October 26, 2012

Freshworthy Friday: A New Food Label?

A snapshot from the full graphic at New York Times.

My Dream Food Label
Mark Bittman, New York Times

Move over, confusing nutritional information label. Mark Bittman has a solution for you. (Oh Bitty, thank you for being in my life... from your cookbooks to your adventures on TV with Claudia and Gwen to your columns in the Times, I am such a fan!)

When I read Bittman's argument for a more well-rounded food label I found myself nodding along in agreement. Before I finished reading the entire infographic, I realized I was standing on top of my desk with my hands held high exclaiming, "THIS GUY GETS IT. THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!"

His suggestion gives the consumer a nutritional gauge as well as a "foodness" gauge (how "real" or natural is the food?) and a welfare gauge for humans, animals, and planet that would together give consumers the opportunity to purchase products that passed their personal level of food satisfaction.

I can't tell you how much I love this idea. I also believe that food is not just about counting calories and milligrams of sugar; I want to know how my food choices are impacting the community, how sustainable and ethical they are, and how good for me it is. At the grocery store, this type of visual guide for consumers would help everyone make the best choices for their desired diet.

The whole idea behind Sustainable Diet, in fact, is not one of losing weight or eating only kale and quinoa. It is about having a well-rounded grasp on the food that sustains us. An approach to eating by which we are able to enjoy our food and ensure that our food appropriates resources wisely. It is a way to nourish body, soul, mind, earth, community. It's food for all.

Too dramatic?

I stand by my conviction that food binds us all—rich or poor, young or old, happy or sad, animal or human or plant, in the office or on the farm—and we can all benefit from a more ethically, sustainably, heathfully curated food environment.

Supporting local farmers, growing your own food, and making more informed choices at the grocery store are three easy ways to eat healthier in a broad sense. Add more seasonal fruits and vegetables to your family's diet, and reduce meat consumption (even slightly) in favor of a few more whole grains on your plate. And remember, too, that food is meant to be enjoyed!

I have been challenged many times by people who question my way of eating. But it comes down to this: at the end of the day, I want to be able to say that I made healthy decisions that had a positive impact on my body, but also a positive impact on my planet. It's simple. It's just food. Real food. Good food.