Dietary Info

Eat British, eat seasonal

Over the recent years we have seen an explosion of research telling us the amazing health benefits of eating certain foods can have on the human body. Much of this information is available online shared across the world for us all to read. We are learning about how certain exotic fruits, grains, nuts and more, produced in many under-developed countries, for example superfoods such as chia seeds, goji berries and pomegranates, are proven to have particular health benefits for our body and as we learn more about this, the information is mindlessly being passed on to us all to read about. It appears to me that sometimes there seems to be no stop button or control over what information gets released. In fact, perhaps someone needs to start to govern this all? How many times have we been told to eat this, to eat that, then later told us not to?

I have also realised quite recently that I too have been bought into this; cooking with exotic foods and not realising the impact this could be having on the global issue. And how many food writers are telling us to turn vegan because we need to think about climate change and how eating plant-based foods are going to help that? Whilst I agree, the western world do not eat enough plant-based foods but since when did our eating problems become those of under-developed counties?

Why should under-developed countries bail us out at the detriment of their own country and well-being?

Did you know that the top three items the millennials are buying today are hummus, avocado’s and kale? [1] Hummus and avocados are not sourced from the UK, therefore we have a major problem with the younger generations buying exotic foods in large quantities. So, whilst these foodie plant-based writers and health professionals are busy telling us to eat more of these foods because they are good for us, very few of these people are considering the global environmental impact this is having. In Mexico, the avocado industry accounts for half of the country’s wealth; making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Furthermore, illegal deforestation has become a major problem there too. [2] In Australia, fruit-picking is in huge demand. Often travellers (many of them British) will opt to pick fruit for 88 days or more to gain an extension on their holiday visa. However, recently many farms have come under scrutiny for treating pickers like slaves; forcing them to work long hours in hot conditions with no water, then sleeping in poor accommodation. If that is what it is happening in Australia, then this problem will stretch across the map. [3]

As conscious as we are becoming about the foods we eat, we therefore need to take the same approach to being conscious about where we source our foods from; controlling our demand on global produce.

So, what’s the solution? How do we prevent any more pressure being placed on developing countries because of our desire to eat unnecessary exotic foods?

I truly believe everything starts at home. We should be looking at what our own country has to offer in food production. There are many foods that we import but can actually be bought from own country. For example; did you know there is a quinoa that you can buy that is grown here in the UK? [5] Many of the spices we can grow over here; chilli, ginger, turmeric and more. And, often we are cooking with coconut oil, drinking coconut milk and water, adding coconut to beauty products but what is the effect of our demand for coconuts having on the poorer countries where coconuts are grown? Back in 2017, the ABC in Australia reported that the demands for coconuts have grown by 500% in the last ten-years, and apparently 1 billion coconut trees would need to be planted to keep up with our demands. [6] People are choosing coconut oil because they believe it is healthier to cook with, when actually there are other oils that can be locally sourced here in the UK with greater health benefits, such as our beef tallow. At this stage we have none of our own science to back it up, so this comparison is based upon research.

According to the comparison, tallow is actually better for you than coconut oil. It has less saturated fats, contains Vitamin D and Vitamin E, as well as high quantities of Choline needed for metabolism. Tallow is the fat layer found on top of the broth, we choose not to throw it out but sell it for further use, and by using it, our customers are helping with sustainability not contributing to the pollution.

In Britain, we are surrounded by an abundance of natural foods, yet we have little control about where our foods come from. The supermarkets are dominated by an abundance of world foods with many priced lower than foods sourced locally (crazy isn’t it!) There needs to be a change in the way our food is priced because so many families are budget strained so it’s an easier choice to purchase goods that are made in another country. However, if there was a change in the pricing structure, then choosing to eat locally produced foods and sticking to seasonal options, we will have a better chance of encouraging good agriculture in our own country. Farming makes up for around £10 billion towards the UK economy annually but according to government figures from 2016, only 56% of the UK population buy British made food, and the main reason for this is price. [7] Pressure needs to be put on supermarkets to reduce their profits and give back to agriculture so that the prices on British made food can be lowered, and more affordable and reachable to our entire population.

There are many whole foods that we can eat from the UK. Eating seasonal is best. On a separate blog post I will include foods that we can get hold of at different times of the year dependent on the season. Ensuring that you include bone broth and fermented drinks into your regular diet is important for many reasons, please visit my blogs on bone broth and fermentation for more information. Anyway, I am not saying that we should turn our back completely on the world food industry. Quite the contrary, I love my avocado’s, coconuts, nuts and brown rice, and I will continue to eat these foods but I don’t make it the core of my diet. There is nothing wrong in having these delicious foods in our diet but everything is about balance and moderation. If we became more mindful of where our food comes from we can also help to grow our own gut microbiome from the natures of life we are surrounded by every day. Being born and raised in the UK, there are certain aspects of nature that we have grown up and around; particularly the microbes that live with us daily. In fact, there is even science to prove that when you move to another country your gut microbes have to adjust to the new surroundings. [8] In some cases, the gut microbiome will never be able to completely change, so there is no difference to food. When we go away my attitude is always, “eat local,” so we need to apply the same principle to our own country.

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