What are the values that shape my food choices? How do my food choices impact the world around me? How do my food choices affect other people? How much do I really know about the food I buy and serve to my family?
Recently, I have been wrestling with these questions. I firmly believe that every decision that I make, whether big or small, has the ability to affect and impact not just myself, but also my family, others, and my environment. As someone with that power and responsibility, I want my choices with food to reflect my personal values. With that in mind, and with the help of several paradigm-shifting resources,* I have come up with what I entitled “My Food Manifesto.” In essence, it is my personal declaration of principles and intentions related to food.
- Eat food. I am committed to eating food that is actual food. I will eat food that is natural, home-cooked, and organic.
- Eat food that honors people. I will choose food products that are Fair Trade, buy from sources that have ethical labor and environmental practices, and buy directly from the local farmer’s market.
- Eat food that honors the earth & its inhabitants. I will eat food that is grown, produced and processed in ways that nurture the environment. I am committed to organic, natural, sustainable, fresh, seasonal, local food.
- Before eating food, I will consider the following questions: Is this good for me? Is this good for others? Is it good for my world?
All of my food decisions can be summed up by these four principles. As far as living them out practically, this means cooking more food from scratch at home, educating myself on the food I eat, consuming less meat, adjusting our food budget to accommodate quality (rather than simply the least expensive) foods, doing what is in my power to address the global issue of poverty and hunger, eliminating (or at least decreasing) processed food from my diet, and supporting food businesses that share my personal values, among other things.
I hope that taking responsibility for my food choices and their consequences will result in not only a healthier self and family, but also a healthier community and environment.
* If you want to consider the food you consume, the Western food industry, other food issues, I highly recommend the following resources:
- Food Inc. – watch the documentary, read the book, or check out the website for many insights into our nation’s food industry. I’ve also heard good things about Fresh, but haven’t yet watched it.
- In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan – this bestselling book examines the American diet, and provides practical guidelines for healthy eating. All of Michael Pollan’s articles and books on food are worth a look.
- Sustainable Table – this website celebrates sustainable food, educates consumers on food-related issues, and provides helpful tips and resources for healthy eating.