24 Febuary 2010
We Need To Know Our Food
There is a saying that ‘good things come in pairs’. The saying is true when it comes to foods that are healthy for us and the environment. Sadly, with regards to unhealthy eating decisions, the negatives also come in pairs as well. We can take care of these negatives by understanding what we eat and its effect on the planet and our bodies. Although eating fast foods is easy and convenient, being aware of the source and nutritional value of our food causes families to make good environmental choices because families will avoid fast and low value foods, they will buy meat that is not from factory farms, and they will buy organic produce that is not destructive to the environment. By taking care of our bodies when thinking about nutrition we also help to protect our earth.
Families can simply support the environment by avoiding fast and low value foods. Fast foods are unhealthy, though convenient, and harmful to the environment because of the origin of the product and the amount of packaging that goes to waste with each meal. Low value foods are best described as foods which are usually highly processed and based on carbohydrates that don’t support lasting energy. The common low value foods are hard on the environment because they generally are loaded with preservatives, highly refined, and based on corn farming, which are all harmful to the environment. It is very easy to buy low value foods and Bryan Walsh from Time Magazine states that the worst foods have become very cheap and affordable for consumers. Even though the foods are cheap, families being aware of food options will avoid the foods that are both bad for the environment and the individuals eating the food.
In an attempt to eat meat and dairy products that are healthy we first have to understand where the meat comes from and how that fact affects us and our planet. Luckily there is no tough decision between choosing what is good for our health versus what is best for the environment. Factory farms are terribly inefficient and in the process of producing unhealthy products they destroy the land used to produce it. The amount of land used to farm the feed that is needed to mass produce fat cows and pigs for slaughter is outrageous. Health and wellness expert, Kathy Frston goes as far as to say that simply eating vegetarian is better for the environment than buying a Toyota Prius to drive around in. The fact about the Prius shows how bad factory farming must be to make going vegetarian such a large step in going green. So if we are informed about what we are eating then we will desire to buy products that don’t come from factory farms because we will be conscious about our health and the environment.
Something that families don’t want to say is, “if I knew what they did to those plants I would have never eaten them”. By being aware of the source of our produce, we will make good decisions based on where those fruits and vegetables are grown. Non-organic produce comes from farms that load the soil of their fields with tons of fertilizer and rain down chemical pesticides onto the growing plants. The amount of fertilizer and the pesticides used are not good for consumers eating the produce or the land used to grow these plants. The technology that has come about to allow farmers to make great profit from their land is the same technology that used poorly is destroying the farm lands and more. Staying informed about the produce we buy will cause us to buy organic fruits and vegetables that are both good for us and not destructive to land being used to grow the produce. Being informed about products at the grocery store is good for the environment and those eating the food. Bryan Walsh explains in his article, Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food, that it is worth buying healthy produce even though it may be more expensive than junk foods
It’s great that eating healthy is such a winning situation. Eating healthy is a winning situation because eating well is good for our health and the health of the environment so people should understand what their decisions are when it comes to groceries. When people are informed about the foods they eat it causes them to avoid foods that are bad for themselves and the environment because they will stop eating low value food, they will avoid buying meats and dairy products from factory farms, and they will buy produce that are organic. Staying informed about what we eat will lead to better eating and less harm done to the environment.
Freston, Kathy. (2007). Vegetarian is the New Prius. The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-freston/vegetarian-is-the-new-pri_b_39014.html.
Walsh, Bryan. (2009). Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food. Time Magazine. http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1917458,00.html