Do we know what we are eating?

As I was cleaning my kitchen shelf this morning my stored asofetida caught my attention. It had 30% maida. The package that caught my attention was the one I bought in my hometown Chennai. I was happy that finally Indian products were starting to have the ingredient list. I checked my current package which was bought in Jakarta and was suprised to see how it’s ingredients were described differently. Wheat starch sure sounds healthier than maida. 

This is not something I use in large quantities but it triggered my topic for today, What are we eating?
Having grown in the villages of India where fresh unadultared produce was freely available, I can spot the difference. I miss the tastes of my childhood. I remember how plain stirfried cabbage with just a green chili and salt would tickle my senses. It was never my favorite but I still loved it.  When I was small I was annoyed when my parents would buy only fresh local produce. They would tell me the other did not taste well. Today it’s my turn, they were right!!!

When the milk powder and margarine have palm oil, mock chicken and lamb have no trace of chicken and lamb, not sure where the chicken and lamb on the menu is actually real or mock, when the rice and egg we eat have plastic and the beautifully gorgeous looking vegetables have absolutely no taste because they maybe  genetically modified, going organic may seem the safe bet. 

I’m sure that all the organic products, you get in the market is 100% organic? We can be sure only if  we grow and produce everything we eat ( I know people who are doing that). Is this the life we want? Secondly the organic and good quality produce available in the markets are so expensive that even if we are aware there is the question of affordability?  So where do we draw the line? Some tips to reduce the harm we cause ourselves. 

1. Have kitchen gardens when space is available. 

2. Whenever possible prepare everything from scratch, including sauces and spice powders.  Homemade French fries are better than the ones we pick on the go.

3. Buy good quality produce whenever possible and available.  We need to realize not everybody can afford the best so never look down on people who are not eating like us.            When calculating costs include the medical costs incurred because of our bad eating habits.

4.  Just because it’s organic doesn’t mean its the best unless I have grown it.

5.   Just because it’s vegetarian doesn’t mean its better. According to me butter is still healthier than margarine. Chicken is better than mock chicken. 

6.  Just because the package says it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s not artificially flavored. I was amused when I bought a natural flavor microwave popcorn which was artificially flavored. 

7. A longer shelf life means it’s likely to have a lot of preservatives.

8. Too much of anything is bad. It’s about balancing.

9. Above all trust your instincts and taste buds, they usually don’t lie!

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