Sunday, August 5, 2012

Food Movements - In Praise of Eating Well

In recent months I consumed a number of food related books as part of my normal reading diet.  My diet is dominated by fiction, but thanks to the row of book readers on my iPad including iBooks, Nook, Kindle, and Google Play, I forced myself to hide non-fiction behind one of the icons.

My most recent foray into non-fiction was Real Food:  What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck.  I was completely fascinated by the book and recommend you add it to your reading list.  Nina goes into great detail and debunks many food myths relating to fats, oils, industrial food, cholesterol, heart disease, and obesity among many others.  Part of my attraction to the book was the confirmation of things I suspected, and support for the things I love and practice.

Nina’s book is one among many that mark a revolt against industrialized foods.  It is another touch point in the food movement encouraging people to eat better.  Can you remember a time in your life (assuming you have more than 20 years experience at the dinner table) when there were more “food movements” than we have today?  Here is a partial list (no slight intended if your “movement” is not represented here):

Slow food
Real food
Whole food
Nose to tail
Local food (Locavore)
Free range
Community Supported Agriculture
Farm to School
Food Cooperatives
Farmers Markets
Farm to Table
Simple Food

And guess what?  This list doesn’t contain all the others focused on the global politics of food, sustainability, environmental impacts, fair trade and diminishing biodiversity represented in the modern food supply chain.

My intention is not to critique or elaborate on these movements but to highlight some of the commonalities among those listed.  In one way or another, these movements each focus on eating better, eating healthier, forsaking processed industrial foods, and encouragement to eat locally produced meat and vegetables.

In  Real Food:  What to Eat and Why Nina encourages me to continue what I am already doing.  Eat fresh food, buy locally from farmers markets and roadside stands as much as possible, avoid the interior isles of the grocery stores where the processed food lives (well, I do have to wander into no-mans land to pickup my coffee and olive oil), and pay no attention to the naysayers who demonize whole, rich, dairy products, eggs, meat, and animal fat.  Within these broad confines there are also grades of goodness such as free range and pastured animals vs. caged, medicated, and industrially produced proteins.  There are also tremendous issues with industrialized produce, but if you swear off the interior grocery isles filled with cans, jars, and boxes, you are taking a step in the right direction.

Of course, by following this advice you will need to cook – and I mean time at the cutting board and simmering pots, not tearing open cardboard boxes and setting the timer on the microwave.  Real cooking.  Real fun.

In vino veritas, buen provecho.


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