VOTE with your grocery bag
In the year 2000 my husband and I wrote The Diamond Diet: A Multifaceted Path to Health, Wellness and Weight Loss. In it we offered a 7 week program to awaken awareness of how to live a healthier and ecologically more thoughtful life. Readers came away with a balanced, honest and loving perspective that encouraged positive change alongside realistic strategies to improve their health, diet, and overall lifestyle.
The Continuum Principle was born, and learning how to make wiser and livable choices for nearly every aspect of a healthier lifestyle was presented. We offered four seasonal menus based upon our northern temperate climate. In order to make positive food change easier, we made Continuum Charts of Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats and Drinks, showing foods from their unhealthiest form to their best choice along the spectrum. We applauded better choice, and set realistic goals around not expecting the best choice every time, and encouraged a course of lifestyle change for the long haul – not some quick fix to just lose weight.
Dump the chemical laden, sugared, salted, fat filled, fake colored, processed and fast food junk as much as possible, and gradually move toward whole, unprocessed, seasonal, organically grown or raised as often as doable. Spend your organic dollars on animal products, if you eat them. The bang for the buck is in free-range, organically fed, hormone free, antibiotic free, humanely raised animals whether for meat or dairy or eggs because biocides tend to attach themselves to fat molecules and animals, being higher on the food chain, ingest more. And finally, we made a plea for everyone to embrace legumes because they are inexpensive and a fantastic food source containing good quantities of protein, complex carbohydrates, fat and fiber, are good for the planet, tasty and versatile.
America was unhealthy then at the end of the 20th century, and we are even unhealthier now! To add insult to injury, we are the greatest economic power on the planet and yet we pay less for food per capita than any other industrialized nation. That our worst, most unhealthy foods are the most ubiquitous and cheapest to purchase is a great problem that has occurred through misguided and/or corrupt government policy-making at the hands of greedy capitalism. Hence, as noted in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the net effect of our agriculture/food industry is “that a dollar [can] buy 1,200 calories of potato chips or 875 calories of soda but just 250 calories of vegetables or 170 calories of fresh fruit” (Time magazine, 8/21/09).
Ten years into the new millennium consumers need to be even more educated and aware of the foods they are buying because GMO foods (genetically modified organisms) have ubiquitously infiltrated the mainstream processed food industry via corn and soy derivatives through the nefarious mastermind of “He Who Must Not Be Named” (Monsanto). There is no federal requirement to label foods made with GMO ingredients. (This way consumers won’t know what they’re really eating or feeding their children!) GMOs haven’t been properly tested for safety on humans yet, and many allergic food reactions from children are being linked to these soy and corn additives. (See my prior article “Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of the Good.”)
It has become the increasing counter-cultural wave of conscious consumers who are recognizing the value of organic, sustainable, smaller scale local farming. Most importantly for me is the ethos that the word local conjures – the inherent interest to connect our food back with the source of who grew it, the farmers who till the land for us, give us fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits, humanely take care of the animals we eat of flesh, dairy, or egg, and the recognition that by buying local, we are supporting and strengthening our local economy.
Young educated college students and graduates are becoming ever more involved in the organizing of the next wave of farming: urban permaculture, city gardens, partaking in established CSA’s, (Community Supported Agriculture), and WOOFING (World Organization of Organic Farmers – where people farm for room and board) across America and the world to learn from and help promote these farming practices.
This is a political act and is an uprising against the agri-farming Corporate giants and “Voldamortian” Monsanto who have devastated so many small farmers, stripped our country of seed diversity, healthy soil, and by virtue of such density of scale, rendered their farming practices beholden to the bottom line of the dollar, caring not about the land, the soil, the plants, the animals or humans that depend upon it. And who suffers? We all do. What can we do about it?
Well for starters, WE CAN VOTE – with our grocery bag, as best we can every time, more and more.
Stay tuned for the continuing Supermarket Series – as I proceed down the aisles and explore these issues.
Until next time,
Keep me posted.
Photo credit: MD Anderson’s Focused on Health, used with permission under Creative Commons license.