Slow Food is everything opposite to the concept of fast food. While fast food involves highly processed food ingredients, ‘assembled’ together quickly to form a meal, with ingredients that have questionable sources, slow food refers to the inclusion of unprocessed food ingredients, cooked in an authentic manner to create a wholesome meal.
Slow food is a direct reaction to fast food, which has been trending for decades now, since the 1940s. Fast food is mass-produced food products designed for quick and efficient preparation and distribution. It is aimed for people who are short on time, are looking for a quick and easy meal that can satisfy a person’s hunger and likes. Fast food uses highly processed foods as they taste wonderful, are cheap to manufacture and have long shelf life. However, highly processed foods contain an unhealthy amount of sugar, sodium and fats. No doubt the food tastes great but at the cost of high calories and extremely low nutritional value. It has increasingly caused many health issues in children and adults. Studies have indicated that eating more than 4 servings of processed food daily is linked with an increased risk of all-cause mortality, for each additional serving, all-cause mortality risk can be increased by 18 per cent. Other researches indicate that eating highly processed foods can lead to weight gain, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Slow food on the other hand originated in Italy in 1989, as a response to the fast food corporations. The Slow Food Movement believes that food should be grown and bought locally, prepared with care, and consumed with appreciation. It promotes local small businesses and sustainable foods. It also focuses on food quality, rather than quantity. Although this is not possible for everyone, especially for people residing in cities where growing food is next to impossible, the slow food movement has a unique meaning for each individual. It could just mean to make home-cooked meals, to include ingredients that are sourced locally and ethically. Using ingredients from the season is also a part of the movement. Anything that is good for humans, the environment and the economy in the long run. The food we ingest should be of ingredients that we are aware of. Meals should consist of components that one can name, not be comprised of chemicals that we cannot even pronounce. This movement is not just about a person’s personal health but it is also about protecting local food with the traditions and the cultures attached to the cuisine.
The slow food movement does not have strict rules and regulations, if a person cannot grow their food, does not mean they have failed completely, there are other ways they can try and improve their lifestyle; every little step, no matter how small counts.
Home-cooked meals are a great way to improve not only their personal health but also the environment. When it comes to ready-made food we are not aware of what goes in our bodies. The chemicals, the added flavourings, the artificial colours, how they are grown and what goes in the process of growing, the additives to make them shelf stable, how caloric dense and what macros or nutrients are present. It has become a habit just buy items that look pretty in a plastic package and assume that it will be good for us, for our bodies, for our minds. We have to look past what is easy and what is simple to find out what is good for us in the long run.
The world has progressed so much in the past couple of decades, there is no doubt that the world has become incredibly convenient, but it has also harmed the planet we live in, in ways that is unimaginable. The vast of amount of trash created and spread across oceans and crowded our landfills.
Slow food movement promotes eating in a manner that minimises food waste, pollution and carbon food print. Sourcing locally, eating according to the seasons, using less plastic packaging and only buying what is needed. These are all ways that help the environment and the planet we live in. In spite of the fact that we are so used to in our ways of convenience and ease that it will be difficult to do it differently. All we have to think about is the impact it will have for our future, for children’s future.
Slow food is not just a trend; it is a lifestyle change that is only beneficial for our bodies, our minds and the earth. Although difficult to adhere to as it would require us to change things that have been instilled in us for a very long time, but the next time you want to stop for a burger and fries at the drive through, just read the ingredients, do you know what they are? Are you able to pronounce them? If not, then you have your answer. Go home, make the burger and fries at home, with real meat and vegetables. It might take more effort and time but it is worth it in the end.