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Six Months, Six Kinds of Lettuce

Six Months, Six Kinds of Lettuce

Six months ago I weighed almost 70 pounds more than I do today.  For most of the last five years, my life has been an all-too-common American cliché:  work too much, stress too much, eat too much, and sleep too little.  The founder of We Consume Too Much, Grier Raggio, had looked me in the eye friend-to-friend a couple of times over the past few years and said, “Hey you have got to lose weight!  You are toying with your mortality.  You are a prime candidate for a heart attack!”

I knew Grier was right.  I knew every time I looked in my young son’s eyes that Grier was right.   Grier knew me in 2005, when I weighed almost 50 pounds less than I do today (yes, I still have a way to go).  He had seen me become engrossed in work and my small business at the expense of my health.  I knew why he was so upset with me.  I was way out of balance, locked in on one immediate part of my life at the expense of the big picture.  I was endangering my future and my family’s future.

To be clear, the food section of We Consume Too Much is not going to be dedicated to weight loss.  However, We Consume Too Much happened to be conceived at the same time I was getting healthy again, and I could not help but see the parallels between what I was trying to do with my life and what we at We Consume Too Much believe the country and the planet need to do:  get healthier.

At the risk of making too large an intellectual leap, I do intend at the outset to explore rather overarching themes in my investigations for We Consume Too Much: that there is a link between my life and the lives of many other Americans being out of control and our country and planet being out of control; that the choices we make and the options presented to us in our daily lives exist in a kind of mutually reinforcing, not so healthy feed-back loop; that it is our responsibility to stop the loop, to keep it from spiraling out of control.

Whether you believe in individual responsibility or the power of systems to determine behavior, it is undeniable that obesity rates have increased in the same decades that saw the rise of mass-produced agriculture, fast food and processed food – a food culture that an Eisenhower might have called the “industrial mass-market food complex.”  Our dependence on fossil fuels and our contributions as a country to global warming have increased over the same time frame.  Perhaps there is a big, integrated system at work here.

In my investigations, I will attempt to show how the way we eat today in America directly impacts global warming, the quality of our food supply, the quality of our water and land, and the quality of our lives.  This is well-researched territory, but I want to show how my discovery of these ideas impacts my life and the new choices I make.  I will also talk about some interesting things other people I meet are doing in their lives.  I am not interested in preaching.  I am interested in sharing and perhaps inspiring.

Six months ago I barely thought about what I was eating.  Today, as I like to say, I can tell the difference between six different kinds of lettuce and I am hooked on arugula.  I love it more than steak.  Seriously.  By slowing down my life, by thinking more about choices, something wonderful has happened:  I have rediscovered that I have many options.  I have a feeling that the power of options will be a big part of the lesson we learn on this journey.

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Comments (1)

  1. Peggy Henger Monday - 12 / 12 / 2011
    Excellent article - I plan to follow your quest! Very interesting. Be sure to watch the video "Stuff". It parallels your thinking.

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