We all know about “fast food,” the cheap, low-quality, deep-fried, often sugar-laden meals that are kept warm under heat lamps for hours and can be served in seconds. To get that 3,500-calorie, super-sized meal, you never even have to get out of your car and walk 50 feet to place an order. Once a guilty pleasure, fast food is now a staple in many Americans’ diet. It’s sold as convenient for our busy lifestyles. But with obesity, diabetes and heart disease on the rise in the United States, a change in mindset is taking shape in the country with the intention of slowing things down, to get people to actually think about what they put in their bodies.
The concept of “slow foods” was begun in Italy in the late 1980s by native Italian Carlo Petrini. Petrini was trying to stop a McDonald’s from opening in Rome right next to the nearly 300-year-old monument, the Spanish Steps. Petrini did not want to see massive corporations move in and homogenize Italy’s great cuisine. He founded the slow food movement, where seasonal fruits and vegetables and regional cuisine are packed with nutrients and served up hot and fresh to hungry people.
Petrini defined the goals of the slow food movement as preserving locally grown and heirloom fruits and vegetables, ending factory farms and bio-engineered plants and animals, educating people on nutrition and ceasing our reliance on toxic herbicides and pesticides.
This year, a movie was made about the slow foods movement. Watch the trailer below or click here to purchase a copy through iTunes.
Since that time, Petrini’s grassroots movement has taken flight, with tens of thousands of active members in 132 nations adopting his dream.
In the United States, the slow food movement is just beginning to take shape. According to published reports, the organization boasts some 16,000 active members, and there have been conventions popping up that draw thousands of attendees.
Websites have also been appearing that provide interested readers with a wealth of information on farms, stores and restaurants that promote slow food over fast food.
The website SlowFoodUSA.com, which calls itself the “official site of the slow foods movement,” is registered to Petrini. It is based out of New York City. On that site, readers can locate addresses and phone numbers for local slow food organization chapters, which provide detailed information about resources such as farms, grocery stores and restaurants that promote the slow foods concept.
Chris DePaulo is a staff writer for Rabble Magazine, focusing on health, nutrition, lifestyles and the environment. To download a free special report on Ebola, sign up for RABBLE’s free e-newsletter on the website, RabbleMagazine.com.