Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thinking Twice Before I Put It In My Mouth

For all you dirty pervs out there who thought this was going to be a naughty post, it’s not. It’s about food. More specifically, it’s about a documentary I saw last weekend called Food, Inc.

The movie addresses issues ranging from animal cloning to big business farming to the poor living conditions some livestock endures. All of those issues are rattling to the psyche, but the stuff I found most upsetting is how the food we eat is making America sick.

Because the government subsidizes corn, there are “corn-derived” products in almost every processed food we eat. And it’s fed to animals. Even the cows who are supposed to eat grass, and fish who are supposed to eat…I don’t know what…bugs? Well cows and chickens and pigs and fish are eating corn now. And you know what corn breaks down to in our bodies? Sugar.

A different film I watched recently, called King Corn, asserted that a serving of corn-fed beef has 9 grams of fat in it, whereas a serving of grass-fed beef has only 1.5. Hello growing obesity rate in this country!

With the ratio of people with Type II Diabetes now at 1 in 3 (one in two for certain minority groups) can we really afford to have government subsidizing and “efficient feed spending” contributing to our decline in overall health?

And if people are saving money by buying corn-fed burgers, (corn oil) fried potatoes, and (high fructose corn syrup) soda off the dollar menu at McDonald’s, aren’t they potentially paying that right back in medication costs when they fall victim to high cholesterol and heart disease?

The other wildly upsetting thing about this whole factory-tized farming issue is that cramped living conditions and mass "production” of meats contribute to the spread of bacteria like E.coli. If you have hundreds of cows standing in a small corral in their own poo, don’t you think some of that poo could make it’s way into the slaughterhouse? Uh yeah, check the papers every year for outbreak headlines.

My point in sharing all this is that if we know what’s going on and we don’t like it, we can change it. If all of us are grossed out and switch to organic meat and veggies, the market will follow. Look at the auto industry—everyone’s coming out with hybrids because people started demanding them.

I’m not going to stop eating salami and I’m not going to boycott salad dressing with corn syrup in it. But I can tell you I’m checking a heck of a lot more labels, eating a lot more organic products, and avoiding all the packaged crap that could make me the next person dependent on insulin.

If these issues interest you, give the Food, Inc. website a looksie. There’s all sorts of stuff there to whet your appetite for change.


Amy Turpin said...

I'm not even going to start climbing on to my soapbox here...I totally agree with you and I've seen that show and read the book (Fast Food Nation - about 1000x worse than the movie - a real eye opener). I don't know how our nation got SO far away from eating REAL food. I'm listening to an interesting book now that you might be interested in called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Check it out if you are interested. Also, check out the John Stewart skit on the Obama's Organic Garden - HILARIOUS!!!

Mandy's Kidding said...

Um, people aren't demanding hybrids. My company and others have actually had to drop the hybrid models of some of our vehicles because so few people are buying them.

Honda Accord and CR-V were cancelled for poor sales, and GM dropped Malibu and Vue hybrids for the same reason.

Maybe electric cars will be more popular? I'll be curious to see how the Volt does when it comes out next year.

brookem said...

i saw a preview for this movie.
i was nervous to see it.

Mel Heth said...

Amy - I'll have to check that book out. I'm also curious about the Omnivore's Dilemma. The author was in the movie and on Oprah - seemed very interesting.

Mandy - Really? Wow. A couple years ago when my friend and I went to test drive a Prius, we couldn't even find a cat lot that had one - they were in such high demand. I thought the trend had continued. What are people demanding now?

Brookem - I was nervous about seeing it too, but it wasn't as bad as I expected. Yes, there were some very upsetting things - but it was really, really interesting and definitely worth watching.

Mel Heth said...

Mandy - hahaha I meant car lot not "cat lot." Freudian cat lady slip.

SoMi's Nilsa said...

Food Inc sounds a lot like the book, The Omnivore's Dilemma. And we watched King Corn recently, too. It's so fascinating ... and a bit disturbing to think we know so little about where the food we buy comes from!

thecoconutdiaries said...

I am going to cover my Iowa-born BFF's ears and rock her to sleep now. You're speaking high treason in her part of the world.

laura said...

ut oh...i better get something organic to serve tomorrow or you'll starve to death.

Sizzle said...

I am totally going to check that out!

Anonymous said...

That's it. Nothing but Soylent Green for me from now on!

Dingo said...

I've been rattling a post like this around in my head for a while. I'm glad you've brought it up. One of the conundrums I see is that buying real food is so expensive. The average American cannot afford to purchase organic fruits and veggies and grass-fed beef.

Anonymous said...

I'll bring the Omnivore's Dillema and In Defense of Food for you on the 29th. Those books changed my life and I didn't eat meat for about a year because of them. The author, Michael Pollan, was interviewed on Bill Maher's HBO show a couple of weeks ago if you're interested.

Also, for anyone out there wanting good 'clean' beef from a family farm in Northern CA, check out Prices are reasonable and they ship to your house. Dan is great and I can't say enough good things about the beef.
Hugs, K

Mel Heth said...

Dingo - I know - that's a point I struggle with too. It's not right that that's the case. But I have to wonder if you took down the cost of fast food everyday and compared that to buying healthy groceries - if maybe over a months time it would be about the same?

I think we all just need to go back to farming our own food!