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Thursday, June 23, 2011

follow up on food posts from a few months ago...

KF, AS, JL and VG post meeting

okay peeps, a slightly annoying video diary for you today, my first attempt.  my husband thought it sucked but, as i told him, i'm not hoping for an emmy nom.  but first we'll start with a story...

so awhile back i posted a you tube video that had gone viral in my hometown of winchester, mass, usa.  you may remember it - a TED talk presentation by robyn o'brien.  she schooled us all on the risks associated with artificial growth hormones and other synthetic food additives.  for me, this video was a call to action, and i know it was for countless others.  so a few friends - KF, AS and CZ - banded together to join the cause on an activist level.  we created a group called "FED UP:  a grass roots mission to improve food standards in Massachusetts".  this group is open to anyone who eats food and enjoys being healthy.  (so, yes, that means you!  ;-)

what is our mission?  pretty simple.  clean, safe food.  our typical gross-ery store shelves are oozing with artificial preservatives, synthetic coloring, genetically modified produce and hormone-enriched meat.  there's so much bad stuff out there.  unless we are aware of it, we purchase it b/c we assume that our fda would approve only food that is safe for human consumption.  sadly, this is not the case.  the US government's philosophy is that its citizens are guinea pigs.  then when a consumer grows a malignant tumor as a result of artificial dyes (true story), then they say, "oh, we need to remove this product from the market."  it's just not right.  unless we know what to look for, we are very easily fooled into thinking our food is safe.  example - i just learned that caramel color has ammonia in it.  effing AMMONIA!  it's in coke, cheap maple syrup and tons of other products.  "caramel color" sounds sweet and natural but it's soooooooo not.  who knew??? 

but let's get real - we won't eat a bag of M&Ms then grow 4 extra fingers, but when we spend a lifetime ingesting chemicals, it takes a toll.  i don't want to expire at 84 years old, sucking on a twizzler in my rocker, knowing that if i'd made better choices i could've squeezed out another year or two with my grandbabies.  you know? 

now i'm a pretty smart cookie, but i'll be honest, i didn't know about this until my bestie and fellow FED UP founder KF schooled me a few years ago.  now that i know better i make better choices.  and i'm thinking that if i got through 30-something years of life without knowing that artificial preservatives and dyes and gmos and growth hormones are dangerous, then there are probably lots of other people out there who could use a little food coaching, too.   so please join us in learning and educating.  let's start in our own neighborhoods!  talk about food - share what you know and ask questions.  there's no one more important than Y.O.U. and you know that old saying...  you are what you eat!


the other component of our safe food mission is encouraging our law makers to ban food products that have not been proven safe for human consumption and to demand strictly honest labeling.  this is an enormous undertaking and big food corporations are a bunch of scary mother fuckers.  they're sinking tens of millions of dollars into campaigning against safe food campaigns.  so we've decided to start with a simple request of our massachusetts state government - ban artificial dyes in foods sold in the commonwealth.  manufacturers like kraft already make their mac-n-cheese with natural colors for their european market (there it's colored with turmeric and here in the states it's done with yellow 5 - gross); we are simply asking them to treat their massachusetts consumers with the same respect.  we deserve it.  we can demand it through legislation and we can send a message by not buying their chemical-ridden products.

so the good news is, we took our first step.  we snagged a vis-a-vis with our state rep jason lewis this week and this is the play-by-play.  (roll amateur video diary with a really unattractive launch photo - looks like it's time for someone to look into botox.)

so we go through security and stroll down west wing to jason lewis' office.  there's no a/c in the state house so we're sweating.  but happy.  (note KF's "what the fuck?" non-verbal as she gestures to one of about 14 men's restrooms along the hallway.  finally found one ladies room on the 4th floor.  it's a man's world!  HA!)

the welcome sign in jason's office.

so next we went into his office and had our meeting.  KF slayed it.  she's insanely knowledgeable.   she's a life-long health nut, tree hugger and overall smarty pants who enjoys reading case studies on harmful effects of preservatives as much as i enjoy watching the jersey housewives beat the crap out of each other at their kids' christenings.  AS presented the bill that the state of maryland proposed, a call to ban artificial coloring in public school lunches, which failed to pass but served as a monumental step in bringing food issues to light.  jason seemed pretty impressed with her resume and i think he was pretty stoked that we have AS and CZ, a couple of super brainy (and adorable) lawyer types who've been writing and reading legislation for years. 

so we think rep lewis is game and just might be willing to sponsor this legislation, providing we can come up with ample convincing proof that these dyes can be harmful to ingest.  our next stop is, like AS said, the department of public health (DPH).  she also mentioned that we're looking to connect with interest groups who are also focused on creating this type of legislation - power in numbers.  we're recruiting nutritionists and doctors and HMO reps, neighborhood organizers, passionate private citizens...  the list goes on and on.  the most valuable tool we have is community awareness, so please spread the world if this cause resonates with you.  we need tons and tons of help to make this happen and are calling on the public to help us in this action.  in a few days we'll be posting a list of winchester positions that need to be filled on our facebook page so please keep a look out and sign up!   if you want to start a local campaign in your town, let's do it together!

peace, love, gratitude,

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