Cute, isn’t she? She’s not just another pretty face. She’s part of something amazing that’s been taking hold of discerning consumers across this country: the SLOW Food Movement.
What is eating SLOW all about? Like it says in Simon & Garfunkel’s infamous 1960’s pop-anthem, it’s in part about “feelin’ groovy.” We should all subscribe to the philosophy embodied in those lyrics: Slow down. You move too fast.
Our societal obsession with fast everything, including the cheap instant gratification of “fast food,” has led us down the road to increased obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and a host of other ills. Has the fast food trend left us “feelin’ groovy?”
Instead, we have become a nation of consumers who “grab & go,” gobbling convenience and fast foods at an alarming rate. We have erroneously placed value on quantity over quality–convinced by marketing tactics that more is somehow better.
This love affair with fast food has earned Americans the distinction of being the most overweight country on the planet with 34% of our population carrying weight in excess of healthy limits. Obesity is rampant, not only among adults but among our youth who are following our example. If this trend continues, some projections predict that by 2020 fully 74% of Americans will qualify as obese.
That’s a startling statistic to be sure; one that should cause us all to pause and consider our own habits and how we “feed into” the media campaigns that are encouraging us to consume greater quantities of over-processed, pre-packaged, preservative and salt-laden foods than ever before.
Ultimately, whatever time-saving benefit we get by grabbing these quick-fix foods comes back to bite us on the backside. Literally. As consumers we’ve bought into the baseless commercial media hype, and sacrificed our health in the process.
The acronym SLOW refers to four choices we can make with regard to the food we buy and eat: namely sustainably produced, local, organic, whole foods. Choosing to revamp our diet with this mantra in mind can yield big results for our health, local economy, and planet in the long run.
SLOW eating also encompasses a philosophy that embraces savoring our meals–literally “slowing” down to appreciate the tastes, aromas, and textures of what we put in our mouths while reconnecting with food as more than a means to an end. Too often in our hectic lives we overlook the simple pleasure of enjoying a well prepared meal shared with family and friends. Indeed, eating “SLOW” encourages us to take time to enjoy the pleasurable sensory experience of eating, while making the best food choices to fuel our daily activities and promote optimal health.
Next week I will explore the four components of SLOW food in greater detail. In the meantime, I recommend picking up a copy of author Michael Pollan’s Food Rules and check out his 64 simple guidelines for recognizing real food. With rules like: “Don’t eat anything with ingredients a third grader can’t pronounce,” and “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it’s made in a plant, don’t,” this gem will make you think about where your food comes from.
Now SLOW down and start feelin’ groovy.