Sunday, January 28, 2007

Book Report: The End of Food

Remember when potatoes and broccoli were a good source of vitamin C? Since 1963, store-bought broccoli has lost 45% of its vitamin C and potatoes have lost a whopping 57%. Tomatoes have lost 31% of their vitamin A and cottage cheese has lost 53% of its iron (while increasing sodium by 77%). The author examines US Agriculture "food tables" and asks why this is so?

- Food companies have bred specific varieties based on characteristics such as uniformity of size and maturation, and not taste and nutrition.
- Food picked unripe (as much is) never fully develops its nutrients.
- Food grown with inorganic fertilizers has fewer nutrients than food grown with natural fertilizers (such as compost and manure).
- Food that is heavily irrigated has fewer nutrients.
- Food that sits in storage a long time loses its nutrients.

The author states that grass-fed beef has 2-4 times more Omega-3 fatty acid than grain-fed beef (as most cattle are). Omega-3 is not produced by the body; we must eat it.

The author compares the de-population of rural farmland to the collectivization of Soviet farms under Stalin. Nowadays, he says, it’s not forced by a dictator but by agribusiness and government policy. Just as the ‘kulaks’ (the traditional farmers) were sent to Siberia, today’s farmers have been banished to the cities. The author believes the current situation will fail us just as collectivization ultimately failed to feed the USSR. His solution: plant a garden, farm organically, buy local food.

The End of Food: How the food industry is destroying our food supply – and what you can do about it. Thomas Pawlick.

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