It frustrates me how little people know about what they eat. I get overwhelmed every time I look into my own family's food closet and see boxes of instant potatoes, canned fruit and vegetables, loaves of white bread and tons of unhealthy snacks that they pack in my little sisters lunch box each day. The closet is one huge processed mess that my family refuses to acknowledge. The best part is when they see me eating healthy local fruits and greens and buying cage free organic eggs, they have the nerve to tell me that I don't eat right. Like so many families throughout this nation, they have it completely backwards. They are overwhelmingly naive and uneducated about the realities of the food they eat.
In many ways I feel that is it impossible to re-educate my family about food. They like what they eat and have never had any serious health problems caused by food and therefore assume all of my preachings are nonsense. They trust the industry over me, yet another mistake. If you are battling a similar situation in which you are trying to educate someone about the realities of our food industry, there are a few great videos that can start you off in the right direction. The films Food Inc. and Fast Food Nation shed some light onto the realities that occur in the industry. From exposing viewers to the horrible conditions that animals are raised in, to getting an inside view of the factories where our food is made and processed, the videos can help lead people to think a little bit harder about how healthy and sanitary the foods they are eating really are. I am sure if they thought they were eating pesticide residue, they might begin to think twice before buying certain products.
Aside from my frustrations with my family and people who don't care to educate themselves in regards to what they eat, I wanted to spend some time writing about the credibility of the "organic" label. When I refer to an organic product, I am really speaking about a product that is produced, processed and packaged without using any chemicals. In the past few years there has been a rapid growth in the organic industry and large companies such as Walmart have begun to sell more and more organic products. If you are a politically minded eater, you are aware that this rapid growth has lead companies to use the same industrial size farming and long distance shipping, as non organic products. The point being that while an organic apple shipped halfway around the world is still healthier for the consumer, it is not as good for the food system or our planet.
This leads me to the local v. organic debate in which more and more people are realizing that an even healthier way to eat than organic, is to eat locally grown foods. Living on a farm in Hawaii, I knew exactly where my food came from. The food was delicious and my body thrived and felt extremely healthy. It is my conclusion that eating local is the healthiest and best way to go when choosing foods to eat. If possible, I encourage more people to buy from the local farmers in your area, so that you know exactly where your food comes from. Also, people who buy from local farmers help keep their money within their communities, which in turn helps to preserve agricultural land and green spaces. In truth, I believe our entire food system needs to be restructured. However, since the food industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, I do not think this is happening anytime soon. If you are an environmentally considerate individual think twice about what you eat and even do some good by rethinking your spending habits and buying locally.