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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Eat Patriotically on the Fourth

Jul 01, 2014 02:06PM

In the early 1970s, when I first became more conscious about choosing foods to better nurture and sustain me, research led me to conclude that the best thing to do is to eat food in as natural a state as possible. It just made sense.

When the microwave oven found its way into my mother’s kitchen and processed dinners out of a box became commonplace, it didn’t make sense to me. That’s why my
kitchen and pantry today looks pretty much like it all did when I moved into my first apartment. It’s still stocked with juicers, blenders and natural foods in as pure a state as possible. My health record tells me I must be doing something right.

When I first began eating based on how I wanted to feel, the impact our choices have on sustaining the health of our planet, as well, wasn’t as apparent to me then as it is now. A lot has changed in the past half-century, as farming and food production, patterns of food delivery and consumption and even how most people think about food careened off of its formerly healthy track.

Today, Americans spend an average of 90 percent of their food budget on chemically laden, highly processed, nutritionally weak, high-calorie food-like substances.
The far-reaching consequences are many, including the exorbitant costs of trying to reverse escalating obesity, disease and poisoned environmental resources. Plus, we export this bad example and its unhealthy products globally. Yikes.

Even entrenched skeptics are starting to ask the right questions: Why are so many of us getting sick? Why are so many suffering from cancer and a range of autoimmune diseases that were rare 30 years ago? Why do we see that one out of three children is overweight or obese when we walk into a school lunchroom? When families sit down to an iconic American meal this Fourth of July to celebrate our country’s hard-earned freedoms, how many question the pitched battle for our right to pure, real food, unencumbered by many major manufacturers’ drive to feed us badly in the name of corporate profits.

Ellen Gustafson remarks in her new book, We the Eaters: If We Change Dinner, We Can Change the World, “This change doesn’t have to begin just in the hipster neighborhoods full of wheatgrass-shooting, edamame- and kale-munching vegetarians. It can begin right in your own backyard, at a good old American-style family barbecue. It is a change that can begin and end with a burger, bun, fries, salad and an ear of corn. It can be washed down with a cold sweet drink and followed up with homemade cherry-apple pie.”

In this month’s special Food Watch edition, we offer page-turning information about dangerous affronts by the FDA and the fracking industry, plus news on the GMO labeling fight. But we also present plenty of heroic solutions and doable reforms that call out for our support. When we shift the types of food on our plates by spending our consumer food dollars differently, we can begin the process of rebuilding a healthy food system with cascading benefits for all. We can love our country enough to be better stewards of our world, our environment and our health.

Celebrating our power to create healthy change,

Sharon Bruckman, Publisher

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