With last weekâ€™s article I began to touch on the subject of how our perceptions of food changed over the past few decades. I did this by pointing out how food was viewed in the past.
When asked to describe food as a category past generations would very likely have used the following words:
It does not take a genius to work out that the words used above are a world away from how most of us would describe food today.
Our relationship with what we put in our mouths has been so radically altered that our forebears would probably have shaken their heads in amazement at our strange beliefs and habits.
The problem is that the changes in our perception had some pretty spectacular negative fallouts, the magnitude of which we are only now beginning to understand.
Yet understand them we must, because I firmly believe that many of our modern ailments, including many ADD/ADHD cases, can be traced back to poor food choices.
Over the next few weeks we will examine the impact of some of these choices by focussing on our modern â€˜answersâ€™ to perceptions about food listed above. This week we take a look at the wholesale abandoning of the belief that food should be natural.
It is very difficult to put something in your mouth these days without also taking in quite a few chemicals that were certainly not part of the original composition of your food source. There are several drivers behind this phenomenon. They include:
*â€˜Protectionâ€™ of food sources: Humankind has always tried to protect our food sources, this is evidenced in the fact that scarecrows date back millennia!
Modern man has taken this quest for protection much further by developing a vast array of powerful pesticides to protect food sources. Good crops resulted but at what price?
*The quest for â€˜perfectionâ€™: Our forebears knew that the shape of a tomato makes no difference to its taste or nutritional value. Apparently we are not that smart! The quest towards â€˜perfectâ€™ products not only lead to massive wastage as tons of â€˜less than perfectâ€™ food are thrown away every year, it also lead to the application of many chemically based methods to produce uniform food products.
- The hunt for profit: One of the easiest ways that a farmer can increaseprofits is through increased yield i.e. the more grain that you can harvest
from a field, or the more meat you can cut from an animal, the more
money you make. It is only a short step from this basic principle of
economics to the use of tools like chemicals and/or growth hormones to
make increased yield possible.
The result of all of this is that most of the food that we eat could hardly be described as â€˜naturalâ€™ by any stretch of the imagination. Most people are not too fazed by this fact since they realize that they are only taking in a tiny amount of a given chemical or pesticide.
The problem is, however, that they are not taking into account the cumulative effect of such products. Most of the chemicals in our diet are completely unnatural and our bodies are therefore very ill equipped to deal with them. This could result in a build up of those chemicals in our system. Bottom line: A few bites of food with minute amounts of harmful chemicals will probably not do too much harm. Thousands of bites over an extended period is another matter however!
The damage that the chemicals in our food wreak does not stop at the plate. We might be getting infinitesimal amounts but the environment isnâ€™t. Many scientists believe that the true extent of the pollution to soil and water sources caused by pesticides will affect human health for generations to come.
It is a sad irony that our societyâ€™s blind rush to an endless supply of perfect looking foods have yielded such, if you will pardon the pun, bitter fruits!
Our obsessions with wholesome looking food may have created visually appealing shop aisles but at what price?
Our grandparents used to say: â€œYou are what you eat!â€ If this is the case then most modern people need to take a long hard look at the chemical composition of what is on their plates. This is especially relevant in the case of people dealing with the effects of ADD/ADHD.
When you consider that many cases of ADD/ADHD can be traced back to defective neurotransmitter activity and that neurotransmitters are extraordinarily sensitive to the influence of â€˜foreignâ€™ chemicals it just makes sense to carefully monitor the possible sources of such chemicals. With next week article I will try to help you to step up that monitoring as we take a look at some specific examples of harmful chemicals that enter our systems through mass produced food.
I will also make some suggestions on taking back control over the chemical content of your meals.