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Simple, Simple, Simple (Or Why I Want Nothing to Do with "Nutraceuticals")

Posted Sep 22 2008 10:31am

I read a pretty shocking article in The New York Times' Dining section a couple days ago about superfoods, or what is being called nutraceuticals. This involves taking a nutrient from one food and rendering it in powdered or capsule form to add to another food and then claiming the health benefits of both. For instance, adding pomegranate to dark chocolate or sardines and anchovies to orange juice (which Tropicana is currently doing with its Healthy Heart juice--and there is no labeling to alert vegetarians that there is fish in it, a point not mentioned in the article).

The capsule versions of these "nutraceuticals" are apparently delivered via nano-particles, encased either in fat, protein or plastic, so small that your tongue can't detect them. Fat or protein? From what source? If this is animal-based, again, there is a vegetarian problem that is not being labeled as such. And plastic? Am I reading that right? Is plastic being added to food?

Oh, my, my. I have much more research to do, and I encourage you to do the same before ever buying one of these "wonder foods" that are starting to take over supermarket aisles.

As for me, I'm committed even more so now to simple, simple, simple, like this whole grain bread, kneaded with my own hands and baked in my own oven. Try buying rolls in the supermarket here in the United States--every single variety has high fructose corn syrup, plus a whole long laundry list of chemicals and preservatives, except the frozen sprouted grain ones in the organic section. Do some of them have nutraceuticals as well? I don't know. I don't even look anymore.

My perimeter-sweep of the supermarket has become faster and faster, simple things like rice and dried beans and tofu and raisins and nuts and whole grain pasta and fruit finding their way into my cart. Maybe one day I'll go down those other aisles again, just out of curiosity, and read those labels, and see if I can figure out what's in that "food."

Maybe not.
Nurturing sustainability close to home and around the world. (And other food for thought!)

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