Over one billion people in the world are hungry and over one billion are overweight. Far from complete opposites, hunger
and obesity are in fact different manifestations of the same problem: It’s increasingly difficult to find and eat nutritious food.
In her new book, We the Eaters, author Ellen Gustafson describes how fast food corporations and junk food convenience stores are muscling out indigenous farming practices and wholesome food not only in our country, but around the world. Developing nations are getting a double whammy, she says, as nutrient-deficient junk food creates growth-stunting hunger in children, and she documents how this results in obesity later in life.
In 258 pages packed with eye-watering statistics, dizzying insights and pithy quotes, she unpacks the fast food meal and everything that lies behind it, from high fructose corn syrup through processed cheese and processed tomato to the ominously named “pink slime” which, as she explains, “… is the controversial additive to ground beef that amounts to a foamy pink mixture of low-grade beef parts and, typically, ammonium hydroxide . . . The USDA [US Department of Agriculture] buys 7 million pounds of pink slime for school lunch programs . . .”
The book’s concluding chapter lays out 30 “action steps” for making more conscious choices that lead to better health of every system in the food chain, from the farm to the consumer.
A few examples:
- Rethink the idea that healthy food costs too much.
- Don’t buy or drink commercially produced soda. Ever.
- Eat high tech but low impact,” meaning look for foods with QR codes that let you meet the farmers who grew them.
Gustafson delivers a wake-up call that will inspire even the most passive reader to take action. We can love our food and our country while being better stewards of our system and our health. We the Eaters is nothing short of a manifesto: If we change dinner, we really can change the world.