Imagine being able to live for a couple of hours in your great grandfather’s era. Let’s say, from 1850 to 1950. Now, imagine going out to do some food shopping. Easy? Hard?
If you haven’t ever though about this scenario before, it may be difficult to guess how it would be. For sure, you wouldn’t find any frozen products, no salads wrapped in plastic bags, no ready meals, no fizzy drinks, no tetra pack milk, no alternatives to milk such as almond, coconut or quinoa drinks, no yogurts with thousands of flavours and no supermarkets whatsoever. Yes, you read it correctly. There were no supermarkets at that time and no strangers cooked your food. Open markets and independent family shops shaped cities, towns and villages for many centuries in the past. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were generally made by women of the house.
Supermarkets and diseases
However, when supermarkets first appeared, the physiognomy of cities started to change by destroying thousands of small business at first. Secondly, the escalation in so-called Western diseases started to manifest: diabetes, cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Obviously, supermarkets didn’t and don’t force anyone to buy any of their many ultra-processed unhealthy products that they display on their shelves. Health authorities were and are involved in this process too.
This transformation of the food business was sold to the public as progress and better future for humanity. Nevertheless, over the years supermarkets have clearly taken over our great-grandparents’ role, because it is them that cook your food now. Think for a second: how many times you buy ready meals from big supermarket chains in a week? Or, how many times your order a take away in a week? How many times you cook from scratch in a week? In other words, if you don’t cook your food it means that you have totally lost control of what is on your plate. Too much salt? Not enough salt? Too much sugar? How many E-numbers? How many preservatives? How many unpronounceable names?…
Of course, it is good to go out for lunch, dinner or even buy some take away from time to time. But, if that’s your daily routine, then there is a high risk that you will develop some chronic disease. Obviously, it’s not the same to eat in an average burger place or in a restaurant that prepares meals with truly fresh food. Do you know for how many years a burger was frozen before it reached your mouth? Easily for many years.
Ready meals, increasing
The figures in the latest 2017 report by Cancer Research UK (1) speak loudly. Adults in the UK eat at least 79 million ready meals and 22 million fast food and takeaway meals every week, according to figures published 3 years ago. The organisation warned of the high cost of convenience foods on health – larger waistlines increase a person’s cancer risk. While there are not updated numbers, there is equally nothing that shows that this trend will not stop in the future.
It is an unhealthy trend that will surely make a lot of people sick, while ready meal companies keep reinventing and presenting themselves as a healthy option. Effective and aggressive marketing, attractive packaging and funded “nutritionist gurus” are ruining people’s life. If there is a key point to secure victory for food companies, it is the misinformation. Sending thousands of messages to consumers, it’s a win for them: less, sugar, no added sugar, no added additives, recommended by schools, done in a traditional way are some of “innocent” messages with a clear purpose: to confuse people and consequently destroy their health. Cook your food, control each ingredient that your put in your body and gain health. No one will put passion and love in your meals apart from you. Enjoy!