Written by Denise Tam, Holistic Nutritionist
When I was diagnosed with cancer, I started to be more conscious of where my food was coming from and what I was putting in my body and on my skin. When I started digging deeper into our food system, I realised that our system is severely flawed and that we have all become disconnected with the food that is served on our table. Our top soil now is depleted and we are growing food that is void of nutrients.
Life is the difference between dirt and soil.
The entire food chain is made by bacteria in the soil. We grow life from the bacteria in the soil. Just one tablespoon of soil contains 6 billion microorganisms. But industrial farming is chemical intensive, using pesticides and chemicals and also GMO and monocrop farming which doesn't allow for our soil to regenerate. All of these kills the biota in the soil and this is where our soil just becomes lifeless dirt.
On the other hand, nutrient rich soil is full of life. Good soil can hold 25,000 gallons of water per acre, reducing risk of drought and flood. Plants can absorb Co2. Carbon is fed to the roots of the plant and so plants can act as a storage container of atmospheric carbon. Enough healthy soil can offset almost all greenhouse gases on the planet.
With true regenerative agriculture we cannot only feed the world but can reverse climate change.
It’s not just about planting more plants and seeds. It’s about doing it right. Our consumption of almonds for example, which is not fed to livestock by the way, is as much a contributor to our environmental degradation as raising animals for food. Almonds from California are monocrop almonds which means that instead of rotating different crops to naturally restore the nutrients and vitamins that are found in the soil, monoculture farming causes the same nutrients to diminish from the ground. Nitrogen is a key nutrient in crop growth. Plants, like soy, are able to “fix” nitrogen from the air back into the soil, where a crop like corn cannot. If you do not rotate between nitrogen-fixing plants and non-nitrogen-fixing plants, the soil will be depleted of this vital nutrient.
In the case of bees, pesticides have been named as the number one cause of bee colony collapse as we rely on the bees to pollinate our almond blossoms that we grow for our almond butters, almond milk and gluten free almond meals.
Did you know that our soils have lost an average of 80% of their minerals in the last century?
The Nutrition Security Institute showed that between 1914 and 2014, soils became majorly depleted of vitamins and minerals. And this is impacting the nutrition of our foods — which contain less iron, zinc, protein, calcium, vitamin C, and other nutrients than they did in previous generations.
Nutrient Dense not Diets
In our age of efficiency with technology we should be eating efficiently too. Food for Life doesn’t follow trending diets, though they have its place in healing. We want to go back to supporting the regeneration of the entire ecosystem so that our bodies can also regenerate. If we simply follow, say the vegan diet, without looking into where and how our food is grown, it’s not doing much good for the planet or our bodies over time.
Read Denise’s dissection on fake meats in A critique of Impossible Meat & Beyond Meat - Looking at Nutrition, Sustainability and Ethics
If it's not a health epidemic it’s an environmental one that is intertwined with our health- health of our planet reflects our health - and we are a very sick nation.
This is why we are careful in choosing all of our products. For example:
Our collagen line is made from pasture raised cows. Industrial farmed cows, not only lack nutrients, but they include a lot of hormones, antibiotics and they are one of the largest contributors to green house gases. Pasture raised, grass grazing cows can provide valuable natural fertilizer for the pasture and crops and are actually a key part in our ecosystem, not to mention can provide much richer nutrients for us and our soil.
Our gluten free bean pastas are not just gluten free, it’s high in protein and fibre making it nutrient dense unlike other gluten free pastas that are often predominantly rice based. The brand also works with local farmers in their native region and gives back 2% of their proceeds to the farmers.
Our almonds from Organic Traditions are sure to be non-monocrop almonds from small farms in Italy that adopt organic practices.
These are just a few examples of the thought and care our brands place into their creations. We may not all take up farming, but as the saying goes, we can always vote with our wallets.
We may be eating similar-looking crops to what was around in the early 1900s, but nutritionally speaking, it’s a bit like empty shells of what these foods once were. And this is why we believe in the need for supplementation. Unfortunately it’s difficult to backtrack and it will take years to bring life back into our soils - though it doesn’t mean we should continue killing it.
Multivitamins are a good way to cover our bases and fill in the gaps where our food may be missing. Our chosen supplements are optimised for absorption and vary between natural derived or bio-identical depending on your preferences. We also understand there are specific needs for children, men, women and during pregnancy and offer options for those too.
We all have the same resources and we all share the same resources. If we’re pursuing equality, at the very basic level, we should be making sure everyone can eat, and for us in the developed world it means, eating meat less and eating less in general.
Everybody eats and can be part of the solution.