Whilst we think we are watching what we eat – we are reading labels, we are buying from farmers markets, we are experimenting with different types of food combinations – are we really watching our food? Are we incorporating all our senses, particularly the mind, but also really seeing, tasting and smelling what we eat? I would suggest perhaps not enough. I am really noticing a big difference in the appearance of fruit and vegetables. I keep casting my mind back to the fruit and vegetables I had when I was growing up in NZ, and how long they used to keep – both in and out of the fridge. The real test is watching what happens to a fruit or vegetable when you leave them out. Just last week I had a pumpkin that I had cut a slice from and then had sitting on the bench. After a few days I noticed it had grown a clear, sack-like protusion within the area in which it had been cut, that when burst let loose a stream of clear liquid. Then some beetroot I had purchased gained a white fungus-like appearance on its skin, also about a week after being left on the bench. Of course to keep these vegetables crisp and tasty they should have been refrigerated, but it is interesting to watch what happens when you don’t. Even rotting fruit and vege seem to be taking on a different guise.
And then of course, there is the size. Now this one I just don’t get. Earlier today I was watching a video (from somewhere in the US) that was advocating the ingestion of regular fruit and vege in your diet, and the film showed a woman holding a capsicum which was significantly larger than her hand. Really, that was no longer a capsicum, it had morphed into a completed different species. But enough of my personal opinion and diatribe. Basically the main rule is to eat whole foods and not packaged foods. However if you do find you need to have some packaged foods available (for those days when you’re rained or flooded in) here are some tips:
- Choose packaged foods that have fewer than five ingredients
- Try not to purchase foods that have sugar in them. This includes organic cane juice, honey, agave, maple syrup, cane syrup, or molasses
- Don’t eat foods that contain high fructose corn syrup
- Don’t eat anything that has hydrogenated on the label
- Don’t eat anything that includes ingredients you can’t recognise
- Don’t eat foods that contain preservatives, additives, colourings, dyes or artificial sweeteners
But going back to the fruit and vege, growing your own is always going to be the best option, but if you have to purchase ‘elsewhere’, try to really notice the differences between the same foods. It can be quite surprising. Oh, and my tip for the latest and best nutritional food, purple carrots! When I first came across these beauties I thought they were hybrids, but they are actually a true vegetable. In fact (according to my research), orange carrots were originally purple and grown for medicinal purposes. It was only when a group of Dutch breeders used a mutant seed in the 16th century that the orange variety began its rise to prominence.
But more recently, Professor Lindsay Brown of The University of Queensland has validated that the Australian-grown purple carrot will surpass blueberries as the most powerful food on this planet. This vegetable has double the level of beta-carotene than the orange variety and contains 28 times more anthocyanins, which means, majorly more anti-inflammatory properties. So look out for them and happy eating!