Nowadays, you see around the web and hear on the news that you should “go organic,” “eat locally grown food,” “buy from your local farmers’ market,” etc. Ok, sure. But has anyone really explained why?
Why should we spend a little more, wake up a little earlier, and take the extra effort to do so? Isn’t it easier to just drive down the street, save money and buy from the Giant, or Safeway, or Shoppers, or whatever have you where it is ever-so-abundant with all the food one could ever want? Well, easier has also become synonymous with unhealthy. I truly believe that if humans deserve anything at all in this world, it is to be healthy. Right now we (Americans) may have limited choices in the health care we receive, but we do have some control in what we eat.
Although I feel a little late to the bus, last night I found the answers to those questions (and many others) in an incredibly effective documentary: Food, Inc.
Five days a week I work with Hypertensive and/or Diabetic patients who are uninsured and live at 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. More often than not, I hear the same story the family in the documentary tells us — despite being Diabetic, they do not have the money to pay for healthier foods. The high costs of living with Diabetes makes it easier and cheaper to buy fast food. Although this perpetually makes their condition even worse, they simply feel that they have no choice. They live to survive today, not tomorrow. Was this, perhaps, the very reason they developed Diabetes or high blood pressure in the first place? The bottom line: health means access — access to better health care and access to healthier foods. As corporations make millions off of others’ poverty, it is at the cost of our health. Just follow the money, and you will find the source to the problem.
Sigh. I could go on and on about this matter, but I won’t — you should just watch the movie. Maybe now you will have a better understanding of why I chose to be in the Public Health field.
Here is the movie’s final and most important message:
You can vote to change this system. Three times a day. Buy from companies that treat workers, animals, and the environment with respect. When you go to the supermarket, choose foods that are in season. Buy foods that are organic. Know what’s in your food. Read labels. Know what you buy. The average meal travels 1500 miles from the farm to the supermarket. Buy foods that are grown locally. Shop at farmers’ markets. Plant a garden (even a small one). Cook a meal with your family and eat together. Everyone has a right to healthy food. Make sure your farmers’ market takes food stamps. Ask your school board to provide healthy school lunches. The FDA and USDA are supposed to protect you and your family. Tell Congress to enforce safety standards and re-introduce Kevin’s Law. If you say grace, ask for food that will keep us, and the planet, healthy.
You can change the world with every bite.
Read about Kevin’s Law: http://cspinet.org/foodsafety/kevinslawbrochure.pdf
Faster. Fatter. Bigger. Cheaper.
However you describe it, none of those mean Healthier.
Thanks to PV for getting me to watch this movie. I hope I’ve now convinced you to, too.