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Heroes

She wanted to eat better on tour and found out that taste is partly a mind game.

Best reason yet to eat local.

Rapper-singer-storyteller Dessa has a way with words:

I'm a fan, so I was excited to to run across the below video, where she uses her words to share some really practical, helpful information.


The video chronicles the journey she and her band took to eat sustainably even while they were on tour.

Lots of us might think of travel as a time off from "responsible" behavior. But hey, if you live over half your life on the road, figuring out how to eat right by your body and your values even while traveling gets a heck of a lot more important.



Turns out, what Dessa learned about eating on the road is useful for us homebodies, too.

Dessa was inspired by the book "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and visited author Michael Pollan to get his advice for about how to eat for a better world. (Pollan is the go-to guy for any questions about being an eater-of-food in the contemporary U.S. food system. His "Farmer in Chief" article is a great intro to his ideas about what's wrong with our food system and how to make it better).

In a nutshell, this is what she learned:

1. People in cities grow food and lots of it. And not only is food being grown in diverse communities all over the country, it's helping revitalize city neighborhoods. Many urban food producers are committed to making their food accessible to everyone who eats — in other words, to offering fresh, affordable food.

2. You can support this good work by buying local; then choose organic if it's available. Buying local at places like farmer's markets and food co-ops keeps your money in the 'hood, supporting people in your community instead of a large company elsewhere. And you have a chance to meet the people producing your food. And that's good because...

Here's the mind-blower:

3. Knowing how your food was produced will change how it tastes.

Wait, what? How can knowing about a food change how it tastes?

The psychology of taste is pretty fascinating.

It's a "dance of chemicals on the tongue," like Pollan says, and taste is also what we're thinking about and how we're feeling (as well as what society is telling us to like). Research has turned up all kinds of crazy things, like the more you spend on a meal, the better it tastes; drinks change taste according to what color they are; the weight and color of cutlery changes the taste of food; and a dish with a fancy label tastes better than the same stuff with a plain name.

If you know the people making your food are committed to helping neighbors and to treating their animals and environment well, doesn't it make sense that your meal will taste really lovely?

Bon appétit!

And while you're chewing on how to make things taste better in your life, here's a little Dessa for you.

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