Food Policy - Healthy Eating

What to Eat and What to Avoid


Making food (from farm to your plate) uses a lot of human effort, natural resources and energy. Maybe more energy goes into food than into housing and transportation. Maybe not, but food is up there with the big three.

At the same time, we’re all concerned with eating food that’s good for us, and that gives us a feeling of well-being. How do we sort it all out? First of all, keep it simple. Follow the recommendations of the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Information Center or similar institutes of the European Union for optimal basic requirements.

Then, have a look at our Eco-Eating page for more ideas. Being a ‘responsible eater’ means leaning toward locally grown, organic food, in season, whenever possible. Fresh food, or food preserved with minimal energy input (dried or canned as a rule), uses less energy than frozen food, and is usually healthier, as well. Your choice of cooking methods and appliances further impacts personal health and the environment.

All of this is affected by where you shop. Supermarkets are attractive, convenient, one-stop shopping places, and many are doing their best to reduce their impact on the environment. But the very notion of all the food selection you might want, from wherever it may come, by whatever route necessary, and in whatever season you may have a craving for it means that more energy is consumed to get it to you. Even worse, species may be selected on the basis of their ability to travel long distances successfully, rather than their actual nutritional value.

Modern life, for many people, implies ‘plenty’. Compared to bygone years, when meat was a treat reserved for holidays, ‘plenty’ now means meat on demand, and … plenty of it. This is not a healthy choice, and the demand for cheap meat leads to factory farming practices that are distasteful when viewed in detail and, again, bad for the environment.

Convenience, another by-word of modernity, has taught us to eat and pitch: the packaging, the unwanted parts, the leftovers. Waste, as much as half the harvested food in some ‘developed’ parts of the world, can and must be reduced if we’re to have enough food for everyone on the planet.

In the best of all possible worlds – the one we’re now trying to re-create – ‘modern’ will take on a new definition. Putting aside the waste of the last century, it will mean informed, thoughtful, conscience-driven consumption. It will mean concern for the planet, the species we share it with, our fellow man and our own healthy choices. And you know what? It will still be tasty!  

Read the full Eco-Eating article by John Lewis, HELADA

HELADA views in more detail:

Food Democracy

Pesticides, Chemicals and Drugs

Water for All

Government at the Table

Read and view more about optimal diet:

USDA Dietary Recommendations

The Food Pyramid   

Food industry and carbon emissions Times Online

The War on Alice Waters (food activist)

Michael Pollan Dishes out Advice on Healthful Eating

EdibleEcoUnderground cooking site from Food & Water Watch

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Organic bean patch in the Netherlands. 
Photo borrowed with the gracious permission of photographer Alice Kattebelletje