What the hell has happened to our food?

1 Mar


I always assumed food was safe, after all the entire industry is regulated. As if food is truly dangerous. Yes some foods are unhealthy if you eat them too much and too often, but we aren’t being poisoned for crying out loud. It’s just food.

Now food is a complete minefield. Not only are we fighting against obesity in a world where a packet of Tim Tams is much cheaper than a bag of grapes, but we’re also dealing with a record amount of food intolerances and allergies.

Then, this week my friend announced she’s intolerant to bananas. Bananas? What the hell is going on?

In my family alone we have several food intolerances including dairy, kiwi fruit, caffeine, gluten and some preservatives, we have one case of celiac disease and then my son who is anaphylactic to egg and tree nuts.

When I was little, every special occasion involved a huge tray of lasagne. This single meal has now been abandoned for two types of pasta, two types of sauces and if it’s a birthday we end up with three cakes – an egg and nut free one, a gluten free one and then a traditional cake for my dad. Those of us without severe food allergies and intolerances usually end up trying all three.

Now I’m feeling a lot of pressure to buy only organic food. Trust me, I want to. I have three children. I try and keep their diets as healthy as possible but I feel like the entire food industry is set up for me to fail. Why is there junk food at the check out? Why are chocolates and chocolate biscuits constantly on special? Why can’t I buy healthy snacks? Why isn’t healthy food more affordable? Who thought fruit roll ups were a good idea? Chocolate breakfast cereal???

Okay, magic wand time. How great would it be if ALL FOOD WAS ORGANIC? What if fruit and vegetables were cheaper than chocolate? What if all bread was multigrain and wholemeal and devoid of horrible preservatives? What if soft drinks and cordial disappeared from shelves along with crappy juice and flavoured milk? What if donuts were made without lard? What if all ice cream sold was low fat?

I know we live in a democracy and part of its charm is that we get to make choices, but I feel like it’s getting harder to be healthy. Fresh fish just isn’t affordable for my family of five but I can afford fish fingers. This isn’t right.

Imagine the outcry that would occur if even one of my outlandish suggestions was taken up. Please, don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti junk food. I love a treat from time to time. But why is it so cheap, why is it everywhere, why is being healthy so expensive, why are we all intolerant or allergic to so many foods, why are foods being genetically engineered, why are Easter Eggs already on shelves, why is fresh fish so expensive, why when I walk into my local supermarket am I offered one sushi bar and several shops offering donuts, cakes, ice cream, cookies and lollies? Why why why?

Something has to be done. This can’t continue. Somehow somewhere we have made some very bad decisions where a lot of food has become deadly. Food is no longer benign.

As a mother of three I feel I need to fight to ensure my family eats the healthiest food possible. My children are given chocolates and lollies constantly at parties, Christmas and for no reason at all. I’m often throwing it away while they sleep. What about some stickers? What about a colouring book?

Donuts are great but why do they have to be so bloody big?

My son is turning nine this year and his food allergies are worse than ever so I’m having to balance his severe allergies to egg and tree nuts with my quest to feed my family the healthiest foods possible.

Don’t even get me started on some school tuckshops. Ours is okay but they decided to do a donut day. Donut day???

I actually feel quite stressed when I food shop for the week. There’s so much to balance, so much to think about, so many food labels to read and even when I’m selecting fruit and vegetables that are on special I am well aware that they are not organic and I feel terrible.  I feel like I am poisoning my children.

Magic wand aside, all our shopping habits are closely monitored and the reason chocolate biscuits are on special so often is because we buy them. I urge you to protest. When they are three for the price of two, buy one. Don’t buy the one dollar chocolate bars at the check out. Resist!

And make sure you visit triggerallergy.com. Chances are you know someone dealing with severe food allergies or if you don’t, you soon will because food allergies have now reached epidemic proportions in the Western world, with Australia one of the front runners when it comes to increasing risk. We really must all be asking, why?

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