Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Food, Inc.

I am so sleep deprived this morning, so bear with me. This could very well sound like a rant but I would be remiss and completely disobedient to not post about this.

I had been wanting to watch the movie, "Food, Inc." for quite awhile. My hesitation to do so was the thought that it would make me sick to my stomach or pressure a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. It did neither of these, by the way, so if these are reasons you've yet to see it, please - watch it now!

Just over a year ago Russ began seeing a homeopathic doctor to treat his blood pressure without medication. That began a long journey for us in learning about food and how it can be used to heal medical problems. It hasn't been a fun journey. We've relapsed almost weekly. But after watching this documentary last night, I'm more than ever convinced that so much of what we've been learning is essential and needs to be practiced as routinely as possible.

I rarely eat beef. I do love a steak from Capital Grill every once in awhile. I'm not a huge burger girl. I will probably completely discontinue eating burgers for several reasons now: after learning about the problem with feeding corn to cattle and 1) what it does to the cow plus 2) what it does to my own body (I'm talking about e coli issues), I just feel sickened.

If you can stomach it, please go watch THIS VIDEO by the Humane Society documenting calf abuse at a slaughter plant in Vermont.

I am convinced that beef and chicken can be good for the human body. However, I am also convinced that our food industry is suffering from the same issues that are rampant across our country and bringing about the financial enslavement of those in the lower eschalons of our tax brackets. When lower income familes cannot afford fruits and vegetables in local grocery stores, they are forced to put money into the pockets of large conglomerates like most fast food chains that offer the almighty Dollar Menu.

A growing problem in America is the "corporatocracy": private corporations and conglomerates control our government when their executives end up in different branches of our government. Do you know who Monsanto is? I didn't. Monsanto has gained a monopoly that has had devastating effects on the American farmer. (By the way, Monsanto invented Agent Orange.) If you never watch "Food, Inc.", please educate yourself about the corporatocracy happening in our food industry. Your health and the health of your children is at stake.

Stuff I've been doing:
  • Buy Organic. Yes, it's more expensive. Shopping with a conscience will put a strain on your wallet but you can buy smarter at most large grocery stores, Walmart included.
  • Buy local. See if your town has a Farmer's Market. Dallas has an excellent one. I miss living across the street from it.
  • When you crave a burger, choose grass-fed beef. Simply staying away from McDonald's (listen, I love me some McDonald's fries - I'm not hatin'!) or other fast food chains can make a difference in the treatment of cattle.
  • Buy range-free eggs. Our family eats eggs That small decision can greatly effect Tyson - one of the conglomerates I was warning about above.
  • Check labels. For every staple in your diet, there is corn syrup in that food that is fueling the food industry's obsession with chemically manufactured food. DO NOT BUY FOOD WITH HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. Yes, I know this is most sodas. You'll be surprised by how much better you feel on plain, 'ol H2O.
Stuff I Will Start Doing:
  • Look into food co-ops. This one takes place across the street from my office. Hmmm, easy?
  • Plant a garden. I've been saying this for so long. After watching the movie, Russ prayed that we'd get our butts in gear in learning how to do this.
  • Buy produce in season. This one little choice can greatly effect our supermarkets and the conglomerates who control our food.
Things to know:
  • Monsanto now controls 93 % of soybeans and 80% of corn grown in the US.
  • Tyson, Cargill, Swift and National Beef Packing Company control 83% of the beef packing industry.
  • Smithfield, Tyson, Swift and Cargill control 66% of the pork packing industry.
Over & out. I am in dire need of a nap but the future on that looks bleak!


Merritt said...

I love it! I knew I liked you Beckyseds! :)

It was pretty difficult for this little vegetarian girl to move to Texas 10 years ago where conversations about such topics were met with either smarta** remarks (like I didn't know what I was talking about) or blank stares. This is WHY I became a Veggie...because I don't want the food industry in control of my body.

However, I admit I've slacked a bit in the last few years. Last week my vigor for it all was renewed when I attended a vegetable gardening class at North Haven Gardens - it was excellent! We can do it! I know we can! Even if it's just one little crop at a time for our families. It's worth learning about and getting started. Texas has a year-round growing season so you can start any time. NHG is a great resource. Check it out!

Keep it up girl! So proud of you! And keep spreading the word.

Stacey said...

I started reading about food last summer - Omnivore's Dilemma (by Pollan, who appeared in Food Inc.) and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (don't remember her name). Jeff and I just watched Food Inc. last month. Changing how we eat is on my mind a lot, but besides reducing the amount of meat we're eating, keeping an eye on the HFC (not ready to give up my beloved DP yet!) and sticking with organic milk and eggs, I haven't taken much action.

But I am headed to the McKinney farmer's market on Saturday looking for local, grass finished beef! I've looked into joining a co-op that does distributions nearby but never calked. And talked about starting a garden but am totally intimidated by the prospect - we can barely grow grass...I'm no green thumb!

Thanks for another reminder, another kick in the pants to stop being lazy and cheap and to make the best choices for my family. And thanks for speaking up...we all need to be voting with our dollars for best/safest/most humane (to people and animals) food production and distribution.

Kay said...

I love this concept: if your grandmother or great-grandmother (depending on your age)would not recognize something from your grocery store as food, maybe you should not be eating it. Another good idea is to choose your food from the perimeter of the store as that is where most of the whole foods are placed.

Matt Mooney said...

okay, so i love this. i haven't seen the movie, but have been wanting to for a while (& with the current phase of my life, movies aren't on the agenda as much as just attempting to get dressed daily)
but...seeing as how i am a hippy-mom wanna be, i have been thinking about all of this for a while & i am trying to get back in the swing of meal planning. all that wordiness to ask you if you know of any good recipe websites for organic/healthy cooking for families?
ps Hazel has that same gap plaid toggle coat as it!

Caitlin said...

Thanks for posting this! I just wanted to point out that "cage free" or "free range" doesn't mean nearly as much as it should. "Free-range" means that the chickens have access to the outdoors. In practice this means that hens are stuffed by the thousands in to a tiny pen with one tiny door leading to a small concrete slab. The door can be opened for just about 5 minutes a day! You can read more about it at this blog: