During my last semester at college, this past fall, it was time to write my senior thesis paper. Twelve to fifteen pages on a topic of my choice, so of course I picked a food topic, more specifically Slow Food. Since I was an Italian Studies major I needed to make sure my topic was related to Italian culture, so Slow Food was a perfect fit.
A few months ago, my Professor/Advisor from college suggested that I should try to get a summary of my thesis published in the Italian newspaper, La Gazzetta Italiana. The only downside, they only accept 1000 words for articles. So after several weeks of work, I finally got my 4500 word paper down to about 995 words. The thing I found most difficult, was trying to get my point across in less than a 4th of the papers original length. I kept deleting more of more of my original paper and it just wasn’t coming together. After spending 3 1/2 months researching and writing about a topic, you become pretty passionate about it, so it’s difficult to edit so much information out.
I ended up editing it down to two main topics, ‘how to live a Slow Food lifestyle’ and ‘the advantages of Slow Food’. A few weeks ago, I sent the summary to my Professor and she sent it to the newspaper and… THEY LIKED IT! AND PUBLISHED IT!
I just received the actual paper Friday and I’m still in shock. I’m so, so thankful for my Professor encouraging me to write the summary and for her sending it to the newspaper. I’m so excited so I thought I would post it on here.
So here is my senior thesis paper summary, I hope you enjoy it!
The Slow Food movements main slogan is that food should be “good, clean, and fair” for all. Good, as in you must be able to enjoy what you’re eating; or take pleasure in what you’re eating, as Carlo Petrini, the founder and president of Slow Food, would say.Slowing down to eat a meal while conversing with friends and family is the best way to do so. Eating a burger in the car alone is no way to take pleasure in what you’re eating.
Clean, as in the way the food is produced must be safe for the environment. Food should be grown organic; without pesticides, fertilizers or genetically modified seeds. Luckily in the United States, grocery stores such as Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s support organic food and Slow Food concepts. Whole Foods Market gives you the option to buy conventionally grown or organic products, but neither being genetically modified. In addition, both stores sell products that are identified with “Non GMO” labels.
Fair, as in the workers that produce the food must be paid well. In addition to that, everyone who wants to eat healthy should be able to afford to do so. The way animals are treated is also part of the fair category. Both workers and animals need to be treated “humanly and fairly”. The “fair” aspect of Slow Food seems to be the most difficult to understand and to fulfill, but the movement is working towards having all three aspects satisfied.
People are still skeptical or are completely against the concept of Slow Food, especially in the United States. The main item up for discussion is that many think that Slow Food practices won’t be able to feed the growing population of the United States and other countries. This is an issue because more and more crops are being grown genetically altered which produces a quick, large yield of the crop. This is not good for the environment let alone the people or animals eating the altered crops,but that is an entirely other thesis paper.
The phrase “we are enslaved by speed” perfectly explains our way of living. We’re constantly making quick decisions or choices about the food we eat, because we have better, more important things to be doing. Fast food restaurants, using the term restaurant loosely, are convenient for our everyday life. What would most people eat for breakfast if McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts were not available? That question right there is why most Americans are skeptical of Slow Food. Some people just do not have the time in their day to make themselves or their families’ meals. But time needs to be made for something as important as health.
Some other complaints people have are that in order to practice Slow Food, more money has to be spent. Yes, this is true in some cases, but the processed, canned and boxed foods that are not suitable for our wellbeing are expensive as well. Making a meal with organic chicken and fresh vegetables for a family of four may seem to cost a lot, but in the long run, compared to a family of four eating at McDonalds, it’s actually cheaper. Some do not think about the long term health issues that could be caused by not eating right and how much the medical bills could be. Eating right could keep you out of the doctors’ office, keep your blood pressure and cholesterol down, and make you feel better overall. Perhaps the saying should be ‘an organic, locally grown apple a day keeps the doctor away’.
Others are concerned with the skills needed in the kitchen. Unfortunately, not everyone is a trained chef, or a natural in the kitchen. This is not detrimental though; just getting in the kitchen and starting to cook is the best way to learn. If you can, buy a cookbook with simple recipes or take a cooking class or two. “When you have the confidence to do that, the rest is easy and your kitchen becomes known as the fun place to be with family and friends.” Making a meal that is healthy for you and your family does not have to be complicated. Just throwing together a few simple ingredients can make a nutritious meal that tastes great and does not break the bank.
The advantages to living the Slow Food lifestyle greatly outweigh the disadvantages. Some people do not realize that what they eat can effect how they feel in day-to-day life. If you eat greasy, heavy food, you’re going to feel greasy and heavy. If you eat light, healthy food, you’re going to feel light and healthy. Genetically altered and chemically modified foods are not beneficial for humans, they’re only beneficial to people trying to make money.
The health benefits from living a Slow Food lifestyle and healthier eating habits are astronomical. Just eating fresh fruits and vegetables will give you all sorts of nutrients and vitamins that benefit your health and wellbeing. Antioxidants are one of the most important nutrients food can give you. They’re in fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, black tea, green tea, coffee and dark chocolate. Antioxidants are beneficial because they fight something called free-radicals in your body, “which are the molecules that can damage cells and which may play a large role in heart disease and cancers.”