Posts Tagged ‘Food’

Hot or Tasty?

Posted: January 8, 2015 in Thoughts
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Have you ever had friends in your group who brag about how much spice they can handle in their food? Am sure every group have some set of folks who do this. They order the spiciest food available and they eat them as though the spice makes no difference to them. To top that, when others say that the food is spicy, they lift their brows and say “Really? That is not spicy enough for me”. At times like this I wish I had access to the spiciest chilies and dump all of that on their food and force them to eat it. Handling spice gives bragging rights to folks like these.

While I admire their passion to prove that they can eat ridiculously high spice levels, I often wonder if they really enjoy food. I recently was in a situation where I had to eat through quite spicy Indian curries and I wanted to go through the experience fully to understand what makes it so exciting. I did manage to eat all that spice with an expectation that the experience would be exciting. On the contrary, after a couple of bites, all I could feel is spice for the rest of the dinner. There were so many complex flavors which were right there along with the spice. All that got killed and over powered by the spice. The food from then on was just one-tone.

That made me wonder even more. What really makes folks eat so much spice when there are so many other flavors to go with it. May be it is an addiction or may be it is just bragging rights they are looking for. Whatever the reason is, I was left dumbfounded on why someone would want their food to taste one-tone.

Folks who eat high levels of spice and disagree that this happens are just outright lying. Biologically and scientifically you are bound to lose taste reception for a while after eating high levels of spice. On ingestion of Capsaicin (which is the active ingredient spicy peppers) taste receptors send signals to your brain that there’s pain in the form of hotness or heat. The brain’s immediate reaction is to start producing endorphins to block that pain, which causes numbness. This mean numbing out the taste receptors which means you don’t get to taste any other flavor.

Though the effect is not permanent, it would last long enough than your meal.

I would say – Have your spices in moderation and enjoy the rest of the taste spectrum. You can brag about your abilities doing something else.

Folks who have had children in the recent past or soon to-be-parents understand the word Genetics at a whole different level. The number of scans they have to go through these days to ensure that the baby does not have what it should not have is surprising. An extra tiny little chromosome has the potential to cause a genetic disorder in the baby. One small tiny little mutation can cause wide range of non-curable disorders. Wish no to-be-parents every have to make the dreaded decision of whether they want to keep a baby with a high risk of a genetic disorder.

I took this rather disturbing example to set the platform to what I wanted to say next. Nature has made us and the things around us the way they are supposed to be. A slight deviation in the tiniest imaginable part of the body would define how a person will ever be. Humans are always aware of the dangers of any genetic mutation.

Lets shift our focus to food  and apply the same analogy to what we are doing to what we eat. The new scientific era has brought in huge paradigm shifts in every walk of life. Food production and supply too have improved leaps and bounds over the years. Now we have got to a point where the most superior species on the planet – “Humans” now have the ability to alter what nature produces naturally. We can now genetically modify any type of type of food to make it more easy to consume and multiply rapidly to fulfill the needs of the ever growing population. Have you ever thought why would a plant ever produce a seedless watermelon/lemon? The sole  purpose of a fruit is to have a seed through which plants reproduce and spawn out into multiple copies of themselves. Without this a fruit is rather useless to nature.

Humans stepped in and they saw that these everyday consumed food is too difficult to handle. Removing seed from a watermelon/a lemon while we eat was too tedious work.  We genetically modified the watermelon plant not to produce fruits with no seeds at all. Thats convenient! While we were at it, we made the fruit more bigger, sweeter and made it grow on any sort of soil  all round the year. This is popularly known as Genetically Modified Food but I rather call it Genetically Mutated Food. We are knowingly introducing these mutations into naturally growing plants and animals to make it more viable to consume. Genetic modification (or what I call mutation) has touched almost all food we eat – Corn, rice, veggies, fruits, meat. Think about poultry being genetically modified to mass produce hefty and fleshly animals. Some with no wings, some with legs so week that it cant withstand its own weight. Sounds appetizing? I believe not. All this mutation is being ingested day after day by a lot of soles all over the world.

In the United States, every small consumer good brought out to market is tested and undergoes extensive checks before the product ever reaches the shelfs of any store. But when it comes to genetically modified (mutated) food, you will hardly see any evidence of any testing/scrutiny. Same is the case in many other parts of the world.

We have always been so afraid of accepting mutation in humans. I find it rather surprising why we are all not that concerned about what we eat everyday. Not concerned about what we are passing over to our next generations. I know there is a section of society who believes there are no issues in consuming these foods. Their argument is that there is no study that proves genetically modified food ever caused mutations/disorders in humans. At the same time they do not have an answer of why there is an alarming increase in cancer cases in the recent past. Why are disorders never heard of before popping up at a blazing rate. These arguments will spew on for ages.

The choice is with individuals like you and me. Multinational food corporations have their ways of making money and they will never accept their way is the wrong way. Whatever various sections of the society say, you always are the owner of your choices. Do you feel picking out seeds from a watermelon while you eat is more important than being concerned about ingesting a genetically mutated fruit. Similar analogy can be applied to other food we eat. We should all be aware of what we are buying, what we are eating, what we are passing along to the next generations. Understand what genetic modification mean. Understand what organic food means. Do your research before it is too late. We should be more cognizant of the fact that there is food around us that is potentially hazardous. We do not know for sure if these foods do cause the unexplained increases in obesity, heart disorders, cancers, etc in the recent past. At least I personally would be concerned unless this is proved otherwise. I would rather not take a chance here.

Did you know – Importing food and plants from United States into United Kingdom (UK) was/is banned. Ever wondered why?!

Food for thought? Or should I say Thought for food!