The food industry says it has never been so safe, healthy and closely monitored as it is today. It is true that it has made considerable progress with, for example: Pasteurization – which has made it possible to obtain milk free of tuberculosis pathogens without reducing the vitamin content; Preservation – with preservatives that protect food from rapid deterioration and fungal attack; and Freezing – which has made mass production of food possible; so that today everyone can eat for relatively little money.

But the refinement of raw materials and the very long shelf life that allows food to be transported farther than ever before have made food production so far removed from traditional cooking that consumers lose track of how their food is made. So the industry is perhaps more controlled but not so transparent…

The food industry

The actual problem is that in most households, people hardly ever cook fresh food anymore because of pre-packaged foods that are cheap and easy to prepare. It makes sens, because in some European countries the market offers about 30,000 new food products per year. All of these ready-to-use foods come in aluminium packaging, pouches or cans. And of course all these products undergo complex processing and receive numerous additives thanks to state-of-the-art technology.

Pre-packaged foods

Industrially produced food no longer owes its fresh colour to nature, but to dyes and colour additives. If you knew what you had on your plate, you would be surprised… For example, a citizen of Central Europe consumes about eight kilos of preservatives per year… Not to mention flavour enhancers, flavourings, separating agents, colourings, packaging gases and fillers. Speed, convenience and practicality are the basis for prepared food! So allow the chemicals industry to cook for us is not really a good idea. Because food is no longer boiled, stirred or cooked, but isolated, optimized or modified.

Let’s explain: conventional ingredients are broken down into small (modified) units, then processed, stored and reassembled. For example, butterfat or vegetable fats are used in ice cream instead of cream. Milk proteins and sweet whey powder are used instead of milk. Instead of pure flour, a mixture of wheat and soy flour, emulsifiers and other ingredients are used. As a result, the farmer has become a supplier of raw materials which are then “refined” in the food industry. The incredible wealth of natural substances is then used in modified or replicated form as ingredients for the brave new world of food that is moving further and further away from nature.

Artificial taste

This phenomenon does not only affect young people but most families living in cities. This leads to the fact that more than 3/4 of the food produced in Central Europe is processed or refined industrially. This means that we just have a little of the precious starting ingredients in our plates… For many foods, the natural taste is extracted and then processed without being able to recognize it. It is often assembled with chemical additives, which gives it an artificial taste. It’s to make you lose your appetite… For example, for the famous strawberry flavour found in many products such as yoghurt or certain cakes, the industry uses about 50 substances that will be found in the basic food… Instead of laboriously and expensively extracting the original aroma from the real fruit, the industry leaves it up to fungi and bacteria to produce substances with a similar taste in fermenters.

To produce the peach flavour it uses the yeast-like fungus Sporobolomyces odorus. For the coconut flavour it uses the earth fungus Trichoderma viride. For the aniseed and honey smell, it is the tree fungus Trametes odorate. Sawdust and sewage sludge are also used as raw materials for “natural” flavouring substances.

It’s up to us

So even if according to food legislation, natural flavourings must be present in nature, they can be produced differently. This is where the nuance comes in. In fact, naturally identical flavouring substances are nothing more than artificial flavourings that imitate the flavours of nature. They only pretend to taste natural. Because they are cheap and widely available, they help to increase turnover.

So we, the consumers, are the ones who must take action: the food industry says it wants to improve the health and taste of food by adding individual ingredients. In many circumstances, however, these have a different effect from the components of natural foods. Let’s take beta-carotene, as an example. Epidemiological studies in Europe have long claimed that this provitamin protects against lung cancer. Food manufacturers then mixed it into all kinds of foods and drinks, presenting them as good vitamins, especially for smokers. But later it turned out that smokers who consumed high doses of beta-carotene were more likely to develop lung cancer.

It’s because of all these extremes situations that certain currents such as paleo-nutrition are totally opposed to industrially processed foods.

On the road to a healthy diet

If you are able to listen more carefully to your body and focus more on it, you may wonder what you really want to eat . You’d be surprised that it’s not unhealthy food. On the contrary, your body will rather signal a craving for foods that are part of a healthy diet such as vegetables, fruit or fish. Trust your body because it is perfectly capable of telling you what it needs. Unfortunately, many people forget to listen to that inner voice. So it is important that each of us work on ourselves to learn how to do it again and we will see that we no longer have to worry about poor nutrition.

Eating well

Indeed, to be healthy you have to eat well. With a healthy diet it is possible to effectively prevent high blood pressure, vascular diseases and thus a heart attack or stroke. To do this, adopt a low-calorie diet by reducing your intake of fats and cholesterol.

Advices

        • Eat lots of fruit and vegetables
        • Cook vegetables gently
        • Eat fruit with their skin
        • Make sure you get vitamins A, C and E:

– Vitamin A: Carrots, liver
– Vitamin C: blackcurrant, rosehip, parsley, paprika
– Vitamin E: almonds, wheat germ, linseed and sunflower oil

        • Eat products rich in fibre: wholemeal products, potatoes, cabbage, bananas, beans
        • Avoid pastries, chocolate, sausages, meat, butter, cakes,..
        • Eat four to five small meals spread over the day instead of two to three large ones. This will reduce your hunger and prevent your blood sugar level from going on a roller coaster ride
        • Use vegetable oils and foods low in fat and cholesterol (e.g. fish or poultry)

Tips to follow

If you eat healthier you’ll probably lose a few extra pounds. In case you don’t succeed to listen to your body in the beggining, we offer you 5 tips to follow to steer you towards a healthy diet:

Check your motivation

There must be good reasons for wanting to eat healthy. If it’s because someone told you that you’re too fat or because you want to do like your best friend who lost weight, it won’t work well. You’ll be back to normal in no time. You have to be convinced that eating lots of fruits and vegetables is only good for your health. You lose your extra pounds for your own benefit, because they relieve your body. Less mass pressure on the joints, for example, reduces the risk of osteoarthritis. And less risks for health due to reduced overweight. If you weigh less, you are also much more mobile and active and your quality of life increases. Only when you recognize these health benefits will you be able to maintain a healthy diet over the long term.

Eat at the right time 

If you have become accustomed to eating prepared meals, suddenly wanting to prepare your food fresh will bring about a significant change in your daily life. This takes time and also some organizational skills. If your life is already very busy at the moment, this may not be the right time to completely turn your menu upside down. Maybe it is better to wait a little longer and then you will have the time and pleasure to try many healthy home recipes. Start with small things: make sure you eat fruit at least five times a day. And try to eat less desserts and animal fats in general.

Positive attitude to life

Remove negative statements from your conscience, such as “I don’t want to be fat anymore” or “I don’t want to be unpleasant anymore”. Think positively, such as “I want to live a healthy life” or “I want to lose weight”. In this way, you signal to your subconscious: “I like myself”. And if you like yourself, it is easier for you to do something positive for your own health.

Set realistic goals for yourself

You can’t expect to lose masses of pounds in a short period of time. You have to be patient. Even if you’ve only lost one or two pounds in a month, you will be rewarded. Maybe you’ll buy a smaller size of clothing.

Have support

A big part of life works better when you are not alone. If you want to lose weight, get advice from a nutritionist, for example. Or join a weight loss group where you can exchange ideas with like-minded people. Get to know people, maybe make new friends.