Saturday, December 19, 2009

Well, well, well....


Soy Beans 2
Originally uploaded by La Banane Jaune
One early morning, my clock-radio turned on to announce it was time to get ready for work. So I was only half-awake when news of a new genetically modified crop was soon to be made available (foisted on?) to an unknowing public... Which is why I am only now writing about it.

It has been widely publicised that omega-3 and -6 fatty acids are great for our health, and the best sources for these fatty acids are oily fish. However, it is a well-known fact that fish, at least the ones most popular, are over-fished. Most large fish, those everyone is familiar with, are on the brink of extinction, and all fish stocks are predicted to collapse by 2048.

Fear not! Monsanto is coming to the rescue! The kind folks at Monsanto have once again selflessly thought to create a new Franken-crop to pull us mere mortals out of our dire situation! So those of you who have been feeling guilty about eating wild salmon, and you folks who do not like fish, you have yet another option for getting your omega-3s!!! It's Monsanto's new GMO soy with added omega-3s!!!!

Bully for you.

The thing is, why would you want to eat yet another GMO soy, and further poison your body with yet another crop that has not been thoroughly tested?

While it is true that (endangered) fatty fishes are the best and easiest sources for omega fatty acids, there are other ways to boost your diet. Regular ol' soybeans already contain omega fatty acids. Although regular soybeans do not contain DHA or EPA, those acids currently most talked about, they are a natural source of omega-3s and -6s. Not some Franken-crop.

Flax seeds are also high in omega-3s and -6s. Despite being a somewhat difficult source for humans, a diet rich in whole grain breads containing flax seeds will contribute to you body's intake of omega-3s. Vegans get extra benefits from using flax-based egg substitutes. Furthermore, chickens fed with flax seeds will produce eggs with a higher than normal omega-3 content. But if you really want super-charged eggs, go for those from pastured chickens.

A growing number of studies have shown that free-range chickens that are genuinely left free to roam amongst the grasses and bugs produce eggs and meat that are higher in omega-3 fatty acids. The same goes for cows: grass-fed cows produce milk and meat with a significant omega fatty acid content.

Yet another reason why you should be seeking out a proper butcher if you intend to go on eating meat.

Granted, grass-fed or pastured meats are more expensive than conventional meats, but you can always reduce your overall consumption of meat. And you would be benefiting more than just your own health: you will be supporting a butcher who is worth his mettle, and he (or she) who truly is a good butcher will introduce you to thus far unknown cuts of meat that are less of a strain on your wallet but packed with flavour. Moreover you will likely be spending your hard earned cash on meat produced locally by a hard-working farmer.

Fish in moderation, with an emphasis on sustainably caught and seasonal, is currently the only way to go. Unless you intend to start a massive letter writing campaign to your local fisheries' ministry, your best bet is to carry around a sustainable fish list around with you and make your voice heard with the money you spend. By the way, 'I don't know' is not a good enough excuse: if the person at the fish counter does not know where the fish is from, go look elsewhere.

Or go vegetarian. At least a couple of days a week.

But whatever you do, eat a large variety of foods, do not give in to fads, do not fall for miracle foods -they don't exist- and try to eat as much 'real' food as possible.

Bon app'!

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