Friday, January 6, 2012

Lessen Processed Food Intake and its relationship to Crisis - Energy, Health, Climate Change

Whenever we have major typhoon catastrophes in the country such as Sendong, Ondoy, and the likes, a lot of attention is in the areas of illegal logging, weather warning process, population, drainage system, among others. Yesterday, I realized that if we want to help avoid such climate related problems and other pressing issues, it will need to start in each one of us. One important area is the food we eat.

While reading the book "Resonate" by Nancy Duarte, she asked readers to watch a PopTech video of Michael Pollan on how he used dramatization to get a point across. He showed how much fuel gets consumed to produce a quarter-pounder burger. I was impressed with the dramatization he made and just moved on.

However, while I was going through my usual eating habits, his points in the video suddenly start popping again in my head. How the food choices we make contributes to the crisis we have today.

One particular item of note is processed food that require several resources (ingredients) to put together. The making of our food: land, feeds, fertilizers, livestock, slaughterhouses, food processing, shipping to market, until it gets to us consumes fuel. There are so much "cheap processed food" choices in the market today that are not really that cheap at all - especially when you factor how they contribute to our ever increasing consumption on fuel alone.

So beginning today, I made the decision to lessen processed food intake. As much as possible, avail of products that had the shortest processing involve - which are mostly fresh products. By doing that, in its own small way, can help in resolving 3 major problems where processed food is a contributor.
  1. Energy crisis
    Putting together processed food consumes a lot of resources, power, and fuel. This includes the land, fertilizer, feeds, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, machinery, transportation, among others.
  2. Health crisis
    Knowing how much calories, sodium, sugar, cholesterol, among others a lot of the processed food has, some learned to manage by picking "diet", "low sodium", "no sugar", and other variants. Some counter it by taking medicine, juices, food supplement that promises blocking of fat, carbs, and other benefits.
  3. Climate change
    The greenhouse gases emitted from livestock waste are hardly regulated. The production of processed goods emits a lot of heat as well increasing carbon footprint further.
Some food to consider (this is an initial list based on the choices I made lately. Will update this as the days go by):
  • Eggs for breakfast (less on popular ones like hotdog, ham, and the likes)
  • Coffee (not the flavored ones, use brown sugar - not processed sweeteners)
  • Water (from the tap or dispenser - not bottled)
  • Fastfood (Go for the ones that had the least amount of processing involved - aware on what the food is made of - more than just being tasty. On drinks, coffee, tea, fresh fruit juice, water)
  • Coffee shops - Cafe Americano or brewed coffee. Eat less cake.
  • Convenience stores - mostly sell processed food and bottled products. Fruits and fresh juices are ok here.
  • Chocolates - eat less.
  • Meals - have more vegetables / seafood than meat.
  • On vegetables - if you can maintain a small vegetable garden, the better. (am in the process with this one)

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