Wednesday, 26 March 2014

After the #FixFood Conference

Last week I attended a Virtual Food Conference.  I know it sounds kind of weird, but it was truly a learning experience and timely for me because I am on this food journey. This conference, organized by Alexandra Jamieson was called the Fix Food Conference which was to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of the documentary Super Size Me (a documentary that followed the health issues of a man who ate McDonalds for a month - ew!).  The goal of this conference was to look 3 areas to "Fix Food":

  1. Fix more of your own simple meals that will get you the energy and body you crave.
  2. Fix your relationship with food and emotional eating.
  3. Fix the food culture we all live in. 

There was a TON of information offered by a variety of speakers. One of my BIG takeaways from this experience was that even though there is a wide range of beliefs of HOW and WHAT we should eat, I now know that we must do what is right for us as an individual.  Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, paleo or whatever, the most important thing is that you do what feels right to you from a health perspective, from an environmental perspective, and from and ethical perspective.  I shouldn't feel bad because I still enjoy the occasional steak or I shouldn't feel bad because I don't. 

I also learned that it is important to take how our food system works away from big business and put it back into the hands of the people.  As a side, I believe that in the our current economic platform, that means encouraging the masses to make better choices for themselves and their families so that DEMAND can dictate what business supplies. Obviously, there are inroads being made.  Some people are thinking about what they put in the mouths... people are looking for better choices. There is more organic food on the market and you don't have to go to a specialty store for it. Being vegan or vegetarian or grain free is easier than ever because of product availability.  There are healthier and more eco-friendly choices available in the produce, meat and dairy aisles in mainstay supermarkets. In fact, organic and sustainable choices are easier to find locally too!

Now all we need is for producers PRETENDING to offer healthier choices to ACTUALLY provide healthier choices and not hide behind their labels of lies.  But that is for another blog.  Long and short; we need to embrace whole foods again.  We need to use our kitchens EVERYDAY.  We need to get off our assess and get organized... plan our meals, shop for the best and healthiest ingredients possible and COOK for ourselves and families.  Do it for your health.  Do it for your pocket book.  Do it because it tastes better.  Do it for our farmers. Do it because you are tired of big business telling you what to eat, where to get it and most of all, tell big business you are SICK AND TIRED of eating that slop they call food!

Finally, I also learned that we need to teach the masses how to get back into the kitchen, especially the impoverished and low income families.  We need to get the crap food, including those convenience foods that PRETEND to be healthy out of the schools (granola bars, breakfast bars, Gatorade and the like), especially in the cafeterias, vending machines and the special breakfast and snack programs. We need to re-vamp our food banks and INCLUDE fresh foods and teach the people who depend on food banks how to cook from scratch.

After this amazing conference I felt better about the choices I have been making over the past few months and have concluded that my dietary evolution plan is just fine and I am on the right track for me and over the course of time,  I will continue to tweak my "Dietary Manifesto". 

  • I do want to eat plant based meals at least 3/4 of the time. I will have to get on that internet and research some fabulous recipes to appease my family!
  • I do want to minimize our refined sugar intake by eating more natural products like honey and maple syrup or less refined products such as evaporated sugar cane, stevia and agave.  We do love our desserts, but I feel that at least homemade treats like cookies, cakes and pies etcetera, are better for you than the crap the corporates try to sell me!
  • I want to make more of my own salad dressings to avoid the chemicals in the store bought ones... sorry Kraft!
  • I want to find plant based ways to reduce my eggs and dairy intake because we need to consume less of it.
  • I do want to source out and eat as much organic produce as possible and due to budget constrains, I will use the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen wherever possible.
  • When I do buy animal products, I will try to buy organic and humanely raised.
  • I would like to find local farms and buy from them.
  • I would like to find a CSA in my area.
If you live on take out or restaurants or eat mostly canned or boxed food, remember that all it takes is ONE baby step to move forward in a positive direction.  All you need to do, is find a recipe or 2, plan one meal, pick up the ingredients at the supermarket, and get cooking.  If you can read, you can cook!

If you are interested in finding out more about Alexandra, the organizer of the Fix Food Conference, click here.

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