Local Heart, Global Soul

July 5, 2012

Taking Back Control Over What’s in Your Food…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You are still leafing though the pages of my journal as I retrospectively detail our travels to New Zealand during December 2011 and January 2012.

I’m delighted to have discovered a wonderful organics shop in the small town of Maungaturoto and after explaining that I have a blog, am a foodie and have a deep interest in promoting the good news of small businesses making a positive difference in their communities,  the owner was delighted to let me take as many photographs as I wanted and for me to feature her business here.

As usual I didn’t waste any time getting clicking and asking as many questions as possible.  One of the food problems that has seen a massive rise in people suffering from gluten intolerance.

I knew a few rough facts about gluten: it comes from wheat and from my few attempts at bread making I knew that kneading the dough releases the gluten and in theory (if only I could get it right) would help my bread rise nice and high in the oven and produce a light fluffy texture inside the loaf.

Then some years back,  a long time Christchurch friend and her husband extended their family buy taking on long term care of a foster child… who turned out to suffer from Coeliac’s disease and can not tolerate gluten.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

When their family and ours ate together it became apparent that gluten is in many products where you would least expect to find it and this young girl’s diet was far more limited than I ever expected. Did you know that soy and tomato sauce or ice-cream have gluten in them?

No? I  didn’t either. Apparently it’s stabilising agent and as such is added to a whole host of  food products, and my friend has had to become a label vigilante in order for this child to not have severe adverse reactions to things she eats.

Like asthma, the occurrence  of  Coeliac disease seems  to be rising at an alarming rate, especially in children, so finding certified and trusted gluten-free products is fast being a necessity for many families rather than a supposed fad amongst a few people that society first supposed were getting a little too fanatical about their food.

I hear that the demand for gluten free products in the shop is rising, and probably as word gets out about this new business, more people will come and shop here, knowing that they can get everything from their gluten-free flour and general gluten-free products and baked goods under one roof.

I also discover something close to my heart: organic cleaning products, something I’m currently experimenting with since several commercial washing powders and most commercial cleaners wreck havoc on my lung condition and asthma.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I have also sported the “bloated lobster” skin reaction look after trying many  new commercial soaps and make-up products,  so I’m delighted to find an entire range of organic cosmetic product and toiletries here too.

It’s nice to see that a shop like this has won an award for Excellence, it becomes instantly clear that the owner shares my concerns about what the food industry is hiding in our food and that an ever increasing number of people are wanting to cook “from scratch” with healthy ingredients so that they can regain some control over what’s in the food they are eating.

Sadly gone are the days when we can just assume that the corporate food giants have our best interests at heart when they sell us their products as time and again investigations are proving that tricks like adding sugar to products that never traditionally contained any is causing many people’s bodies to become addicted to sugar. This has a knock-on effects of making healthy diets hard to stick to and obesity an epidemic.

Himself and one of our friend’s severe reaction to the pine-nuts that I documented in yesterday’s post tells me that even one simple product obviously contains much more than is first apparent, and that financial profit is a bigger motive for decisions within the food industry than concern for the health of the customers who consume it.

Getting “back to basics” as a home cook is the first step of re-taking control of  our waistlines, our blood pressure and our own life expectancy, but we also need to recognise the need to be very careful that we are not cooking from scratch with tampered ingredients,  and  therefore lulling ourselves into a false sense of security that we are getting healthy when we might not be.

Clearly ditching the supermarket is going to be near impossible, but at least having a greater awareness and changing our lifestyles one tiny product at a time should be possible both on a financial and practical level.

This place and places like it are a brilliant resource for getting back to basics with safer ingredients…  so let’s take a look around…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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