Updated: September 25, 2012

Over the weekend I attended an important event at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens called the Bee Day Party. The day was devoted to teaching attendees about the importance of our furry insect friends. You may have heard that honeybees have been disappearing at an alarming rate. A new documentary called Vanishing of the Bees debuted at the gardens and it was so powerful I purchased a copy and plan to follow through with the filmmakers' suggestion of organizing a screening in my community.

Why is this issue so important and how does it affect you and your weight? Well there are two reasons. First, bees are needed to pollinate about 100 different crops, including dozens of fruits and veggies, nuts and avocado - the very foods I write about in this blog every week. Without healthy bees these foods could literally disappear or become incredibly expensive and inaccessible to most of us.

Second the problem with bees is a symptom of a much larger problem with our food supply, which relies heavily on pesticides, toxic chemicals and farming methods that are at odds with how nature works (such as growing acres and acres of one single crop rather than organizing diverse farms with crops and animals that balance and support each other). In addition, most animals used in our food supply are fed unhealthy diets, including bees! In nature, bees eat nutritious pollen and nectar, but commercial beekeepers often feed them sugar water or even high fructose corn syrup. There is mounting evidence that all of these methods of modern agriculture - from pesticide use to poorly fed farm animals - are contributing factors in the obesity crisis. And there is no doubt that they wreck havoc on the planet and jeopardize our ability to continue to grow healthy foods in the future.

If you're a regular reader of this blog you know that I don't believe in any artificial additives and I emphasize fresh, whole foods and organic options when possible. Not only are natural and organic, unprocessed foods more nutritious, but they're also more satiating.

Bottom line: weight control is not as simple as calories in, calories out (a can of soda and 23 almonds have about the same number of calories) and nutrition goes way beyond vitamins and minerals (e.g. diet soda and processed meal replacement bars with vitamins added just aren't nutritious foods).

If you're just starting to learn about clean food, there are a lot of great resources out there, such as:

Sustainable Table

Simple Steps

The Meatrix

Monterey Bay Aquarium

There's a lot to know about food. I have master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health and I'm still learning every day. But rather than feeling overwhelmed, scared or helpless, I feel hopeful, because we have the power to change the food system in this country. Every single day, we all do the one thing that holds the most power: buy food. When we refuse to buy unhealthy poor quality foods and we spend our money on natural and organic high quality products we steer the entire system.

If we want nutritious fruits, veggies and other healthy foods 10, 15 and 20+ years from now we can make that happen through our food choices today. Is there a change you'd like to commit to? Maybe buying more organic foods, reading ingredient lists and refusing to buy foods with artificial ingredients, planting a small garden, or cutting back on fast food? Please share your thoughts!

And for more info about how we can help the bees, click here.

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