Yesterday was Thanksgiving - a day that's as much about eating as it is about giving thanks. This year I have much to be thankful for and I'm looking forward to an exciting year ahead. But, I was less than excited about the food choices at yesterday's feast - or at any average family mealtime, really.
The table was laden with unhealthy food like Doritos and pie as well as healthy foods made unhealthy like organic yams drenched in butter, sugar, and some chemical concoction known as the "marshmallow." Even the turkey, which was oven-roasted with crushed garlic and some salt, gave me pause because it wasn't organic.
Perhaps I am a little more neurotic about food than some, but I have an increasingly troubled conscience about the food we eat. My ongoing ethical dilemma about where my food comes and how it is processed goes far beyond general health concerns. It is also, and more importantly, about food safety, freedom of choice, human rights, ethical business practices, and the environment.
The more I read and watch about the Industrial Food Complex, the more hopeless I feel. Big-business has forever altered the way we eat and it seems there's little we can do about it. I can't just stop eating, though sometimes I wish I could. Even if I could, rolling over and giving up without a fight is not something I've ever been good at. So how do I make conscious food choices that I can feel good about on every level?
What I've decided to do is an experiment to see if I can convert my family of fast-food junkies to a fully organic, sustainable lifestyle by the end of 2010. I hope to prove that the average family can afford to eat sustainably, that it is possible to shop locally for all of our nutritional needs, and to REALLY know where our food comes from.
I have some other goals too, like losing weight and eating at home for most meals (this would be completely opposite from how we eat presently). I hope that my family's journey might inspire our extended families and friends, and maybe even some complete strangers, to join us in our move from the Industrial Food Complex to the locally grown, organic, sustainable, whole food revolution.
I truly believe we can do this by taking one little step at a time. It won't be easy - we are a typical American family, after all. We eat out for lunch everyday and eat out for dinner 4-6 times a week! Maybe we are worse than a typical American family!! You can understand why I'm so concerned, but before you assume that eating at home is any better, I encourage you to read Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser (read the book, don't see the movie) or watch the movie "Food, Inc." Industrial food is virtually everywhere from McDonald's to the soybeans your tofu was made from!
I hope you will follow our journey. Hopefully you'll decide to make some positive changes yourself!
Where We've Been, Where We Are, Where We're Going!
(A Confession and a Promise)