By Caroline Knight NHF-UK Executive Director
For my first article, I wanted to take a look at public attitude to food, health, and nutrition, alongside the motivations and tactics of the food corporations we so heavily rely upon.
In my experience, so many will comfortably claim the title of “health conscious individual.” But ask a few basic questions and you’ll often find that most are concerned with either the short-term effects of diet or the aesthetic results. Speak to a stranger on the street about GMO and you will likely find that few know what the term means, let alone the shocking long-term effects of such products on their body and the permanent detriment to the planet. Despite the vast range of accessible information on the ‘net, worryingly few appear to have any real understanding of nutrition and disease. “Health conscious” generally constitutes buying into the anti-oxidant marketing and cutting out a few fats from the diet. Therefore, picking up some Redbush tea from the supermarket at the same time as some lean chicken (without any consideration of where that chicken came from, what it went through, what additives it contains, and why) puts people at ease.
Supermarkets and the pharmaceutical industry are giving us some major clues as to what their motives are, yet mostly the public seems to keep the blinkers on. One example would be the buying of high-street and other natural-supplement companies to gain control of the products. It is very hard to know whom to trust. We look to one so-called authority after another, placing blind faith in branding and marketing, seemingly unwilling to think for ourselves or take any risks. The irony is that by not choosing and learning from our own experiences, we are taking risks with something we all too often fail to make our top priority – our long-term health. We don’t think to follow the money. Many of us should by now recognize that disease is big business. Perhaps we do not because over the last seven centuries we have been encouraged to regard the curing and healing of disease as a perplexing and complicated science, best left in the hands of medical practitioners. We are supplied with pharmaceutical drugs that alleviate only the symptoms and the pain of diseases, but rarely cure (and often harm). In blindly trusting “authority,” we take extraordinary risks with our health and have come to regard sickness as normal . . . “just the way it is.” It has never been more apparent than now, with so many babies and young children ill with colds, viruses, and miscellaneous physiological and mental conditions (many of which are attributed to vaccines – outside of the pharmaceutical industry, needless to say). Doctors and surgeons are not out to get us, they just don’t know any differently due to medical schools only teaching about synthetic treatments for the symptoms of actual and impending diseases rather than their prevention. Arguably, it is for reasons of profit that the industry refuses to consider the real issues of nutrition and toxicity.
Nutrition is also big business and the supermarket corporations are as guilty as the pharmaceutical industry in damaging our health. Supermarkets appear ethical by offering ranges such as “Fair Trade.” But is “Fair Trade” not an excuse for the very rich to exploit the very poor by giving them work for the lowest possible reward, then taking their products to the West to sell for maximum profits? I call this all-round exploitation. Furthermore, you only need to look at the limited range of “organic” products on the shelves. Here, organic is a loose term. Anyone who grows or buys genuine organic food from a local farm will know that there is no comparison in terms of flavor and general constitution. Also, the shelf life of these products is far less than those in the supermarket, which is a good sign that what you are eating is as close to its natural state as it should get. Supermarket labeling and branding is at best confusing and misleading.
Should we not question why we are bombarded with options for fattening, refined-sugar “treats” and junk food, often incredibly low nutritional value foods – the marketing of which is more prolific than any other type of food, and is especially aimed at our children? When the inevitable overload of chemicals and additives cause a change in childrens’ behavior, they are diagnosed as having ADD or ADHD. If these corporations had any morals regarding public health, surely what we would see on the shelves would not be sparse and extortionately priced “organic” options but a majority of healthy foods, and marketing for these things rather than unhealthy junk food?
The bottom line when approaching the above is common sense; natural over synthetic is best in every case. We live in a natural world full of natural resources, yet these are suppressed in favor of synthetic products which do not resonate with our bodies. This much is plain to see for anyone who cares to look. We either choose or are unwittingly subjected to synthetics and processed junk on a daily basis in the name of “convenience,” widely through lack of knowledge and understanding about the often simpler and healthier options. Given that convenience food is unlikely to be replaced in a hurry thanks to modern-day hectic lifestyles, it is a shame that there are not more genuine organic food providers offering convenient organic meal preparations as a healthy alternative to fast food.
The sad truth is that choosing healthy food is now a minefield and that more efforts are needed by those in the know to bring this information to the forefront. If we wish to survive this tragedy, we need to show others that they have become dependent on convenience; that they should try to look past the official story and recognise that they are the only authority; their own best doctors. We don’t have any more time to waste.