All the research I’ve done seems to keep leading me back to one main route, which accumulates things that occurred to me following various experiences, views remembered from books or articles I’ve read or what I learned during my childhood, from parents or school.
I’ve also wondered what role my dreams play in forming new realisations. There are so many ways in which dreams are dismissed in modern life. However, books such as Original Wisdom by Robert Wolff describe what a central role they played in the lives of indigenous people. Wolff’s book, subtitled Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing, focuses on the Sng’oi tribe of Malaysia whose community only fizzled out in the 1980s.
From my review this morning and from the research for the latest data update for the prototype, it seems that two areas stand out, that would be for a specific audience, while applying to everyone.
Yesterday, I found my way to a British Medical Journal article that said how iodine deficiency during pregnancy could lead to congenital hypothyroidism and hearing loss, which I have. I don’t have children but this has given me more impetus to focus on prenatal, pregnancy and early life as a focus for Hearth.
We’ve all heard of cravings, when a pregnant woman heads to the cupboard and demolishes a cereal box, haven’t we?
In his book about food, Easyway to Stop Smoking author and creator Allen Carr wrote long before the popularity of the Paleo or Mediterranean diet about choosing real, single ingredient food and responding to the needs of the body. Carr describes pregnancy cravings as a clear request for certain vitamins or nutrients for the growing baby, not the mother, being expressed through sudden urges for unusual snack choices.
Therefore, we could look at this premise, when it comes to snacking, which can lead to weight gain, insulin intolerance and over-eating.
Many tomes have been written about over-eating and, of course, many professionals and all our friends and families think they know the answer. However, let us look at it as a symptom of malnourishment.
Half a century ago, people could buy many more of their family groceries from local independent retailers such as butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers and bakers. Allotments and kitchen gardens, plus maybe chickens or guinea fowl were not just the domain of the characters in the Good Life on TV, nor were they solely found belonging to the rich and privileged.
In my view and from observed experience, supermarkets wiped out the local greengrocer in around 2003. This was a particularly hot year when the temperature went over 30 degrees for the first time in decades. Greengrocers had to install cooling systems, which would have increased the price of their produce, perhaps gaps in trading and loss of income.
Meanwhile, supermarkets were growing – my father remembers an early Sainsbury’s store – and the swooped down their fresh produce prices. To exploit the additional costs faced by local greengrocers to keep their produce cool in the sun and to keep the flies away, supermarkets dropped their plastic packaged fresh produce prices. This put many local shops out of business as people did more big weekly shops and bought everything in one go.
During 2004, I remember hearing that Sainsbury’s had been fined £10million for price fixing their fresh produce. The power of the big retailer was taking its toll on farmers too, with supermarkets demanding aesthetically pleasing, regulation sized produce. Soil was being further depleted in the UK as successive governments cut tape in soil management regulations.
Big company accountability seemed to be withering like the loose fresh produce from the remaining greengrocers hanging in there.
This relayed a huge amount of income away from local independent food retailers into the big corporate grocery stores. In America, stories of Walmart flattening the array of local retailers kept emerging in the late 1980s, 1990s and onwards.
Today, particularly following months of lockdown, unadulterated, real, locally produced food has risen steeply in price, to rebalance the extra costs faced by farmers, who have lost their teams of pickers to protectionist government policies. Salad has escalated sharply in price as growers have been forced to waste harvests with no restaurants to supply and no farmers’ markets and many vegetable stalls closed.
Before the breakout of COVID-19, a grocery shop comprising just real food from the 11 varieties including, meat, fish, vegetables, rice, eggs, fruit and dairy would be cheaper than as many meals made up of processed, prepared and ready meals with sauces, snacks and confectionary. The former would definitely far exceed the latter in terms of nourishment, while being a smaller quantity of items.
Now, the cost of buying fresh arable produce from local shops and market stalls far exceeds meat and the same supermarket shop of junk foods.
If we imagine that human beings are cars, we know that cars run on fuel. However, this might be electricity, hybrid, diesel, unleaded or even recycled cooking oil. Depending on how the car is made, links to the fuel it requires and if it gets the wrong one, it is very likely to break down and require urgent repairs.
Our bodies are the same. The different components of the fuel – food and liquid – that we run on perform different functions and if we don’t get the foods we need, we are hungry. Also, a pregnant mother will get clear signals, in the form of cravings, to ensure she gets what the growing foetus needs.
Likewise, when we are hungry between meals, it may be a call for acidophillus or more iodine, amino acids or perhaps anti-oxidants to deal with toxins that have got into the body (i.e. alcohol, sugar etc).
I think we need to regain use of our instincts and natural responses to things. We have got so caught up in diets, opinions, indoctrinations and beliefs, that we have discarded our own self-knowledge, experience and instincts about food.
Have you bought items you have been told are ‘superfoods’ to see them gradually go off in the fridge? Likely as not, you may enjoy their taste but something tells you not to eat them. I stopped buying blueberries, melon, oats and raisins for this reason, particularly with confirmation from Langton Smith Health that I absorbed way too much sugar from these items and didn’t need fructose or carbohydrates in my diet.
Sugar intolerance is a good place to look. It is often accompanied by yeast intolerance (bread etc) and is part of our bodies’ responses to modern processed foods and hidden ingredients we don’t need, which do us more harm than even just filling us up.
On one hand, fruit, cruciferous vegetables, legumes and root vegetables have been part of a staple diet to people whose ancestors lives surrounded by them and they are full of vitamins and nutrients.
On the other hand, people whose ancestors lived in snowy mountains during the ice age (as my mother’s line did), have adapted to absorb the carbohydrate and vitamins they need from whatever they could hunt or forage, which would have been a lot less of what today we call carbohydrates.
Therfore, one body has become adept at absorbing sugar from many more foods than someone with ancestors from warmer climates and would pile on the pounds and respond with sugar spikes and inflammation when this extra insulin is consumed.
This would also lead to insulin intolerance when the body throws its hands up and calls time on carbohydrates. We know, of course, that insulin intolerance leads to metabolic conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes and obesity.