How did I end up here? Totally by accident. Although I have always been involved in health and well being, my belief was that our American food system, with the exception of fast food, provided the healthiest food possible. After all, the Government had specific departments in place to make sure the American food supply exceeded the necessary requirements to nourish the land of opportunity. Right?
Not exactly. For awhile now we've had pesticides, processing chemicals, food additive chemicals, packing chemicals, growth hormones used in meat and dairy, and we've had heavy antibiotic dosing in the meat, dairy, poultry industries. But the general public didn't really know and for those who did, they didn't know to what extent or what the dangers really were. And frankly, up until a few years ago, neither did I.
And I wonder how in the heck I got to this moment? Me, the sustainable food, people, planet advocate.
Now you may be one of those driven, ambitious folks who never doubted for a moment the path you would take in life.
But me? I'm more the 'have a goal, make a plan, roll with the tide and see where the day takes me' kind of person. And over the years it has taken me a shit load of places. Different countries, different careers, different people, different lifestyles. But the one constant has always been my health and well being.
I grew up being exposed to life outdoors, having lots of friends, being active, and eating healthy. I was 7 when my family bought a sheep and cattle farm in New Zealand, and it was then that I learned the connection of where my food came from and what it took for food to go from land to table. From seed, to cultivate, to crop, to harvest, to piping hot broccoli spears on my plate, lightly sprinkled with sharp cheddar cheese. Next to the greens on my plate would be a cut of meat, from lamb or beef raised on the lush pastures of our farm, humanely slaughtered by a knowledgeable butcher, then aged to perfection and frozen for the months ahead.
There were no GMO's, no mass sprayed pesticides, no antibiotics, no growth hormones, no GMO corn and soy feed pellets, no confinement. The food I ate as kid was just how food should be. Clean air, water, soil, earth kissed food.
Fast forward 45 years.
In the US, our food system is much like that of a futuristic movie. While most of the westernized world has adopted the fast food, convenience food options, we have taken food to a whole new level...of profit. And not profit for the many local farmers, butchers, produce markets or the people, profit for Big Industry where food is a traded Stock Market commodity and people have become the guinea pigs of 'manufactured' food, and clean air, water, soil, small farmers, butchers and produce markets have gone by the wayside.
I know how we got here.
Our part: Time, Cost, Convenience.
Big Business part: Money. Profit. Greed.
But there is hope. A silver lining in the processed, prepackaged, feedlot, drug laden, lab originating frankenfood of the modern diet.
As the health of people, plants, animals and the planet rapidly decline, folks have started taking a stand. A movement to restore health and well being to our families, our food, our planet. And ironically, it all starts with money. Your money, and what food you choose to spend those hard earned dollars on. As more and more people start making a statement about the importance of their health, of their family's health, they start spending their money on foods that are better for them. And the more you spend your money on better food, the more clean food is needed to accommodate all the people consuming better foods .
So, over time as people switch from conventional products to organic products, they are forcing the profit driven Big Business to grow less drug and pesticide laden foods, and produce more and more organic foods. Big Business wants to stay in business, and they will go where the consumer spends their money.
This movement also gives huge opportunity for the revival of the small farmer, the local farmer's produce markets, and maybe even the butcher shop. And all of this puts a ton of jobs back in the hands of folks sustainability working the land, promotes financial gains for the small business owner, reintroduces everyday folks to their food, and revives the farm to table relationship necessary to keep the people, the plants, the animals and especially the planet, healthy and thriving.
All of this, simply by how you spend your food dollars.
And this is how I ended up here. The Accidental Cleanivore who has come full circle from the days of growing up on clean, wholesome food from pristine land.
Through prepackaged foods, convenience foods, junk foods, manufactured foods, chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, GMO's, feedlots, nutrient void land; back to the beginning. And realizing that I can save the world $1 at a time, simply by tweaking my grocery list.
And that is how The Cleanivore Revolution was born. My wanting to be a voice in the movement to save the planet (and thus save ourselves, our kids, grandkids, great grandkids) and finding that anyone can save the planet, just by being themselves.
You don't have to go out and buy the latest hybrid or electric car, put solar panels on your roof, become a vegan or live completely off grid (although if you want to do those things, go for it, every little bit helps!) All you have to do is be yourself, do what you can to spend your food dollars on clean foods, and know you're part of the solution for a thriving future.