Thursday, April 22, 2010

Impact Change

Happy Earth Day! I’m not sure how many of you were able to catch Food Inc. last night. I stayed up (too) late to watch it and feel so motivated to continue my quest to help people make dietary changes and learn about good, whole, unadulterated food, the kind our bodies were meant to eat.

The film had great stories and messages to communicate to the public about our disjointed food system. The theme of the last 10 minutes of the movie is the one that will stick with me the longest and that is that we “can vote to change this system. Three times a day.” Every time we eat, buy and order food, we communicate a choice, a standard, and expectation of our food. Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stonybrook Farm, said, we vote every time we are at the food scanner. Don’t you doubt for a second that food companies and supermarkets are tracking our every move. A great example is that Wal-Mart, the biggest retailer in the world, made the decision to not buy dairy products that have rBST (a growth hormone) because its consumers did not want them. Imagine if more consumers demanded grass-fed, humanely fed beef and pasture fed, free range chicken. What would Wal-Mart do then?

Don’t view yourself as one lowly person in the industrial food chain. Every one of us has a voice in the system and if we band together, we WILL be heard. Food has become big business-no doubt about it. And as demand for whole foods increases, the supply should follow-the basics of economics. You don’t have to make big changes that will throw your diet and lifestyle out of whack. Make small changes that you can live with. Take action by choosing all natural, whole foods at the supermarket. Explore the “natural foods” section that has populated every supermarket. Shop at the local farmers’ markets or sign up for a CSA this summer. Try to have one organic veggie a week. Opt to buy the organic, non-GMO tofu instead of the conventional. You can make a difference in what we consider to be food. Be empowered to not only make a difference in your diet but in the diet of the country and eventually the world. US industrial farming has ill effects on its workers (e.g., low wages, diseases, poor working conditions, allergy to antibiotics, fingernails falling off), its consumers (e.g., deaths from bacterial poisoning, obesity), its “products” (e.g., abuse and poorly treated animals, contamination), and the environment. Global warming can be partly attributed to the impact of flatulence from corn-fed cows, transportation of imported food from far away lands, destruction of the rain forests for agriculture or to raise animal foods, and the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers.

Whether your priorities are your health, your kids’ wellbeing, fair animal treatment, or the environment, be sure to make choices at the market or at restaurants that are in line with your beliefs.

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