Hi all, hope your finding the site useful and an interesting read. I have also been trying to get some recipes out to you to give you some ideas of food that taste good and does good for your body at the same time.

If you haven’t already, you can check out the recipes here. Let me know what you think, especially if have you tried one of the recipes. I’d love to hear from you.

Drink for function anyone?

Let’s get back to functional food and remembering to eat because of what the food does for your body (that’s why it’s called food for function 🙂 ) and not merely for taste (hopefully I’ve shown through some of the recipes that functional food can also taste good though).

Before I go through the main intention of this post I wanted to quickly share this with you. I’m sitting on the plane as I write this, and it astonishes me that I am the only one with a giant bottle of water that I have been sipping through. I have about 1/8s left and still a good 2 hours to go. Trouble!

As for everyone else, I see no water. Most people are sipping on alcohol or soft drinks. Yet so many people complain about jet lag or feeling tired after a flight.

What ever happened to some good old fashioned water to quench your thirst? Looks like those soft drinks and alcohol adverts are effective after all.

One of my best solutions for avoiding jet lag and post flight exhaustion is to load up with water. That and move around, get up and stretch.

I don’t know the science behind it but your body dehydrates fairly quickly up in the air. The effect is compounded with the diuretic (makes you pee) effect of tea, coffee and alcohol.

Try it next time, load up with water on your fight and see how you feel.

Oh and the stretching gets the blood flowing and your heart pumping. Go do some squats or stretches in the toilet and you will be amazed at the sudden energy rush.

But back to the post, I can’t say it enough but we forget why we eat. We eat predominantly because we know we have to and because of taste. Remember this post?

This change in our culture from food for function to food for taste is reflected in the evolution of one of the major modern food sources; the market.

Get everything you need at your local supermarket

Been to the supermarket recently? Of course you have. Unless you get your food from your backyard, live near a community garden, or on a farm you will get some of your food supplies for the week from the supermarket. I do, it’s convenient.

But the next time you are there, take a look around. What do you see? Supermarkets are filed with a whole lot of boxes, packages, plastic bottles and other man made packaging.

Honestly, take a look around, most of the food they provide is junk food. Processed, man handled, and served in a box or can. It should be called junk market. The actual core food, the fruit, vegetables and meat are usually tucked away to the sides.

A friend showed me a video a couple of weeks back of a whole chicken in a can that is available at some American supermarkets. It’s pretty shocking, look it up.

Is this what has become of our food? And this is found in one of the main areas we get our food from.

A thought came across my mind last year or so, and everyone I have shared it with seem to agree:

“The fact that supermarkets have a healthy section, doesn’t this imply that everything else in there is unhealthy?”

So yes, supermarkets do provide a lot of choice, it is essentially a department store of food, a one stop shop. But most of the stuff in there is based on taste not function, and people buy into it. Lets face that shiny packaging with colourful labels and slogans is enticing.

Because of the short term pleasure that eating something that tastes good gives you.

Next time you’re there, also look into other people’s trolleys. I guarantee you that at least 50% of trolleys you look into (this also depends on the demographics of your area) will have a lot of soft drinks, crisps, and processed food.

Usually this is because of what we are exposed to. If the product is in our face we are going to buy it, as even if we don’t notice the product there, our subconscious does.

This is why soft drink companies run so many adds, why checkouts are laden with chocolate bars (impulse goods), and why manufacturers pay a premium to be situated on eye-level shelves.

Why do we shop at supermarkets?

So why do we do our shopping at the supermarket in the first place? Surely there are other places to get our food?

There are a few reasons that I can think off:

  1. That is what we are used and exposed to. The previous generation (the baby boomers) embraced them or were forced to embrace them and passed this on to their kids;
  2. Heavy marketing and opposition-crushing tactics have left little other choices. Until recently, finding places that sold simple, good whole foods was a hard task;
  3. Cost. Supermarkets are cheap. They offer some of the lowest prices. This is a big one. They are cheap because they have such a big buying power. Basically they have a lot of influence in terms of how much they buy for because they buy in such high volumes and consistently. So they can afford to sell cheap. This also makes it hard for the smaller guys to stay competitive and usually have to close shop.

How to survive supermarkets visits

If a lot of the stuff sold at super markets is pretty bad for you, how then do you get around shopping at supermarkets?

Here are 5 easy tips to stay healthy and still be able to shop at supermarkets without being as susceptible to the impulse goods:

  1. Always write a list before leaving and stick to it. This will save you from wandering through unnecessary aisles and help prevent impulse buying;
  2. Stick to the outer lanes. That’s where all the good stuff is like your fruit and vegetables, meats and nuts.
  3. Use a basket instead of a trolley. This should put you off loading your basket with unnecessary goods and heavy frozen foods.
  4. Eat before going in. I’ve heard this one around and it actually works. Being hungry impedes your food judgement and you will ore likely cave in to buying food for taste. Happened to me so many times!
  5. Remember why you are eating for function; is it to feel great, to stop feeling sluggish and tired, or to change your physique? Remembering your core intention makes achieving your goal so much easier as you will be willing to do what it takes to get there.

What else can you do?

If the tips don’t work you can always avoid supermarkets completely or get some of your food from supermarkets and the rest from other sources. You could even order your groceries online. Think about it, before we had supermarkets we had so many avenues of getting our food.

Thanks to the power of modern communication and the internet (such as you reading Food For Function), we are becoming more aware and knowledgeable, so there is a demand for outlets that sell proper, whole foods instead of the processed crap in a box.

Examples of these that you could check out are:

  • Direct from farmers;
  • Community gardens (becoming more popular again, this is basically small scale farms grown in the community, by the community, for the community. City Markets is an example in Perth. Check it out they also have an amazing café)
  • Health or natural food stores;
  • Boutique food whole sellers for example Kakulas in Perth;
  • Grow your own. Turn your garden into a vegetable patch and grow what your space allows. Anything from vegetables, fruits, to herbs that you can pluck fresh and use in your cooking for that day.

Supermarkets are bad then?

Not necessarily, being bad is subjective. At the end of the day supermarkets are there to make money and they stock what sells. So really, it’s our fault that they stock unhealthy food for taste, because that’s what we buy.

But just be careful when you are in there that you don’t always fall for the trap of the frozen pizzas or fish fingers made out of who knows what. Once in a while is okay. I love the frozen chicken tenders from my supermarket. But this should only be as a one-off treat and not a staple.

What about markets?

Markets were where food retailing all started and still pretty much maintain that natural aspect even today. What do you think of when you hear the word market?

For me it’s a place that sells fruit and vegetables, and predominantly whole and natural foods. Is that what you think of when you hear the word? Markets are therefore still a great place to shop and get your food supplies for the week.

It appears that supermarkets are simply an industrial age induced evolution of the market. An organised selection mainly assembly line produced food and other products.

So maybe instead of going for the super version of the market, sticking with the good old fashioned market will lead to healthier, functional eating?

Let’s leave it at there today. Hopefully you will find these tips useful when you next do your food shopping, and if you have a favourite place you buy your food let me know!