Why Granny’s Diet Was More Nutritious

Posted by Marketing Admin on

Nutritious fruit and vegetables laid on the table


Our grandparents had a simple, wholesome approach to food and by necessity, They had a nutritious diet and their meals were lovingly crafted from locally sourced ingredients, nurtured by fertile soils abundant in essential nutrients. Contrast this with the fast-paced world of 2024, where convenience often overshadows nutritional value, compromising the quality of our food and, consequently, our health.


Food Availability and Local Eating

In the 1950s, seasonal produce reigned supreme as our grandparents enjoyed an abundance of fruits and vegetables at the pinnacle of freshness, sourced from nearby farms, markets and grocers. Eating locally was deeply ingrained in their lifestyle, fostering a strong connection to the land and the community. Consumers were offered a vibrant array of seasonal delights, from crisp apples in the autumn to juicy tomatoes in the summer.


However, today's supermarket aisles are a far cry from the bustling markets of yesteryear. Instead of locally grown produce, we're met with a sea of uniform fruits and vegetables, shipped from distant locations, packed in plastic, and often lacking in flavour and nutritional value. The rise of industrial agriculture and global supply chains has transformed our food system, prioritising efficiency and shelf life over taste and nutrient density. As a result, many of us have become disconnected from the source of our food, unaware of the journey it takes from farm to fork and the impact it has on our health and the environment.


Now, in 2024, we have an opportunity to rediscover the benefits of local eating. Farmers markets and community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs are experiencing a resurgence, offering consumers the chance to connect with local farmers and producers and access fresh, seasonal produce grown right in their own communities.


Soil Quality

Our soil should be a veritable treasure trove of life, teeming with beneficial microorganisms, minerals, and nutrients that nourish crops to their fullest potential. However, the quality of our soil has undergone significant changes since the 1940s, leading to negative implications on the nutrients of our food. The Earth Summit Report highlighted that soil depletion levels of minerals in Europe have reached 72% over the last century. This decline in soil quality directly impacts the nutritional composition of our food due to the "dilution effect," whereas crop yields increase, mineral content decreases

This decline is attributed to modern farming techniques that focus on producing high yields rather than nutrient-rich crops. The use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides, along with intensive farming practices, has led to a decrease in essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron in our food.


Did you know? You would need to eat more carrots or apples today to obtain the same amount of magnesium or iron as you would have from a single carrot or apple in 1940. 


Seasonal Eating

Granny's understanding of seasonal eating went beyond just tradition; it was rooted in a profound appreciation for nature's bounty and the cyclical rhythms of the seasons which would drive what was available to purchase. She knew that fruits and vegetables were not only more abundant but also more nutritious and flavourful when enjoyed in their natural season. During the summer months, she revelled in the succulence of ripe, juicy tomatoes, sweet berries, and crisp cucumbers straight from the vine. In the autumn, she delighted in the earthy sweetness of pumpkins, squashes, and apples freshly harvested from local orchards. By embracing seasonal eating, Granny ensured a diverse and nutrient-rich diet throughout the year, attuned to the ebb and flow of the natural world.


Local Sourcing

For Granny, sourcing ingredients locally wasn't just a matter of necessity; it was a conscious choice that reflected her values of community, sustainability, and quality. She knew that by supporting local farmers and markets, she would have access to the freshest, most wholesome foods available. Our grandparent’s cherishing the relationships they forged with the farmers who nurtured the land. They understood that there was something special about food that came from close to home. Tropical imports like pineapples and avocados were rare and difficult to find and not a staple in the family’s diet.


Home Cooking

The heart of the home, Granny’s kitchen was filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread, simmering soups, and bubbling stew. She took pride in her cooking skills, honed over years of practice, and passed down through generations. The meals were prepared from scratch using whole, unprocessed ingredients – flour, butter, eggs, and sugar transformed into loaves of bread and trays of cookies. She had a knack for turning simple ingredients into nourishing, comforting meals that brought family and friends together around the table.


Waste Reduction

The original queen of frugality, Granny found ingenious ways to minimise food waste and stretch every penny in the kitchen especially in the post war years. She understood the value of thrift and resourcefulness, turning leftovers into new creations and making the most of every scrap. Leftover roast chicken became chicken salad sandwiches for lunch the next day, vegetable peelings were transformed into flavourful homemade broth, and stale bread was resurrected as breadcrumbs for coating fish or meatballs. Granny's pantry was stocked with jars of preserves, pickles, and jams – testaments to her skill in preserving the season's abundance for leaner times. She wasted nothing and cherished everything, embodying a philosophy of mindful consumption that is as relevant today as it was in her time.


Gardening Skills

Many grannies were green-thumbed gardeners, and they understood the satisfaction of planting a seed, nurturing it as it grew, and harvesting the fruits of their labour. Granny's garden was bursting with rows of vibrant vegetables, fragrant herbs, and colourful flowers. She knew the joy of harvesting homegrown produce – the earthy sweetness of a freshly dug potato, the crisp snap of a just-picked green bean, the aromatic burst of flavour from a ripe tomato still warm from the sun. Granny's gardening skills weren't just about growing food; they were a testament to her appreciation for the natural world and her desire to live in harmony with it.


Granny's wisdom revolved around a holistic approach to food that encompassed seasonality, locality, mindfulness, and sustainability. By embracing her insights and incorporating them into our lives, we have the opportunity to reconnect with the roots of nutrition and cultivate a healthier, more sustainable relationship with food in 2024 and beyond.

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