Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Informed Food Choices
It's a Wednesday evening, not my usual time for posting, but I have a few things on my mind that I thought I might as well share with you tonight. I have talked before about how being vegan is a process, about how I am always looking for ways to become more informed and make improved choices. I will admit that up until about 6 months ago, I didn't always buy only organic produce. I bought *mostly* organic. I did always buy only organic versions of specific items, such as tomatoes, spinach, carrots, or soy. But sometimes I would buy non-organic onions. Or celery. Or things like olive oil. Sure, I signed online petitions in favor of GM labeling, and I registered to be one of the "Millions Against Monsanto." But all along I have also known I could be doing more, and so I have found myself gradually easing towards becoming more informed, and allowing the information that I learn to influence my choices more and more.
Lately, GM foods and the issues surrounding them have been on my mind a lot. Which is why my husband and I decided to begin purchasing only organic produce, and if we couldn't find what we wanted in an organic form, we wouldn't buy it. In addition, we decided to change our investment practices to only support socially responsible investment choices, stipulating that we want to exclude any business that supports what we don't believe in, such as coal-fired energy, or GMOs.
Last Sunday, we attended one of the Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival showings of a film called Scientists Under Attack. And I left that event with heavy thoughts, pondering how we have gotten ourselves into this situation, where one huge corporation is allowed to so heavily influence something as fundamental as what we choose to eat, how we grow our food, and what rights we have, not only as farmers and as consumers, but also as human beings.
There is so much to say about this issue, but one fundamental truth that I think most people believe in, is that we all have the right to choose what we want to eat, vegan and non-vegan alike. We have a right to that choice. And we should have a right to make informed choices. And if Monsanto and the FDA (which is affiliated with Monsanto) stands by the safety and integrity of their products, then they shouldn't be afraid to label GM foods, to truly stand by what they are promoting. And if they won't do that, the obvious question becomes: Just what are they afraid of? An informed public? Or their own product?
I see myself returning to this issue in posts to come. I have decided to give up packaged foods that are not organic, and I know this will be a bit of a lifestyle change for me. (Goodbye Blue Diamond Almond Milk!) This may not be an easy transition, but it will be worth it. (Did you know that 70% of all packaged foods in this country contain GM ingredients?)
I will keep you updated on my journey and on what info I can find out about the food I consume along the way. I will continue to eat out and post restaurant reviews, but I will also start to ask more questions and request organic ingredients, and report back to you what I learn.
If you would like to know more about this issue, a great place to start is the Just Label it site where you can sign a petition requesting that GM foods are labelled. As they so clearly state, we have a right to know. And when shopping, look for the Non-GMO Project logo. Not only can we choose what we want to eat, but we can also choose what kind of future we want to create, who we want to support, and what we believe. Food choices are powerful choices on a multitude of levels. And we can choose to be empowered and align our actions with our beliefs, creating the world we want to live in with every bite.