I was fortunate enough to grow up in Czech Republic in a family where a traditional, good quality food was a norm.
Both my grandmothers had huge gardens and they were excellent cooks and cake makers. One of them had chickens and rabbits, which were part of our diet as well.
Of course, there were the seasons. In winter, the only vegetables in abundance were carrots, potatoes, leeks, garlic, beetroot and sauerkraut. Apples were in the cellar and they were all eaten up by the time when spring arrived. Second grade apples which fell off the tree earlier were pressed, pasteurised and bottled and used up over the winter as well. The taste was superb, nothing you could buy today would compare. In times of abundance the seasonal fruit or vegetables were on our plates daily. In autumn we would have stewed apples, apple pies, apple strudel or dried some....
Of course, as a child I took all this for granted. It was't until years later when I realised that the supermarket apples or tomatoes did not taste like the apples or tomatoes I knew.
In my teenager years I joined a yoga group around an Indian guru and together with a big part of my family I became a strict vegetarian. In the first year of becoming vegetarian I remember many dental carries and white spots on my fingernails, which, as I know today, indicate a zinc deficiency. Eating the same diet as before while simply leaving the meat out was't a good idea. Later we learned to eat more legumes, nuts and seeds.
Communist Czechoslovakia in those days was a meat eating country - it was nearly impossible to get a vegetarian meal in a restaurant, for example. A consequence of this dietary isolation was that I learned how to shop for food and how to cook. It came handy later when I moved out of home. Also, it became my habit to take food with me whenever I leave the house, unless I eat out with friends, of course.
I remained a vegetarian for about 20 years and it suited me that way. Later on, however, I felt something was missing in my diet, so I introduced fish, then, a few years later, eggs, and quite recently I started eating liver.
Some people do very well on vegetarian diet, while others can’t cope with it no matter what their conviction is – their body simply gets sick. Different people need different diets depending on their metabolic type, lifestyle or stage of life, so I am quite tolerant of people being on different diets. I don't try to impose diets on people except when I realise, after taking their case thoroughly, that their body or mind are suffering because of their diet.
The food is changing. My generation could be the last generation which experienced the traditional diet. It makes me sad somehow. The processed food industry is taking over the planet so fast that soon it will be the only option. It is based on greed and disregard for human health. It weakens the human race.
On the other hand, we know much about nutrition today and this knowledge can be used to create super foods which are optimised to our body type and our current needs. This food will promote wellbeing and optimal health. These foods can be produced from algae or crustaceans or other small organisms which can be conveniently farmed on the space stations or on Earth using efficient technology. I believe that these designer foods will be the foods of the future as we colonise the space. Although this sounds as a fairy tale, my great grandchildren will know the taste and consider it normal.
Don’t say it’s impossible. I remember the times without the computers...
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