Friday December 8, 2023 | LANGFORD, BC
Quick thoughts on food & health | by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. | Island Social Trends
This week BC’s premier weighed in on the food file.
“Families are struggling right now and yet some corporations are shrinking their products while posting billions of dollars in profits. That’s just wrong,” said Premier David Eby earlier this week. “People are on the edge right now,” he said, referring to the upward momentum of the daily cost of life.
He even ventured to say that products like Kraft Dinner (macaroni accompanied in a box with a cheese-like powder mix) are ‘nutritionally debatable’.
Defaulting to cheap has a cost:
People defaulting to relatively cheap products from the grocery store shelves is not new. But many of those products are not possibly as nutritious as fresh food, and will almost always contain additives of various types which may have negative health impacts of their own.
This is a simple pitch to choose fresh and do your own meal preparation. For people with busy days that suggestion might seem like a hassle. But over time the benefits to health are probably immeasurable — both for individuals, as well as impact on families and the broader health-care system.
Regular long-term consumption of healthy food can contribute to overall health and well-being, and help prevent any number of more serious negative health impacts.
Fresh food benefits:
Fresh food has optimal nutritional value and doing your own cooking has sensory and social benefits too.
Fresh foods do seem to cost more (think of all the work and transportation involved for providing fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy to grocery store shelves). But if you know how to prepare them fresh or freeze them for later, you’re creating health benefits for yourself and saving money in other ways.
Canada’s food guide encourages people living in Canada to eat plenty of vegetables and fruits (fresh, frozen and canned). Try making half of your plate vegetables and fruits.
Eating a variety of vegetables and fruits may lower the risk of heart disease, says Health Canada. Eating lots of vegetables and fruit may help protect against at least 14 different cancers, says the Canadian Cancer Agency.
Food banks in recent years have tried to include more fresh foods in their offerings to clients, after a long reputation of handing out packaged foods and old canned products.
Keeping fresh foods on hand requires washing areas as well as refrigeration and freezer capacity. Many of the government grants to support food banks in BC have been used, in part, to improve facility capacity and operations.
===== ABOUT THE WRITER:
Mary P Brooke has a B.Sc. in foods and nutrition (U of S), within a strong framework of sociology and community education. She contributes her food and health knowledge through a socioeconomic lens here at Island Social Trends. Her thought-leadership on urban food resilience is delivered through journalism as well as presentations in the community.
After daily reporting on the COVID pandemic in BC in 2020-2022, Ms Brooke also now reports with the BC Legislative Press Gallery. In 2023 she was nominated for a Jack Webster Award for contributing to her community through journalism.
Mary Brooke is the mother of four amazing now-grown children (active parenting years 1986-2015). She ran for school trustee in SD62 (west shore of south Vancouver Island) in 2022.
Mary has operated her business Brookeline Publishing House Inc in the Greater Victoria area since 1995. She holds a Public Relations Certificate and a certificate in digital marketing.
She maintains a ‘kitchen garden’ in her backyard, for the benefits of fresh food grown locally.