Saturday, December 19, 2009

I Can't Believe We All Support This.....


Right now I'm watching a documentary about America's food industry called Food, Inc (click the link to see the trailer on YouTube). First of all, let me say that I am a small town girl from Kansas. Good 'ol meat and potatoes (and lots of bread and corn) are staples in the midwestern diet. I'm not opposed to eating meat, and I doubt I'll ever be a vegetarian. Having said that, the way we raise livestock for food in this country is appalling. It should be criminal.

In this documentary, they point out that almost all of the meat we buy in grocery stores in controlled by a few HUGE companies who have only one goal in mind: $$$! The filmmakers went around the country to farms who sell to these companies to see how our "farm fresh" food is being raised. Most of the farmers wouldn't even let their cameras into their chicken coops for fear they would lose their contracts (farmers are forced into certain upgrades and ways of raising the animals or else the huge companies won't buy from them anymore). The most recent upgrade that farmers were forced into is using big dark, enclosed chicken coops that don't let any light in. Their chickens literally do not see the light of day their entire lives. Chickens are being pumped with so many antibiotics and growth hormones that they grow so big and so fast their bones can't keep up. So, these chickens literally can't even walk around. They're bones can't hold them up. We treat cattle the same way. Cows are meant to eat grass, and that's what their bodies are designed to digest. Yet, farmers feed them almost nothing but corn and corn products. Why? Because this makes them fatter, faster, which means more money. As a result, these cows are being fed to death. Their bodies can't deal with all of the corn their being fed. But, it doesn't matter to the farmers because they sell them and slaughter them before they can die of obesity. Not only is this HORRIBLE for the cow, but it's bad for us, too! We are eating this meat that has been genetically altered so that food companies can make more money! This isn't healthy for us or our children.

There is way too much information on this subject for one post, so I'm going to keep talking about these issues throughout the next few months. This is SO IMPORTANT to talk about because we have to change our entire mindset about food. Trust me, I know the importance of keeping a budget on trips to the grocery store. Organic food is more expensive. But that's how these huge corporations keep us as loyal customers of their horrible products. That's how we are contributing to the horrible condition our food is raised in. We need to change the way we think. That's why I'm going to be spending a lot of time on this in the future. Our children deserve to be raised with a different mindset so they don't have to struggle so much with how to eat healthy.

In the meantime, here are some resources to check out on these issues.

  • King Corn: You Are What You Eat. Another great documentary showing how corn is in EVERYTHING we eat! This is not a good thing (I know, I love me some corn on the cob too).
  • The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan. This book has really inspired me to start growing my own food (especially once we buy a house with a yard-someday!).
  • In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. He was featured in Food, Inc. and has some great books out on how we can make better choices when it comes to eating.

  • And, obviously Food, Inc. I found this on Netflix but I'm sure you can rent it from any movie store or buy it online. This one was especially moving for me. However, I would probably advise against watching this one with small children. It almost made me cry, so I'm sure young children would be very sad to see sick and dying (and dead) chickens as well as baby chicks being handled like car parts in a factory on conveyor belts. Yeah...very sad.

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