Getting Your Daily Dose of Poison?
Are You Getting Your Daily Dose of Poison?
The desire for Food Purity is the main reasons most people get into Aquaponics. Every time I run my 4-Day Aquaponics MasterClass, I ask students their interest in learning about aquaponics. And without fail, Food Purity is always one of the main reasons.
People are concerned about the grubby stuff that’s going into their food, these days! Pesticides and herbicides and preservatives and artificial colours. Even if the first dose doesn’t kill you, it can build up in your body and cause a lot of health issues over time.
Take mercury in fish, for instance. Mercury is a natural substance, but through various processes – some of them natural, some of them industrial – it gets converted to a toxic chemical called methylmercury. This is really easily absorbed into living cells, and it never goes away. Once you have it in your system, it’s there for life. It’s what’s called a ‘persistent’ toxin.
Not only is it persistent, but it ‘bioaccumulates’ or ‘biomagnifies’ as you go up the food chain. That means that an animal higher up the food chain will contain more mercury than animals lower down the food chain because it now has all the mercury from all the animals it ate. For example, let’s say there’s a group of small fish in the ocean, each containing a small amount of mercury. If you eat one of those fish, you ingest a small amount of mercury. Now, let’s say a larger fish comes along and eats all of those smaller fish. All of the mercury in their bodies now takes up residence in its body. And then you eat it! So, what do you get? All the mercury from all the smaller fish! That’s what bioaccumulation means. The toxin builds up in the food chain until eventually, you eat it at a dangerously high level.
But it’s not only major toxins like mercury that people are worried about when it comes to food purity. Food additives are also a concern for a lot of people. Pick up just about any pre-packed food and read the ingredients. It’s like a mad scientist’s shopping list! Benzo this and butyl that, and a whole lot of numbers that only a chemist would recognise. Most of them are considered fairly safe at low levels, but so many people these days are eating so much packaged food that it is becoming a problem. Allergies and sensitivities abound.
While we’ve come to expect additives in pre-packaged foods, it’s a genuine concern to know that you can find nasty chemicals even on fresh fruit and vegetables! Producers cover them in a whole range of things to extend their shelf life or make harvesting and transporting easier. Unfortunately, this often means that you, the consumer, end up with flavourless, nutrient-poor food. In some cases, you’re better off buying frozen or canned – the ‘fresh’ produce may have been picked months ago, while the canned or frozen stuff was probably still in the ground the day before it was packed.
Nutrient Poor Food
Even the types of grown crops these days are chosen for their packageability rather than their nutritional value or flavour. Many of them are picked unripe before they’ve had time to develop their authentic taste and full nutrient content. Again, this means we end up with lower-nutrient, lower-flavour food. This is why many people are starting to grow their own – they can choose from a wider variety of crops and let them ripen properly before picking them. This means they end up with food that is flavoursome and nutrient-dense. And I can tell you, there is just no comparison between biting into a soft, sweet, juicy strawberry that you’ve just picked from your own garden, and the bland, crisp, woody ones you so often find in the supermarket these days.