Today I finished two things: my third week at my summer internship, and a game-changing book called The Food Revolution by John Robbins.
As far as the internship goes, I really like it. The office is a perfectly pleasant, air conditioned place to be. I have my own cubicle (tehe). My supervisors are great and I feel like a respected member of the team. I don’t feel intimidated to ask questions, which is a relief for me. I’ve been assessing a bunch of vending machines on city property for compliance with nutrition standards and then entering in the data into a spreadsheet I created. I think I mentioned that it’s not exactly glamorous work, but it’s what needs to be done to make sure that the policy is being implemented correctly. I feel like I’m getting an idea of what it takes to actually enact a measure of city law that might not be the most convenient or cheap for everyone. It is slow going, but it takes these first steps to build up to….
a Food Revolution.
See how I segwayed there? Anyway, if you have taken an interest in what I’ve been writing, then you should ABSOLUTELY read this book.
And I have been delighted to hear that many of you have liked what I write, so thanks! But also read The Food Revolution. Robbins informatively covers most of the problems of our U.S. food system that I find to be the most pressing, the reasons we need a food revolution:
- the relationship between the conventional Western diet and obesity and chronic disease
- the lack of adequate food safety regulations
- the absolutely horrible ways most of the livestock grown for food are treated
- the effects of unkind and unhealthy treatment of livestock and our health
- the consequences of agricultural practices on the environment, natural resources, and climate change
- the relationship between the current food system and world hunger
- the need for caution toward and much better regulation of genetic engineering of food (by the way, look out for my next post on GMOs; I’ve been mulling it over for quite a while now)
- through it all, the lack of regard of food and biotech corporations for the health of people, animals, and the environment
He is very convincing in his argument that we need a drastic upheaval of our current food system towards a more nutritious, sustainable, kind one for humans, animals, and the planet. In other words, the very reason I started this blog. He inserts two opposing quotes about each of the topics he addresses, which juxtaposes the food industry point of view and the scientific point of view very effectively to show that corporations, by design, do not have our best interests at heart. He is also very convincing that one solution that addresses all of those things is for everyone to eat fewer animal products, especially red meat. In fact, the reason I really want you to read it is that he gets across what I think is the most important concept in all of this:
“To me it is deeply moving that the same food choices that give us the best chance to eliminate world hunger are also those that take the least toll on the environment, contribute the most to our long-term health, are the safest, and are also far and away the most compassionate toward our fellow creatures.”
Isn’t that powerful?
Just beware that Robbins might seem a little superior in the way he describes his lifestyle as bare minimum and non-indulgent–he is not shy about revealing that he left a corporate fortune (his dad was co-founder of Baskin-Robbins) to lead a kinder life. He gets a tad lovey-dovey and spiritual but also writes a bit angrily at times. I think it’s warranted when you consider how screwed up things are right now. He certainly fired me up, anyway. The more I read, the more passionate I felt about changing food policy and people’s food choices. My boyfriend, after reading the beginning, thought Robbins was a little radical to expect to win over your average Joe. I didn’t think he was too radical, but I guess I’m a bit biased. 😉
The point is that this book will help you better understand these food issues. I’m really glad you read my blog, and I hope I can provide some conversational and personal insight into issues that you otherwise wouldn’t have been aware of. I like to think I’m a lot more informed than the average consumer, but John Robbins is a dude who knows a lot more than I do about everything about the food system, so give his book a read if you want to learn more. BE INSPIRED, I DARE YOU.