‘It’s better to pay the grocer than the doctor’
I was struck recently by the above quote, which is an old Italian saying, that goes really close to summing up my attitude to life. Apart from being a sceptic on the virtues of areas of modern medicine, in it’s simplicity there’s a whole lot implied that goes unsaid. Not rushing things for example, or support the small businessperson rather than the rich guy. Of course though, the obvious connection is that if you eat healthily then you’ve no need for the doctor – rather like ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ – although the Italians seem to take a broader approach than the Anglos.
The saying may have worked 100 years ago, nowadays I think the saying ‘it’s better to pay the supermarket than the doctor’ is a little more problematic. The food industry is a massive profit-making machine – and to provide food for everyone and dividends for shareholders they are compromising our health. Changes like speeding up production rates, genetically modifying crops, feeding animals to animals, or adding unneeded chemicals are subtly altering the end food product in damaging ways.
Industrialised diseases like cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes are not solely related to high junk food diets, there’s bad things in most of the food you buy in the major supermarkets as well. Food we all buy and consider healthy when doing so.
Eating healthily so you don’t need to pay the doctor is harder than it seems – bread is no longer just flour, yeast and water; butter often gets substituted for margarine, a grey-black product that starts as the leftovers from vegetable oil production and is injected with air and colours and flavourings to make it appear like butter. The examples are endless.
Above all else though, the main areas that should concern everyone are animals and animal products – the most unethical section of the industry. It’s no great surprise that the rates of those first world diseases have risen with the amount of animal products we are consuming.
The first step towards reversing these trends does not need to be vegetarianism – many of you will be happy to know – but finding out what has happened to your meat, fish, eggs, milk etc before it got to your grocer. I urge you to do it! This means a bit of reading, and probably paying a little more for the sake of your health. You’ll be able to read my thoughts or research from time to time on this blog as well.
An easy, immediate, non-research choice is to buy organic. This may not have been the original motivation of the Italians’ saying, but it certainly rings clear in today’s gastronomic world.
Small Habit Change – Read more about the food you eat, make sure you know where it comes from. Try for once a week, learning about something new each time. Become an informed consumer.
A few links on the above topic….