#Immediacy on speech making

IRAIN - The environment: Agriculture suited to local conditions and growing a variety of....

The environment: Agriculture suited to local conditions and growing a variety of crops helps to keep land in good heart. Considerable energy and pollution are saved in not transporting so much food around the world. WHOLEFOODS - THE FACTS: Whole-foods are simply unadulterated, unrefined staple foodstuffs.

They include whole-grains, pulses, nuts, fruits and vegetables, fish, humanely reared meat and genuinely free-range eggs. Since whole-foods and whole-food shops began to reappear in the early 2000s, there has been considerable confusion - not helped by the food trade - between whole-foods and health foods. Health foods are often just as refined and heavily packaged as (and generally far more expensive than) their mainstream counterparts. There is no doubt whatsoever that whole-foods are healthier than processed foods.

A varied whole-food diet is much more likely to provide you with nutritional balance than the processed alternatives. However, because of the topsy-turvy economics of the food trade, it is still the case that the more refined a product is, the cheaper it will be. Take bread, for instance, where white sliced (called 'a national disgrace' by the authors of The Food Scandal) is several pence a loaf cheaper than wholemeal. But the public is rapidly waking up to the health - and taste - that wholemeal bread offers, and we are now buying 132 per cent more of it (and 60 per cent less soggy white) than we were 10 years ago.

A recent survey showed that 27 per cent of us are aware of the importance of whole-foods, and there is a growing demand for them - even the House of Commons now has a whole-food menu. WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE: Grocery shops and supermarkets should increase their range of whole-foods, though prices need to be carefully monitored to ensure that advantage is not taken of people concerned about their health. Labelling ought to be clear, so we can see quickly which lines are whole-foods.

And the misleading use of terms like 'natural' and 'wholesome' should be banned. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Buy whole-foods in preference to processed foods. Eat wholemeal (not just 'brown') bread and wholegrain pastas.

Buy as much fresh fruit and vegetables as you can afford. Try....

Buy as much fresh fruit and vegetables as you can afford. Try varying your diet by introducing healthy whole-food staples like lentils, beans, rice and nuts - they offer prot... read more

Other people: The other people you cook for will experience the health....

Other people: The other people you cook for will experience the health and energy benefits of eating whole-foods, a particularly imp... read more

Other people: The other people for whom you buy and prepare food....

Other people: The other people for whom you buy and prepare food will benefit too, a particularly important consideration where children, with their more delicate metabo... read more