Pay the Grocer

‘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.

looks good, smells better!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….


5 thoughts on “Pay the Grocer

  1. great thoughts Tjorn! just finished ‘eating animals’ by Safran Foer & after checking out your link to the RSPCA I think one of the most impressive things about feeding so many animals is the amount of poop that you have to deal with. In the US alone no less than 35,000 miles of river systems have been polluted by cattle & pig excrement (the circumference of the globe is about 25,000 miles). We get what we pay for.
    keep on a bloggin’ son.

    • No kidding Coxy, unimaginable amounts of shit, although that’s a good way to try to imagine it.
      ‘Eating Animals’ is on my list to read, unfortunately the only copies in the Göteborg Biblioteket are in Swedish, and although mine has improved it’s a long way from that good. I guess I’ll come across it some time. What good stuff does he have to say?

      • MAN! this thing ain’t so good at letting you know when someone has replied to your post… in fact it forgets to tell you all together!? or maybe I just didn tick the boxes…. mmmm

        yea Safran’s book is a good deal-sealer – helps you inscribe a promise on your soul that you’ll never go near another supermarket animal product, unless you get a kick outta eating shit, mucus, hormones and antibiotics. I won’t get started on the cruelty issues dealt with, but it’s a great intro to the philosophy of animal rights & welfare. Also covers the flu epidemics past and pending, largely due to the feeding of antibiotics to factory farmed animals with every meal, essentially creating an intensive breeding program for superbugs. t’riffic.

        • No, it seems to be not-so-good, I was wondering why no-one had replied to one of my replies. I guess that check box needs to be checked everytime. Just ordered me some second-hand Safran Foer, and watched a couple of talks on the magical tinterwebs.

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