It is widely acknowledged that Americans love food. Today is national Food Day - the perfect day to celebrate our love of food. This national holiday celebrates “eating real”, not just eating. But what exactly does that mean? Food Day is a celebration of food in support of more healthy, affordable, and sustainable food.
Food Day has been organized primarily to promote safer, healthier diets; to reduce hunger; to support local and dedicated farmers; to reform factory farms in order to protect the environment; and to support fair working conditions for farm workers and food. Through these priorities, the goal is to transform the American diet, leading to a decrease in premature deaths from a variety of diet-influenced diseases and conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cancers.
Taking a stand
It is up to you to take care of your body. Food Day is a celebration of your body, and to participate, you need to take a stand for your body and give yourself what you need. This includes eating healthy foods and limiting, not necessarily eliminating, the foods that you don’t need. Adding a variety of fruits and vegetables to your diet is one step in making that change for your diet as well as adding whole-wheat or whole-grain foods and increasing the amount of water you drink.
Today is the perfect time to help celebrate Food Day by choosing locally grown fruits and vegetables and by swapping out that soda or energy drink for water or milk. In Dixon, the local farmers market runs June 3-Oct. 31 on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon at Haymarket Square. If you are unable to make it to a farmers market, ask your favorite grocer where the locally grown foods section is. This also can include locally grown meats, not just fruits and vegetables.
Making healthy choices fun
When making a change in your life, keep it simple and you will be more likely to succeed. Iif you can make it fun, it will seem easy. On the Food Day website, there is a recipe for Apple Smiles that replaces the bread on a sandwich with apple or pear slices. Add cheese, peanut butter, or soy butter, and if you put puffed rice cereal into the peanut butter, you give the sandwich “teeth,” allowing the sandwich to smile.
While one day to celebrate a healthier America is a great way to start making a change in your life, it is something that you have to maintain in order to get any benefit from it, so keep up the good work. Take the changes that you made in your diet today and continue making them tomorrow. Visit the Food Day website at www.FoodDay.org or check out www.facebook.com/FoodDayEatReal or follow them at www.twitter.com/FoodDay2012 for more information.
Black bean salsa
1 can no-salt-added black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 chopped avocado
¼ medium-sized diced red onion
Handful of cilantro leaves
½ lime for juice (approximately 1 tablespoon)
¼ teaspoon or less of kosher salt
Combine first four ingredients. Season with the juice of lime and kosher salt. Use as a garnish for grilled chicken, fish, or shrimp; use as a filling for tacos; use as a chip dip.