Slow Food in a Fast Paced World

August 2, 2012

Slow Food in a Fast Paced World

Have you heard about “slow food”?  It is a term first coined by the folks who promote food sustainability and the purchase of local foods.  Slow food is the opposite of fast processed food.  Slow food is not about eating food slower (although I like the concept of eating slower to enjoy the taste of food and often eating less amount of food).  Slow food is an idea, a way of living in a world “in which all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it, and good for the planet.” 

I thought about the slow food concept as I read a USA Today article reporting that Americans’ fruit and vegetable intake is still below the recommended amounts.  For several years, many professional groups have recommended 2-1/2 cups of vegetables and from 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 cups of fruit per day.  The amounts vary depending on calories, but making half your plate fruit and vegetables is the easiest way to increase intake.  The USDA My Plate icon provides an excellent visual image.

Summer is the best time of year to increase your fruit and vegetable intake.  With farmer’s markets and grocery stores’ offering sales on local produce, it is a perfect time to take the plunge into slow food.  Besides fruits and vegetable, farmer’s markets offer other items raised or produced by local farmers such as meats, eggs, and cheese.  By purchasing items that are on sale each week, you will accomplish two goals: eating a variety of foods within food groups and saving dollars.  One of my earliest blogs discussed Saving Money with God’s Candy“.

Growing vegetables is another way to enjoy slow food.  I know that my garden produces an abundance of tomatoes, peppers, onions, beets, and kohlrabi.  I like to dice my onions and then freeze them in half cup portions.  Then throughout the winter, the onions are portioned and ready to use as ingredients in soups, chili, and stir fries.  Bell peppers can be stored and used the same way as the onions. 

Gazpacho (recipe below) is another easy way to use summer produce.  For me, gazpacho is a cold summer soup or drink.  When our son was four or five years old, he helped me prepare the soup.  As we placed all the ingredients in the food processor, he said, “we are making salad juice”.  I like to think of it as liquid salad.  At any rate, it is an easy way to use extra produce.  The attached recipe for gazpacho does include some bread chunks.  Their purpose is to thicken the soup.

Starting this summer, choose slow food.


2 cans (14.5 oz. each) no-salt-added diced tomatoes or 4 ripe tomatoes peeled and chopped
½ cucumber, halved, seeded and chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
¼ or ½ cup onion, chopped
½ green bell pepper, chopped
¼ tsp. dry minced garlic or 1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 slices French bread, broken into pieces
1 cup water
1 cup low-sodium V-8 juice or low-sodium tomato juice
1/8 tsp. Tabasco sauce

In a large bowl, mix tomatoes, cucumber, celery, onion, green pepper, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, French bread pieces, water, V-8 or tomato juice, and Tabasco. Using a blender or food processor, purée half of the mixture and then purée the other half.  Chill thoroughly (at least three hours). When serving soup, garnish with diced green pepper, cucumber, celery or tomato.

Makes 6 cups.

Serving size: 1 cup
Calories per serving: 132
Carbohydrate: 19 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Fat: 5 grams
Saturated fat: 1 gram
Trans fat: 0
Protein: 4 grams
Sodium: 168 milligrams

  1. Toni Kuehneman

    From your email, you eat a dinner meal for lunch. So the meal that you are "missing" is lunch. Think of your meal in the evening as a lunch meal. Ideally meals include sources of protein, grains, vegetable, and fruit. Some suggestions with little preparation time required: Hummus with whole grain crackers or whole grain bread, nonfat milk, baby carrots and an apple. Or Peanut butter sandwich, nonfat milk, celery sticks and a pear. Or Grilled cheese sandwich or reduced fat cheese slice or cottage cheese and whole grain crackers, broccoli, cauliflower florets, cucumber slices or leafy green salad, canned fruit or banana. Some people prefer to fix a bowl of cereal with milk and fruit and then snack on baby carrots with lite ranch dip. I generally do not recommend canned soup because the sodium content is high and nutrients are low. As you can see from the suggestions above, they contain all the food groups. That is the goal. So depending on your food preferences, select food from these groups: Protein - meat groups including nuts and beans (kidney beans, black beans, edamame, etc.), cottage cheese, and dairy products such as reduced fat cheese, nonfat yogurt, and nonfat milk. Vegetables - fresh or frozen. Many vegetables are available at the stores, cut and ready to serve. Leafy greens in packages ready to serve as a salad. Grains - whole grains are best for crackers, bread, cereals, oatmeal. Whole grain crackers may be better for you as they will stay fresh longer than bread. I meet many folks who do not want to freeze the bread for longer storage. You decide. Fruit - so many seasonal choices - for the fall season, apples, pears, oranges, grapefruit, clementines, and bananas. Frozen or canned fruit and a variety of applesauces are available throughout the year. A complete light meal can be a salad using packaged greens, add some beans and reduced fat cheese for protein, fruit and yogurt. Very little preparation time if that is an issue for you.

  2. Jane

    I live in a retirement community and in my rent is lunch [supper] so go down to lunch every day My problem is what to eat at night as quite hungry by then???

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