Do you know what’s in the food you’re eating? These days, even though everything is labelled and ingredients listed and some food products even claim to be able to trace their contents all the way back to source, we are even more likely to not know what we are eating.
Earlier today, some big chain supermarkets in the UK and Ireland had to admit that they had unknowingly being selling processed meat burger patties that, while the labels stated beef, contained not only pork, but also horse meat! Now, this was not their fault, as they accept the meat from various providers with whom they have a good faith agreement to provide the quality they have agreed upon. Many of these providers, in turn, obtain their meat supplies from various other sources. What we can learn from this, is the longer the supply chain, the more “contamination” can creep in.
While the health authorities assure the public that there has never been a health risk from these products, there remains a few concerns. Firstly, while some people are fine eating beef, they would never consider eating horse. It becomes an emotional or ethical problem to eat something many of us view as pets or childhood friends. Secondly, many people choose to not eat pork, whether for cultural, religious or personal beliefs. It’s true that many of these folk would only be purchasing halal or kosher meat anyway so would not be affected, but others expect to get beef when they buy beef. And thirdly, if horse and pork are sneaking in, what else have we missed that is not getting tested for? I dread to think.
The only way to get around this is to keep the supply chain short. If you are serious about quality meat, buy from a local butcher you trust. Ensure his supply comes from farms where the animals are raised organically, free range, and ethically. Want burgers? Have him mince up some good quality topside or fillet and make your own, or perhaps he can make them for you. If you make your own, you can increase the nutritional value by adding finely grated vegetables or pre-cooked lentils to the mixture. This also makes your expensive meat go further. Make them in bulk and freeze them, and you’ll always have best quality patties at your fingertips.
It’s not only meat we have to worry about. The further food is from its natural state, the more unknown the content is. Compare the label on any processed food box to what you actually want to eat. How many ingredients are in that box of heat ‘n eat whatever? Do you know what all of them are? Can you even pronounce all of them? Some of them aren’t even words, just letters and numbers that look like a chemical formula. Do you really want to eat that?
Its not easy to follow a clean diet. Admittedly, we do not always have the time or the energy to do this, but start small. You don’t have to cook everything from start, every day. When you get great quality food, cook in bulk and freeze. It’s not ideal, but it beats the alternative. Get organized with friends, each making certain dishes in bulk that you share, and everyone gets loads of different stuff. Start your own salad or herb garden. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and you have instant access to organic, fresh herbs. It works out cheaper too, so you can use the extra money for that good quality meat we spoke about.
Like anything worth doing, there isn’t a quick easy fix. But the benefits to your health are enormous, and it will be better for your children and the planet.
Let’s all respect ourselves enough to only put the very best into our bodies.