Title: The End of Food
Author: Thomas F. Pawlick
Length: 256 pages
Rating (out of 5 ):
Overall Score: 4
Quality of Research: 5
Ability to Spark Change: 4
Thomas F. Pawlick is an awarding winning investigative food journalist and a dedicated organic farmer in Canada. While many books focus solely on the US, Pawlick gives a refreshing view from someone on this side of the border and provides interesting statistics on the Canadian food industry.
Pawlick begins with a simple trip to the grocery store in which he discovers how one of his beloved foods – the tomato – has changed. He takes an investigate journey, which leads him to the meat and dairy industries as well as big chemical companies. He discovers that many things have been added to the food we eat and science has decided that size, uniformity and maximum profits have outweighed nutrition. Because of this, there’s a steady decline of vitamins and minerals in the produce we grow.
This is a tell-all book in what will happen to us if something doesn’t change with the way food production is done.
There is a systematic degeneration of our food
For many years, scientists (paid by big business) have been making food to grow quicker and cheaper in order to maximize profits. With all of the vast nutrients we need in our soil to grow food, scientists have decided to only focus on nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK). This decision not only affects the food that is grown, but also the animals who rely on it to grow.
For instance, let’s take chicken. Many of us try to consume poultry as a way to avoid red meats. However, the chicken we consume today (in white and dark meat) has lost 52% of its vitamin A from previous years. White meat has also lost 40% potassium; dark has lost 25%. However, white meat has gain 33% more fat and 20% more sodium and dark meat has gained 54% fat and 8% more sodium.
Vegetables do not fair any better. For example, broccoli has lost 45% vitamin C but has gone up in carbohydrates by 14%.
There’s a prevalence of genetic engineered foods in our ecosystem
By now the talk of GE foods along with GMOs is catching the public’s attention. The term ‘genetically engineered’ refers to the manipulation of DNA, which involves taking foreign genes and placing them into another organism, changing the overall nature of that organism. The concern with this is that when it was accepted by industry, they began using it in our food system without testing it for long-term effects. Now, we’re learning that these antibiotic resistant foods have been linked to numerous health issues. Allergic responses have been on the rise since their introduction as well as gluten intolerances, Celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s, lactose intolerance and many others have been coming forward since the 1960s.
Pesticides wreak havoc on our system
We are now at a point where agriculture is the number polluter of our waters in North America. On an average farm, the constant use of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides are used on the crops themselves, while many others are used on the soil and in the storage of our foods during transport. The EPA warns that roughly 60% of all herbicides, 90% of fungicides and 30% of insecticides are carcinogens. Our overall usage of these has more than doubled in the past 35 years and has been accumulating in our water supply, our food and in our bodies.
What’s more, when a watchdog catches wind of a serious health risk from one of these compounds, the company who makes it can send production overseas to a country where no such regulations have been implemented. This inadvertently creates a boomerang effect because those countries start to use it on the foods we then import.
This book was been a great read; it presents information from a Canadian perspective and has sparked me to change my lifestyle and follow a path for holistic nutrition. In our busy lifestyles, we don’t often take the time to think about our food other than how we’re going to prepare it. There are no seasons anymore in the grocery stores, there is little variety and no one seems to think about how the food actually got there in the first place.
Knowledge is power – this book will hopefully spark some change in your own life and help you make better decisions about your health and nutrition.
About the reviewer
Matt Daley is a holistic nutritionist with Village Juicery and is completing his studies at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.