In an ideal world, we should not need to supplement our diets, but since training in Permaculture design and, of course, because of my training as an herbalist, I have come to understand why it is so important to pay closer attention not just to WHAT we eat, but the NUTRITIONAL VALUE i.e. how that food has been grown and produced.
Firstly, all food should be super! But recently the shops and supermarkets seem to increase the prices on items that they identify as ‘superfoods’ such as blueberries, acai, baobab, wheatgrass, spirulina, maca etc. As a herbalist I would say that what they are referring to is foods rich in PHYTONUTRIENTS so I’d like to explain a bit about what they are and why they are so important.
These naturally occurring chemicals in plants are to protect the plant from germs, fungi, bugs and other threats and they can therefore be found in all healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans and tea. Unlike vitamins and minerals which are essential to maintain human life, phytonutrients are more about preventing disease, i.e. they fuel your body for PREVENTION OF and RECOVERY from illness as well as maintaining healthy physical and mental functioning.
Every time we think we are getting closer to eating a healthy diet, the goal posts change according to the advice we are given. The reason for this is that the nutritional value of our food is so horrendously depleted due to modern farming methods, that we are being told to consume more just to ensure we get the right quantity of essential vitamins and minerals.
Permaculture is a way of growing our food and living in harmony with the land in such a was as to form PART of the ecosystem instead of depleting it and draining it of resources. This is in stark contrast to modern farming methods which kill all organisms in the land, then plant the seeds and wonder why they have to add fertiliser, fungicide, pesticide, insecticide etc to grow food and bring it on as quickly as possible to get it to market. Because of this, the land is never left ‘fallow’ to recover as it would have been in times gone by so the nutrients and topsoil never return to the land. Growing food naturally and allowing the vibrant ecosystem that takes place within healthy soil and the utterly fascinating action of worms, fungus (mushrooms) and other organisms to strive to retain balance also allows our food to be nutritionally balanced. Organically grown food MAY cost more, but you need less of it for a balanced diet.
The food industry is poisoning you! Next time you go to a supermarket, look at how there is one lane of ‘real’ food and then about ten aisles of ‘food-like-substances’ in brightly coloured packaging, full of monosodium glutamate, excessive salt, additives, excessive sugar. When you are selecting your purchases, ask yourself ‘how far removed is this from when it was alive?”… and indeed, ‘could it have ever been alive’…?