It used to be that people who actually read the labels on food were a rarity. Now, you can hardly move in your local supermarket for people anxiously peering at packages – and putting them back on the shelves if the ingredients look more like a chemistry lesson than food you would want to put inside your body.
Radical Change for Healthy Food
There has been a radical change over the past few years that has seen major food manufacturers and chains panicking to play catch up with consumers who are turning their nose up at food made in factories, and who are increasingly prepared to pay a little more and work a little harder for their food.
A great rule of thumb if you want to eat clean, healthy food, is said to be to never eat anything that has an ingredient that your great grandmother would not have recognized. So high fructose corn syrup is out, unrefined sugar is in. Real food has become an important and central part of many people’s lives, and a big part of the move towards real food is known as the slow food movement.
The slow food movement started in Europe to counteract the spread of industrial food giants like McDonalds, who were seen to be not only offering cheap and unhealthy food, but were actually eroding the food culture of places such as Italy. The slow food movement is concerned that food can be traced to its source. In other words, you should know who produced the food you are eating – personally if possible.
Enjoying the Products of Each Season
An important key theme for slow food is seasonality. Slow food enthusiasts don’t expect to eat strawberries in December is they live in Maine. Or avocados at all if they live in England. It’s all about enjoying the products of the season and the region, deferring gratification until the food you want is available at its due time, or preserving food naturally if you want to extend its season – for example, by making your own strawberry preserves.
Slow food proponents believe that food is much more than fuel for the body. They look for a relationship with their food. Making meals yourself from scratch, which are eaten around a traditional table with family and friends, from ingredients which you either grew or raised yourself, or sourced from people you know or who live in your region – this is the essence of the good life and of good eating in the eyes of slow food aficionados.
Slow Food Movement
Naturally the slow food movement is utterly and completely opposed to GMO foods – in common with many governments around the world which have banned such foods from being grown in their countries. Lovers of slow food believe in working with nature, with the environment, and they also believe in fair trade, so that people can earn a decent living from producing raw materials sustainably, and preferably, without the use of unnecessary chemicals.
The root of slow food, despite its lofty aspirations, is the desire for things to taste good. A slowly braised cut of cheap meat like lamb shank (slow food people love to eat meat as a rule), tiny potatoes dug from the garden, fresh picked green peas lightly steamed, big dollops of butter churned from cream from a neighbor’s cow – this is a classic slow food meal. Served with a glass or two of home made wine, and followed by a heaped bowl of berries still warm from the sun of your garden, and more of that neighbor’s delicious cream, maybe followed by some home produced goat cheese; it’s the food of the gods.
No need to worry about fat content; the body was designed to consume simple fats like cream, butter and lard. It was not designed to eat a laboratory full of chemicals at every meal. Slow food eaters are rarely overweight, because they have worked to put the food on the table – real get-your-hands-dirty work.
Consumers Demanding a Change
Yes, the consumers of America are changing their eating habits radically. Maybe not everyone is going as far as slow food lovers, but they are in the forefront of a trend away from unhealthy factory produced food which, as people realize the health and flavor benefits to be gained, seems to be unstoppable.
Images thanks to: wikipedia.org