Growing up, I didn’t think two things about where my food was coming from. All I knew was that it couldn’t come any sooner. My appetite was a roaring fire, never to be fully put out, no matter how many ice cream sandwiches I inhaled or buffet plates I filled. In my attempts to fill the enormous hole that was my despair, my depression, my desperation for a “normal” home life, I kept stuffing my face. I didn’t ever think about the journey from farm (or factory) to table. I didn’t think of the other lives being effected with my own food habits. I didn’t stop to consider my habits might be hurting someone (or something) else, as well.
Last week, I watched Food Inc. for the third time and was appalled (even more this time than the last two) of what mindless eating truly is. Honestly, how often do we think about what it took for our chicken dish, hamburger, or pork chops to actually end up on our plate? Probably never. At least, I didn’t anyway.
It’s now been 13 months since I had my last taste of red meat and honestly, I don’t crave it. The sight of it makes me sad and pretty grossed out. As for chicken, I save money from other places in my budget to purchase only USDA organic, cage-and-antibiotic-free poultry. I still remember the first time I switched and grilled up a chicken breast. The color, the taste, the smell… it’s ALL so different than the pale-gray chicken I was brought up on. Real, organic chicken is perfectly white and cooks so much quicker. You don’t have any discolorations and the taste is divine.
Today’s commercialized farming practices are a whole 180 degrees where they used to (and should) be from the 1950’s and before. It’s all about earning the buck, no matter the cost of life or treatment of the animals and hazardous use of antibiotics and hormones. It’s all about pumping out as much milk as possible. It’s all about how fast we can possibly get a chicken to grow before it’ll lay eggs and then slaughter it for “chicken” breast meat. I’m still disgusted over the practices I saw on both Food Inc. and Food Matters. It’s amazing… no, appalling how ruthless and inhumane we can be to answer the question of “where’s the beef?” No room to move, most stuck in cages all day, no sunlight, floundering around in feces.
These practices extend to much farther than just animals, however. Have you noticed the ever-increasing size of some of our produce? An apple is 35% larger these days than it ever was. Good ol’ Monsanto and their genetically modified organisim seeds. Bigger is not better in this scenario. It’s not that they’ve found a wonderful new miracle soil to grow these crops in; they are actually doing the scientific work in order to change the molecular structure of the seed cells in order to have an enormous fruit/vegetable. Our bodies only recognize and use the real stuff- when you introduce a faux apple into the system, it literally doesn’t know what to do with it and stores most of it in your fat cells. Great. Not to mention all of the caked on pesticides, soaking in to the produce’s skin.
I heard a scary stat the other day: because of massive over-farming of our soil, produce today is 55% less nutrient-dense than it was 50 years ago! Improved technology comes at a serious cost, doesn’t it?
This isn’t some rampage and I’m not preaching for us all to up and join PETA. I’m not saying you should stop buying produce (processed, boxed stuff is much, much worse for you). I am saying, however, to actually be mindful when buying your groceries. Make the budget changes where you can to buy USDA organic produce and only buy cage-free, grass fed poultry and meat. That’s the only way to really know that what you’re eating is in it’s best form possible. That’s how you know you’ll be doing the best thing for your body and the planet. It’s a win-win situation.