Dear readers, if you want to keep enjoying candidly your fresh tomatoes and your apricots during this hot month of July, please, quit this article. Now. I warn you.
I watch TV sometimes, but I don’t let it on all the time. I plan to watch specific TV shows, movies and documentaries according to the TV program and what I feel like watching. Lately, I’ve been very passionate about consumerism. I appreciate to get more information about what I eat, what I buy and how my way of living is impacting my environment, economically or environmentally. That is a good thing because during the past weeks in France, we had many documentaries on those related topics.
A documentary aired a couple of weeks ago on vegetables and their nutritive qualities. I learnt that fruits and vegetables that we eat nowadays are getting poorer and poorer nutrients quantities. The TV show exposed a certain amount of numbers by comparing the nutritional value of some fruits and vegetables from 50 years ago and their values today. Some researches I made online confirmed those facts and, to give you an idea, here are some examples:
- Apples lost 99% of their vitamin C. You would need to eat 100 apples today to get the same amount of vitamin C you could have had 50 years ago.
- To get the same amount of vitamin A we had in one orange, we should now eat around 21 oranges.
- Meat nowadays contains twice less iron than half a century ago.
- Calcium in broccoli? Divided by 4 !
Those are few examples among many others, as all fruits and vegetables are impacted and the decrease of nutrients available in those products is very high.
Due to an unrestrained search for beautiful, resistant products with a long shelf-life on the market stands at the lowest production costs possible, the food industry selected varieties on criterion which do not include nutritional value. Indeed, the first source of nutrient we should have is getting worst, and it doesn’t seem to be an issue in this consumerist society.
“This concerns only low cost products, which are not organic and that come from very far away!” you would think. But, is organic cultivation really a solution? Unfortunately not. We are not talking about pesticids, fongicids and chemicals molecules (this is another cattle of fish), we’re talking about impoverished and degraded soils that no longer are able to give plants the nutrients they are looking for, thanks to intensive agriculture. Fruits and vegetables are full of water, from vivid colors but tasteless in the mouth. Premature harvesting is not making anything better, as this food hasn’t reached its full potential. Biologists and researches worked hard to create varieties of plants which give products that please the consumer visually and the producer financially. Those varieties never intended to be the best ones regarding nutritional properties and health. Those plants are now grown in dried out soils or even in soil-less conditions, diminishing even more their initial values.
Then, we found a way to produce way more than we consume without caring about what the consumer would eat. Did we win anything by producing more and more? What is the point to eat more than 50 years ago when what we consume is giving us way less to our bodies? Will we have to eat small vitamin pills made by pharmaceutical companies to keep alive at some point?
The thing is, I didn’t need to watch this documentary to realize that all tomatoes are not equal. Lately, I’ve been buying organic, locally produced fruit and vegetables. And I can tell the difference. They taste better, they are less watery and a big bowl of freshly prepared vegetables can let me feel nourished for a decent amount of time in the day. I can feel perfectly fed with a salad and small piece of bread. It was not possible with the old products I used to buy in the supermarket.
What can we expect for the future? How can we imagine that this doesn’t have an impact on people, their well-being and their different pathologies? Can we imagine than some diseases are related to this in a way that a lack of nutrients and vitamins causes health issues? Is it an acceptable path to keep this way, raising the calories and decreasing nutritional properties? How can we believe that we will be able to go on and on without any damage in the future?
Is it worthless in this actual economy to spare money on food with intensive agriculture (and lowering the quality) while paying a non-evaluated amount of euros in health care systems to cure people who would get sick more easily?
Dear reader, I don’t know what is right and what is wrong, but this road doesn’t seem to be the brightest. I choose to avoid as much as possible those products that we find in any supermarket, even if they bear the organic logo. I wish I could feed myself only with my grand-mother’s garden production, the one where fruits and vegetables are grown without anything else than water and sun, far away from chemicals and harvested just hours before being in my plate. Unfortunately, she lives too far away.
Dear reader, take care.