Swallow This!


I grabbed this off the shelf in my local library, as Joanna Blythman is an author/ journalist I really respect. She also wrote a book called SHOPPED: The Shocking Power of British Supermarkets

some years ago- revealing the ugly truth about the supermarkets. I was lucky enough to find a copy in a charity shop recently and it’s on my list to read.

Swallow This: Serving Up the Food Industry’s Darkest Secrets

has to be one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read. At the end of 14 chapters, I actually wanted to cry. So yes, this is not uplifting reading- I read only one or two chapters a day for this reason. However- it is a subject we should all be educated on- it highlights the massive cover-up operation by the global food industry.

This is a topic I’ve always been passionate about, ever since my days of studying food and nutrition back in the late 1990s. But even I was out-of-date about so many of the innocuous sounding additives they sneak in, under the guise of ‘clean labels’. If I’m using terms you’re unfamiliar with, then I’m not going to ruin it all for you, I’m going to suggest you borrow a copy of the book from your local library. Joanna does a much better job at explaining everything than I do! It is so detailed and everything is referenced in a comprehensive index at the back.

I think that a lot of Minimalist and Zero Waste bloggers have covered some of the topics she talks about, such as BPA in plastics, plastic lined tinned foods and other food packaging, products being pumped with water (particularly raw and cooked meats) and the additives in commercially made bread, to give a few examples. However this book uncovers many more new food technologies that are only just being tried out on the human race.

It makes me more certain than ever that pursuing Zero Waste is the only viable option to maintain our health. It is the only way we can avoid being exposed to these chemicals and manufacturing techniques. The only hazard for me has been spending hours in shops scouring the labels (but as this book will teach you, many of the dangerous processing aids manufacturers use don’t even need to be declared on labels!) At times it leads to a new dilemma between choosing the more Zero Waste friendly option or choosing the safer food option that isn’t laced with so many chemicals.

Since reading this book I have made a concerted effort to steer away from Supermarkets as much as possible- opting for my local butchers, green grocers and health food stores. They are not perfect in terms of Zero Waste packaging, but maybe I can educate them. They are better quality foods and I am supporting local families and businesses. I am also going to buy a bread machine, so that we never eat nasty additive laced bread and bakery products again. I am even more consciously trying not to rely on canned goods and make my own food from scratch. Even if this means that I end up spending more time at home, engaged in traditional ‘homemaking’ type chores- I have decided that I would rather know exactly what I am putting into my body than pay for expensive, potentially dangerous manufactured foods.

I hope that I may be able to cover some of the chapter topics in more detail in future posts, but I just wanted to get this post out there so that you can share in this information. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read this book, so please come back and comment when you have!

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