The Golden Rule – Introducing Slow Food to Our Children

As good parents, we try to teach our children about the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Or, more simply: treat others how you want to be treated. Get more details Món ăn chay ngon

The same should be true for our food system. I am hard pressed to believe that the parents who encourage their kids to treat others nicely would approve of a system that intentionally adds chemicals and toxins to its plants and animals, pollutes our air and water with waste or one that treats animals with disrespect.

Enter the Slow Food Movement. Slow Food is good, clean and fair food. It encourages consumers to recognize the connection “between plate and planet.”

* Food should taste good.

* It should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment.

* Animals should be treated with dignity and respect.

* Food production shouldn’t hurt us or our health.

* The people who produce our food should receive fair compensation for their work, and should not be exposed to toxins as they perform their jobs.

I think that most of us are accustomed to “movements” being largely led by adults. Politics is a timely example. However, the health of our children is at stake, and we would be doing them a disservice if we didn’t include them in the quest for better, slower food.

Our children learn their food values on a daily basis, not just from us, but from the media and their peers as well. Corporate food giants spend over 15 billion dollars a year on the 10,000 food ads most of our children see. Almost all of these are for foods that high fat – high sugar – high salt food with little or no nutrient value. Ann Cooper, author of Lunch Lessons, says that as a nation we’re getting fatter and sicker by the decade. Over 2/3rd of us are overweight and fully 1/3 are obese – even more disheartening is the fact that over 1/3 of our children are overweight and the CDC says that of the children born in the year 2000 – 30 – 40% will become diabetic in their lifetime. These dismal statistics are a direct result of diet. Put another, even more dismal way, it is a result of what we feed our children. What does this teach our children about the value of food?

And with many parents in dual-working families, time is of the essence. One of every 4 meals in America is eaten at a fast food restaurant; one in 4 is eaten in a car and one in 3 in front of a TV or computer. It would be worth considering what these children are learning about the value of food. Are we teaching them that it is easier and cheaper to purchase this type of “food” than to prepare real foods at home? While the immediate cost of fast food might seem low, there are other costs to consider. What is the long term cost of CO2 emissions, pollution, obesity and diabetes that inevitably comes from eating processed foods?

What happened to the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?

Okay, enough doom and gloom…What can we do about it?

Let’s start with the Golden Rule. Yes, that again. It is important that we make wise choices about the foods that we impose upon our kids and teach them how to make good food choices for themselves. Let’s teach our children about the staple foods that are eaten around the world. Let’s encourage them to get their hands dirty, growing some of their own foods each season, so they can take pride in the fruits of their labor (so to speak). Oh, and of course we can’t forget to bring our children into the kitchen to help prepare our meals. Not only are kids helpful in the kitchen, but their participation motivates them to eat healthier foods with gusto. (If you have a dog, this might be the time to let him come into the kitchen and lick the floor!)

Slow Food is Good Food. What Can You and Your Kids Do?

Grow some of your own food. Start a garden, or if space is tight, fill a few pots with herbs, radishes, peas or tomatoes. Pick and enjoy food fresh from your garden – and if there is any left, bring it into the kitchen and add it to your meal. Children will appreciate the fresh and delicious flavors of foods picked at the peak of freshness. Point out the benefits of eating foods right out of the garden instead of purchasing items from the grocery story that have traveled from other countries.

Buy locally produced foods…or eat some grown by your neighbors! Shopping locally is an action with an impact. You are making the choice to spend money on foods that are picked nearby and brought to market, instead of those that travel great distances. When you are at the grocery store with your kids, if the sources are labeled, be sure to point out where they are coming from. My kids are always surprised to learn that the produce at Whole Foods comes from so many countries. We even give a little cheer when we find one that is from a local source! Geography aside, fresher food contains more nutrients and tastes better, anyway. So, why not?

Buy Organic when you can. Not only will this reduce your exposure to fungicides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers, but you will also indirectly let others know that you don’t want farmers to be exposed to those things, either. It’s like voting…but with your money instead of with a ballot.

Get your tush into the kitchen and COOK! Think back to the foods from your childhood. Are there any recipes that have been passed down through the generations? Give these a try, keeping in mind that some ingredients might not be in season now, and if available at all, probably come from thousands of miles away. Try to stick to recipes that use foods that are fresh now. We keep some of our recipes organized by season, so that when we need some inspiration in the kitchen, we can just dive into the appropriate folder.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.