Food for Thought

We seem to forget that we human beings are a species of animal, and for optimal wellbeing we need to live in harmony with the land and the seasons. If we do, we can provide ourselves with a natural fresh diet. We then have the potential to live as healthy vital beings, when we deviate from that diet our health declines.

In these modern and convenient times we have what is now called the diseases of affluence- heart disease, diabetes, depression and the list goes on. These are largely reversible illnesses that clog our bodies, our health system and cost our community millions of dollars each year.

We are choosing highly processed foods loaded with extra sugars, fats, preservatives, chemical flavours and colours. These foods are then bar-coded and over packaged. Take away and drive-through foods do not have the nutrition of fresh foods. This food is so easily digested it does not give the signal to the brain that we have eaten enough, so we over eat. Australia was recently identified in the news as the most obese nation. Not the type of gold medal we are after.

Many of us now eat a diet lacking seasonal variety and freshness. Instead we eat convenient foods mass produced in factories, or if fresh, flown from around the world. Do we know what processes the food has gone through to get here, or how fresh it really is? Affluence is creating too many choices. We are all so busy we go for what seems as the easiest option not the healthiest.

Here in the Yarra valley to have access to locally grown fruit and vegetables of the world’s highest quality. Even now in the midst of winter we still can buy fresh from local producers at very reasonable prices. It is the season for cauliflowers, silver beet, cabbages, carrots, potatoes and local apples and pears. All heart and soul winter foods. A simple but varied diet of mostly fresh fruit and vegies, with some lean meats and fish, eggs, whole unrefined grains, nuts and dairy products will give us the best opportunity for the body to gather all the necessary vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids to keep us in optimum health.

When we eat locally produced seasonal fresh foods the environment benefits. It decreases the foods global footprint, an issue that is becoming more relevant as we become increasingly more aware of the earths limited resources and global warming. It supports the local grower, decreasing their costs so more of the money earned goes directly to their pocket.

Some primary schools are creating gardens to teach children about quality food. It is connecting the importance of fresh grown food to the seasons of the earth and human kind. Community gardens are becoming a popular idea connecting food and community to improve health and well being. Celebrity T.V chefs are not presenting gourmet foods but simple and earth connected food ideas

Food is central to celebrations. We all enjoy celebrating with family and friends. It is o.k. to indulge even in junk food on occasion but not for it to become a habit, enjoy without guilt. But remember the body prefers gathering the necessary elements for optimum health from a varied intake of fresh seasonal foods.