Happy New Year!

I just discovered BlissTree, a site that is basically something else I can squander the working hours away.  The post “10 Healthy, Sustainable New Year’s Food Resolutions” was especially interesting, if not for what super-duper healthy people think you should be doing for the new year (*cough, cough – unrealistic*), but for the notes from the site that put it more into perspective (in italics after each resolution):

Want to Change the Food System? 10 Simple Things You Can Do (courtesy ofFood, Inc. via Farm Catskills)

1. Stop drinking sodas and other sweetened beverages (iced teas, energy drinks, etc).
You can lose 25 lbs in a year by replacing one 20-ounce soda a day with a no-calorie beverage (preferably water). (from Center for Science in the Public Interest) Okay, this we can do. Very reasonable.

2. Eat at home instead of eating out.
Children consume almost twice (1.8 times) as many calories when eating food prepared outside the home. And at home, you’re more likely to be eating locally grown foods, and more of your food dollars will go to a local farmer. Busted. We know we should be doing this anyway, if only for our bank accounts. And we loathe those plastic and styrofoam take-out containers. So then, restaurants for special occasions only in 2011.

3. Stay away from processed foods; prepare meals from scratch.
Many delicious and nutritious meals can be made very quickly and simply – and you get more nutrition and value from your food dollars. We know, we know: Processed foods are a serious hindrance to overall good health. And even though we’re all really busy in our everyday lives, we’re going to try very hard to resist reaching for them in the grocery store aisles.

4. Tell schools to stop selling sodas, junk food, and sports drinks.
Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and teens. Okay, doable. Hopefully an email letter-writing campaign will be as effective as one on paper.

5. Eat local, grass-fed meat.
An estimated 70% of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to farm animals in feedlot conditions. Grassfed meat is available year-round from local farmers who do not give their animals growth hormones or routine antibiotics. More expensive than standard grocery store meat, to be sure, but may be worth the investment in terms of our health and the environment. And we’re lucky enough to have several farmers’ markets near us, so we don’t have the excuse of “no access” to fresh, local foods.

6. Buy organic or sustainable food with little or no pesticides.
According to the EPA, over one billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the U.S.Okay, here’s where the class/socioeconomic issue comes into play. It’s one thing to buy cheap fresh vegetables from your local farmers’ market, but organic foods from places like Whole Foods are pretty damn pricey, especially for most families. (Make no mistake, the organic food industry is a $25-billion-dollar business. And yet, according to the Organic Trade Association, organic food and drinks accounted for less than 4% of food sales in the U.S. in 2009. Why so little? High prices, mostly. And lack of access.) That said, we’ll try to go organic when we can, but we don’t all have the luxury of buying strictly organic products every time we food shop.

7. Support a local farmer; visit your farmers’ market, join a CSA, or shop at a locally-owned food retailer.
Buying local foods allows farmers to keep a larger share of each food dollar, and keeps more of your money circulating in the community. Find local farmers in New York State at Pure CatskillsDone. We actually already do this, and will try our best to do it more often.

8. Make a point to know where your food comes from — READ LABELS.
The average meal travels 1,500 miles from the farm to your dinner plate. Easy enough to do, and worth the extra few minutes. And important. But sorry, we’re not giving up our Italian parmigiano or our natural wines from France anytime soon.

9. Let Congress know that food safety is important to you.
Each year, contaminated food causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths in the U.S.Okay, I guess we can (and will) make time to send a few more email screeds, this time to the federal government.

10. Join Farm Catskills to stay on top of the issues that affect our local food system.
A strong grassroots membership base helps us continue our efforts and make a difference.Cool. And we can join other local food activist organizations like Slow Food USAJust Food, or find a local CSA near us.

My only problem with these resolutions is that there are no fancy champagne cocktails on this list.  Or special, organically grown candies, like Gobstoppers and Sprees (um, hello, they are made from natural magic, people).  Granted the woman who released these 10 was also responsible for a list of 10 for herself which included buying a cow (hey man, I get the milk for free) and then foraging for food (no).

My resolutions for this year actually include buying more socks and hacking off a foot of my hair.  Ok, ok, I also decided to add bananas to my diet, since the commercials are so persuasive.