Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why I am considering driving 5 hours to buy half a cow

Mr. F. and I watched Food, Inc. the other day. I won’t lie. It blew my mind. It inspired, angered, and depressed me simultaneously. I think everyone should watch it, because it will seriously make you think about the food that you buy and eat.

Some of the information I had already gleaned from reading “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan and “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver--also really good reads that will revolutionize how you view food. But it covered other areas with which I was less familiar. For example, I learned that the FDA has no legal power to shut down plants that have problems with Ecoli contamination. I mentioned this to a friend and she said, “but wait, don’t they recall the meat or the produce that is contaminated?” Yes, they do. But two weeks later, those same bags of spinach can reappear on the shelves with no one the wiser. Also, the plants are never shut down. One hopes that they clean up their act after the fact but I really wouldn’t bank on it. We have this trust (which is completely unfounded it appears) that our government is keeping us and our food safe which isn’t the case.

I also have come across recently a post by Amalah regarding artificial coloring and flavorings and how it has been linked to behavioral problems in kids. A part of me was skeptical. I thought perhaps it was all anecdotal. Perhaps it was just a factor of feeding your kid less sugar. However, I researched it a bit more and found that there have been scientific studies suggesting a pretty good link. Enough of a link to have the UK Food Standards Agency ask for a voluntary recall, which has been followed (another reason to move to England). Our Food and Drug Administration? It appears that they still consider the nine synthetic colors allowed in food “safe as long as each production batch has been certified to meet composition standards.” Thanks FDA. Thanks for looking after the well being of the populace. May each of your members be plagued with a dozen or more hyperactive children.

Basically, all of this information has led me to seriously consider moving to upstate New York, or perhaps Washington State, setting up a commune, and living completely off the land. Apparently that might be the only way to feed myself and my family safely and responsibly. In the mean time, Mr. F. and I are investing in a deep freezer so that we can drive 5 hours and stock up on meat that won’t kill us, won’t perpetuate the cruelty of the current meat packing system, and won’t put money in the pockets of those back-stabbing law makers and lobbyists who definitely do not have my health and well-being in mind, despite what their job description says.

So tell me. Have you seen the movie or read any of the above? What are your thoughts on the matter? Made any drastic changes on how you view your food?


Janssen said...

Hey! I just finished reading "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" yesterday and yeah. . . want to split a cow?

I read that Amalah post as well and I've really tried hard to cut out coloring and HFCS in our diets. Ludicrous how much of it there is, especially in things you don't expect.

I have a request into the library for Food, Inc. and I'm excited to watch it.

heidikins said...

I loved "In the Defense of Food" and "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Micheal Pollan, and I actually have been working to clear out enough freezer space for an 1/8th of a cow. AND I've found the farm from which I will be purchasing said cow. AND it is based on the farming techniques Pollan praises in "The Omnivore's Dilemma". AND I have talked to the farmer and his wife--both lovely people--and am convinced this is the best choice for me. (And I will be driving approximately 3 hours round-trip for said 1/8th cow...totally worth it.)

I am adding "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" to my TO READ! pile.

Excellent post.


Wild Rose said...

I'd like to suggest checking out Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and the westonaprice.org website. It is more of the same thing but they also talk about nutrient rich foods, how bogus the whole low fat recommendations are. I found a great article on the weston price foundation site on feeding children.

rednme said...

I second the suggestion to check out Nourishing Traditions! My whole food paradigm has completely shifted by reading this. Now I just have to do a better job of following its recommendations, although we do have a source of raw milk!
By the way, you might also be interested in reading The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery. It's pretty fun stuff!


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