I have a bumper sticker on the back of my car that says, “Go Slow.” I think most people probably take it to be a driving suggestion, but the two little orange snails in place of the “o’s” are a hint that it is, in fact, a recommendation to eat Slow…. As mentioned before in this blog, Slow Food is an idea, and it is also a local and international organization devoted to good, clean, and fair food. So how does one incorporate these concepts into a busy life? First, it might be important to note that we live in a time in history when we spend less time and money on our food than ever before. Our busy lives do make fast food very attractive…this is a problem because our chronic diseases, like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, and many of our environmental problems are connected to the way we eat. With that said, we have the power to change this dynamic by voting with our fork.
Here are some ideas about how to incorporate slow food ideals into daily living:
Cook more often. Make more time to be in the kitchen. Home cooked meals can help you save money and have more control in where your food is coming from and what, ultimately, goes into your mouth. Check out the Recipes section of this website for links to websites with some great recipes.
Plant a garden. Growing your own food is one of the best ways to get a lot of fresh and healthy produce for little money in a very environmentally friendly way. Here are some resources for gardening.
Buy Organic. Not just for the birds and the bees; our entire ecosystem (ourselves included) benefits from responsible agriculture.
Save endangered foods. Did you know that over 98% of foods have disappeared or are at risk of disappearing? In many cases we can “Eat it to save it,” meaning that by buying, growing, eating and supporting some endangered foods, we can ensure they remain in production . Slow Food’s Ark of Taste is a catalogue of over two hundred cherished foods in danger of extinction.
Learn about food traditions. In Wisconsin, like elsewhere, we have a rich history of food traditions, informed by the many different cultures that have come to call this place home. Wholesome traditions like fishing, hunting, wild food gathering, gardening, farming, preserving, cooking have helped to keep native and immigrant people healthy for generations.
Get active. Get out and get active in your community. Start a gardening club. Volunteer. Host a local food potluck. Take your kids to visit a farm. Support policies that improve school lunches and create a healthier food system. Educate. Share meals and ideas. Request local, organic, and sustainable foods at your favorite restaurants and grocery stores and encourage others to join you.
Tomorrow I will be traveling to Italy to attend Terra Madre, an international Slow Food conference bringing together farmers and producers, cooks, educators and academics, students and youth from all over the world, who are united in a desire to promote sustainable local food production in harmony with the environment while respecting knowledge handed down over the generations. Upon my return, I hope to share some of what I’ve learned with the Get Active Today community!
Eat as if your life depends on it.
Jennifer Casey, RD, CD