Happy almost-Food Day, everyone! That’s right, Food Day 2012 falls on Wednesday, October 24th this year – a mere three days from now – and we’re gearing up around GMM headquarters for a big party.
But hold up a second. Food Day? Food Day? Like we really need to throw a party for the culprit behind America’s huge obesity crisis?
Yep, we do, and here’s why:
1. Real food is never the culprit. Think of real food as just that – “real.” Natural ingredients like unprocessed fruits and vegetables, whole grains (instead of processed grains), natural sweeteners (instead of refined or artificial sugars), and locally/humanely raised and slaughtered meats.
Eating “real food” strips away all chance for encountering the preservatives and additives for prolonged shelf life, all of the hard-to-pronounce ingredients that trail down so many nutrition labels in our supermarkets. “Real food” hearkens back to the kind of food and cooking that our great-great grandparents probably knew. Imagine loaves of bread with just four ingredients! Imagine vegetables plucked and washed right around the corner before you pick them up to purchase! Imagine milk and yogurt made in dairies with your same zip code and not shipped across multiple states or over-sweetened and over-pasteurized to disguise their true, full flavors.
No, real food isn’t the culprit behind obesity. There are many culprits, and one of them is the quick, mindless consumption of highly processed foods. Eating “real food” forces us to look at our food labels and find out what actual ingredients we’re putting into our bodies. It prompts us to seek out the places in our neighborhoods we can purchase the most freshly made products – breads, cheeses, juices, vegetables, fruits, dairy – and take notice of our seasonal farmers markets. Consuming “real food” implies valuing the quality and source of what we eat.
2. Food Day is more than a celebration of just food. As stated on the National Food Day website (yes, there is such a thing!), “Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement toward more healthy, affordable and sustainable food….Food Day takes place annually on October 24 to address issues as varied as health and nutrition, hunger, agricultural policy, animal welfare, and farm worker justice. The ultimate goal of Food Day is to strengthen and unify the food movement in order to improve our nation’s food policies.”
Celebrating Food Day helps lift all of our eyes out of the ruts of our daily dietary routines and take a glance at this country’s food systems and their direct effects on our lives.
Now, to be fair, our prosperous country is uniquely blessed with systems of food production that stock our supermarket shelves with overflowing abundance. Food Day doesn’t necessitate a moral stance on how we receive our food, but perhaps it will urge us to ponder how these systems affect the farmers, animals, products, and people involved. Perhaps it will prompt us to investigate the Slow Food Movement, our area farms, and what it means to eat seasonally, locally, and organically. Hopefully so.
So what are we doing at Good Measure Meals? Something very basic, but also quite Food Day appropriate: We’re throwing a big Food Day potluck lunch for with our staff! Every meal contribution must feature at least one local ingredient, and judging by last year’s potluck, we’re in for some creative and delicious eating!