I am going to make this short, sweet, and delicious. I’m lying. This is going to leave a terrible taste in your mouth. What do you know about food? Yes, I love to eat too, we all do. Are you in charge of your food? Other than when that demon takes over, and shoves chocolate into your mouth, but are you in charge? Are any of us really in charge of our food?
“Over 56 billion farmed animals are killed every year by humans. These shocking figures do not even include fish and other aquatic creatures whose deaths are so great they can only be measured in tonnes. (Animal Equality) These numbers are staggering. For context, there are approximately 7 billion people on earth.”
If we eat, what we eat, where it comes from, and what it contains, are we in control of these things? Food is the most critical thing in our lives except for water, and we are not any better at controlling that either.
The unfortunate reality is, most of us don’t know what’s in our food, and we don’t know where it comes from. That’s not ok, we have to understand what we put in our bodies, and we need to know where it came from. If you can take it a step further, and you know who it came from, now, you are winning.
Ten. How many unique items did purchase to eat last year? Ten? One hundred? One thousand? According to a 2017 article in Business Insider, “10 companies control almost every large food and beverage brand in the world.” Therefore regardless of what you consumed many of those products came from these ten companies.
Why does this matter? In my personal opinion, most of what these companies make is not food, its poison. Food grows on farms. Cookies and cakes, M&M’s, chips, and sauces, are concoctions, not food. These companies love it because what they are selling is akin to air in a bottle. Their inputs are cheap because the inputs, or ingredients if you want to call them that are garbage. They market it, genetically alter it to have “addictive properties,” and we lap it up, destroying our health.
Real food has a cost because nature cannot be duped. It takes hard work to raise crops. The inputs are not always expensive if you do it right, but the labor costs are. No farmer is giving away his hard raised yield. These companies give us products for such low prices because it isn’t hard earned. The underpay the laborers that they do have, and they are tasked with producing the very food that will fuel them enough to work, but will eventually kill them.
“American children get about one quarter of their total vegetable servings in the form of potato chips and French fries.”
Real food does not roll out of factories. Real food bursts out of the ground, and it calls from the trees to the bees. It comes from farms courtesy of hard-working farmers. Food never came out of an office building, and I damn sure never seen a farmer wear a suit. Unless he was taking his lady out to dinner. Fake news? No, fake food.
Your welcome, I just eliminated half of the entire grocery store for you. Stay out of the center. Produce is usually located at the front of the store or along the edge, and so is the MEAT. It’s ok, I am not judging. I don’t eat all that much meat, but I do still get a little carnivorous at times. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, cool, I am heading that direction too, right after this turkey leg. Sorry, couldn’t resist. My carnivores laughed at least. Even if you delete all of the packaged goods, which is hard, bordering impossible, that’s not enough. Four companies are in charge of over 80% of the beef, and over 60% of pork. That’s nasty. No one should handle that much meat.
“The World Health Organization has classified processed meats – including ham, salami, sausages and hot dogs – as a Group 1 carcinogen. In other words, they lead to cancer.”
The problem is that operations of this size have a mandate of reducing costs. Whether private or public, businesses of this size are all about one thing, maximizing profit. I don’t want to get all utopian on you, but there are a lot of reasons to pay less attention to profit maximization. Would you like it if your local hospital decided to maximize profits by eliminating gloves? Yes, it is a ridiculous analogy, but that’s the point. Certain things need to be done in a specific way, without certain barriers.
Profit maximization can severely hinder a business’s ability to do what’s “right.” When it comes to Tyson’s slaughter capacity being nearly 30,000 per day, we want to be sure they have every incentive possible to be careful, and thoughtful, not blindly profitable. The same story plays out down the line if you look at pork, or chicken, or beef. I do my best to buy from smaller and if possible local producer. Producers that are large enough to have all the safety precautions in place and small enough profit still feels like a reward to them. Because that is what profit is supposed to be. Not an engine that just runs and gobbles fuel, but a reward for working hard, and doing something better.
Food is intimate. It is supposed to be at least. Have you ever sunk your fingers into an orange, and it gets all underneath your nails. Then, as you rip at the peel, the mist from the outer skin hits you in the face, and the aroma is intoxicating. If you close your eyes, it will almost take you back to the first time you ate an orange. Yes, it’s like that. That is the kind of love we are supposed to be making to our food. Every slice, every bite, every sip is to be significant, delicious, satisfying. We have destroyed our relationship with food, and we must find it in ourselves again.
Whatever you do, its a process I know, but stay away from that damn center of the grocery store. Some pasta, some rice, ok. But other than a few things, there is no food in there. And flesh. Yeah, flesh. If you can’t call it that, you shouldn’t be eating it, and you are way out of touch with your food. We must be mindful of where our “protein” comes from too. Don’t put anything in there if you don’t have an understanding of where it came from, or what it is, because it may not even be food.
Dammit, there I go being dark again. I am sure that story around produce is better, right? Wrong. According to Vegetable Growers News, “Just three states account for 76% of the country’s vegetable production value.” Ok, that is just silly by itself. Shipping costs alone make that a stupid idea. Food should be coming from close by. It is idiotic to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that came from two thousand miles away? It’s not any better if it’s a tomato. You can grow a tomato almost anywhere, why aren’t we?
Unless, it’s like the other areas of food production, and those three states have become humongous corporate farms. Ding ding ding ding ding!!!! That’s it, I’ll take “things that doomed 21-century humans to extinction for $1000 Alex.” The produce giants in the US can be counted on one hand. These are multi-billion dollar business who grow monoculture crops with a serious focus on the bottom line. Not growing nourishing, wholesome food. Money, and psssssssst, they like immigrants, illegal ones. Legal ones cost too much. Don’t worry though, plenty of third world economies to offset that. As long as we don’t run out of oil. Oops, the 50-year countdown already started, as the population increases. Oh, and those third world economies populations are growing at a far higher rate than ours. Therefore soon they will need the extra food to feed their own communities and not us, what then?
When you grow crops that are so uninformed, the way corporate farming is performed, a few things result. One, it destroys the land. Farmland has to be rotated. Meaning, you can not continuously grow a crop on a piece of land. It has to be turned to a different plant, or better yet, a rest, or a cover crop. Corporate farms don’t have time for that. They use chemicals, and overly intensive farming techniques, so they don’t slow production. This jeopardizes the land, the safety of our food, and believe it or not, even the sweetness of the fruit. If you strip the dirt or overwork it, the food literally doesn’t taste as good.
The second thing that happens is we make our food crops extremely vulnerable to disease and pests. A single one of these could destroy corn, or peas, all together. A lack in variety of crops, as well as within crops, like types of corn or wheat is dangerous. Over time it leads to an increase in the use of chemicals, and they become our only hope for averting total crop loss.
“More than 1 billion tons of pesticide products are used each year in the United States alone, many of which are directly sprayed on our food. Pesticides have been linked to a variety of cancers and higher rates of birth defects.”
Look, the chemical companies are the same thing, they spray in on everything blah blah. It’s tiring, I know. Here is the gist. Eat real food. Food that god created. “Do not eat from the hand of man, only from the land of the mother.” Eat stuff that grows. Stop eating things that are extruded. Make sure it is as clean as possible. The fewer chemicals, pesticides, dyes, sugars, fragrance, the better. Organic is great, but it’s not what you think. ORGANIC DOES NOT MEAN NO CHEMICALS. It means they “try” not to use any chemicals that are on a banned list. There may be other substances that are not on the list they are able to use.
Last, eat less. The less you eat, the longer you live, and the better you will feel getting there.
Aaron L. Carroll
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