I recently discovered the website, 100 Days of Real Food, and am so thankful! I have been transitioning to healthier eating for the past handful of years and it’s refreshing to find a community that feels the same way. I’ve been interested in nutrition and food for a few years now and am slowly learning more about the truth in what we’re actually eating.
When I read food labels, I first look at the ingredients list, because that’s the only way to find out what’s really in our food. And even then it’s hard when most processed foods contain way too many ingredients, and ingredients that we cannot even pronounce. A rule I follow is if I don’t know what the ingredients are, I generally don’t buy it. Then, if it passes the first test, if there are more than a few (read: 5) ingredients, then I take greater consideration of whether it’s healthy or not, even if all the ingredients seem healthy. Of course, this takes a little research on your end to learn what foods are actually nutritious and what ingredients we are told are “good” for us, but really aren’t.
So back to 100 Days of Real Food. For starters, here are their reasons to cut out processed foods and some guidelines (or rules as they call them) for a healthier lifestyle. The site is very helpful in figuring out what foods are really nutritious and they also have outlined pledges like the original, mini, and budget that can help you get started.
I also recently watched Food, Inc. and it was very enlightening. I urge anyone interested in knowing where your food comes from and how it gets to your table to watch this documentary. Then do your own research to find out for yourself. Really, we should all want to know what’s in our food, how it’s made, where it comes from and how it gets to us. And we all have the right to know, so don’t let anyone fool you into thinking otherwise.
Some ‘food’ for thought that I absorbed from the film. Did you know:
- Many of our fruits and vegetables are not naturally harvested year round? Much of what is offered at regular supermarkets has been altered to grow year round, then picked before they are ripe and colored to look like ‘natural’ food.
- Most foods offered in supermarkets travel an average of 1500 miles from farm to table? That’s a lot of fuel consumed and is one of the reasons our fruits and vegetables are picked before they’re ripe.
- Only a handful of companies control most of the food offered in our supermarkets?
- The workers, farmers and animals owned by these companies are treated unjustly and many animals are physical abused?
- The chemicals and antibiotics used to treat and prevent foodborne illness by these companies has in turn created super-viruses that need even stronger chemicals? These chemicals are in the food and are ingested by you when you eat them.
- As a result of the “efficiency” of the mass production processes used by these companies, increasing numbers of e. coli and salmonella outbreaks have occurred in the last 10-15 years? Since there are too many animals confined to too small spaces, feces buildup is out of control. The animals are shipped to the processing plants, their hides are never cleaned and since the workers are working so quickly much of the bacteria and feces from the animals’ fur gets into our food.
Based upon all of this, they suggest buying locally, buying organic and making sure what you eat doesn’t contain chemicals, pesticides, GMOs or antibiotics. Need a little help with what all this means and how to avoid them? Check out Going Home to Roost here, here, here and here to find out about GMOs, buying organic foods, and food labels.
There is so much more to get out of the film and I urge everyone to have an open mind about all sides of the issues surrounding food safety and our health. For more information, see the About the Issues page from the Food, Inc. website. Also be sure to check out the food section of the TakePart blog for daily inspiration, motivation, news and tips.
Plus, if you’re on a tight budget, eating healthy may not always be easy. So when in doubt and when the bank account requires, refer to this list by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) which outlines the foods highest and lowest in pesticides. The EWG recommends avoiding the dirty dozen and instead eating only those fruits and veggies that are lowest in pesticides. I don’t live to this extreme, but I do try to buy organic foods from the dirty dozen and I will compromise by sometimes buying non-organics of the ones lowest in pesticides.
The Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention provides lots of resources about America’s food supply, foodborne illness, how to get involved in the fight for our health and so much more.
If you live in the U.S. or Canada, Eat Well Guide can help you find healthy options near you. When I searched for my area, it returned a very large list of bakeries, caterers, farmer’s markets, farms and markets. Try it for yourself and you may be surprised at how many healthy options are out there that you may not know about yet.
Want to take action now? Here are 9 ways you can help fix our food system.
I know this is a lot and I just gave you so many things to think about. But can we at least agree that they are worth thinking about?