Do you buy organic or what's on sale? Do you pack your lunch or eat out? Do you think it's ethical to eat animals? These are some of the questions we all must ask ourselves when becoming food conscious.

Food consciousness is Step 1 here at the Giving Table, and a recent post by fellow blogger Brooke from Food Woolf inspired me to delve a bit deeper. Last week she wrote a compelling post about awareness in the context of restaurant service, which got me thinking about the journey one goes through to embrace food consciousness and make permanent changes. After all, it's a process I went through myself just two years ago.

She writes: "Awareness may be something we’re born with. Our modern lives drain us of the impulse to stay aware. Lately, it seems, most Americans don’t seem all that comfortable with awareness. We are a nation of multi-taskers. We watch TV while we eat dinner. We check email while we wait in line. We scan Facebook updates while we work..."

Awareness often reveals something that must result in a changed behavior, requires a conscious effort and forces you to take stock or ask questions that challenge you to improve. It's a tall order in all contexts, whether it be restaurant service or the food you're feeding your family.

The framework for this entire website—Food Consciousness, Know the Issues and Get Involved—was modeled after my own journey. It began in 2009 when I saw the documentary Food, Inc. I'd been circling around some of the topics for a while, but the film helped articulate what I was feeling and questioning, and certainly shed light on our broken food industry.

From there, my husband and I discussed ways we could make positive changes. We started by reducing our meat intake. By committing to only purchasing grass-fed beef or organic chicken, our food costs would go up, so we decided to eat better quality animal proteins less frequently and since then, we've transitioned to a mostly-vegetarian diet. Once I became more aware of the food I ate, I naturally wanted to know more about the food system, the issues at stake and who is doing something about it. That inclination became the genesis for this website.

We all have different tipping points and experiences that have defined our relationships to food. So take a peek, ask yourself some of the provided questions and start thinking of ways to make a change. And once you do, don't be shy! I'd love to hear what all of you are doing to make changes in your own life, or any questions or concerns you have about the process.

While drafting this blog post, I realized it would be well served in a permanent home where the content could be expanded. I wrote a new article titled Becoming Food Conscious that you can read in Step 1. Here, you'll find a series of questions to help jump start your relationship with food.

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