I recently watched the documentary Origins, which covered a variety of topics such as the amount of toxins that we encounter in daily life, and the sad state of modern food production including the environmental impact of our industrialized food system. There were interviews with several experts including Dr. Mark Hyman. I felt it worthwhile to share some of Dr. Hyman’s comments regarding the art of cooking and how Americans have outsourced our cooking to the food industry, subsequently giving up the most powerful tool that we have to change our health and the health of our environment.
Dr. Hyman encouraged viewers to disrupt the food system by voting with our forks. “What you put on your fork everyday, three times a day, is the most important decision you have to make. You need to vote with your fork, so make that vote count, count for you, count for your family and count for our planet.” He went on to describe how we could have an impact by buying from local, decentralized food producers and food suppliers through community-supported agriculture (CSA), farmers' markets, and local coops. The cost may be slightly higher than the big box grocers, but the payoff for eating locally grown whole foods is better health for you and the planet.
Dr. Hyman discussed the power of change that can happen within the community when people band together. “The power of social networking to change people’s behavior, to get people aware of the lies that they are being told by the food industry and our government.” We can change what we’re doing, and take control of our kitchens back from corporations. Dr. Hyman goes on to say “it has to happen where we live, it has to happen in our homes, in our kitchens, in our workplaces, in our schools, where we eat, live, work, play.”
While it will take time to reverse over 50 years of industrialization of the food system, the tide is slowly turning. People are opening their eyes to the impact of giving control to the industry, and returning to our origins. We are becoming more aware of the need to eat real food that comes from the ground vs. a mix of chemicals put together in a lab. Documentary films such as GMO OMG, Cowspiracy, and Origins are bringing attention to the detrimental affects of our current way of eating.
Farmers markets and CSAs are popping up across the country due to customer demand. Fortunately there are still farmers who understand how critical healthy soil is to our future, and who are growing diverse crops and raising small herds of animals in a way that supports rather than harms the land. We clearly cannot go on the way we have been – depleting resources and binging on foods that are killing us rather than nourishing us. You can join the tide for change the next time you pick up your fork. Return to the kitchen, and cook food that your grandmother would recognize as food – food without packaging or labels. Who knows, you might even find joy in the simple act of preparing a nourishing meal for you and those you love.