Ways to Get Political About Real Food
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Ways to Get Political About Real Food

Posted on Wednesday, October 21st, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Big Food companies have lobbyists who influence Congress. Individuals can do several things to push for real food (and less processed junk food).One of the ways that Americans can get the attention of Congress is via lobbyists. For years, the big food and beverage companies have used lobbying to get their way in everything from what qualifies as a vegetable in a school lunch to what shows up on a food label. It might be time for people who are proponents of real food to get political.

Politico notes that many health-conscious food companies do not have lobbyists. As a result, Congress is hearing a whole lot from “Big Food” companies – who do have plenty of lobbyists – and not hearing much of anything from the other side. Here are some simple things you can do to fight for real food.

Vote with your dollars.
It has been said that voting with your dollars is an effective way to create change. Stop purchasing food products from companies that sell foods and beverages that are bad for people’s health. Spend your money on the companies that support free trade, that sell unprocessed foods, that do not include antibiotics in their food, or that recycle.

In order to be effective at this, you have to do some homework. Big food companies are starting to buy up some of the smaller companies that have a reputation of producing good food. Check to see who owns what before shopping.

Buy from Farmers’ Markets
Want to make sure that the produce you purchase is fresh and local? Buy it from the farmers’ market. Hand your dollars directly to a local farmer. You can be absolutely certain that the fresh produce you buy from a local farmer is the real thing. It definitely has not been processed, and it shouldn’t have any extra sugars added to it.

Buying local food is good for the environment, too. The food you buy at the farmers’ market doesn’t have to travel far to get to you. That’s better for the environment than produce that is stored in freezers for months before being placed on a refrigerated truck and driven across the country.

Start sending email.
Want to have your views heard by the politicians who represent you? Send your Senators and Representatives an email in which you describe your concerns about things like the content of school lunches, the amount of antibiotics in foods, or whatever other food concerns you have. Let them know what you want them to do.

In addition, be on the lookout for petitions that appear on social media. Sign the ones that ask “Big Food” companies to make changes to their ingredients (so their food will be healthier). The great thing about petitions is that it collects up signatures of like-minded people.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.