Monday, July 27, 2009

"Food, Inc." -- bottom line

The documentary about the American industrial food system, "Food, Inc.," is still playing at the Esquire Theatre in Cincinnati. See it, if you possibly can.

For those who can't, or just don't want to, see a movie about the dangers in what we are eating, here are a few of the filmmakers' recommendations for actions that concerned individuals can take to counteract the powerful forces keeping this unhealthy system in place:

First and foremost, the movie suggests that we "vote three times a day" for healthier food, meaning we can change the system, if incrimentally, when we select the foods we put on our tables and in our mouths at every meal. Selecting healthy, wholesome, safe food means (for instance) buying at farmers' markets and other sources of fresh, locally or regionally grown, organic (when possible) foods. Read labels and don't buy stuff with a long list of chemical ingredients and/or high fructose corn syrup and/or trans fats. Avoid supermarket and fast-food sources of meat and poultry. Shift to a more plant-based diet--I don't think the movie actually advised that, due to the long arm of the meat lobby's lawyers, but reading between the lines, I find that message comes through pretty clearly.

In fact, my strongest reaction to watching "Food, Inc." was a desire to make and eat more vegetarian meals than we already do.

But since meat is tasty and not always easy to do without, note that farmers' markets often include vendors from regional farms who raise grass-fed cattle and free-range poultry, which can be part of any healthy foodie's diet. The two markets I frequent--Findlay and Northside--do have those foods. You can also search the Internet for places to buy non-industrial meats and eggs.

Summer and fall are easy times to eat a "locavore" diet. The real challenges come when the growing season ends. Stay tuned later in the year for winter strategies for healthy foodies.

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