ColumnFrustrated with the food system? Be empowered to make better choices. Start a food fight.
Feeling overwhelmed by the food system?
In a world of big business and industrial scale food production it’s hard not to get overwhelmed. Food borne illness outbreaks, stories of animal abuse, widespread soil pollution, foods that purposefully are made to be addictive, skyrocketing obesity rates, high fructose corn syrup in literally nearly everything and fast food chains offering “low fat meals” because it’s a good business option. It’s enough to make anyone want to crawl into a hole and subsist of of grains and greens for the rest of their life.
What can you do about it? Make smart food choices. While we unfortunately have little to no control over what other people put into our food, we do have control over one thing: what we put into our bodies. If you control what you consume, that choice in turn affects the larger system at hand. Because when it comes to food, the most subversive thing you can do is grow and cook your own.
Overwhelmed by the system? Don’t be part of the problem, be a part of the change. Just because we’re fed bad food, doesn’t mean we have to eat it. Throwing up our hands up in surrender solves nothing, we have to fight back.
But doing so is a choice. One that takes commitment. You can’t expect to simply wake up one morning and be eating healthily and ethically. It takes work.
It begins by cutting some things out and adding others in. Less processed food, more leafy greens.
It follows by finding a balance that you can easily maintain.
It requires looking at the labels.
It requires saying no.
It requires sticking to morals.
It requires refusing to eat or drink the stuff we know we shouldn’t be consuming. No one, I repeat no one, ever needs a special Taco Bell soda, no matter what the occasion.
It requires thinking about cost as more than the number on the price tag.
It requires celebrating food instead of looking at eating and cooking as a task.
Those of us that are fortunate to be able to make the choice to eat better and more healthy have the obligation to do so. There are many that are simply subject to what the system gives them, and if the rest of us can’t go out on a limb and make the choices that will make a difference, fight the food fight that needs to be fought, then who will?
We should be enraged at the current state of food and public health. We should be furious at the policy of profit over health. And yet we often just continue down the path of ignorance is bliss because it’s easier to stay comfortable than push ourselves a little. Give up the organic bananas that were shipped across the world. Don’t eat factory farmed meat. Grow something. Anything.
Demand more. Not voting with our fork is a sign of giving up.
We can feel overwhelmed by the food system, but as long as we are not taking the steps to make our personal food consumption better, how can we expect the rest to change?
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This is the latest installment of Anna Brones’ weekly column at EcoSalon: Foodie Underground, an exploration of what’s new and different in the underground movement, and how we make the topic of good food more accessible to everyone. More musings on the topic can be found at www.foodieunderground.com.