A thing that appears to me to have contributed to the rise of "modern diseases" such as cancers, diabetes, obesity, and liver and heart diseases, is the rise of processed and convenience foods.
Now - this is not just a matter of my personal bias. The food manufacturing corporations themselves have admitted their foods cause many of these diseases, are designed to be addictive, and that they must cut corners wherever they can in order to remain afloat. (They don't all admit to all these things - but if you consider that they all do business in substantially the same way, using the same basic economics and raw materials, then by extension you can see that between them, they've pretty much all admitted to everything. Generally in roundabout and elaborately phrased ways.)
Various authors have researched these admissions and claims, have sifted through the studies, and have come to those conclusions. I came to similar conclusions myself, as I researched food and diet online and at my Library. As far as I'm concerned, these are not baseless allegations, they are proven facts.
My concern is to deal with them and retain as much of my health as I possibly can. I leave wider political ramifications to people more versed in those things.
What Processed Food Is Okay?
Pretty much none of it. Okay - there are exceptions, but if it's on a supermarket shelf or in a mass produced burger or chicken portion or loaf of white bread, it's toxic.
Tomato paste is one of the few times that a processed food might be healthier than the source wholefood. But I urge you to check the ingredients list of your tomato paste and be sure it's actually based on tomatoes and doesn't have added sugars and flavourings and so forth.
Processed flour and sugar - as long as it's unbleached flour and raw sugar, (and the usual warning to check the ingredients for additives ) then it's probably okay. Let's face it, we need flour and sugars and lipids in our diet, but we should make sure they are the cleanest and the best we can source.
Tinned goods are a mixed lot - again, I can only offer the advice to check the ingredients list. Dried beans, pasta, polenta, burghul, and so forth - you nowadays have to check that they aren't produced from GMO (Genetecially Modified Organism) stock. Same with rice and grains.
Don't fall for the hype with margarines and "spreadable" stuff - it's ALL hydrogenated fats, and when a fat is hydrogenated it becomes something else, something toxic to us. (Even if the spread is marketed as "Dairy Soft Stuff" or whatever, and claims to be made with butter - the fact of making it spreadable means hydrogenated fats are in there, and that's unhealthy.)
As soon as a food comes into demand, the producers, processors, or manufacturers have to figure out ways to make it cheaper and more plentiful. That means using inferior or GMO strains, processing by cheaper and less healthful ways, or cutting corners ("cutting" with a cheaper substitute, using cheaper processing foods with it, etc) in the processing. It's an unavoidable fact of life, and the only way you and I can avoid being damaged by this greed and negligence is to remain aware and do our research.
Best Advice Possible:
- Stay aware. - Don't let anyone in the supply chain pull the wool over your eyes. If the shop assistant won't or can't tell you where the vegetables or the fish came from, get them to call the manager. If they're evasive or don't know, then don't shop there any more, and be clear to them people concerned that this is the reason why you've withdrawn your custom from them.
- Read Labels. - If it's tinned, processed, packaged, or (sometimes) even just washed with chemicals, you want to know so that you can make an informed decision.
- Keep abreast of news. - The news often has stories about a new toxin discovered in foods, a new discovery of poor processing of food at some company or facility, and other stories of this nature. Once you know, you can make an informed decision.
- KEEP THE BASTARDS HONEST! - If you notice anything amiss about a food, tell the manager at the store concerned. Ask them to take it up with the supplier, and follow up with you letting you know what's happened. If they won't, then follow it up yourself. Food atrocities happen because no-one raises the matter or follows up. Don't let it happen to you.
- Stick to whole food ingredients. - "Whole Foods" are foods that have not been altered from their natural form. Even then, you do have to watch out for vegetables grown among so many pesticides and herbicides that the toxins are absorbed into the vegetable, animals that have been raised with antibiotics and hormones, and GMO foods that have often been crossed with totally unrelated genetic material. And of course, various washes and so forth.
These latter points are important. Here is a very incomplete list of atrocities committed on what you might have thought to be reasonable foods, in the interests of making them more "convenient":
- Carrots from pretty much ANY source taste a bit like bleach because they actually are washed with bleach that is left to dry on the carrot, to discourage mold.
- Beef is not legally allowed to be sprayed with sulfites to maintain its red colour - but it quite often is, The outlet will weigh the chances of being caught and fined against the chances of selling more meat if it looks red and appealing, and the sheer economics of the situation almost guarantees that it will happen.
- Burger meat and mince are routinely mixed with ammonia to sanitise and deodorise them.
- Flour that itself has already been treated with chlorine dioxide to bleach it, will routinely be treated with a second and sometimes a third chlorine dioxide bleaching at the bakeries, because this makes the flour stretch further and produce a fluffier dough.
- Salt is often mixed with other substances to make it flow freely and prevent clumping.
- Sugar is often "cut" with substances other than cane sugar, the most common being sugar beet sugars and high fructose corn syrup. To maintain the brilliant white product, it is also bleached.
- Raw sugar and brown sugar are often made from cheaper white sugar processed as above, and then have caramel and/or molasses and colouring admixed to make the sugar moist and brown.
So - my advice is to avoid processed and "convenience" foods as much as possible.
(If you'd like to read just ONE book about the way food is adulterated and the myriad reasons behind it, I suggest you get hold of a copy of Michael Moss' excellent book "Salt Sugar Fat - How The Food Giants Hooked Us." Use your local Library, to save a few trees...)