As it is ill-advised to spew virulent petrochemicals upon our lands and waters in an effort to raise food, so it is equally ill-advised to saturate our bodies with the synthetic chemicals used to grow, to process, and to preserve food. As with smoking cigarettes, it is a slow form of self-destruction. Toxic compounds breed figurative cancers in the land, literal cancers in our bodies.
That basic point has been obvious for many long years to anyone willing to behold the truth. But the point got hammered home in May when The President’s Cancer Panel released a report stating bluntly, unequivocally, that we face ‘grievous harm’ from chemicals in our food, water, and air. This chemical soup — regularly ingested by the vast majority of human beings in modern, industrial nations — has been generally ignored, and virtually unregulated according to The Washington Post story about the report. The report reveals the stunning fact that 41% of all Americans are diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes and 21% die of it.
This unholy reality requires wider, urgent acknowledgment now as the oceanic food chain undergoes massive oily assault in the Gulf of Mexico. Splattered repercussions of the corporately induced crude oil catastrophe are defiling our food chain from sea to supermarket shelf.
It is in this context that I recommend not just the wholesome range of agrarian initiatives detailed in The Call of the Land, but also the common sense ideas, advice and recipes set forth in Terry Walter’s aptly named book, Clean Food. Her book is an encouraging, easy-to-understand guide to eating closer to the source, avoiding the industrial taint that infests so much processed product, and harvesting benefits from the rich nutritional aspects of clean, home-grown and home-cooked foods.
Walters writes, “In this country, the topic of food is charged with emotion and controversy…Nothing is as it appears on the surface. Our produce departments and grocery shelves are lined with unknowns — pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones, chemical additives and process upon process, stripping food of its nutritional value…So much of our food supply is stripped of its goodness and pumped full of man-made taste, color and nutrients. It’s no wonder our health continues to deteriorate…The further we remove ourselves from the source of our food, the less we are able to maintain physical and emotional balance.
“…Clean food is minimally processed so our bodies get the maximum nutritional value needed…the more clean food we bring in, the more clean and more efficiently our bodies function…For maximum nutrition, we’re better off eating closer to the source, and relying on Mother Nature for seasonal produce to keep us in balance.”
Terry Walter’s beautifully written and produced book takes its place on an ever-lengthening shelf of useful resources for responding to the call of the land, and responding also to the call of our bodies for clean fuel, clean food.