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Food VS Nutrition | Environment

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Food VS Nutrition

Modern nutrition determines the healthiness of a food by isolating its vitamins, proteins, minerals, fats, and other constituents.  Choosing your foods based on the results of nutritional analysis, while it may help you become aware of your health needs, does not help you to know food intimately, which is where true health lies.  It is not the beta-carotene found in squash or carrots that makes these vegetables important food choices.  Vitamin C is not a valid reason to eat citrus fruits, nor should lycopene be the reason for eating tomatoes.  For a medical professional or other dietary professional to prescribe or suggest to someone an isolate nutrient like those just mentioned is quite a shame, for it helps no one.  

Can you imagine eating a food solely because it contains some single element that’s “good for you”?  Well, many people do.  People eat skinless chicken breast because it is lower in fat than beef, oranges because they contain vitamin C, salad because it has vitamins or enzymes, and - most absurd of all - bran because it is a source of fiber.    

Eat bran?  What about the rest of the grain?  Everything that makes it “food”?  First we are encouraged by experts to eat grain that has had the fiber removed and discarded, then the same nutritional science suggests we eat the discarded bran separately, and after years of consuming refined and processed grain we end up back where we started, with the current suggestion to consume grains in their whole form.  And then, to top it all off, a new nutritional fad sweeps the nation that discourages using carbohydrates, especially grains, altogether.  All because of a few generations that consumed refined grain products - products that became what they are through advances in nutritional science. For thousands of years, grains were consumed in their whole form or ground into meal.  There was no question of what the benefit would be if the product were stripped, isolated, adulterated, reduced, by machine or other method - because that thought is absurd.  Doesn’t take science to figure that out, but in the western paradigm, the “white coats” are the end all in nutrition and what’s “good for you”.  Why take a food that has a nutritional track record of sustaining traditional peoples for thousands of years, and through scientific “advancement” make inferior products that end up wreaking havoc on people’s health and the environment? A good question - and one we all need to be attentive to, since this has for the most part been the legacy of nutritional analysis.  Add this ingredient, take away that ingredient, lace it with preservatives....basically, screw with it until it has completely lost its original identity, its authenticity.      How about milk, because it has vitamin A and D?  Is that really a good enough reason to drink the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of three, eight-ounce glasses a day?  The positive of those vitamins hardly outweighs the negatives of pasteurization, homogenization, and lactose intolerance. Not to mention what the cow goes through.   

Nutritional concepts focus on the ingredients of a food to the point where the food itself is less important than the one or two essential ingredients it has in it.  Drinking milk for the calcium and orange juice for the vitamin C is missing the whole point of what a food is really about.  This way of looking at foods does little to help us understand how to nourish ourselves.  The concept is backward and limited to a kind of linear thinking that completely disregards essential qualitative factors.    

To truly know food, you must perceive the food as a whole, before even considering its parts.  Honor your food, eat it whole, and eat well.