16 October 2023
I just finished reading, “We Are the Economy” and to say it was thought-provoking would be a ridiculous understatement.
[save the trees and get it out of your local library!]
What would happen if we used fewer goods and still had enough to fulfill our true needs?
Our economy is based upon a model of continuous (by definition, NOT sustainable) growth. Our food culture aspires to abundance (Growing up in a Jewish and Italian household, I know a thing or two about food excesses). The thing is...I’m starting to realize that more is not necessarily better.
The paradox of choice is that having too many choices often leads to dissatisfaction with our choice or no decision at all. In a material world, having too much “stuff” makes it more difficult to appreciate any one thing (case in point: finding that library book that is overdue). As a chronically indecisive foodie, I personally know the regret of ordering the “wrong thing” from the menu.
Where food is concerned, mindfulness is virtually impossible when every flavor, texture and aroma hits us all at once. When we focus on one thing at a time, we can give thought to more than just the immediate sensual pleasure. Thinking about how a food is produced, how many miles it traveled or what culture it represents may increase our appreciation of it.
We’ve been hearing about the ultra processed food* industry for years. We know they have scientists working in labs, determining the “bliss point” that will get us to eat (and buy) more of that product. I’ve taught myself and others to look for an ingredient list that is short and understandable. Now we know that the impacts of ultra processed foods go beyond that. I was shocked to learn that ultra processed foods make up nearly three quarters of the American food supply! These are foods that override our body’s natural ability to know what and how much to eat.
What if we are looking at fulfillment all wrong? What if it’s not the next great flavor, but rather real foods that nourish? After all, without our health, we lose the physical and cognitive ability to be present, follow our passion and make the world a better place for everyone. Let me know what you think!
*Here, I am in no way criticizing useful and healthful processed foods like rolled oats, canned beans or frozen vegetables.