How to make informed food decisions
By: Archana's Kitchen
With all the media talk going on these days about Processed Food, MSG Added Food, Organic Foods, Genetically Modified Food and more, a lot of us blindly follow the bandwagon without taking time to understand what food is all about to our body and mind.
Apart from understanding food, we also have added an additional complexity into our lives of various diets for whatever different reasons it could be. I simply am not able to keep track of the diets that are floating around.
A lot of the nutritional information, I would say misinformation about nutrition in both labels and media in the society has definitely overwhelmed a lot of people. People often latch on to ideas and fads because a great celebrity endorsed something, rather than going back to basics and sticking to things that are simple.
Take for example Glutamate; all the discussion that has been going around on a single most common and naturally occurring substance that we are consuming almost everyday. Did you know the human body uses a complex mechanism for converting the foods we eat into simpler compounds that provide nutrition?
The proteins we eat are broken down into amino acids. Glutamic acid is one such amino acid, derived from proteins. In fact, Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid present in the body. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) on the other hand is the sodium salt of free glutamic acid and provides a flavor function that occurs naturally in food.
I love to read and in my research I found so many interesting things that I would have never known about. Free Glutamate is also found in some of the foods we eat everyday such as cheese, mushrooms, milk, tomatoes, and chicken amongst others.
The following may also contain MSG natural flavours or seasonings:Natural beef or chicken flavouring, hydrolyzed milk or plant protein, textured protein, seasonings, soy sauce, bouillon, brothspices
The following are foods that contain Free glutamate content: Cheese,parmesan cheese, soy sauce, walnuts, fresh tomato juice, grape juice, peas, mushrooms, broccoli,tomatoes, mushrooms, oysters, corn, potatoes, chicken, mackerel, beef, eggs, human milk. (Data Source: Guardian)
So is MSG really bad for you? Those are the choices that you make. When you become aware that things like Glucamate are also naturally occurring substances then you have made an informed choice. You can read more about the well-researched article here and more debate on MSG here.
Like Glucamate there are many things which we consume and are not aware of them.So What Does It Take To Become Aware & How Do We Make The Right Choices?
1- Eat Fresh & Eat Local
The easiest way to stay on track and keep things simple is to eat local and eat fresh. Try as much as possible to get the seasonal produce, locally manufactured products and help the local ecosystem.
Chef and owner of Burdock & Co. and @harvestunion, Andrea Carlson, visits the local Vancouver markets weekly, sourcing ingredients from nearby farms and urban gardens. We visited the Main St. @vanmarkets and purchased fresh greens and veggies to bring back to @harvestunion... I'm @alisonmpage, and I'm tagging along with Chef Andrea from @burdockandco this week! #igtakeover #burdockandco #vanmarkets #local #solefoodstreetfarms #harvestunion #farmersmarket #eatlocal #vancouver
2- Understand What Your Body Needs
What you need for your body and mind cannot be determined by fads or diets. A lot of times, our body goes through changes as we progress through age. Every few years our body requirements change because of various lifestyle and hormonal factors.
If you are personally unable to find out what your body needs, a good way is to consult with a nutritionist who also has a fitness expert. Personally I feel, food is just one part to stay healthy and fit, exercise and a lifestyle change is what makes a holistic difference.3- Know Facts About foods
As much as I would like to stress that you should eat local and fresh, there are times where we have to pick up products off the shelf. And here is where your knowledge into understanding packaged food helps. And this sometimes is unclear; hence making the right food and nutrition choices is a necessary part of working towards a healthy lifestyle.
Reading the Nutrition Label behind the food packet helps you determine what's in the packet and in what quantities. The most important information to have when making a healthy choice is to find out how much total fat and saturated fat the food has. This is important because fats can contribute to an increase in your "bad cholesterol."
As much as possible I would stay away from something that has excess saturated fats and way too many chemical names that I can't understand. If you can't pronounce it then you must do your reading and get knowledge.
If you really like to understand the Food & Nutrition Labeling read more here.
4- Make Informed Choices
Understanding what you body needs in terms of nutrition, your fitness and diet are all in your hands. In this age where we lack the time to think for more than a fraction of a second. We could use some of this time to research the Internet. We can actually capitalize the information in the Internet World to get information in our fingertips about food, diets and fads that exists around.
Living a healthy and a fit life can't get easier in today's world. We have access to quality nutritionists, fitness experts, gyms, local and fresh produce delivered to our doorsteps, Internet full of recipes to cook healthy, and packaged foods to make life easier.
In all of them, all that is required is to maintain a balance and that balance is all up to you. To maintain the right balance is up to you. You know your body and mind better than I do.
Don't you think the above points are simple enough to make the right choices? Lets wake up and make informed choices in what we eat and the way we live.
Happy Eating and Healthy Living Everyone!
How to train your taste buds:
More from Archana's Kitchen:
Curried Sweet Potato Mexican Fajita Recipe
Weekly Kids Lunch Box Recipes & Ideas
Pesto & Paneer Stuffed French Toast Recipe