Eating is important. I’d say it’s the third or fourth most critical activity for life. We don’t treat it like it’s important. We eat fake, mass-produced, chemically preserved, genetically “enhanced” “food.” This is stuff that we were never meant to consume, stuff that we will never evolve to digest.
It is stuff that was created solely to make a profit for the corporations that organized a hostile take over of agriculture in the 20th century. When agriculture went from a small business to an industrial complex we started taking shortcuts.
We’ve always modified nature to fit our needs. We selectively bred the aggression out of our livestock. We crossbred crops to make them more resilient. We created irrigation where the land was too dry. We fertilized the land so we could plant crops every year without losing nutrients from the soil.
When food became big business this all became too much work and too time consuming. We allowed the industry to modify the crops genetically to make them inedible to pests and resistant to weed killer (see the movie The Future of Food free on Hulu). We even allowed businesses to patent these new forms of life, a scary precedent.
Where do we draw the line? I think we should have drawn the line a long time ago. When agriculture became less about our nutrition and more about making a profit, we should have stood up against the insult.
Why didn’t we stand up? Michael Pollan explains it well: America doesn’t have a strong food tradition. Culture has huge influence over ones passion for food. France, Italy, and Germany all have strong food traditions that don’t necessarily fit our view of a healthy diet. Yet, those countries don’t have the obesity problems that we do. We allow diet books and companies to tell us what to eat instead of our ancestors collective knowledge.
We have been silent for a long time. Now is the time to make ourselves heard.
Here are a few steps that you can take to lessen the grip the food industry has on your stomach.
- Support your farmers markets. The people that sell at markets are practically your neighbors. They don’t consume as much oil to get their products to you. They can actually tell you when, where, and how their products were produced.
- Support local business. Buy from local bakeries, butchers, dairies, and farmers. Support people that you can actually get to know. Also, support eateries that support local business.
- When you can’t buy local, buy fresh. The less processing your food goes through the better.
- Shop defensively. Think about what you’re buying. Can you make a superior product at home? Mayonnaise is a good example of this. The steps that are taken to preserve store bought mayonnaise make it almost unrecognizable compared to homemade.
- Finally, eat what makes you happy. Fast food may feel good when you are eating it, but it rarely satisfies your soul. Slow down and enjoy what you’re eating.