I’d like to think I’m not an impressionable person, but I am. At least I can say that when I put my energy into something, I go all out. I like projects.
Practically every day I see someone trying to cheat the system for their own benefit. So what’s to say people don’t do it with food? There are times when we go out to eat and I am appalled by the slop that they serve and expect you to pay a ridiculous amount of money for. It makes me think, if they’re willing to serve this mess to your face, what are they willing to do behind your back? And then I started reading.
I admit I shop at big chain grocery stores. I buy almost everything non-local and out of season and the cheapest I can find. I read The Jungle years ago and it still didn’t hit me. But I make sure my animals only eat the highest quality organic produce. Seems a little off balance and messed up, right? I’m willing to go out of the way for my animals but not myself?
It really makes me realize how messed up our relationship with food is. We have tried cutting out carbs and replacing them with bacon and cheese, replacing sugar with aspartame and replacing eating fruit with fruit drinks. We mask “nutritious foods” in chocolate, sugar, or grease so that kids will eat them. One of the most profound things I found in my internet wandering was a study of obese children in California being diagnosed with rickets, a disease that is caused by malnutrition and often seen in poverty stricken countries. How could obese children be malnourished?? Because corn is in everything and when your diet consists of highly processed, manmade foods you are mostly eating corn and that is it. What ever happened to eating in moderation?
I could write a 15 page essay on the treatment of animals and the soil and how as a country we have raped every bit of nutrition out of the food we eat and then wonder why we have to rely on vitamins and supplements to get us through the day. I could write about how chicken can be labeled “free range” and it only means that they are packed so tight in a dirt field that they can’t even move, or a cow is “organic” even when it spends its days knee-deep in its own excrement. How this doesn’t count as animal cruelty, I have no idea. And don’t even get me started on the “high fructose corn syrup is healthy” advertising campaign. It’s messed up and changing shouldn’t be just a fad. I realize I’m a little late to jump on the “slow food” bandwagon. Maybe I just needed to grow up a little to realize how important it is.
So I’m changing. Not because it’s the cool thing to do, because it’s the right thing to do. I care about my health, the health of my family, and the treatment of the food we eat. Just because I want to eat chicken it doesn’t mean I think it should be tortured.
What’s sad is it isn’t easy or convenient to make this change. Unfortunately, we have been raised in a country where we get what we want, when we want. I’m operating under Michael Pollan’s philosophy that “good isn’t the enemy of perfect”. I joined a CSA so I can have farm fresh, local produce delivered to a convenient location in the suburbs and we’ll go from there.
I hate labels because I think people get too caught up in meeting the standards of the label and miss the whole point. However, there is a ton of information on the internet if you search “locavore” or “slow food movement”.