Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Slow Foods

We live in strange times. Life goes on so fast that people forget to eat, forget how to act rationally, and even forget to raise their kids. Funny I should be mentioning this because I'm an extreme Type A personality. But some things should be slow, especially food.

Fast food will kill you. We all know that, we've seen the movie, so no need to beat a dead horse. Some Italian back in the 80s started the slow food movement, something opposed to fast food.

Everyone in the movement has their reasons. Keep in mind, I only speak for me, so if you hear from someone else in the movement, they might sound a lot different from what I'm going to tell you.

Slow food is first and foremost a lifestyle. Slow it down. Pick up some fruits and vegetables from the local farmer's market and enjoy them.

Slow food will drastically help the environment. By buying local foods, we won't be wasting so much money on oil from trucking it all over the continent. The movement supports food grown without pesticides. Pesticides, no matter how hard farmers try, will drain into the local rivers and streams. That's not a good thing. By not using pesticides, we'll have less pollution.

Slow food protects local cultures. What if everyone in the world ate McDonalds and Burger King and forgot their local food customs? That scares me. The slow food movement combats this.

Slow food will protect your stomach. We have evolved into eating different things. Food allergies are often caused by your ancestors simply not eating that food. People who are allergic to cow's milk may have only had cow's milk in their culture for the past a hundred years. That's not enough. Luckily for me, I have enough European blood that I'm not allergic to cow's milk, because I love milk, cheese, ice cream, and milkshakes. But you see what I'm getting at.

Slow food will help fight obesity. By not rushing your food, by enjoying it instead of wolfing it down so you could get back to what you were doing, you are giving your body time to actually digest what you're eating.

So let's slow down at the dinner table. Let's buy from local farmers, shop at our local farmer's market. Let's eat what's in season and avoid genetically modified food. Let's buy organic when possible. The results in your life may surprise you. I guarantee you that at the very least, your stomach and intestines will thank you.

For more information, if you're an American, check out Slow Food USA. If not, check out slowfood.com which unfortunately is only in six languages so far.

And I'll leave you with one fact that will probably scare you, because it scares me. In the last one hundred years, 30,000 vegetable varieties have become extinct, and one more is lost every six hours. Later on, I'll tie this in to why I'm against unchecked globalism in general.


Anonymous Michele said...

Are you being straight on about the extinct veges? It seems like everytime I go to Raley's there's a new kind of fruit.
I agree, so much with your observations. The packaging alone to all the processed foods is going to bury us. Packaging really upsets me. To simply open a yogurt, I now have to peel back a thin sheet of plastic. I will take the risk of some freak poisoning my food in the factory and forgoe all this over-packaging. Man, I feel sorry for folks with arthritis. To open a ketchup bottle is probably a huge task.
One more rant, that drives me nuts. (Sorry this isn't your topic, but it's related because of pollution) The new "club cards" all the major grocery stores use; Grrr...how moronic do they think we are? These cards are free, so we don't really belong to an elite "club". They take up more time for the cashier, which we have to pay for, make more plastic (which we pay for) in the world, our packed wallets, and eventually landfills, all so we get this brief moment of satisfaction and savings as we stupidly watch our total go down. Why not just give the sales price? Are they so dumb they can't figure out what sells and what doesn't? I always thank Raleys for not using them.

8/16/2005 9:41 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

For a second I thought you were just talking about delivery that takes more than a half hour to arrive. :-p

I don't like fast food because it's just so boring. I love eating - it's a large part of my social life, and quickly becoming a large part of my ass.

8/16/2005 10:44 AM  
Blogger Stephalupogus said...

2 completed unrelated comments -
1. what is up with all these incredibly annoying spam comments? I have been getting them as well and they are incredibly annoying.
2. As for your post on the slow food movement, I agree with you and michele. It is absolutely terrifying to think of all the "stuff" - be it animal, vegetable or mineral - that is disappearing from this planet. Knowing that humanity is doing the destruction out of willful greed is even more terrifying.

8/16/2005 10:51 AM  
Blogger Truman said...

Michele: I couldn't agree with you more about the "savings card" thing.

Laura: Your "ass" comment was hilarious.

Zombieslayer: I agree with your ideas in this post completely. The one problem I do have, is with the people that choose this lifestyle. My room mate is among them. They usually, though not always, come across as very arrogant about their organic existence. Sometimes I just want some ramen. Leave me alone. Though there are many benefits to organic foods, they do not make you a better person. Still, most of these people begin behaving with a condescending air that makes me feel like I am a worse person for not adhering in totality to their views. Eat as many organic bananas as you like, you could still get creamed by a bus while crossing the street just like I could. Oh, and the veggies thing is pretty scary. I think I want to start a garden...

8/16/2005 10:54 AM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

It's so funny, but people wonder why our ancestors did not gain weight from a diet of meat, potatoes, and lard, literally. It's not just because of "slow food", but they actually got off their bums. I'm not discounting "slow food" - I agree with it. I'm just saying that, really, the nation's obesity and digestive problems also have to do with lack of movement. For me, a healthy lifestyle has to include both movement and healthier foods. Great post!

8/16/2005 10:58 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Michele - Well, I got that info from one of the slow foods orgs, so I assume their info is correct. What they mean is vegetable strains, not the vegetable itself. For example, when you go to a farmer's market, you will see "heirloom" vegetables. These are what are disappearing.

The big corporations are using fewer and fewer strains of vegetables and rices. As corporate farms buy out family farmers, more strains will disappear as corporations just use their strains.

As for Raleys, it's our store of choice. For one thing, they don't have those annoying club cards. For another, they're well-managed. The people are noticeably friendlier than Albertson's and other stores.

Laura - Heh. Me too, except for me it was a gut earlier this summer, which is hopefully disappearing, although I still don't have a six-pack. :(

Stephalupogus - Greed and indifference. It bothers me when they have to kill a cougar because it came into a suburb and "scared" a bunch of people. The poor guy. It used to be his hunting spot. Some of my old haunts are now strip malls and suburbs.

Truman - Yes, that's a big problem. Sometimes, the messenger is so annoying that the message is lost. And I can't stand the holier than thou attitude from anyone, no matter what the message is. I'm not a strict anything. I'll have a smoke every once in awhile, and we always have a 24-pack case of Ramen in the house.

Jen - ...our ancestors did not gain weight from a diet of meat, potatoes, and lard, literally. It's not just because of "slow food", but they actually got off their bums.

Well, that's the other half of it. It's calories in versus calories out. Unfortunately, as a desk job, too many of us are too tired from sitting around all day to get off our butts and work off that lunch. And we skip breakfast, which is the worst thing to do. That slows down the metabolism more than just about anything else.

8/16/2005 11:11 AM  
Blogger Shawn said...

There was a PBS show a couple of years ago where they had several families live a pioneer lifestyle for a summer. They were only allowed things that would have been available to them in the 1800s and they had to do all the work that was needed to produce food, cut wood, make shelter, cook on a wood stove, etc. It was pretty interesting stuff all around... What was really crazy to me was how much weight everyone lost. The adults all shed about 15-30 pounds. The men in particular lost a lot of weight and became very wirey from all the physical work.

8/16/2005 11:28 AM  
Blogger Kunaxa said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/16/2005 12:19 PM  
Blogger Thomcat said...

being on that gluten free diet...I have to watch what I eat and that requires a lot of reading of ingredients ... it's amazing what is put in foods that we buy at grocery stores alone ...

8/16/2005 12:20 PM  
Blogger The Zombie Lama said...

You are not lying. Ever since basic, I have wolfed down my food faster than Oprah in a buffet line.

There are times I'm sure I didn't even really taste it.

Only recently, like in the past 6 months, have I been forcing myself to eat slower.

Of course, zombies usually have to eat fast, because people are usually trying to shoot us during our meals.

8/16/2005 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Michele, mother of Levi said...

Shawn, that show was Frontier House on PBS, and we got way into it. I want them to have a reunion so we can see what became of them.
Wasn't it gross when Karen was showing the outhouse and handling everyone's used over again bottom wipes while she talked to the camera? We were traumatized.

8/16/2005 12:39 PM  
Blogger Kunaxa said...

I really wish we could EAT toilet paper. How poetic would that be?

8/16/2005 1:12 PM  
Blogger Bridget Jones said...

I love slow foods and wish I could cook like that. Hard to do when you're single and working.

Use of pesticides means that you're growing crops when and where the soil and conditions (timing) are wrong. So their use signals soil exhaustion at least, in addition to what is stored in our own fat/bodies.

Wonder why each recent generation is so much taller than the preceding one? It is not because of health care alone. It's what's in the beef and other livestock and their products.

There are agreements to store germplasm to preserve heritage species. The U.S. corn crop was 80% wiped out in an unfortunate incident years ago. It was restored by a germplasm bank.

8/16/2005 2:04 PM  
Blogger Thomcat said...

great site!

i think i'll post my blog here


8/16/2005 2:47 PM  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

I hate club cards too. That was someone's slick marketing ploy to trick us into thinking we're getting a deal.
I shop at Winco, even though their produce is laughable. I like the produce at Albertson's or Grocery Outlet.
Great informational and wise post. When our family went to Cabo a couple years ago, we learned the meaning of slow food.
All of our meals took over an hour to eat.
The service was slow, the drinking was slow and enjoyable and then by the time you get your meal, you're not all that hungry so you eat slower. It was wonderful.
Fast food is gross, although, I admit--my family eats it about twice a month.

8/16/2005 3:06 PM  
Blogger clothosfate said...

This post is delicious! I am with you all the way... I don't imagine there will be a McDonalds in your zombie-free compound, so we will not have to worry much longer about THAT zombie taking over the world.

8/16/2005 3:54 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Clothosfate - I was actually thinking of you when I wrote this post.

Sadie - I'd love to go to Cabo. Haven't been there yet. Maybe hit it with the next cruise.

Bridget - Wow, you know more than I do about this subject then. Was unaware of the corn germplasm incident. I did get a chance to see some heirloom corn and see that it's a lot more colors than just yellow and white.

As for soil exhaustion, yes. This is another serious problem we need to address. Plus of course putting cities over good soil.

CS - Yuck. Edible undies are one thing, but edible toilet paper?

Michele - Geez, I'm glad I missed that show then. I'd be traumatized too.

ZL - Even people in basic cannot eat faster than Oprah at a buffet line. ZIT (Zombieslayer Institute of Technology) already performed that research.

Thomcat - Yeah, these foods are probably why people are getting things like Autism, ADD, and all that other fun stuff. Or at least one of the causes.

Shawn - We have it good today. Unfortunately, most people don't appreciate it, not knowing how hard our ancestors had to work just to survive. Those people definitely were tough.

8/16/2005 4:19 PM  
Blogger Thomcat said...

<>Thomcat - Yeah, these foods are probably why people are getting things like Autism, ADD, and all that other fun stuff.

A gluten free diet was designed for people with Celiac Disease. People with Autism function a lot better on the gluten free diet... just an interesting little tidbit

8/16/2005 4:29 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Great advice, if I could just find the time to follow it...

8/16/2005 4:50 PM  
Blogger tshsmom said...

Damn, I'm part of a movement and didn't even know it! Thanks for clueing me in ZS!

I've always said that cooking is a dying art. If people aren't eating out or takeout, they're buying box mixes of EVERYTHING!! I've discovered that boxed scalloped potatoes actually take more time to cook than making them from scratch.

You wouldn't believe how much prime MN farmland is being developed into yuppie housing developments!!
I've seen "corporate farming" coming for the last 30 yrs and it scares the hell out of me!

The one thing I DON'T have a problem with is the extinct vegetables. A lot of them have just been phased out with new crossbreeds that are more pest resistant, which cuts back on the use of pesticides.

Shawn and Michele, what freaked me out about that show, was the swarm of flies that covered their food. Screen windows were a GOOD invention!

Growing your own veggies gives you the added benefit of exercise!

8/16/2005 4:55 PM  
Blogger SME said...

I'm all for slow food, but I have to agree with Truman that eating organic, or raw, or whatever the foodie fad of the month is does not make you a superior human being. An Utne Reader quote: "It's best to avoid using food as an emblem of virtue."
Also from Utne Reader: 90% of the produce available in 1900 is gone. Scary!!

8/16/2005 4:55 PM  
Blogger Danius Maximus said...

death to the fast food!

8/16/2005 5:21 PM  
Blogger tenxinchoden said...

so i heard somethin' like you gotta be aware when you do eveythin' but hell! that's hard.....

yup! slow food are good

and when you say fast food...you mean hot dog and ham and pizza....i don't really like em at all...kindda taste funny;)

You'll be glad to know that i eat three slow food a day....lucky me..:))))))

8/16/2005 7:57 PM  
Blogger Sagepaper said...

Wow! I understand where you are coming from, but I know the forgotten secret of slowly enjoying a meal. The snotty health nuts will never master it. You must be a good conversationalist in the company of one or more other good conversationalists. You don't fork in a mouthful as you start an interesting sentence. You chew slowly so the echoes in your skull don't drown out the fascinating reply of one table member, and the sharp quip of another.

Whether it is fast food or slow food, I think people use wolfing it down as an excuse not to have a civil conversation. I remember when dinner hour was about that -- one hour at the dinner table. It took that long to talk and enjoy the meal.

8/16/2005 8:34 PM  
Blogger Jasonsan said...

Okay, I've been trying to eat better this whole month and have been doing the natural veggie thing. I will say that today I noticed how much fast foods are bad for you. I guess my stomach was starting to get used to what is actually good for me, so when I ate some greasy food today, it kinda upset my stomach. So I'm totally with ya on buying locally produced items, as well as eating better in general.

8/16/2005 8:48 PM  
Blogger tenxinchoden said...

Honestly...i don't eat B/fast *Da most imp. meal of the day, so they say*

love dinner a lot....and i probably eat alot on Friday*another reason Y i love firdays*lol

And i do fancy eatin junk...eat em a lot besides ham, pizza and hotdog * i rem. a hot dog joke* haha:)

8/16/2005 9:43 PM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

We don't eat fast food. It's hard to shop extremely health in FL, and we can't wait to go home and have constant access to Whole Foods.

8/17/2005 6:46 AM  

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