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The Practical Herbalist

Heritage Food

The true joy of food is the flavor. The unfortunate thing is the increased lack of flavor in our food. The organic food and farmers market trend has pointed out that fruits and vegetables and meats from small farms taste better. In a world of seemingly infinite variety of edible plants and animals, our stores are stocked with a very limited variety of factory farmed food. These plants and animals are actively bred, not for flavor, but rather economic reasons. Animals grown to specific sizes, the fruits are bred for lack of seeds or tough rinds for transport. Flavor is rarely a consideration as it was for the heritage varieties of foods produced in the past. We have whole generations of people who really don't have a sense of how good food can taste.

From a herbal point of view that means that food has less power to shape our lives in positive ways. As we lean more and more on same old bland food we see problems. Our bodies crave certain things based on needs. Our bodies recognize the connections between what we need and the flavors that go along with it. Bland flavorless food leads people to over-eat to satiate the demands of their bodies.

A good example of this is the rise in consumption of dark chocolate. With more health research pointing to the benefits of dark chocolate more people are eating it. Many self described chocoholics tell me that as they switch to darker and darker chocolate their overall consumption of chocolate goes down. They find that their "need" for chocolate is satiated more quickly with the more flavorful dark chocolate than with the lighter milk chocolates.

We as consumers need to force the change with our wallets. Buy from the local farmers and co-ops. Look for the heritage foods that were bred for flavor. Old breeds of heritage foods bring excitement to life, and remind us of how good food can be.

David Bock

This article was from David's LakeCountryOnline.com column, "The Practical Herbalist"

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David Bock, C. Ac., Dipl. OM, FABORM
Wisconsin Certified Acupuncturist
National Board Certification in Oriental Medicine
Fellow American Board Of Oriental Reproductive Medicine

Bock Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine
888 Thackeray Trail #206
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin 53066