Food is highly political. It can be easy to cast this aside to feel justified in eating what we want to, whether it be fast food or the newest nutritional “it” food. It can be hard to seek out information and make informed decisions, but if we don’t make the extra effort, we are contributing to a food system that is plummeting towards its own demise.
I seek out healthy food. I try to buy organic, non-GMO, and vitamin packed foods. However, I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never done research on this. I just assumed that the foods claiming they are the healthiest are in fact the healthiest. Often, the packaging of the food I buy has a note about how it is packed with a certain vitamin and what that vitamin does for your body. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was advancing nutrionism, the reduction of food to its nutrients. While it is important to seek out healthy foods to nourish your body, it is also important to realize that added vitamins are not necessarily beneficial for you. Foods naturally packed with good things, like fruits or vegetables, are so good because different things interact in order for your body to make good use of it. While I am still opposed to GMO foods, I now have a more open mind. What is right for me is not necessarily right for everyone. Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that are food insecure may benefit from GMO foods that are created to be higher yield and disease resistant. Though I still only buy organic fruits and vegetables, I am now more concerned about farming practices. While I try to eat local from sustainable small farms, I know this is a privilege that not all people are afforded. In the same vein, I realize that while I try to promote ethical animal practices by buying grass fed meat, others are not able to do this. Individualistic ways of promoting what people want are only effective when the individuals have the means to do so. Many people desperately want fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthier meat options but are not able to purchase them due to the cost. This has opened my eyes to how necessary food activism is. Not everyone has a voice, and it is important for those who have one to use it. It’s vital not only for more honest and healthy food options for everyone, but also for promoting sustainable farming practices that will benefit the environment.