Pardon the intrusion, but today just must be a two-post (at least) day. Just got done reading an article in the New York Times by Mark Bittman, a long-time favorite mentor of mine. Today Bittman was saying that as we advocate for better eating habits, often times we run afoul of people’s preconceptions of buzz words like ‘organic’ and ‘non-gmo’.
I think we — forward-thinking media, progressives in general, activist farmers, think-tank types, nonprofiteers, everyone who’s battling to create a better food system — often send the wrong message on both of these. If we understand and explain them better it’ll be more difficult for us to be discredited (or, worse, dismissed out of hand), and we’ll have more success moving intelligent comments on these important issues into the mainstream.
Readers of this weblog may have gotten the idea that I am promoting that we eat healthier foods, and it honestly had not occurred to me that you might be putting the thought of organic food in where I was saying healthy food. We run into this a great deal in our lives, where the listener is mis-hearing what we are saying, and since we don’t have a feedback mechanism in the blog-world it is hard for me to realize that I am being misunderstood. Just in case, we must clear that up, for the record, at this time.
When I say that I must eat healthier foods, I do not mean that I must eat organic foods, or foods that are certified in some way as not Genetically Modified foods. It is VASTLY better for you to eat cauliflower than Snackables, and the incremental difference in nutritional value that you might get from eating organic cauliflower than the non-organic variety is not worth calculating until you have gotten Snackables out of your lifestyle. I can’t really say it any better than Bittman…
… there’s a very real difference between eating better and growing better. I can eat better starting right now, and it has nothing — zero — to do with shopping at Whole Foods or eating organically. It has to do with eating less junk, hyperprocessed food and industrially raised animal products. The word “organic” need not cross my lips.
But…how do I stop a person from hearing ‘organic’ or ‘difficult’ when I am discussing healthy.?
Finally, for a conclusion, there is not really a better way to say it that this…
Maybe all I’m saying here is this: There are two important struggles in food: One is for sustainable agriculture and all that it implies — more respect for the earth and those who live on it (including workers), more care in the use of natural resources in general, more consideration for future generations. The other is for healthier eating: a limit to outright lies in marketing “food” to children, a limit on the sales of foodlike substances, a general encouragement for the eating of real food.
We, you and I, must just eat foods that we prepare, not trusting that the people who put it in a box for your ‘convenience’ did not remove the only thing of value that the food contains, nutrition.