Eat more processed food; I believe that so strongly that I want to get a t-shirt with it emblazoned on.
I’m not, however, talking about eating more industrially-processed food. The stuff made in a factory, from unrecognisable ingredients, packaged in plastic, transported long distances and stacked on our supermarket shelves.
What I’m talking about is eating more ancestrally-processed food. Real food, processed by real hands, at home, guided by age-old wisdom. We need more of this; food that stands atop generations of cooks, growers, and farmers who knew the best way to provide their families with nutritious food.
Industrial processing denatures food, drugging us with sugar, salt, trans-fats and additives; allowing us to not think about or be involved in food production, so that we can carry on being good employees and consumers, whilst lining a few people’s pockets.
Ancestral processing – by which I mean processes like souring milk, slow-fermenting bread and making fermented condiments – brings food to life, filling it with beneficial microbes, making it easier to assimilate and removing toxins.
How ancestral processing transforms what we eat:
It makes food more digestible. Our ancestors knew what they were doing. Sourdough bread is easier to digest than bread made from unfermented flour. Making milk into yoghurt provides a multitude of beneficial bacteria to our intestines. When we eat processed foods such as these our bodies stop fighting to digest and we can get on with fully living.
It takes out harmful substances. Soaking grains in water with lemon juice/whey neutralises phytic acid which stops us digesting minerals. Taking the peel and seeds out of tomatoes before sauce-making removes the toxic lectins in the fruit. This takes a load off our systems, helping us be as healthy as we can.
It connects us with our food. Modern life sees us living in disconnection from our food, the land, and the environment. Getting up close and personal with what we eat, as we do when processing at home, has the effect of making us think more and therefore care more about where our food comes from. This type of connection needs nurturing in our world to ensure the survival of our species.
We’re in a unique position:
Those of us making food choices today are amazingly blessed individuals. Thanks to technology, we not only have a heightened awareness of the importance of good nutrition but can also access this age-old, ancestral-processing knowledge and bring it to our kitchens and tables. There are so many enthusiasts sharing recovered food wisdom – we can harness this knowledge to heal ourselves and our planet.
Where to start?
To start, or take more steps, along an ancestral food processing journey, go with joy and think about what food you’d like to create and eat. If you love bread there are a myriad of sourdough options on social media. If you’re into smoothies it’s easy to get some kefir grains online. If you like Asian-style spicy sauces then get looking up some kimchi.
Whatever takes your fancy, get doing it – for yourself, for your family, for our world: Eat more processed food.