Photo Credit: Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Today marks the thirtieth annual Food Day, a day to celebrate healthy, affordable food that is produced sustainably and humanely. To raise awareness about good-for-you and not-so-good-for-you eating habits, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which heads up Food Day, created the "Terrible Ten" and "Terrific Ten" lists of food-world heroes and villains.
Beginning with the worst -- the foods, factories and farming practices that are making us overweight and unhealthy -- the Terrible Ten includes bad-for-you culprits like white flour, salt, Coca-Cola, factory-farmed feedlot beef (which is full of antibiotics), fruitless Froot Loops, junk food-stocked vending machines, Jack DeCoster's egg farms, which were responsible for huge salmonella outbreaks last year and the ubiquitous symbol of all that's wrong with fast food, McDonald's Double Quarter Pounder.
Also on the list are lobbying groups that promote unhealthy eating habits and products, and subsidies to companies that blend corn ethanol into gasoline which, according to the organization, results in rising costs for corn and foods that contain corn.
On the upside, CSPI's Terrific Ten is filled with heartening pushes toward better eating and food production. Opting for water over sugary drinks and breastfeeding your children are two simple steps that do wonders to promote well-being. Choosing sustainably- and organically-grown foods, shopping at farmers' markets and opting for fruit- and vegetable-heavy Mediterranean and Asian foods are all ways to steer your diet into healthier territory.
On the national level, CSPI loves First Lady Michelle Obama's healthy eating and gardening initiatives, the government's revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans and federal food programs including SNAP and WIC, which fight hunger on a national level.
The last two on the Terrific Ten are more localized: New York City's Health Department and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. The New York City Health Department has eliminated transfats from restaurants, brought fruits and vegetables to areas lacking in markets and required chain restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus.
In Southwest Florida, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers has been working to improve labor conditions for those who work in the state's enormous tomato-growing region as well as exposing forced labor operations on Florida farms.
There are going to be plenty of festivals, conferences, gardening demos, cooking classes and open houses in honor of this year's Food Day. There's even a dinner party-throwing kit. Click here to find out what's happening in your area.