If you decide to satiate your hunger midday by eating lunch, you won’t just be choosing to nourish your body or fill it with empty calories. You‘ll also be deciding whether to eat food that will perk up your brain or clog your arteries. By intention or not, your action will support a small farmer or industrial agriculture. Perhaps you decided to patronize a neighborhood grocer or, instead, a big box, chain store for your food. Maybe your lunch will have low- to no-impact on the animal kingdom, or perhaps you got your meat from a distributor who’s supply comes from animals that barely have the opportunity to move and spend nearly all their time living in their own waste.
Sometimes the multitude of impacts your decisions your can make can overwhelm you, perhaps even immobilize you and stop you from intentionality at all. In which case, I’d ask you to not aspire for perfection.
Aspire for better. As nutritionist Marion Nestle says of making good food decisions, “More is better than less, and some is a lot better than none.”
Recognize, name, write down, say aloud how your decision is better than you would made done before.
Think of how you may have turned a bad decision (e.g. fast food equals suffering animals) into a positive one (e.g. buy some eggs from range free hens). And then think about the allies you have in making better decisions (e.g. “I supported a small farmer.” or “I just told my big box, chain grocer that I’m happy they offered a better choice of eggs.”)
As you get used to and more knowledgeable about how good decisions and actions can become even better, then decide whether or not you want to take that next step.
(Postscript: While I usually tend toward systemic solutions to problems, I also know that most people have no idea how to impact food systems‘ issues in a positive way. I hope this blog can help address some of those systemic solutions in the future. However, I also know that individual consumer decisions amassed with other consumers making the same decisions can have a tremendous impact.)