The book, Food Truths from Farm to Table: 25 Surprising Ways to Shop & Eat without Guilt, was a #1 new release by Amazon earlier this year, and its provocative goal is “to serve as a guide for overcoming confusion and reducing guilt” when it comes to consuming food.
Payn wrote the book to address and help bridge “several disconnects” associated with food production and consumption—disconnects she first observed during her undergraduate years at MSU. “I have seen a huge disconnect among farmers, dieticians and other food experts between the perception of how food is produced and the reality of how it is produced. I have also seen a disconnect between agricultural producers and consumers regarding mutual understanding and a willingness to engage.”
For Payn, the reasons for so many myths and misconceptions surrounding food and food production include that fact that “there are so many claims about food that are not science-based and, frankly, agriculture has not done a great job educating consumers about how food is raised.”
More specifically, the book explores “25 Food Truths” that will enable people to “shop and eat without guilt.” For example, Truth #3: “Animal welfare is an hourly concern on farms and ranches.”
“When you really look at animal welfare, whether dairy or chickens or hogs, you discover the many ways producers are protecting their animals. It is in the best interest of producers to treat their animals humanely because it improves the quality of what they are producing. And I have found that once consumers understand why producers do what they do, they tend to see the practices as necessary.”
Then there is Truth #17: “Sugar, salt and moderation are a natural part of a balanced diet.” Payn says that salt and sugar occur naturally in many foods, but the health and obesity problems associated with them are the result of excessive consumption, especially of sugar. “The key statement is moderation, and that is where many folks are lacking in the U.S. today.”
The book is creatively organized in chapters that correspond to the different departments in a grocery store, beginning in dairy and ending in the deli section. “I outlined these sections for practical purposes of creating a visual of the food shopping experience.”
Payn hopes the key takeaway for readers is that “people should feel good about food. It is not only a basic necessity for powering our bodies, but it is also in the middle of so many family traditions and celebrations. Treat it with respect and do not feel guilty about it.”
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