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Know Your Food

Know Your Food

Know Your Food

Do you really know your food?

There is a popular saying that goes “you are what you eat”. And if we don’t know what exactly we eat, we are definitely missing something. Food is as fundamental as it gets and our relationship with food has been changing every year.

I came to the US back in 2008 and just under three months I put on 8 pounds. It was shocking for my mom to see myself 8 pounds heavier. Back in India, I was never overweight and she always thought I was not eating enough. Now as I recall, outside food was limited and I was mostly eating mom made food. As I started looking around, I was introduced to a whole new vocabulary – trans fat, low carbs, high protein, empty calories and so on. ‘Counting calories while you are eating’ sounded so hollow to me but that was the way of life for the people around me. 1 pound translates to 3500 calories. Why didn’t I learn this in school and why do our parents never uttered these words? Is this generation gap? Definitely not. Is this one of the many the side effects of Nutrition Transition? Or is it a way out to compensate for US Food Manufacturing Industry?

In a developed country like US, food is a commodity and it’s not produced but it’s manufactured. Check out this video, if you haven’t already and you will know what I mean.

Have you heard of Nutrition Transition? It means eating lesser and lesser you home grown, local food and eating more and more processed, global food. Just because it’s easily available and just because we can. The actual term refers to the recent transition of developing countries from traditional diets high in cereal and fiber to more Western pattern diets high in sugars, fat, and animal-source food. — Source Wikipedia. And if you are already in a Western country, the transition has already begun. Certain fruits like watermelon, grapes, pineapples and mangoes are known as seasonal fruits in India. US supermarkets do not believe in seasonal fruits and vegetables, they only believe in customer satisfaction.

As our food system gets truly global – with producers, distributors and retailers  spanning multiple countries and continents, not to mention each having their own standards of quality, making a product available to a user and improving its shelf life have become increasingly important. That leads to more additions to our dictionary.

  • Azodicarbonamide
  • Interesterifed Oils
  • Emulsifier
  • HFCS
  • Hydrogenated Oils.

In fact as I am writing this, my Chrome browser  does not even recognize first two words. And we are supposed to know these? Well if you care, you should.

I had written about a few food scams on my earlier blog which received unexpected good response. So I am reviving the old series under the title “Know Your Food” which might change if I come up with a better one. Suggestions are welcome. It’s just an attempt to spread the word and increase the awareness of the preservatives we consume, the additives we try to digest and the food we eat. Looking forward to your feedback.

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