Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Archives: You Are What You Eat

Hello strangers out there. It's been awhile since I've been able to write; it's mostly thanks to another rough work week. It's also kept me from reading further in the Chronicles (at least that's my excuse). Just a reminder to those who peacefully enjoy their time off during this summer: news never goes on holiday.

With that being said, I did get to enjoy a mentally and physically stimulating documentary this week: "Food, inc." 

It's similar to "Fast Food Nation," but covers all food: from restaurants to grocery stores. And while it's now three years old, it still drives the point home. You should know what you're eating- and the company producing it. 

Here are just a few things to get you thinking: 
Noticed that beef is more marbled than it used to be? It's because most cows are being corn fed versus grass. But it's worse than gristle, it increases the risk of E. Coli.

"Though 'corn finishing' produces bigger, fatter cows in less time, corn is not a natural diet for a cow. Because of this unnatural corn rich diet, some unhealthy side effects take place. Most notably, a higher incidence of E. coli O157:H7 occurs in corn fed beef than in grass fed beef. In 1998, a Cornell University study revealed that cows fed on a natural grass diet had at least 80% less E. coli O157:H7 than grain fed cows." - NBA Food Advocate.

And the big companies that are slaughtering cows forced to eat corn, antibiotics, and hormones while confining them to small, inhumane stalls-  IBP Fresh Meats, Inc.; ConAgra, Inc.; and Cargill Inc., And Tyson - make up 80% of the market! 

But beef is not alone- conditions for chickens are just as bad. According to "Food, inc.," birds are now raised and slaughtered in half the time they were 50 years ago, but now they're twice as big! They are also confined in the worst, darkest of places. And even worse, big companies create a mountain of debt for the farmers that raise the birds. And since the farm featured was in McLean County, Kentucky, it hits close to home.

Now think, if that's "fair treatment" for animals and their associates... do you think they really care about the consumer?

Now, by no means am I trying to argue going vegan (and I have no problem with people who are). Just think about it. On that note, unless your fruits and veggies came from the local farmer's market, you could unknowingly be eating cloned or genetically altered food. Or even worse, contributing to a gigantic seed company that abuses its farmers.

So the one things to learn from all this? Eat local. Earlier this morning, my husband and I started the day in a great way by going to a local farm vendor with a good friend and her beautiful daughter.

The fabulous MarthaLynn & myself

We had so much fun! And got some great veggies for a great price! The more we talk about it, the more we're thinking of going all in: co-op. It may take some energy to find the right one, and you pay a membership- but you get great, tasty, local produce and meat in return. You're also helping local farmers from bossy, big conglomerates. 

So here we are. I haven't read much this week, but have new insight when we look at the grocery list. Now there's more effort to buy local, and if not, organic. Need to look into meat though. While Laura's lean ground beef is regional, we can't find it every week. And while we try to become smarter consumers, it's becoming more frightening that we have to defend ourselves from the side effects from capitalism.

But that's a blog for another day.

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