Animal, Vegetable, Miracle-Do you know your food?

Feb 2012

Since I started blogging, I find that I have a lot less time for reading.  I spend {too much} time on the computer, researching posts, reading blogs and just learning this new foreign language. The learning curve for me has been steep! When I read a book these days, it’s still for pleasure, but is usually related in some way to Green With Renvy.  Such was the case when I received an invitation from Stonyfield to join From Left to Write and read Barbara Kingsolover’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  This post is not a book review, but inspired by her book.

Could you live an entire year eating locally or the food from your garden? Barbara Kingsolver transplanted her family from the deserts of Arizona to the mountains of Virginia for their endeavor.

I’m not sure I could get my family on board for a journey like the author’s, but I do make an effort to talk often about what’s in our food and where it comes from.  I read half of this book during a recent trip to India, a country of sharp contrasts and huge divides between rich and poor, and then finished the rest when I got home.  What I discovered along the way, is how much more difficult big agra business has made it for the small farmer and in turn, the consumer in America to eat in a way that the author and her family did during their year of discovery.  I live close to Boston, so it is never a problem to find fresh and local.  Affording it is another issue, and there, it’s become a question of making choices, often the lesser of two evils.  As Robyn O’Brien, author of The Unhealthy Truth said during a fantastic Q&A {also sponsored Stonyfield}: For most of us it’s impossible to go cold turkey.  Pick what works for you and your family and make it work.  It’s baby steps folks.  

One of the first things people ask me when I tell them how much I enjoyed my India trip is: Yes, but what were you able to eat over there?  The answer is easy. I had been on the verge of taking meat out of my diet, and two years ago after watching Food, Inc, gave it up the next day.  So, first of all, there are over 200 million vegetarians in India!  The restaurants have pages on their menus filled with vegetarian choices.  Secondly, I love Indian food and spices.  Believe me when I say I didn’t return any thinner!  I came across organic farms and sellers everywhere as I criss crossed the country. Going to market a few times a week, buying what’s local and eating what is in season, is just the way of life over there. Most people just can’t afford to do otherwise. It’s part of their culture, and as a result, the people are much more in touch with what they are eating, where it comes from, and how it gets there.  The people of India truly believe You are what you eat {and karma can be a bitch}.

In the States, our food system is badly broken.  We have a nation of overweight children growing up to be  the first generation predicted  not to live longer than their parents.  Even over 50% of our dogs are obese!  We might have abundance, but is it just too much of a bad thing?  I truly believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Its much cheaper in the long run to eat healthy now.  With continued discussions like this one, a sea of change begins to grow.  The most exciting part of all of this is the dialogue that is taking place in places like From Left to Write.  As more people speak with their pocketbooks, business will take notice.  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is one more tool in a growing arsenal of motivators to reinvigorate a healthy relationship with our food.

Join From Left to Write on February 21 as we discuss Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. As a member of From Left to Write, I received a copy of the book. All opinions are my own.