Last Friday I attended an ad hoc colloquium with Dennis Kucinich, Elizabeth Kucinich, and John Robbins organized by Independent Congressional Candidate Marianne Williamson. Congressman Kucinich has been fighting for many years to get Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) properly labeled so that consumers can make informed choices about what they put in their bodies; however, lobbyists for Big Agriculture have spent $70 million dollars AGAINST labeling. Mr. Robbins claims that there is a startling correlation between the rise in the use of the active ingredient in Monsanto's "Round-Up" weedkiller glysophate and the rise of the number of cases of autism.
Candidate Williamson believes that our right to know what we are eating is a basic human right and she plans to continue Congressman Kucinich's fight to require the labeling of GMOs as they already do in the European Union. Ms. Williamson believes our government is obliged to test the safety of our foods and the integrity of government regulators must not be compromised by corporate revolving doors between Big Agriculture and food safety agencies. She believes that the individual rights of small family farmers must not be eclipsed by the undue political influence of Big Agriculture, and that we must address and correct the devastating effects of pesticides that are endangering our entire ecosystem.
Corporations have given us a plethora of misinformation on foods, food processing, and farming. The books that raised my consciousness around the way I choose to fuel my body are "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell, "The Face on Your Plate" by Jeffrey Masson and "Eating Animals," by Jonathan Safran Foer.
Isn't it time that all of us educate ourselves on how we can best fuel our bodies to live long, healthy, loving, positive, creative lives?
Thus, Mindful Eating means that we...
1. Inform ourselves about anything that passes our lips - including things such as toothpaste, mouthwash, over-the-counter supplements, bottled water, city water, etc.
2. Learn what our bodies need to operate at their maximum potentials.
3. Learn how our individual digestive systems function. E.g., which foods take excessive energy for our bodies to process or end up clogging up our digestive systems?
4. Learn what times of the day are best for refueling our engines and how long each type of fuel lasts. The sugar from an apple or orange may keep us alert and energized for three hours while a cheap sugar/caffeine high from a frozen caramel latte may have us spike for an hour then crash for four hours. Whatever goes up must come down. So try to learn to appreciate steadiness rather than being on a rollercoaster of energetic peaks and valleys.
5. Read all labels but don't believe what we read. For example, "Farmed!" in big bold colorful letters may entice us to buy a bag of frozen shrimp but what it really means is that those shrimp spent their short lives being pumped full of hormones to survive all of the toxins in their man-made, feces-ridden "farm." Similarly, the Food and Drug Administration has no definition of the word "FRESH." Thus, "Fresh Fish!" in your supermarket or restaurant could mean that it was caught in Europe 30 days ago, shipped on ice to China to be filleted, and then shipped on ice across the Pacific Ocean to America.
6. Avoid putting anything in our bodies that we can't pronounce. Our bodies were not designed to ingest chemicals. Some products are labeled "All Natural" yet contain high-fructose corn syrup and other bizarre preservatives/chemicals that if we saw alone on a factory floor would probably make us vomit. Many products in America that contain these preservatives and chemicals may ultimately be found to be toxic, just like cigarettes, which were once considered to be good for our health.
7. Eat organic foods whenever possible. There are perverse subsidies for pesticide-ridden, non-organic foods. We can cast our votes against these subsidies every time we go to our local farmer's market and choose organic.
8. Eat locally produced foods when possible. Local soil contains specific nutrients for our bodies. If raspberries require 50,000 gallons of fossil fuels to travel from Peru to New England during a snowy winter, they are probably not what our bodies are really craving during that time of the year.
9. Don't believe the hype. Large corporations are more interested in lining their shareholders' pockets than in consumers' health and well-being. There is a way to eat that is sustainable, equitable, and healthy. It may take a little research, but it is definitely worth the time. You wouldn't try to fuel your car with toothpaste - would you? So don't try to fuel your body with substances that will rot your engine.
10. Lastly, refrain from eating for psychological or emotional reasons rather than physiological reasons. Eating can be quite an entertaining sport, but I wouldn't want to linger around Joey "Jaws" Chestnut's bathroom after he consumed 69 hot dogs in ten minutes.
Eat to live.
Don't live to eat.
Side effects could be damaging to your health.
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