Originally posted by the Institute for Responsible Nutrition
By Matt Hately
For the past 50 years, we’ve suffered with a food system in the US that was intended to feed millions cheaply. While it had good intensions of providing food security for the country, and making sure we could all afford a basic need, it’s had dramatic long-term costs and unintended consequences. Highly processed foods have become cheaper and more convenient than real food, and as the flavoring industry improves their craft, processed foods have become more craveable as well. As a result, over 2/3 of of American adults are overweight or obese, obesity rates in children have tripled in the last three decades, and as of 2012, more than half of the american adult population had one or more preventable health condition.
To make matters worse, as a culture, we like to conquer nature rather than work with it, and we strive to reduce complex systems like digestion to it’s lowest common denominator. As the average American became more and more unhealthy, we blamed it on fat, rather than our processed diets, resulting in the low-fat trend of highly processed, sugary snacks. Whenever we discover a healthful compound, we try to isolate it so we can make it into a pill. So rather than enjoy a glass of red wine, we market resveratrol capsules, ignoring the notion that it may be the combination of compounds in red wine that provides the healthful benefits.
Thankfully, there’s a new movement afoot to return to eating real food, and to old-world methods of cooking and preserving. The good news is that the last 50 years are a blip on the radar in food history. Archaeologists believe that we first grilled meat over a million years ago, first farmed 23,000 years ago, and first made wine in 6,000 BC. We have thousands of years of food preparation techniques to draw on, and across the nation, small producers are cropping up who are returning to old-world, natural methods for making everything from bread to beverages. You can now find naturally-leavened sourdough using wild starters and real whole-grain fresh-milled wheats, which some believe that it’s more digestible than mass-produced bread, even by people who are gluten-sensitive. Craft-sauerkraut makers are partnering with local farmers to preserve vegetables using natural lacto-fermentation and creating crazy, funky new flavors.
At Bubbies we’ve stubbornly stuck to the old ways of doing things. We naturally ferment our pickles and sauerkraut. We don’t use artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors, relying instead on natural fermentation to preserve our pickles and provide flavor. We try to keep our production close to farms, so that our produce is as fresh as possible, which we believe results in the best crunch and flavor profile. We’re also launching a new brand, traveling the world looking for new products that share that same ethos – simple ingredients, no artificial preservatives, made like your grandparents used to.
As consumers and producers, we have to resist the idea that we fully comprehend the human biome – that we understand the millions of cells and bacteria that keep us happy and healthy. Nature has provided the delivery mechanisms – fresh fruits and vegetables, humanely-raised meats, and natural methods of preservation like fermentation, and they are delicious.
About Matt Hately: Matt is President of Cook’s Pantry, a Bubbies subsidiary focused on bringing natural, delicious foods from all around the world to your local grocery store. Raised on carob and dragged to health food stores at a young age, Matt now finds himself fortunate to have had a long-term relationship with real food, and is now obsessed with fermenting vegetables and tending to his natural sourdough starter. An ardent traveler, you may find him in Europe, or the middle-east, or a small town in Oregon looking for the next Cook’s Pantry product. You can follow his adventures on Instagram at www.instagram.com/hatelli