What is Slow Food?

Slow Food was started by Carlo Petrini and a group of activists in the 1980s with the initial aim to defend regional traditions, good food, gastronomic pleasure and a slow pace of life. In over two decades of history, the movement has evolved to embrace a comprehensive approach to food that recognises the strong connections between plate, planet, people, politics and culture. Today Slow Food represents a global movement involving thousands of projects and millions of people in over 160 countries.

“Slow food unites the pleasure of food with responsibility, sustainability and harmony with nature”
– Carlo Petrini

Slow Food envisions a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet.

“Slow food aims to be everything fast food is not.”

SLOW FOOD – Philosophy
The approach is based on a concept of food that is defined by three interconnected principles: good, clean and fair.

  • GOOD: quality, flavorsome and healthy food
  • CLEAN: production that does not harm the environment
  • FAIR: accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for producers

In my last post I spoke of active meditation, and in particular how I use movement such running, cycling and strength training as method to ‘positive stress test’ myself, to deliberately place my psychology and physiology under stress to improve fitness stamina, and also cognitive familiarity with how my body responds being placed under this stress – increased heart rate, centred vision, hormonal response etc

This weeks post will be focused on another form active meditation, this time for it’s calmative effects – nutrition, eating, & cooking – activities that seem to becoming more and more of an afterthought, and seemingly deemed more of an inconvenience these days – If the year-on-year skyrocketing sales of “convenience / fast / packaged/ highly processed-foods” is any indication.

Now I am advocate for not only eating the most nutritiously dense foods possible, to optimise health, body composition & satiety – but I’m an advocate for food, cooking and eating being a practice of mindful activity. An opportunity to invest your intention into something that nourishes our body, our mind and our connection with others.

I’m a HUGE fan of the slow-food movement as it not only encourages us to tick all those boxes – but it’s a philosophy that can be applied to any diet regime. So whatever your medical, ethical, spiritual or ideological dietary requirements or viewpoints are – Slow Food is, I believe, a mindfully sound, sustainable, positive & healthy approach to our wellbeing.

Something else I’d like to highlight is that we are, or should be, becoming more and more aware of our buying practices and how our buying practices impact the environment. We hear, for one, that we should eat less meat, increase more plant based foods because of the impact that meat eating has on the environment.
I’m not here to advocate one argument or another – but I cannot think of any better way to consume AND be more mindful of the impact our eating choices has on the environment,  if we chose the bulk of our foods from the local, fresh food aisles. If we supported local farmers & produce, became more proactive at reducing packaged waste and focused the majority of our food budgets on whole foods, then we’d see a massive down-turn on:
Transport costs / fossil fuel usage
Packaging, paper, cardboard, aluminium etc
Electricity for storage
Waste / Landfill / Recycling
Use of plastics and limiting our exposure to endocrine disrupting plastics …just to name a few.

Packaged, ultra processed foods only dominate the supermarket shelfs  because ‘we buy them’.
The only reason why supermarket chains dedicate whole aisles ‘real-estate’ to food-like products – soft drinks, ‘fruit’ juices, breakfast cereals and other highly processed items is because they sell – they’re ‘perceived as cheap’, and they’re quick & easy to consume…high caloric foods that offers little or no nutritional value or provides ANY satiation…which results in eating more and getting fatter and sicker quicker.

I am mindful and appreciative of the shelf-life’, and higher costs that can be associated with buying whole unprocessed foods – but is there a way we can start to swing not only the nutritional-benefits back into our favour, but also see our dollars having a positive impact on the environment?

I read somewhere sometime ago that the nutrition we absorb (absorbing is the key #guthealth) via the foods we eat, act as ‘keys’ that unlock our hormonal and genetic expression.

[genes are not ‘fixed’, the ‘environment’ they’re place under will dictate how they’re ‘expressed’ aka Epigenetics]

In simple terms…Eating natural, whole, nutrient dense foods – foods that our 300,000+ year old bodies are hormonally and genetically familiar with, will deliver us the nutrients and satiation we require to trigger and unlock the hormonal, cellular and genetic expressions that made us who we are.

Packaged, highly processed and refined foods and food-like substances (because that is what a lot of ‘food’ is…’food-like’ given the added additives and preservatives) most often will fail to unlock our ancestral-expressions because our bodies are not familiar or do not recognises the “nutrients’ (use that word loosely) we’re consuming...so what happens?

Again, I appreciate that can, frozen, fast-food, and packaged food items have their place – but what’s the purchase balance like? Is there an opportunity to not only vastly improve the physical health of you and your love ones, by dominating your plate, ‘most of the time’, with whole, nutrient dense foods – all the whilst re-embracing the art of cooking and eating with intention…celebrating the taste of food, rather than it being an afterthought at best….or an inconvenience at worst?

Being considerate to how busy our lives are, shopping for the food we eat, preparing and cooking the food we eat, is our most fundamental way to communicate love and kindness with ourselves and our love ones.  The way we eat has to, in my opinion, become be re-prioritised and used to tether our minds and body back to the cruciality of eating for life, rather than dying to eat.

If eating ‘well’, preparing & cooking your meals ‘most of the time’, whilst reestablishing disciplined & mindful eating habits (as in not vacuuming your food, being mindful to taste the food, eating slowly etc) is all too difficult and time consuming – then all I’d ask is “what other habits are you investing that consumes (pun intended) your time?”

Next Week: ‘INSATIABLE’ Slow Food: Part 2
[unquenchable, unappeasable, uncontrollable, voracious, gluttonous…never satisfied]

Knowing what & how much YOU need to eat is another tool we have at our disposal to increase our self-awareness.
Aligning your food choices with your values, medical needs, religious or ethical choices, lifestyle and levels of exertion all play a role in determining what works best for you.
Only YOU know this and ONLY YOU can find this out.

Preparing, cooking, eating, and sharing…NOWBEING