Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reading about food. I wanted to learn more about the research behind the basic concept of October Unprocessed–that we should be eating clean, unprocessed food. I also wanted to learn more about how to do this without driving my family nuts. If I picked up some easy-to-implement tips along the way, that would have been an added bonus.
I started by reading Fed Up with Lunch: The School Lunch Project: How One Anonymous Teacher Revealed the Truth About School Lunches –And How We Can Change Them!, by Sarah Wu. This book was a really easy read, and made me think hard about the food Ethan eats at school every day. I’m not at the point that I’m ready to become an activist, a fighter for change, but I’m definitely thinking about it. If you have kids in daycare, preschool, or school, this book is definitely worth a read. There are also a lot of great resources listed in the back of the book that I made note of so I can use them when I’m ready to make a change.
I then poured over Urban Farm Handbook: City Slicker Resources for Growing, Raising, Sourcing, Trading, and Preparing What You Eat for more than a week. This book, written by Annette Cottrell and Joshua McNichols, was awesome. It goes through each type of food and products that people buy from a grocery store, and gives the reader “Opportunities for Change” within each category. These opportunities are further developed in each chapter, and it leaves you with a handbook that tells you how to change as much or as little as you feel prepared to tackle. The book addresses everything from grains and dairy to meat and personal care products. Some steps we’re going to be taking after reading this book include:
- Eggs: Buy organic, pastured eggs at the farmer’s market.
- Grains: Buy whole-grain flour, bake your own bread.
- Growing Your Own: Definitely expanding our container garden; we’ll also look at options for adding veggies to existing landscapes.
- Seeds: Buy biodynamically grown seeds.
- Food Activism: Buy directly from local farmers.
- Meat: Buy local, sustainably-raised meat.
These are just a few of the ways we’re changing things around our house. We’re very lucky to live in a place where we can do these things and though they’re more expensive, we get a choice about which farmer we purchase food from. I would absolutely recommend this book if you’re looking for a book that gives you some options that may fit your lifestyle.
The third book I read was The Unhealthy Truth: One Mother’s Shocking Investigation into the Dangers of America’s Food Supply– and What Every Family Can Do to Protect Itself by Robyn O’Brien. This book really made me think. The author is the parent of several children with food allergies, so she approaches the topics in the book primarily from an allergy perspective. Much of the book addresses the problems with genetically modified food, conventionally farmed/raised crops and livestock, and the increase in allergies in children today vs. in the last generation.
Working through how we were going to change how we eat, I had been focusing on staying close to home and eating cleanly. I hadn’t thought about the pandora’s box that is GMO’s and conventionally-farmed foods. After reading this book, we’ve decided to do our best to eliminate both of these things from our family’s diet. It’s a hard thing to wrap my head around–all the new brands we’re learning, all the types of food we’re now reading labels for–but it’s also shocking to me how companies have eliminated GMO’s from their overseas brands in Great Britain and Europe, and they refuse to do so here because there hasn’t been a big enough outcry about them here yet. I hope California will change that with their vote on Prop. 37 in just three weeks. Obviously, I’m no expert yet–but I’m happy to have read this book and started learning about these issues.
All told, I recommend all three of these books. Definitely worth a read if you’re looking for books that educate on the current state of the food system, and how you can impact your local food supplies.