain type of chocolate, hello Lindt Orange Intense! But when I think about processed food in our house now, I think of a lonely jar of Vegemite that sits in the fridge which my youngest son has a penchant for, the odd can of wild salmon, some organic pasta, traditional sourdough bread, organic cheese and occasionally some non homemade yogurt. Everything else has pretty much gone.
We’ve also shifted almost entirely to *organic food, and the reason I think it’s important to mention that as well, is because once you’ve opened the can of worms, it’s hard to put the lid back on. It becomes really difficult NOT to examine everything you put in, on, or near your body. The idea of eating chemically laden fresh produce or wholefoods just does not sit well with me at all any more. My eyes are open, and I can’t just ignore all of the factors which can impact the toxic load of the food my family eats. That includes examining all of those little labels with the barely readable list of contents on the back of packets and tins. So rather than get glasses for shopping, I rarely buy any food which has a contents label, unless it’s an amazing product full of good stuff in which case the labels always seem to be mysteriously readable.
I’ve mentioned before that I am pursuing an existence outside of the conventional supermarket experience, but recently I needed some coconut and sultanas in a hurry for a batch of granola I was making for my partner, who was heading back to site the next day. I went to the supermarket and looked at everything they had. The sultanas were coated in a bounty of chemicals including sulphites, and the coconut was full of preservatives. But the product which shocked me the most, was a moist shredded coconut which contained propylene glycol. Propylene glycol is a component of anti-freeze solution, and is used to make numerous other chemical compounds. It is ‘generally’ considered safe for human consumption, but really…why? That was the central thought I had. These are simple wholefoods which have been seriously tampered with. I wouldn’t even know where to start if I’d ventured into the snack food aisle, but this was a basic wholefood. So why? Propylene glycol has a preservative and moistening effect, I get that, but why would you even consider eating a chemical which is ‘probably’ safe for human consumption if you didn’t have to…and why do food manufacturers think it’s OK to add it?
The concept of eating clean for me means knowing that everything I consume is going to nourish my body, not harm it. With this in mind, my choices are simple. It took me a really long time to get to this point, but I think that once you’ve woken up to the reality of what real food is, it is impossible to look at everything else in quite the same way again.
*Organic food- I shop organically and very economically at my local Farmers Market, and I follow the dirty dozen of ‘must have’ organic fruit and vegetables. Economics definitely plays a role in my food decisions.
Linked with Essentially Jess for IBOT