Perhaps when we consider mindful eating we need to look at it as a moral act, what we eat, how we eat, what we teach our children about food and sustainability. Have you ever sat before your plate of food and traveled back in your mind to its origin, to the seed that was planted, to the rain, the sun, the farmer, the harvester? Do you imagine a sunny hilltop in upstate NY or an industrial farm in California with migrant workers?
Do you create a loving mealtime with conversation and laughter and time to sit, or do you grab food from the fridge and run out the door or plop down in front of the TV? What place does food and eating have in your life? Is it honored as the life-giving act it is? There is a reason all faith traditions “say grace” over their daily bread. Food nourishes our bodies and our souls.
I don’t write all this to make us feel guilty but to help us re-establish an honored and mindful place in our lives for eating.
I found some great ideas and resources from the Catholic Rural Life Conference on the Ethics of Eating. Here is their Code for Ethical Eating. It could easily be written by any honorable UU.
Eating is a Moral Act: Eaters Ethics in Food Choice
Human Dignity: Support fair wages, healthy working conditions for farmers, farm workers, food workers.
Human Dignity: Eaters have a right to nutritious food. Obesity is a public health issue.
Universal Destination of Goods: Support fair distribution of profits, not food cartel control.
Integrity of Creation: Support humane treatment of animals, restrict factory farms
Integrity of Creation: Protect the environment by the food you eat
Common Good: people around the world have a right to food security
Common Good: Limit “food miles” and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Subsidarity: affirm local food production and local purchasing as a preference
Solidarity: Encourage fair trade practices
Option for the poor: provide nutritious foods for those who are hungry
The Sustainable Table is a site that will help you assess where you stand on with your personal practices and how to shift to sustainable eating.
Rochester Roots is a local program that is creating a locally sustainable food system that ensures community food security. Other communities and even municipalities are engaged in this type of endeavor.
And when you thought there was no hope for good decisions from the White House we have surprising news that the Bush Administration had appointed Brian Wansink, a professor of marketing at Cornell University, to head the US Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the branch of the USDA that’s responsible for dispensing dietary advice to the American public. Wansink is the author of the book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think — a groundbreaking work on the psychology of eating. Take a look at thoughts about this on the blog World Changing.