Humans Can’t Create Food, Eat Natural

Humans can’t create, period! Hindu scriptures talk about Bramharshis, the highest rung of seers, who have the power to create universes. Modern scientists can create clones, including human clones if permitted by law, but they can’t create life on their own. Surely, they can create food, can’t they?

The answer is a resounding NO. Here are some attempts by food scientists at creating new varieties of food:

Engineered Food (GM Food)

Genetically Modified (GM) food are the scariest of the lot. The original idea was not to make food healthier. Food was modified to benefit the producers and suppliers for the first time in 1983. They were resistant to various common plant diseases and have better shelf lives. GM foods achieved another landmark with Golden Rice, which was ‘fortified’ with Vitamin A. An idea conceived in the 1980s, researchers are still struggling to prove that the beta carotene introduced in the rice can actually be converted to Vitamin A.

Are GM foods safe? Yes, says WHO  [1] .It recommends the use of Codex Alimentarius guidelines to determine whether a particular GM food is safe. According to the National Academy of Sciences, “GE crops are safe to eat. There is always uncertainty about safety, of course, but there’s no evidence of harm”. [2] Without getting into the details of the way the tests are conducted, let me just bluntly put it to you that results of tests conducted over a 35 year period is too short to be reliable, especially where lives are at stake.

If you decide to follow the Ayurvedic way of life, you have to place unwavering faith in natural food.  The media will keep bombarding you with pro GM scientific research. Here’s a snippet:

“Potatoes produce a small amount of acrylamide, a potential carcinogen, when heated to high temperatures,” said Dr. Folta, explaining that “a potato has been engineered to not produce that compound, and that leads to safer food.” [3]

Don’t break into cold sweat and throw out the potato you just baked. Take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Is potato a natural food?” Once you find out that people in South America have been eating potatoes since time immemorial, go ahead and gulp that potato.

Designer Food (White Food)

All the Orientals are very much of our taste in matters of whiteness, and I have always remarked that they prefer the whitest pearls, the whitest diamonds, the whitest bread and the whitest women. [5] – Jean Baptiste Tavernier, 1676 CE

We have always been a stickler for good looks & beauty. While I won’t comment on the pearls, diamonds & women, the white bread is what I’ll delve upon. We have reached such an extreme that we want even our food to look good.  With beauty comes the beast though. Take the case of salt and sugar. Both look white and pristine, one causes high blood pressure, the other diabetes. While I was a kid, both of them were ugly. As I grew up, people preferred to buy the slightly costlier powdery salt in packets as it looked clean and white. The salt crystals in gunny bags were finally removed as the only purpose they served was for cows to pee in. It turned out that the salt in packets lost most of their minerals during the refining process. As health conscious people realized their mistake and started to search for the salt crystals they had abandoned, sea salt struck back with a vengeance. It’s now available at anywhere between Rs.90 to Rs.500 a kilo. Even Mayo Clinic will tell you not too get too worked up about the type of salt you are eating [4]

Once again, you’ll have to trust Ayurveda, even if it clashes with what science currently believes in. Ayurveda defines 10 types of salts. [6]

  1. Saindhava
  2. Samudra
  3. Vida
  4. Sauvareala
  5. Romaka
  6. Audbhida
  7. Gutika
  8. Kala Lavana
  9. Pamsuja
  10. Sauvarcala

Saindhava Lavana or Rock salt is the king of salts, which is even used as a medicine!

Similarly, the white crystalline sugar was invented in India and the country still remains the largest consumer of table sugar. The genocidal properties of table sugar were propelled to the limelight once the prices of sugar fell in the 18th century and it started being consumed by the masses. Traditional alternatives like (pure) honey and jaggery are much more healthier options.

White bread, white rice, white chicken, the list goes on. Without stretching the white analogy further, let me clarify that beauty is beyond just white. Our pulses (dal) are smoothened with polishing agents (chemicals) and mixed with low quality oil to provide a shine on that smooth surface. This robs it of its nutrients and adds harmful chemicals to it. The dal which does not go through this process is sold at almost double the rate as “organic” dal. Food presentation and beautification has to end somewhere. Eat healthy & ugly!

Natural, but not quite

Some of the whiteness mentioned in the list above are natural to some degree. Take the case of broiler chicken. It is not at all genetically engineered, but is a product of selective breeding. Health enthusiasts who google everything on their plate before they put it in their mouth. They are pretty confident that the chicken they eat is a health food. After all the search results in Google are filled with listicles on the benefits of eating chicken.  An example of one such article is by Practo, which calls it the “Miracle Meat”. [7] Modern life is stressful. You’ve heard that before. Our great grandfathers had no stress. Their crops would fail, their houses were ravaged by natural calamities and their near and dear ones succumbed to hitherto unexplained diseases. They were cool about it, right? The soldier guarding a fort on a night shift or his general receiving intelligence in the middle of night about an imminent attack from a hostile neighbor had a relaxed job atmosphere when compared to IT staff working onsite in San Francisco, right? Hope you get the irony.

Where does our modern day stress come from? What if I told you it comes from your chicken? Or from your modern food in general? You can read more about what the broiler chicken goes through in its short life [8]. The health benefits of “chicken” that you read about is based on the desi chicken which moves about freely and has the capability to feed itself. Most desi chicken that you buy in large towns are no more than broilers painted for your viewing pleasure (similar to brown colored breads). A good paint job increases the per kg price by Rs.100! Free range animal farming increases the nutrition value of the meat by atleast two fold. Fish, birds, animals and even grains in the wild are packed with nutrients, sometimes 10 times the value of what you get in superstores.

Hope I’ve successfully limited your food choices to such an extent that I leave you starving. In my next blogs, I’ll add to the list of items you can eat to make your life easier. Till then we’ll continue eating soda ash (from our diswashers) and drinking plastic![9]

[1] http://www.who.int/foodsafety/areas_work/food-technology/faq-genetically-modified-food/en/

[2] https://www.nap.edu/catalog/23395/genetically-engineered-crops-experiences-and-prospects

[3] https://www.forbes.com/sites/gmoanswers/2016/06/01/why-gmos-dont-cause-cancer/#5bd0cf556bc8

[4] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/sea-salt/faq-20058512

[5] Travels in India by Jean Baptiste Tavernier, Chapter XX (Preference For Whiteness By Orientals)

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3331422/pdf/ASL-6-217.pdf

[7] https://www.practo.com/healthfeed/health-benefits-of-eating-chicken-3739/post

[8] https://freefromharm.org/animalagriculture/chicken-facts-industry-doesnt-want-know/

[9] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/06/plastic-fibres-found-tap-water-around-world-study-reveals

About aryap

Student of Ayurveda, Master of Raj Yoga, Reading Purnas & Upanishadas, Charaka Samhita & the History of Ancient & Medieval India to reconstruct the principles of Ayurveda. A big thanks to Dr. Manohar Gundeti for his guidance & support

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3 Comments on “Humans Can’t Create Food, Eat Natural”

  1. This is great content! I wish the right stuff about food prevails enough that we don’t have to explain to future generations, the definition of natural food as gifted by our planet and it’s significance!

    1. Thanks Pragalbha for the appreciation! Yes, it is becoming more and more difficult to differentiate between natural and processed food. Take the example of coconut milk and soya milk. A lot of people still think the first one is unhealthy & the second one is a superfood. Even fewer people would know that the first one is a natural food while the second one is processed!

  2. Generally I do not read article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to check out and do so! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks, very great post.

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