Here’s a fact for you. The typical American vegetable travels 1,500 miles before ending up in someone’s belly. That is no freak of geography or slackness in transportation – but in order to keep it fresh, it needs to be preserved. Usually, this involves picking unripe produce, slathering it in preservatives (often using irradiation) and using methods to ripen it during transport.
So think of it from the farmer’s perspective. It’s going to be chemically preserved anyway, so why not use all sorts of synthetic or chemical fertilizers to enhance the total harvest? Can’t blame them for enhancing their yield, but by the time it makes the plate it will have been far from what was naturally grown. There are countless studies comparing natural fruit & vegetables compared to those mass farmed. Every single one notices a considerable depletion in vitamins and minerals in the latter. Yet those vegetables are marketed as being ‘fresh’ – but they are certainly not natural.
Obviously, this process is essential for feeding people. We cannot all spare the time or space to farm our own veggie patch! But you’d be surprised how many local farms there are delivering genuine produce into even the most densely populated cities. The reason why they tend to be more expensive is that they are premium quality and totally unadulterated. That means a superior product with a shorter shelf life.
But what does this mean for our health? The FDA is brutal when it comes to maintaining standards on what is permissible and not in food production. But that doesn’t mean that the product on the grocery stand is anywhere close to being natural. That tomato may look lovely and rosy, but it could have been so much more.
The same is true when it comes to meat. Compare an organically farmed, naturally fed rooster to a mass-produced chicken. The color alone gives away the difference. Natural meat production involves not just the positives of animal welfare, but also all organic, hormone- and GMO-free feeds. They are free to roam – making more tender meat – see the sunshine and enjoy clean housing. However, a typical ‘battery farmed’ bird will never have anything like that lifestyle, pumped full of hormones to encourage artificial growth and fed fake food. For a few dollars more, the unpolluted bird is going to offer far healthier meat.
Cattle experience a similar process, as do pigs, lambs and pretty much anything that ends up in easily accessible processed foods. Even eggs from battery birds will have residual amounts of chemicals, be far smaller than natural and as such be underdeveloped and lower in nutrients. But when fried up and placed on a plate – who notices the difference? Well, perhaps it’s time to wonder a little deeper about the source of what you eat because it is possible to dine naturally for the same cost – by reducing your wastage.