Wednesday, November 16, 2011

(not so good) Food for thought

Today as I sit here spending time with the computer and my best friend Coffee; reading the news and happenings around me. With the more I read, the more I begin to despise today's world. I wonder how so many can be so blind to what happens around them, and go through life with no thoughts about anything at all. Work, home, eat, pay bills, go to sleep, repeat, and have occasional fun. It's the American way, and far to many live it with never seeing anything differently.

I'm well aware that I think and live differently than most of society. I've made decisions that I stand behind 100% and refuse to budge for anyone or anything. I pay attention to things that most don't. I read about what is happening to our schools, our second amendment rights, our political system, misc laws, financial issues, and mostly about our food system here in the United States. The one thing that tends to bother me more than the others is this. How is it that people can just eat something and not know or care what is in it or what brought it to their plates?

I'm currently reading Joel Salatin's book "Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal", and it has shed light on issues that I wasn't completely aware of. Just as an example, he raised some cattle for slaughter on his own property. He wasn't allowed to do so and sell them on site, so he drove them to a commercial slaugherhouse. (which he despised) Upon returning home with the packaged meat, he was told that it was now a manufactured product, and he didn't have the proper licenses and permits to sell it, and couldn't get them where he lived. So.....either way he was screwed. He's the small guy, and regulations and permits force him to pay fees that make it nearly impossible to make a living. It's the big guys trying to stamp out the little guys; and the big guys own those who make the rules. Plain and simple. They have many facilities, thousands of employees, and millions of dollars to absorb the costs. The little guy doesn't. It comes his pocket.
In another part of the book, he has his farm eggs investigated (inspected) by an inspector for the egg, food, and we'll screw your farm nazi's. Basically, if these guys inspect 100 eggs and find ANY trace of dirt or debris stuck to an egg, they fail. All of them. I know someone out there is reading this, and thinking this is a good thing, but it's not. One speck of dirt or one tiny sliver of straw from a nest box will not hurt you and it will not make you sick; but, these regulations insist that all eggs be 100% clean.
When a chicken lays an egg, her body puts a thin coat of film over it as it's layed. This protects the egg from moisture and contamination naturally. Washing eggs removes this film and leaves the eggs porous; allowing anything it is soaked in, sprayed with, or touches to soak into the shell; even the cleaners it is washed with. Now I'm not against cleaning eggs if necessary. Chickens are somewhat dirty animals that can and will defecate in their own nest. They do walk in dirt, mud, or whatever; and can leave traces on an egg if they step on it. When we get eggs with any of these, we wash them; but when an egg is clean we just give it a quick rinse and into the carton it goes. The natural film protects the egg from contaminates, so why wash it off if it's not dirty?
(just as an add on...don't be fooled by those "free range" labels at the store. A large chicken facility can get that label by having a door on their enclosure and having an area for them to get outside. It DOES NOT mean either have to be used. As long as there is a door, they can get that label, even if the chickens are kept indoors and never see the light of day. The door just has to exist.)
I just touched on two of the things that were covered in this book. There are many more that I won't go into; but I will say that each and every one has made me realize how wrong and corrupt our food system is. Each one makes me think even more, and makes me want to get further and further away from the grocery stores and this entire mess.
How is it that regulations that are supposed to keep us safe are doing just the opposite? How is it that the big guys can get away with nearly anything, but these small operations are always under government radar and watching over their shoulders for that next inspector to "find" some kind of infraction?
So many things about the food system bother and anger me. The mistreatment of feed lot animals, the inhumane way they are killed, the unclean operations, genetically modified plants, un-natural cross bred animals, chemical additives & preservatives, artificial sweeteners, rules, regulations, fines, and so many more. It just makes my head hurt and my stomach turn.
Think about this one. Everyone has had the chicken nuggets from either the fast food places or the grocery stores. Do you have any idea what is actually in them? What if I tell you that it's all of the leftover bits and pieces from chicken processing. You know...those yummy pieces of ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. They're processed down, and made into a gooey mess, and when it comes out of the giant grinder, it's pink and full of bacteria. After that lovely process, it is sprayed with a bleach to kill the bacteria, then dyed brown (ish) so it somewhat resembles chicken. After all of this, it has artificial flavoring added since at this time, it tastes nothing like chicken. Add some outer coating, deep fry them, and there you go. Chicken nuggets. Don't they sound delicious? Why are we tricked into believing that we're eating "chicken white meat" when we're eating leftover bits? (not so dissimilar than dad always saying hotdogs were made from lips and a-holes) Yep. Dip those babies in barbeque sauce and eat away.
I think what makes me the most sick and angry is the overall cost to us all. How is it possible that we can feed a family of four an entire meal at a fast food place for less money than two decent cuts of meat? When all of this junk food is proven to cause all kinds of health issues, why are we not working to rid them from our society and push for something more healthy? Why are we given more choices for flavors of pudding at the store than we are for truly good locally grown and true organic foods?
It's hard making the switch when we've eaten the same way our entire lives and believed that government officials had our best interest at heart. How many times have you heard "they wouldn't let them do that" or "Those labels are for our safety", and believed it? Ever since you were born. It's tough to see the truth, and many who see it refuse to make any changes. Even with the proven links from modern foods to cancers, diabetes, tumors, and many other diseases; people still shrug their shoulder and say "meh". I for one can no longer do this, and want everyone to know why; whether they know the things I am saying or not. I urge everyone I know, along with anyone reading this, to do some research on the truths behind the food that we eat. (I *HIGHLY* recommend Joel's book that I am reading as a perfect example) Read and let it set in, and realize that you have been being lied to your entire lives about the things you eat.
I don't expect everyone to drop their current diet overnight. I just want people to educate themselves and pay attention. Read labels and find out what the things in them really are. Think about what you are eating. Where did this come from? What's in it? Is it really safe or healthy for my body? What in the hell is _______ and why is it in my _______? One at a time, we can change the system. If we stop buying their products, they'll stop making them. It really is that easy.
And I'll leave you with this. If someone will boycott BP gas because of the spill in the Gulf, or not buy a certain line of clothing because it's made in a sweat shop full of kids in another country, why won't they stop buying foods that contain things that will make us sick or kill us?

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