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The only way to defeat the food industry: Cook more

If Jeannie Marshall were in charge, we'd all be eating like the Italians. Or at least, like the Italians used to eat.

As a new mother in Italy, Marshall was ready to embrace a culture that, she believed, would allow her to raise a child more healthfully than she could have back home in Canada, where fast food and packaged snacks reign over fresh ingredients and home cooking. She still believes that, but she's also seen how that "traditional" culture is rapidly disappearing, as the food industry continues to take over the world.

The food industry doesn't need to be fixed, Marshall decided -- it needs to be abandoned. In its place, she says, we need a new culture: one that pays less attention to nutrition science and puts a premium on real food instead. Her book, The Lost Art of Feeding Kids, which hits U.S. shelves in January, makes a compelling case for how that can be done.

"It’s hard to see the problem when you’re in the middle of it," Marshall says, "and it’s hard to see your own culture when you’re in the middle of it, too." She spoke with Salon about the real meaning of "health," how the system can help working families, and raising a kid who's into the idea of eating snails. This interview has been lightly edited and condensed.

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