Back to the basics with real, wholesome food

But it’s edible and I like it

This is probably the biggest problem we have as a society with how we feed ourselves these days. My father in-law said this earlier in the week. After I spoke with him about why we don’t have that particular food in our house. I told him I was going to use his comment in an article to help other people (and he said that was okay).

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t all have some occasional food that isn’t good for us or anything like that, I think that all things have a time and place. What we normally eat matters and I am pretty frustrated with the marketing in the world that is based on false information, marketing hype, ‘nutritionism’ or loopholes.

Before I go on let me clear up two words in my last sentence that might need to be explained. Nutritionism is the practice of taking a single scientific ingredient out of a food and claiming it is the only valuable reason for it to exist. Like saying you don’t need to eat an orange, just have some Vitamin C, or that bananas are only good for potassium. That’s just not true. Whole foods contain so much more than the sum of the parts we understand. And for the record potatoes, tomato sauce, watermelon, beets, sweet potatoes, squash and a lot of other foods have more potassium than bananas. That’s just effective marketing using nutritionism to sell you stuff – we all remember that bananas have potassium because they told us that enough times that we remember it.

Loopholes in nutrition are things like being legally allowed to call something ‘trans fat free’ or say it has ‘zero trans fat’ when in fact it does. The rule is it has to have 0.5 grams or less per serving to be declared free or zero grams. The secret then is to reduce the serving size to attain the goal of 0.5 grams knowing that nobody would eat such a small amount.

Back to the original point; so many of our favourite things are not good for us but they are ‘edible and we like them’. We live in a world of choices and that has its good an bad points. I am a huge fan of real food. I am lucky enough to have the recipe for pancakes that my grandmother gave me when I was seven-years-old. Further, when she passed away, I inherited a few of her cookbooks, one printed in 1942. It’s a prized possession. Her pancakes were made with things like eggs, butter, flour, sugar and vanilla extract. While I currently usually make much healthier food as a rule when I want a special treat once in a while we make these pancakes and they are amazing! There is no margarine, food colourings, additives, preservatives, emulsifiers, fillers, flavouring, texture gum, etc. Just real food. We serve them with real maple syrup and fresh fruit and real whipped cream that we had to whip.

Can you picture your favourite food or dessert? The smell, the taste, the amazing experience of sharing food with family. So the problem now is that you can go to a big store and buy an apple pie for example that has a picture of a grandmother-like looking lady on it and it is called ‘taste of home’ or something and it proclaims all the goodness you remember. But when you read the ingredients (and I always do), you will find that your dear old grandmother would never have had ingredients like this in her kitchen! These ingredients came from a laboratory with the sole purpose of impersonating real food in taste, texture and smell, but cheaper and with a shelf life.

Technically, it is edible, and you might like it, but that doesn’t make it food, nor does it make it something you should eat. Call me old-fashioned, but if you want a really great apple pie learn to bake one and use grandma’s recipe.

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and the owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.

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