Monday, August 2, 2010

Where did we go wrong with our food?

I was reading a news article today about "how the government doesn't want you to know about the chemicals in our food". The article states that there are over 62,000 chemicals that the food industry at large does not have to report to federal regulators. WTH?! Where did we go wrong?

I'm reminded of a certain foreign friend (no, not WeeFee) who once commented about how beautiful our food looked here in the US, but basically that is was tasteless, or worse...tasted like fertilizer. Sadness...

Now, I'm no hippie, but supporting chemical free, locally produced food seems like a logical idea. I love farmers markets simply for all the neato things you see, and all the rich smells and colors. I want to grow some of my own food to some extent, like wonder-woman/super-mom BFF Sam. However, living in a tiny apartment doesn't lend itself to gardening too well. And don't all you city dwellers talk to me about balcony just wont work here. For a veggie or fruit plant to produce, it needs full sun most of the day. My balcony is wedged between another building and faces north. No dice, not even for those wacky upside down tomato dillys.

 I was reading about organic gardening, and found that before the WWII, most people were getting/growing their foods in sustainable ways. However, the war created a great demand on food stuffs, and the introduction of chemicals and injected hormones became a common way to increase crops in a time when rations were uncertain. Since then, this continues to be the standard. Growing up, I didn't think anything of it. We didn't wash our fruit when we brought it home from the store. We ate the grapes right out of the bag. Some experts say grapes are some of the worst chemical holders. sigh.

Sorry for the rant, but as a country, we need to make a return to natural food. Call me a little narcissistic, but where ever the US leads, other countries will follow. Now don't get crazy and go on the raw tangent either. Let's not get too hasty. Just try to get as chemical free as possible. The only way this will happen is if people quit buying processed crap food. It's called the Power of the Pocket Book people. Think about it: Processed foods are so soft and tender because the processing component takes the work your jaw and stomach used to do. That is why these foods are less satiating. They just move right through your bloated, American gut because there is less work for your body to break down this "food". Because there is less to break down, it has to be injected with chemicals to keep it soft and fresh. Eww. Just Eww.

Another thing to consider: when you buy your food from local sources, you are buying American. I know that is REALLY important to some folks. That means one more American farmer has a job, is making a living supporting his family, and is not on the welfare rolls. That is probably the most important thing to remember.

It is scary how people have become so separated from what their food is and where it comes from. It honestly astonishes me. Sam teaches high school English. When she used to teach in a lower income school, her high school students couldn't tell her where hamburger meat came from. Their answer: The Poor People "Grocery" Store. They serious had no idea that that plastic pack of hormone-laden, meat product once belonged to a cow.

Kail's father, Mutt, owns cattle. Kail is no stranger to the slaughter house, the circle of life, or whatever you want to call it. Kail's father's ire still rises when he recalls an encounter with a pack of high school girls at a gas station a few years back:

He was taking a bull past its prime to the slaughter house and had to pull into a gas station to refuel.  A gaggle of silly girls got off a nearby school bus to get some snacks at the gas station. They came over to ooh and aww about how cute the bull was, and inquired to where it was being taken. When Mutt told him the slaughter house, they all started crying and calling him an animal killer, etc silly teenage girls are wont to do. Mutt notices one of the girls is eating a sandwich:
"What's in that sandwich?" he asks.
 "Roast beef," she snaps back in a sassy tone.
"What do you think roast beef is?" he prodded.
*blank stare*
"You're eating cow right now!"
*horrified, look on girls face* She runs back to the bus crying.

Parents, it's time for an intervention. Get your kids off the interweb, PlayStation, sexting, or whatever mischief they are getting into right now and ask them if they know where hamburger, or pork, or poultry comes from. Please post what they tell you. I'm dying to know...

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