Firstly, what do I mean by Food and Food-Like Products? Surely, if it is edible, it is food; if it is not edible, it is not food. Simple, right? Well, no actually.
The problem is we are not eating food anymore, we are eating food-like products (Alejandro Junger MD)
Finding Food and Food-Like Products in the Supermarket
For the purpose of this post, I took a trip to the local supermarket – Tesco’s if you’re interested 🙂 What I was looking for though can be found in any supermarket. They are all set out the same. Veg, fruit, meat and dairy products around the periphery and all the less recognisable stuff in the middle.
Listening for the food….
Listen. Because if you listen very carefully you can hear a cacophony of voices screaming at the harried shoppers. Can you hear them? Maybe you hear ‘Fat Free!’, ‘Low Sugar!’, ‘Gluten Free’, ‘Added Fibre!’ These ‘health’ claims are so loud, most shoppers can not resist but follow: like the calls of SIRENS, who lured mariners to destruction by their singing. This metaphor becomes even more literal when you consider that these half mythical women know the specific weakness of their prey, and used it to the detriment of their victim. Those foods making the fantastical health claims? – well they are the self same foods which hinder health and contribute to the death of millions. A wolf in sheep clothing, if you will.
A chocolate biscuit which is low fat, low sugar and high in fibre…and made with milk to boot? Well, that is just too much of a temptation! A healthy chocolate biscuit! Does life get any better?
But listen again. Wander around the fringe of the supermarket. Slowly walk past the fruit, the veg, the meat and fish….all is silent here. Take a deep breath and relax. For it is here that no false promises are being made. Because these promises don’t need to be made. The apricot is not battling with the avocado to be bought. The apricot is 100% apricot whilst the avocado is 100% avocado. Both are jam packed with different but all vitally important nutrition. Because, they don’t need to boast: they are confident in their worth.
Here, there are no threats of being overwhelmed by noise and bickering between products, all claiming to be the healthiest. The shopper can take their time to select products based on their needs (not their wants) without the nagging and harrying of the middle isles.
A Definition of Food and Food-Like Products
And this is the loose division between Food and Food-Like Products. Usually, products found around the circumference of the supermarket tend to be food, whilst the products in the middle of the supermarket are generally either not food or are food-like products. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule. But it is a useful guideline.
A Clearer Definition of Food and Food-Like Products
More accurately, if it is grown and found in nature it is food, but if it is built in a laboratory it is likely to be a food-like product.
If it came on a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, leave it (Environmental and food advocate Michael Pollan – ‘In Defence of Food’)
This was revolutionary to me. Yes, I knew fruit and veg were good for me, and I also knew confectionary wasn’t. But I had always, always, thought of confectionary as food. Always. To see it now, for what it is, changed everything for me. Now, the chocolate which had always made my mouth water, did little more than make me feel rather nauseated.
Michael Pollan discusses Food and Foodlike Products
Join me tomorrow – Healthy Homeschool Living: Nutrition not Nutritionism