While preparing this post I stumble up on a very interesting article, but before that let me introduce you this delicious tropical flavoured smoothie. If you live in hot climate or your summer time is extremely warm, this kind of drinks will be a good option for you. There’s a reason why tropical fruits grow in tropics. When it’s hot you’re appetite goes down, you sweat a lot, so you need more water. Fresh summer fruits and vegetables, generally raw, have a cooling nature. So if you live in a climate where all year round is hot eating more of raw veggies and fruits will be more natural and healthy for you. Whilst if you live in a climate with four seasons let’s say, Summer will be the best time to treat yourself with some tropical fruits. Diet based on only salads, cocktails or such popular smoothies, will not necessarily work in the cold and snowy Autumn and Winter. Therefore, the Eskimo’s body needs different food than the inhabitant of hot Africa or Australia. A diet dominated by products from a different climate zone, will provide us with the wrong proportions of nutrients (and different nature) and in the long run might not be beneficial to our health. But that’s only my opinion. Although there must be a reason why world was build like that.
Another thing is that large-scale import of products from the other end of the world, is not without impact on the natural environment – generating increased fuel consumption and mass production of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In addition, food transported thousands of kilometres must be properly protected from deterioration – usually by freezing or chemical preservation – which causes it to lose a large part of its original values and body absorbs a lot of different (not necessarily healthy) chemical ingredients along with the fruit. Most of the fruit is transported unripe and gets ripened (or not) in transport, so the fruits you buy in the supermarket has completely different taste, that if they would ripened in its natural habitant.
This, of course, does not mean that we should completely give up products from other climate zones. We live in a world where it would be hard to imagine life without bananas, citrus fruits or cocoa. Although I’m sure there would be many people, who would deal with it without any problems.
That’s why I think informations about food nature, nutrition and more importantly – the way they grow, they way they are transported and preserved, should be clear and evident. So everyone could make a concious decision about what kind of food they want to consume and what outcome they’ll get. But let’s be honest, I’m afraid it’s never going to happen, from obvious reasons. If people would know what they actually consume, how the food is produced, transported and preserved etc., any of the big food companies could probably no longer exists.
That’s why I think spreading the knowledge and awareness is so important.
Now we can come back to that interesting article I’ve stumbled up on while preparing this post. Article comes from Civil Eats website – nonprofit news organization, daily news source for critical thought about the American food system. Although I think this problem is not only American, every country has its own laws and regulations regarding food production and preservation. Some of the countries has more restrictions, some of them are more reckless, and unfortunately US is one of them. On Civil Eats website you’ll find many interesting articles about food policies, food and farm labour, health, nutrition, and technology that is used in food industry, not only from US perspective but also European (UK for example). So if you’re interested in this subject I highly recommend checking out this website.
The article I stumbled up on refers to orange juice production – I would never in my life get the idea, that orange juice industry came up with. But lets start from the beginning. We have four types of orange juice (considering the production process) we can buy in the shops.
- fresh, unpasteurized orange juice, pressed using the Cold Press method (cold pressed). Fresh, unpasteurized juice retains its freshness and value due to the cold pressing of vegetables and fruits. This method allows you to keep the temperature low throughout the entire juice pressing process. This is crucial, because at low temperatures vitamins and enzymes are preserved almost 100%, while preventing the growth of bacteria that initiate the process of spoilage. It is also important to limit the access of air to the juice by pouring it almost under the cork of the bottle. Another important factor that allows juice to maintain their nutritional value is their storage in the cold and dark cartons during transport, protecting against accelerating the process of spoiling and destroying the nutritional values with light
- made from concentrate – i.e. juices deprived of most water. When the water is eliminated, we are left with a thick and flowing liquid – concentrate. This process usually serves to extend the usefulness of the juice, because without water bacterial growth is inhibited. Among other things, thanks to this, concentrates are cheaper to pack, store and transport. In this process, the taste of the juice may be diluted, which is why some manufacturers use flavor additives. Unfortunately, these are usually artificial compounds produced from fruit waste. To make matters worse, high-fructose corn syrup is often added to fruit concentrates. It happens that artificial colors and flavors are also placed in these products. Most concentrates are filtered, evaporated and pasteurized. They are stored at room temperature or frozen. Most often they are intended for dilution with water
- pasteurized juices are juices subjected to temperatures ranging from 72 ˚C – 100 ˚C for a specified period of time to kill microorganisms present in the juice. The destruction of bacteria protects the product against spoilage, thanks to which it can be stored on the shelf for a longer period of time, usually from one to several months, without exposing stores to financial losses. However, the process of pasteurization, in addition to bacteria, also destroys many valuable vitamins and antioxidants, which is exactly what we care about most and is the most important for health. Some vitamins, such as vitamin C, may be destroyed by pasteurization up to 90% compared to freshly squeezed juice. So what remains in such juice? Some fiber, fruit sugar, some vitamins and water. Some manufacturers still add synthetic vitamins
- the last one that Civil Eater writes about is orange juice although not made from concentrate but with new technology which is “aseptic storage”. Process “which involves stripping the juice of oxygen, a process known as “deaeration,” so it doesn’t oxidize in the million gallon tanks in which it can be kept for upwards of a year. When the juice is stripped of oxygen it is also stripped of flavor providing chemicals. Juice companies therefore hire flavor and fragrance companies, the same ones that formulate perfumes for Dior and Calvin Klein, to engineer flavor packs to add back to the juice to make it taste fresh. Flavor packs aren’t listed as an ingredient on the label because technically they are derived from orange essence and oil. Yet those in the industry will tell you that the flavor packs, whether made for reconstituted or pasteurized orange juice, resemble nothing found in nature. The packs added to juice earmarked for the North American market tend to contain high amounts of ethyl butyrate, a chemical in the fragrance of fresh squeezed orange juice that, juice companies have discovered, Americans favor.” (source)
What do you think about it? I would never ever imagine that this kind of “magic” can be used to make something as simple as orange juice, that everyone can make by themselves in 3 minutes using own hands. Are we so lazy? In what kind of “only buy cheap” trap we are? And lastly where this world is going? As I said, some of the countries has more restrictions, some of them are more reckless, so it doesn’t mean that every bottle of orange juice is dangerous for your health, but let’s be honest…Don’t you think it’s kind of crazy?
Hopefully after reading this you’ll grab two real oranges, although they might travel to you for thousands of kilometres, and are waxed with some kind of preservative, at least they haven’t spent a year in a tank, and have no extra perfume in it. And I don’t know what’s worse – that they add this kind of chemical or that they don’t need to inform about it on the label?
Oh my goodness!
Next time I’ll find something about bananas.
mango and ginger smoothie
- 2 oranges
- 1/2 fresh mango
- 150ml plant milk (coconut will go great with tropical vibe)
- 1 small banana
- slice of fresh ginger
Squeeze the juice from two oranges. Peel the ginger. Place all the ingredients in a smoothie maker or use a blender, like I did. Add couple of ice cubes if you want it extra cold. Serve straight away.