Monday, March 17, 2014

Eyes Opened: Food

Lately I've been reading and watching some fantastic, terrifying, eye-opening articles and documentaries on foods. The realizations I've had after watching these have cemented some of my current views on food and have changed other habits. I'm convinced that a huge part of the reason that Americans continue with our HORRIBLE eating practices is because a big portion of the population is uniformed. We are uninformed, and don't take time to search out where our food is coming from and how the plants and animals we are eating are being treated. We (naturally) take the words the huge manufacturing and processing companies are telling us at face value, when in fact the 'natural' products they are selling us are anything but. Here are a few things I've learned that have me quickly changing my habits...

+ 1 billion people in the world are obese. Another 1 billion are starving. Think about that disparity. There is a 1-1 ratio in the world of people who are sick because of over abundance and people who are sick because they do not have access to food. It breaks my heart and makes me sick all at the same time.

+ Half of the food in the US is wasted. Thrown away. Tossed into land fills.

+About 70% of processed foods include a genetically modified ingredient.

+ The four biggest meat manufactures in the U.S. produce 80% of the meat consumed by the U.S. As a reference point, in the 1970's the top five beef packers controlled 25% of the market. At that point, independent farmers were actually able to make a living producing meat that was raised humanely. Now they are often bullied into contracts by the top companies making wages that hardly support their families.

+ Cows used in beef products for the large companies spend their days in a living hell. They are fed genetically modified grain, created to make them fat to produce more meat. They do not walk, they do not interact, they stand in the same spot in their (and every other cows) feces until their inhumane death. At which point they are mechanically processed into our beef cuts in an environment that spreads E. coli and other diseases at an alarming rate.

+The USDA, which should be the ones governing E.coli and salmonella outbreaks, has stopped the microbial testing for these companies. Why? Because these huge companies have deep pockets and know the right people - which they used to take the USDA to court and resulted in them losing the power to test slaughterhouses.

+Remember the point about beef farmers being forced to manufacture for large companies and not make a reasonable living? The average chicken farmer invests over $500,000 a year and only makes $18,000 annually.

It is a grim picture. A really sad, gross, true depiction of our food industry. Fortunately, there are some fantastic options out there for buying local, organic, humane food. I just joined my first CSA and am really excited to support a local farm and to get outside of my comfort zone when it comes to food. I've also come to the revelation that if I am cringing at the price tag for organic beef (or anything else for that matter) then I can go without! If I am unwilling to pay a higher price tag for an animal that was treated humanely then I cannot afford to eat meat at all. It is as simple (and hard) as that. Below are some of the resources I've compiled the above information from, and just great things to read/ watch to be more informed.


  1. This just grosses me out. I am afraid to eat so many things now and/or trust products we use!!!

  2. Right?! It makes me sad. I just try to make more of an effort when at the grocery store actually paying attention to what I am buying but companies make it so tricky sometimes!!