Sunday, 18 March 2012

Free From....

Captain Kid and Flash have recently been listening to Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds (yeah, I know that link doesn't take you to the original).  Reading through the narrative, this line caught my attention,

  • Directly the invaders arrived and drank and fed, our microscopic allies attacked them.  From that moment, they were doomed.
The pertinent point here is that the diet of the martians was well ahead of their ability to adapt.  This very theme was a subtext to this week's 'Food Program' on Radio 4,
  • There's been a huge growth in the range of 'free from' foods over the last decade. Sheila Dillon asks whether this is due to more people being diagnosed with food allergies, or whether retailers and manufacturers are finding their own ways to grow consumer interest in dairy and gluten free foods. 
My mantra for some time has been to avoid foods that have the same name globally, and specifically to avoid any food that can change its nutritional stripes to reflect the dietary wisdom of the day.  Any food with the words 'low' and 'reduced', and even 'added', 'improved' or 'fortified' just pass me by.  It looks like I can add 'free from...' to the list.  Food is what it is - it shouldn't swap horses mid stream, but that is the elephant in the room.  When we look at the foods we are advised to eat, that is EXACTLY what they do.  Ergo, they are not food.

The press release accompanying The Food Program carried some great comments including this insight,
  • The experts believe as new foods are developed and adopted new allergens will develop. 
Hell yeah!  And Kristian Bravin make an acute observation about the nutritional profile of our diet,
  • "People in the UK are eating a much higher level of wheat-based products," says Kristian Bravin. "People are often eating wheat-based foods (such as bread or pasta) three times a day."
Of note is a wider acceptance of how our diet has changed and whether technological improvements in our diet are actually making things better,

  • Our diets have changed more since the 50s than they have in the last 2,000 years and even more so in the last three decades.
    And this, says Bravin, is the background to many of the theories about the rise in food allergies.
    There has been a massive decrease in Vitamin D in our diets from fish, eggs, and grass-fed animal products, which has already been linked to some cancers and cardiovascular problems.

    We have also switched from eating butter and other saturated fats to consuming lots of vegetable oils in margarines and processed foods - a development some scientists believe is also involved in stimulating the immune system in a way that can cause damage.
Can't be long before a lot of these dots are connected.  Pay the farmer of pay the doctor.  Remember that by the time you are in the hands of the medical community it is probably already too late!

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