I'm reading Hopes Edge and in it Lappe talks about the experimental diet and how it's aversion to natural, locally grown food is actually killing us.
She states: "This high-sugar, high-fat diet also bears no resemblance to the unprocessed, plant-centered diet of our evolving ancestors, in which meat, fat, and simple carbohydrates, like sugar, played minor roles. The modern diet is the greatest experiment ever attempted on human beings, and we, the guinea pigs, aren't faring very well!"
We, especially, Americans have removed ourselves form delicious nourishing food. The notion of eating locally and eating seasonally and eating as close to the source is escaping us. We run from one fast food restaurant to another and even when we go out to eat or go to the grocery store - if we want local, fresh, and delicious. It costs a small fortune.
I've been thinking about this for a long time. I worked as the COO of Wholesome Wave and was instrumental in ensuring that underserved communities and those who were unable to afford local and fresh could. We created two programs the Double Value Coupon and the Fruit & Veggie Prescription Programs. Both were developed to facilitate the ability of someone on assistance to be able to use their SNAP dollars at a farmers market and that when they used them at the farmers markets they received double the value. The second program was one in which a doctor could prescribe fruits and vegetables and the prescription was again redeemable at the famers markets. During that time I realized that there was something called food deserts, places where people lived away from any access to fresh food.
Imagine that. No seriously, stop reading for a minute and imagine being somewhere where you have no access to fresh, where you can only buy your groceries at a gas station or local liquor store. And that when you do you are paying a dollar for a banana. Imagine? Here in America? Yes. Right here, right now, there are people who cannot purchase fresh even if they wanted to. Right here, right now the only option may be soda, chips, bottled water at $2, processed meats or McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Wow.
This week I was in Italy and I drove by a McDonald's and it was a gorgeous stone and glass building and it was completely empty save for some really fat tourists. We are fat because we eat the wrong foods not because we eat too much. I ate more than I do in a couple of days every day and as unusual when I jumped on the scale when I got home I was five pounds lighter.
Something smells in Denmark as they say. I look around and it really clicked. We have a market-based economy with shareholders instead of stakeholders where the only god is profit not health. Food has become a part of the free market enterprise and the cheapest stuff to push out is corn and soy and preferably GMO.
In Rome every day people are eating better than even some of wealthy here. We may make more but we spend more on food than they do and the food we get has typically travelled across the country, been sprayed, injected, or genetically modified. We eat out of boxes, both individual food boxes and the chain food/ grocery big boxes. Its boxes and boxes of complete crap.
To top it off we, here, eat to live while there they live to eat. One sits at a cafe and has a coffee with a croissant which the cafe owner and his wife have carefully either prepared or chosen. There are no to go cups, no drive throughs, and no rushed gulps. It is a part of life. A sacred moment. One worth enjoying...at that moment. It's slow and it's real. Each moment stacked on top of another sacred stacked upon sacred. Life is enjoyed not rushed through.
In Hope's Edge the author quotes a poem and I will too to underscore the value of nature and all her bounty:
"The tree that moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes
Of others only a green thing that stands in the way.
Some see nature all ridicule & deformity...
& some scarce see nature at all.
But to the eyes of the man of imagination.
Nature is imagination itself.
As man is so he sees." ~ William Blake
Lappe includes Five Liberating Ideas Helping Us Find Our Way
and they have become my mantra:
"One: Scrapping The Scarcity Scare, Realizing Abundance
Cutting through the scarcity illusion, we're able to see potential abundance all around us, even in what is now waste. We realize that growing food in ways that sustain the earth and people is not only productive but linked to the change essential to slowing population growth.
Two: Laughing At The Caricature, Listening To Ourselves
Now we can see that the image of ourselves as merely selfish materialists is but a shabby caricature of our true nature. we would never have survived as a species if it weren't for our need - and our capacity - for effectiveness and connection.
Three: Putting Tools In Their Place, Tapping The Savvy of Citizens
Now we can turn technologies - even the market itself - into tools, not tyrants. Scientific tools can help us - but only when citizens draw values' boundaries for their application.
Four: Discarding Dissections, Solving The Pattern
Now breakthroughs in science and technology allow us to perceive the interrelatedness of diverse problems and their solutions. We have the tools to build on nature's genius and tap the best of ancient wisdom. We can also see more clearly the power in the ripples our own choices make in solving the world's problems.
Five: Busting Free From 'ISMS," Creating The Path As We Walk
Now it's clear that global corporate capitalism - economic life cut off from community life - is not inevitable, not fixed, nor the best we can do. Millions are letting go of all 'isms' - ideologies with one unchanging endpoint. They're re-embedding the market in values respecting nature, culture, and themselves."