I’d never been one to put a lot of thought into what I eat. It used to be that much of the “thinking” happened in calling to mind what I’m craving for, how much money’s in my pocket, or what’s most accessible at a given moment. Occasionally I would try something new, perhaps to break from routine, or to sample a trend that’s all over social media.

But that was before I started asking beyond “what do I feel like eating today?” and actually wondering what’s in my food, where it comes from, and how it’s produced. You can say I’m privy to the healthy living movement that’s been taking over Manila lately—admittedly, I’m now no stranger to all-natural smoothies, organic food restaurants, even cardio exercises.

I can imagine how questions like, “does this contain ingredients derived from GMOs?” or “is this truly safe for me to eat?” sound neurotic or pretentious, coming from someone who grew up carelessly eating fast food. I used to raise an eyebrow, too, at people my age who count calories, read nutrition labels, or abstain from practically anything that looks delectable just to maintain their figure. Now I understand that there may be more to choosing what you eat than wanting to look good. For some, it may not only be about fear of food, but fear for it, and the future of humanity.

When you realize how very little you know about the food made available to you, let alone the current agriculture and food systems that you rely on as a consumer, wouldn’t you be somewhat paranoid?

Wouldn’t you at least want to know more? And if we, albeit having the tools and resources to keep ourselves informed, feel destined to blindly consume, how much more those stricken with poverty, who have even fewer options?

Today is World Food Day, the time of the year dedicated to raising awareness of food related global issues. I urge you now to make full use of your power as a consumer by making informed food choices, and saying NO to unsafe and unsustainable practices.