Food Conscience

Food Conscience

Over the last several months, I watched some intriguing documentaries about the production of food. I started with Food Inc. followed by King Corn, (which you can both stream on Netflix) and The Future of Food (you can watch on hulu). The films all together shared a lot of the same information, but there is no doubt -- that people are awakening to food awareness and the ongoing revolution of what we are eating, don't you think? They all brought up very thought-provoking points on where our food originates and how it is produced.

How many of you have watched the Oscar nominated Food Inc. or any of the above flicks? I got my husband and other family members to watch it, and it immediately made us more conscious about what we consume. Yes, it takes more time and effort, and costs a little bit more to actively be engaged-- but you can save on quantity and go for quality and not break the bank. We are definitely far from perfect in our personal food consumption and eating choices, but are doing our best to make strides in the right direction. A few simple and rewarding choices we can make include supporting local farmer's markets, joining a CSA, growing a garden (even a patio, or deck one) and selecting high quality proteins.



A exciting television series that I am really looking forward to viewing is Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution USA (see trailer here) a sneak peak preview airs March 21st on ABC and it premiers on March 26th. I love the quote he shares that, "I believe that every child in America has the right to fresh, nutritious school meals, and that every family deserves real, honest, wholesome food". Yes -- thank you Jamie Oliver!

Although I don't have a child in school yet, I remember the days of fellow high school students filling their plates with stacks of fries, slices of pizza and soup bowls full of ranch to dip them in followed up with guzzles of Coke. We had healthy options, but kids still picked that as a staple. What do you remember from your school lunches? I was very impressed by my friend Stephanie and her daughter's experience with lunch in France -- check out these French school menus! I hope that in the future we can see more options like this in the United States and other areas of the world.



Continuing to talk about food, I really enjoyed the January article from Martha Stewart Living that focused upon what produce to buy organically. I've known about the EWG's dirty dozen for quite some time, but want to be better about follow-through at the grocery store. To remind myself and others, (if you are interested) I made a little business card size reminder to put in your wallet to easily access at the grocery store.



The thought behind it, is to print it out on heavy paper and laminate it. You can download the card here. You can also get a free nifty little iPhone app called, "dirty produce" here. Interestingly potatoes, spinach, and red raspberries have been taken off the list and have been replaced by carrots, lettuce and kale.



Here are a few books that I have read, have been recommended and hope to read regarding the concept of Food, a few cookbooks are also included.

In the Green Kitchen (available 4.6.10) Go Alice Waters.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
The Omnivore's Dilemma (and other titles by Michael Pollan )
Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces
Real Food
Fast Food Nation
Simply Organic
Earth to Table
Petit Appetit

Others films on my list to watch include:

What's Organic about Organic
Dirt! the Movie

I would love to hear about any books, and films you readers would recommend and any other thoughts about being Food Conscience.

(Ripe Now image above from Martha Stewart Living 2004 clipping photographed by Christopher Baker)

45 comments:

Jessica said...

My husband and I have been doing the same, and in reflecting on what we were eating, I'm appalled and ashamed of myself. I think with shows, and education and media spotlight, things can change, and it really isn't all that far out of reach as far as cost.

Jessica

mariel4985 said...

Thanks for this awesome post! The dirty dozen card you made is so handy! :)

Laken Price said...

My boyfriend and I watched Food, Inc a few weeks ago and it's really changed our mentality.
We also watched the episode of Oprah with Michael Pollan, which inspired me to give up meat once and for all.

I actually just did a few posts along these lines. One about making your own vegetable stock and one about shopping at farmer's markets.

Jane Flanagan said...

When I became vegetarian 10 years ago, my decision was supported by the BSE and foot and mouth crises at home. Of course, arable farming is not immune to issues either, but my awareness was so much more heightened by those first steps that the information in Food Inc. didn't shock me much.

It's funny that I used to think my parents were so backwards for their traditional recipes and meal-prep, but now I'm really appreciative of it! I'm planning to buy this book on the weekend. http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Forgotten-Skills-Cooking-Time-Honored-Darina-Allen/9781906868062-item.html

It's one of those things I'm always working at. It can be overwhelming at times, but little steps count too!

Darci said...

This has been on my mind lately as well, and we've certainly made changes in our house after we increased our awareness. One of the most powerful messages I took away from Food Inc is that we vote with our dollars, three times a day. It makes me feel like I have the power to help propel change (and the ending sequence of that film may or may not have made me a little teary...who knew I could be so moved by a food documentary)

coolhntr said...

Great post! I am excited that an awareness is happening on our foods. I think Jamie's show will help a lot because while movies like Food Inc. educate us on the problem, Jamie's show talks about steps for change.

It is about time! Happy eating.
jen wheat

// S said...

Jamie just did a TED talk about this that is really interesting...

Great post.

Vanessa said...

My friend just lent me a copy of Food Inc. I'm almost a little scared to watch it! It seems like no matter how much I try to clean up my eating act, I always slide back into old habits. I don't know why... I know that I'm doing a disservice to myself and others. Time to pull it together!

Jennifer said...

Fantastic post. Thanks for spreading the word and making people become more aware of this very important movement.

Elaine said...

Have you seen Fed Up With Lunch?
http://fedupwithschoollunch.blogspot.com/

Interesting look into school lunches.

Hannah B. said...

When we watched Food, Inc. it changed the way we eat! A simple, great little book to recommend people read is Michael Pollan's new Food Rules :D

Emily @ Peach & Pearl said...

I love your little wallet-sized reminder! I have the iPhone app, but this is cuter. :)

Jessica said...

I find that while I usually want and try to have the best intentions when it comes to our eating habits I often fall into a vicious circle. I have fibromyalgia and when my energy levels really drop cooking is one of the last thing in the world I feel like doing. Then I resort to something unhealthy, usually, which certainly isn't going to make me feel any better. I'm trying to get a handle on this as I'm about to gear up for one of the busiest times of my life and I need all the health I can get.

I would also recommend Dr. Dean Ornish's "The Spectrum" and Mark Bitten's "Food Matters".

Lady Grey said...

Great post! Great book selection!
This is such an important issue in today's world, and it's so nice to see that it is finally getting some much needed attention from the media.

Joslyn said...

this is a GREAT post Rachel. I'm obsessed with this topic.

A group of moms from Audrey's elementary school just got together to watch 2 Angry Moms, a documentary about the sad state of school lunch...it was very good. I would highly recommend.

xo

Lauren (downtown polish) said...

My mom lives in New Zealand and I was there a few weeks ago and every time I go, I am blown away by how delicious the food is. Eggs, fruit, milk - it all taste so pure. Even the food I buy at the farmer's market can't compare. Our country definitely needs to rethink the way it produces food.

Cinnamon said...

I remember in high school, they had doughnuts in the morning, pizza and chocolate chip cookies in the afternoon and always candy available. It was cheese pizza or a snickers bar for me! Man, no wonder I was so chubby.

I've been a vegetarian since I was 12 years old, I'm 25 now, but even thought I don't eat meat, I'm still trying to be conscious of what goes on out there, including the food I put in my own body.

http://thebusiestbee.blogspot.com/

aidy said...

you should also check out the documentary "no impact man." which i know they have on netflix. it's about a man and his family who try to live one full year without producing waste, and eating only seasonally and locally. it reverses his wife's pre-diabetic condition! amazing!

forget.me.knot.weddings said...

yeah! I love jamie oliver his cook book is amazing! Great post!

kanmuri said...

Great post! I have started taking the healthier turn but I still have a long way to go. Since we live in the Japanese countryside, we have access to fresh local vegetables almost all year long. I take advantage of that. However it's really difficult to buy organic food in this really conservative area.
I have fast food nation, I'll try to read it!

Mary said...

Excellent post. I too am so excited that this topic seems to be gaining momentum. The stuff we feed our kids is especially appalling. I am far from perfect either, but like you, I'm learning and I'm making strides to do better and ensure that our family is eating good wholesome foods.

Oh, and awesome card! I am definitely printing that out. I thought I had them memorized, but it's a great reference to have.

Law of Attraction said...

You beat me to this post;) I love that you are talking about this. I've had the Jamie Oliver Wish speech from Ted open on my browser for weeks now. He talks about everyone teaching 3 people a healthy, seasonal recipe and so on. I love this idea.

I would suggest checking out the http://urbanhomestead.org/journal/ and if you are in Southern California you should stop by their place for a tour. Also, the film End of the Line. We really need to wake up to what is going on with fishing.

Christine said...

I recently picked up the book The Conscious Cook and highly recommend it!
http://www.talronnen.com/cookbook/

amber said...

I tried to comment before but blogger ate it. :( Thank you for this well-put-together and thought-provoking post. I've posted a link back to it on my blog, because i think everyone should have a read and a think about the issues you raised. Also, you reminded me of this beautiful cookbook I'd love to own:

http://www.sarahmagid.com/book.html

Lily Hydrangea said...

I think you may like the book, Eating Animals - by Jonathan Safran Foer.
I am reading this now and though it is quite depressing I believe it is part of what seems to be a movement to raise people's awareness about factory farming.
Love your blog.

Pretty Mommy said...

Wonderful post!! Couldn't agree more...love growing our own and using a csa, farmer's markets, etc... I found Animal, Vegatable, Miracle to be so inspirational...thanks for the handy printout!!

compulsively compiled said...

While we have always eaten fairly healthy in our home, we have not always been very conscientious about where our food comes from. After listening to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, that changed for us. We look past what's on the shelves of the grocery store and think about what is really in season in our area and try to buy accordingly and grown more in our own garden.

Kate (Embarrassment of Riches) said...

I hate the power large multinational corporations have, and Food Inc. and In Defense of Food opened my eyes to the fact that I was perpetuating their success. My husband and I have cut out fast food (which we barely ate anyway, since we're vegetarians) and "anything made in a plant" (except for diet Coke, but I am almost ready to give it up!). We've never felt better and I love "giving the finger" to corporate America and their cadre of lawyers and lobbyists.

jaclyn said...

great post... go veg now!

Lyndsy @ L Kae Interiors said...

This is a great post!! I know I have become much more conscious about what I eat, buy, and even the products I use in my home. I think that it really does make a difference in how you feel, when you put better quality foods in your body! I also love that you included the Iphone app - Downloading as we speak!

Mango Ink said...

thank you so much for posting this! our family has been making giant changes to how we eat and shop and it all started with Michael Pollen's "In Defense of Food". finally i "get" it. no more processed food full of preservatives and we get all our bread from our local bakery. soooo much better tasting and it feels so right. we are having fun making all homemade dressings for our salads. they are amazing! it's a great change.

elizabeth said...

i can't wait for jamie's new show either! another great way of being food and environmentally conscious is participating in the meatless monday/ meat free monday campaigns. i started up a month or so ago, and its been really interesting to learn the facts about how the environment and the food we choose to eat and buy relate. its also been a lot of fun learning how to cook differently and still deliciuosly, of course.

Derek said...

Hey there!

So I'm working on a startup called Foodtree, and one of our early users sent me your way on this post, and she was right...it's a wonderful synopsis of conscience eating. I especially love the print out to instruct decisions while you're shopping; it's a perfect metaphor for what we're trying to do up here.

Just wanted to say that I love what you're doing:)

Brittany said...

what a wonderful post! i've been meaning to write down a list of those fruits and vegetables to keep with me and what a pretty way to do it! food, inc. is on my list but i've been putting it off because i know as soon as i watch it i won't be able to eat like i normally do. and i can't wait for jamie oliver's show. i think it will be great. i'm so glad you're bringing attention to these important issues.

hellolinda said...

brilliant. it's funny to see your post on this as i just watched food inc two nights ago. i, too, have fallen left and right over this new buzz word. i certainly don't think of "food" the same anymore. love your post!

Joanna said...

Jamie Oliver did the same thing in Britain, revolutionizing school lunches for children (other countries, look out!). I love his message and what he stands for. He's doing some great things.

Very informative post, the kind you bookmark and come back to for future readings.

Danielle said...

FABULOUS Post! I am in love with Black Eiffel and this just sealed the deal.

This topic is a huge obsession of mine and I have 2 of the biggest carnivores under my roof...my husband and son. I rarely cook meat during the week, much to my husbands dismay. And I make homegrown vegetables a huge part of our diet. We grow all sorts and my son loves to pick and eat them fresh.

I would love for him to see the movies you mentioned, but is that too much? He is 9 years old! What do you all think?

Siobhan said...

Thanks for this great post. You might also like Monty Don (from the UK) and his books. He had a TV series called Fork To Fork which was very inspiring.

Courtney said...

glad you shared this...seems so timely right now. Everyone is finally getting into it, and "alternative" eating, could become mainstream (again, really, as whole-food eating was the only original option!) I think this whole issue can become pretty overwhelming, but I read "In Defense of Food" and it was a very simple start. I'm not trying to overhaul my entire diet, but I will try to make some small changes, that will hopefully add up. This summer will be my first with a CSA, and maybe even grass fed beef from a local farm! Feels good to move in a healthier, fresher direction.

Jenny said...

I LoVE this food post. Thanks for all this yummy info.

jamieofalltrades said...

I too have been trying to be more food conscience. I'm finishing Alice Waters book, the Art of Simple Foods, which not only is a great resource, her writing makes me excited about good food. Molly Wizenberg's book a Homemade Life is also one that will excite you about food.
I love the little card you made. I'll be posting on my blog tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

As a sophomore in high school where pizza and subway is delivered to my school everyday to feed our 5,000 students, I pack my own brown bag lunch everyday. Today i packed carrots, a yogurt, an apple and an orange(fresh from yesterdays farmer's market), some whole grain kashi crackers, and a cookie my sister made from scratch.

I watched Jamie Oliver's special last night and while I pack my own lunch everyday and try my best to eat healthy and fresh, it is hard to see other kids who have to buy lunch at school for whatever reasons, and they are not always given a healthier alternative to the usual junk. I can't wait to see this revolution through schools all over America!

Annie
California

oohmyfavorite said...

What a terrific post, you've got everything here. Always glad to find another healthy foodie. I just watched No Impact Man and thought it was pretty interesting as well...not as intense as Food Inc. but interesting and thoughtful.

The Price Report said...

Love, Love, Love this post. Love the 1. content. 2. the way it's organized 3. the visuals.

I am very much interested in organic food after watching Food Inc. last month, and now I want to educate everyone else.

Remember farmer Joel from the movie? I'm going to tour is farm in a few months! I'm so excited!

Jane Goodall's book Harvest for Hope shares a lot of the same info as the movie Food, Inc. It's a good reference book. Check it out!

Thanks for this great post!!

mkendall said...

This is such a great post. I stopped eating meat two years ago and try too buy organic whenever I can. I always buy organic yogurt, eggs, milk and broth. Thanks for that handy vegetable printout guide.

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