AWARE SHOPPING - FOOD(Compiled from 'Taking Charge' - a book now out of print, produced by the Simply Living Collective of the American Society of Friends)
N.B.For up-to-date independent information on many aspects of food buying, contact CHOICE, or your local independent consumer organisation.
- Do I take food for granted?
What are my major
considerations in choosing and buying my food?
- Do I know what my personal nutritional requirements are?
Can I meet them simply without exploiting others or the environment?
Am I afraid
of what changing my diet would be like?
- How do my eating habits relate to the increasing
hunger and starvation in the world,
to the exploitation of farm workers,
to the food policies
of the government,
and to proposed international programs of food distribution?
- Could I use the arable land around my house to
grow fruits and vegetables,
perhaps sharing the
work and harvest, or just offering the land?
there a community garden in my neighborhood,
or could there be?
(Some cities furnish land and
water, even fertilizer or compost, to gardeners.)
- Could I get along without those foods grown as cash
crops (e.g., coffee, tea, bananas)?
Am I consuming more protein than my body
Am I making an effort to use protein foods
other than meat?
Do I feed pets high-protein foods
that could be used to feed people?
Are pets (especially big eaters) a luxury I should reconsider?
- Where do I buy my food?
Am I supporting the
large supermarkets and agribusiness with my economic power?
Is there a small independent grocer,
a local farmer, a co-op market, or a food co-op
that I could be supporting instead?
- Can I get along without packaged, canned, or
convenience foods -those 'gross national products' of industry?
Why do I buy these foods?
what extent are my eating habits influenced by the
- Are there conferences, workshops, or speakers in
my community that could inform me and others
about protein consumption, nutrition, food
community gardens, and the world’s food
Is there a need for some of this educational
work in my community?
Could I move to fill that
Could I join my efforts to those of neighboring communities in an educational project to reach
a greater number of people?
- How should food production and distribution be
rightly managed to provide adequately for all the
Who should make policy decisions
and how should decisions be enforced?
changes should be made now to move toward long-
- List everything you eat in one day and analyze it
as to its nutritional value, additives, and social,
political, and ecological considerations.
At the end
of the day, add them up and see if your nutritional
requirements were met.
Would you want to make
Let’s Get Well, by Adele Davis, has
good food-composition tables which include whole
grains, seeds. sprouts, etc.
The USDA Food Com
position Handbook is also good.
You can also
find the daily minimum nutritional requirements
for your height and weight in these books.
information on additives and other considerations,
refer to Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore
Lappe, The Poisons in your Food, by William
Longgood, and Eater’s Digest by Michael Jacobson.
- Make an inventory of your cupboards and refrigerator with nutritional, ecological, and social considerations in mind.
- Go on your own supermarket awareness tour.
Note advertising, packaging, placement of items to get attention, sales, ingredients,
Note what people are buying.
Look for excessive use of plastic and paper bags.
Do you see
any smaller or irregular fruits and vegetables which
are less expensive offered on sale?
to the produce that develops a bruise or bad spot,
or the cheese with a mould spot?
- Try meatless meals for a few days or a week.
You may be in for a pleasant surprise.
Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe,
or Recipes for a Small Planet by Ellen Buchwald,
for recipes emphasizing protein complementarity.
If decreasing meat consumption is difficult for you,
try eating meat progressively fewer times a week
or using only very small amounts for flavor.
Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas has delicious
Have vegetarian potlucks focusing on protein complementarity.
Go out to dinner at restaurants featuring vegetarian specialties.
- Write letters or even brief postcards to congresspersons urging support of the food policies listed
- Join or start a neighborhood food co-op.
Write for a national directory of co-ops and information on
- Start a cooking co-op with several families, where
each family cooks once or twice for others and
delivers the meals or invites the others over.
- Find out what your local schools serve for lunches.
What is served at school parties?
At P.T.A. meetings?
What changes could be made to reflect nu-
tritional, ecological, and social concerns?
such as herb teas with honey, dried fruit, and nut
snacks could be offered in addition, with a note
- Try to get your local market to stock grains in
bulk and provide information on how to use them
to combine proteins properly.
If they sell books,
do they have Diet for a Small Planet and Recipes
for a Small Planet available?
Does your library
have these books?
Would they do a display on
Such a display could be
used at special events or group meetings, too.
- Does your local market sell grass-fed beef?
many signatures on a petition would be required
to persuade them to offer it as an option?
about your local school cafeteria, church dinners,
- Deliberately fix less than'enough' for a meal and
experience what it is like to remain hungry.
this as a surprise at a group dinner and discuss
- A group might sponsor a 'sacrificial meal' with
only rice and tea.
You might do this as a benefit
for UNICEF or another hunger-related project.
The meal might be eaten in meditative silence with
relevant informational material or poetry read at
intervals and perhaps a film or speaker afterwards.
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