Living in France has opened our eyes a fair bit when it comes to fresh fruit and vegetables and a possible vegan lifestyle. Not only is the food very fresh, the prices are low and buying organic seems to be more the norm than exception.
Limoux and many surrounding towns have weekly markets with a good choice of fresh fruit and vegetable stalls. Several of them are certified organic. This is a challenge in France as it guarantees you to get annual checks by the government. Many stalls are ‘organic’ but do not carry the license mainly to avoid this type of bureaucracy.
Buying food of the season
When you buy fruit and vegetables on the markets in France you get the best and freshest when choosing the seasonal produce. Surely the large supermarkets offer, just like in Australia, everything all year around but the markets tend to go with the seasons.
That means no strawberries in the winter or peaches in spring. It means berry fruit in the summer, melon in August and September and peaches until a bit later. Then during October mushrooms, chest nuts, persimmons and apples steal the show. While in December citrus fruits get the focus.
That is on offer and that is what most people tend to eat. And if you do that you eat for very little money! We kept track of our market expenses for a couple of weeks and we discovered that life can be very, very cheap if you eat a lot of plant based or vegan foods.
A bit of an ‘Eye Opener’
Coincidental we watched a documentary called ‘What the Health’ and we were quite stunned. Not only stunned but also appalled by the way this world ‘handles’ food. The documentary is mainly about the food industry in the USA and I sincerely hope they are the worst offenders. I really hope it is different elsewhere although I fear that Australia may be very similar to the States.
It appears that food is not about feeding us – humans. Food seems to be a business where profit is more important than health. It has the role to sustain but not to nurture. It is amazing to see that most of the food that this world produces ends up feeding animals. Huge crops of grains and corn end up in the stomachs of cattle and poultry.
The ironic thing is that the volume of food needed to feed animals is much higher than the volume of food the animals produce to feed humans. Think about that one for a moment…….!
More shocking facts!
I once heard that there is enough food produced in this world to sustain every human being. There probably is but the main proportion seems to go to feed animals who provide for only a fraction of the world’s population.
Furthermore in order to create all this life stock, its production needs help and that is where I was confronted with the biggest shock. The produce that we end up seeing in the supermarkets is so artificially ‘tweaked’ that the word healthy has become obsolete! There is nothing healthy about these animals that end up on our plates.
They are full with antibiotics, hormones and fluid to grow as big as possible. They need to grow faster and bigger than nature would allow and the result is something else than food. However the beef, pork and dairy industries support and promote the standard of such foods. Ironically those companies who supply the hormones and the drugs needed appear to be their sponsors. See the vicious circle?
In the USA some people fight these procedures and end up in prison and it seems virtually impossible to make an impact there. What is possible off course, is stop eating the manipulated products.
Don’t think chicken and dairy are any better! They are just as full of hormones and anti-biotics. We were shocked to realise that our youngest daughter has drunk milk by the litres since she was a small kid. She has stopped or reduced it now but what could be the damage there?
Our decision to trial ‘vegan’
Any way after seeing this documentary, we watched a couple more on the same topic. We concluded that we had already lost the appetite for eating meat. Even dairy had lost its appeal however we knew it would be hard to give up cheese! After all I am Dutch, the country with the amazing assortment of hard cheeses. I used to work in Switzerland and love all of their cheese dishes. And now I am living in France where cheese is also abundant.
What we have decided is the following. We have a trial vegan month and explore what it means. We will asses how we deal without meat and dairy. And we will use all our creativity to produce tasty meals with only plant based food.
We are now in our fourth trial vegan week and I can only say that we have discovered some interesting things.
To be continued…..!