Diet & Nutrition

Slowing down our fast-food culture

Busy lifestyles and the expectation of food "on demand" means we are all increasingly reliant on fast-food options for everyday meals. But what's the impact of this modern eating trend on your health? And what can you do to put on the brakes? Perhaps the answer is the Slow Food movement.
The Slow Food movement started in Italy in the mid-1980s as a reaction to our fast-food culture, and in 20 years, it has grown into a worldwide phenomenon with almost 100,000 members. In Australia, there are 42 convivia (branches) of volunteers all working to inspire an understanding and appreciation of growing and cooking foods — as well as taking the time to enjoy the eating of them.
It's all about a celebration of food — fresh ingredients, mouth-watering recipes, taking time to savour each mouthful and the social aspect of sharing a meal. Slow Food promotes the consumption of local produce, environmentally friendly production and enjoying foods that protect and enhance our health. And some of our most well-known cooks and chefs are advocates, including Maggie Beer and Jared Ingersoll, owner of Danks St Depot.
Slow Food fosters community awareness of food that is "good, clean and fair". The movement's fans believe that the food we eat tastes good and should be good for us; that it is grown and made in ways that respect animals, the environment and our health; and that the producers who grow or create it should be fairly rewarded for their labour.
The fans are especially unique in their belief that everyone has a fundamental right to pleasure and consequently feel it's the responsibility of each of us to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this food possible.
In our fast-food culture, it is easy to lose sight of where a food has come from, how far it has travelled and the processing it has undergone. As a result, highly processed foods can easily become part of everyday menus. Yet research consistently shows that an over-reliance on processed foods can have seriously negative consequences for our health.
While you may not always have sufficient time for the art of Slow Food all of the time, for your own health and wellbeing, it may be worth trying to incorporate some Slow Food beliefs into your daily life.
Here are some basic tips on slowing down and enjoying fresh food:
  • Wholefoods. Make most of your everyday eating fresh, wholefoods — including fruits, vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals, legumes, nuts and seeds — and try buying it from a local market.
  • Involve the kids. Plant a herb garden. Talk to them about where different foods come from and encourage them to help you prepare meals — even if it's something as simple as picking and washing the herbs.
  • Eat together. Sharing meals with close friends and family is a really important part of the celebration of food and its contribution to happy, healthy living.
If you'd like more information on the Slow Food movement, visit www.slowfoodaustralia.com.au.

Your say: What do you think of the slow food movement? Do you think we indulge in too much fast food? Share with us below.

This information is provided by the Sanitarium Nutrition Service.

read more from