What is in our food?
Where does our food come from?
How our food is handled and prepared?
Through this blog I hope that you will find the answers to these questions and many more. What we are trying to achieve is a lifestyle that is sustainable, that is healthy, and that is balanced.
This movement is not about losing weight or the latest diet – there are many great sites that help you lose weight and diet and this is not one of them! We are about eating and enjoying food in a way that is both healthy and sustainable. We will focus on three major areas…
1. Improved health through a balanced lifestyle and nutrition
We will explore the various myths and realities of nutrition. For example, did you know that two slices of bread (to make a sandwich perhaps) has 20% of your daily salt intake? Or that 10% of your daily salt intake is in one bowl of (All) Bran Flakes? It turns out that toast and (All) Bran Flakes are not such a healthy choice for breakfast after all! We will explore how to improve nutrition, what foods are healthy, and how to read a food label.
We will also take a look at what is in our foods and the impact of these on our health. Many of us sort of know that meat is injected with growth hormones so that animals grow quicker (the average chicken that we eat in North America is only 6 weeks old). And we can guess the impact of this on our health. But what about fruits and vegetables? Well, we know that carrots and apples are grown with pesticides and herbicides and that is not great for our health, but we wash them so they can’t be too bad. But when those carrots have been soaked in chlorine (as baby carrots are) or when your apple is covered in wax (as the regular granny smith apple from the grocery store is)¹, we are eating more than just our daily vegetables. In this series, we will explore the link between foods and our health – including the link to cancer and behavioural problems. And we will suggest ways that these health hazards can be avoided.
2. Eating for the ecosystem
The environmental impact of the food system is ENORMOUS! For example, did you know that it takes 70,000L of freshwater to produce 1 kg of beef? Or that the average orange travels 3000km.²
The environmental impact starts with the growing of seeds, run-off of fertilizers from large-scale farms, to the storage of fruits, vegetables, and meats for many months. Not to mention the massive amount of travelling that food does, often from Africa and South America to North American supermarkets.
We will explore the possibilities of eating local food, reducing packaging, buying organic foods, and supporting local food producers.
3. Fair trade food
Unfortunately, the world is unfair and the people who produce our food are often themselves starving. The food industry has become dominated by just a few giant conglomerates that have pushed aside millions of small producers. Rural workers such as La Via Campesina are standing up to these large corporations like Nestle, Walmart, PepsiCo, or Kraft and saying ‘No, to Corporate Control of Food and Agriculture’.
I hope that you will find the entries every week interesting and relevant! There is so much information about the food system that we just don’t know. If you would like to find out more about this subject I suggest that you subscribe to my monthly blog at www.mindful-eating.ca Through my blogs I hope to provide you with some easy to follow advice that can help you lead a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.
Call to action…
To help you get started, I will suggest a short activity that you can do every week to learn more and get started on your new healthier life!
For this weeks activity… watch Food Inc! It is a great look into the food industry in North America and you are guaranteed to never look at a chicken wing the same again!
I hope you have found this information interesting. Your feedback or questions would be welcomed on the message board!
¹ Patel, R. 2007. Stuffed and Starved – The hidden battle for mouths, minds, and markets. Great Britain: Portobello Books Ltd. pp 1-8.
² Suzuki, D.T., Boyd, David R. 2008. David Suzuki’s Green Guide. David Suzuki Foundation & Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada