Question: What is the most important practical advice you would offer women today?
Judy Norsigian: We always say that the most important things you can do about health and wellness is to control the things you can and get politically active around the things you can’t, so when it comes to food well, you need a good food supply. If you can’t get locally grown or organic foods and you get mostly what I call crap available in your community to purchase you got to do something about changing that. If you do have access to community-supported agriculture or access to organic food and you can afford it support those sources of good food. The most important thing is fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, to minimize the amount of prepared and processed foods you take in. High fructose corn syrup, which is really an awful substance, is in almost everything you buy and prepared, commercially prepared products. We need to avoid high fructose corn syrup as much as possible. We also need to try to avoid certain soy isolated proteins. I won’t get into it right now, but many of the soy products contain this substance. We need to get fermented soy products if we have soy, but really turn to a more varied diet, not think about the latest fad, the latest processed food as the solution, but more whole foods, minimally processed and they’re easy to cook. They’re quick to cook. It’s a myth that cooking is so labor intensive. There are ways to learn how to cook that work.
Also what about the air we breathe? We may have to do something as a community to do that whether we’ve got an industry nearby polluting the air. It can vary from community to community. What about our water sources? We certainly don’t want water privatized. We certainly want to make sure water is as clean as it can be, but we have to understand that bottled water is not the solution and there are good exposes of that all over the Internet right now. And then finally we have to do something violence in women’s lives. That is critically important to sustaining our health and wellbeing. Well where do you start? You can start in one place. Whatever appeals to you. You can’t do all of these things at once certainly. If you join a group and support a group that is doing something you care about you give them your money. That’s one way, but giving your time, your expertise, going to the local school to speak about some of these issues. Those are other ways that you can educate the community and that you can go about making the health a priority in terms of the environment, so it’s not about new drugs. It’s not about bigger medical centers. It’s about healthier communities and we can all do something in our own small way to make healthier communities a reality.
Recorded on April 20, 2010