The seed of introduction:
“The interesting thing I learned was that if you’re really concerned about your health, the best decisions for your health turn out to be the best decisions for the farm and the best decisions for the environment – and that there is no contradiction there.”
Celebrated author Michael Pollan once said that if food came from a plant, eat it and if it was made in a plant, do not. Although humorous, this phrase sums up the current state of our food industry. Pollan’s advice actually has widespread implications and examines the very question: What is food? A strong argument could be made that even though processed foods may begin as whole food, it is altered in such as way that the end results does not even resemble food.
Advances in science have allowed the food industry to evolve – making food easier and cheaper to grow and with more desirable characteristics in terms of shelf life and freshness. These advances sometimes cost you as well. Consider the average cracker on the market today. It has an average of eight or more ingredients, several of which are additives for taste, color or shelf life. Additionally, the cracker is most likely made with
refined non-whole grains and will cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and insulin followed by a rapid fall. This rise and fall may cause you to be hungry again soon and overall less satisfied. Is also may contribute to inflammation if foods such as the cracker are typical in your diet.
Finally, that cracker may be loaded with saturated fats, trans fats (hydrogenated oil) and a whopping amount of sodium. All of these put you at risk for heart disease, stroke, and hypertension. Think about it, that’s just your cracker – what else are you eating throughout the day that has numerous ingredients, many of which you don’t have a clue even what they are?
~Excerpt from What is Food and Where is it Coming From; Menu for the Future, Page 66.
Let the conversation germinate and grow:
Do you currently use labels to make food purchasing decisions? Is the labeling understandable? How might it be improved?
Think about your health. What might changing your diet do to improve it?
Do you ask questions at the store about your food’s origin? How can you find out more about where your food comes from?
Find out more about food labels and what they mean at http://greenerchoices.org/labels/
For one week, list everything you eat. Notice how much fresh food you eat and how much prepared food you eat. Think about Michael Pollan’s statement – if food comes from a plant eat it, and if it comes from a plant, do not. What changes might you make and how would that affect your health?
Are you still gardening? If so, what are your planting? If not, are you thinking about gardening next year? What would you want to plant?