I am mad. As in angry. I am also quite tired of running through my own head like a crazed mouse chasing angry thoughts. So I’ll put them here. Ranting as they say. The reason, you see, is because I am scared of what the world has come to when it’s about food. Happy and joyful I am – I was often (jokingly) scolded for being too happy, never mind then – but it’s getting to me. Why you ask? It’s the hogs that got me. Ha, I know, but I am not joking. It’s because of the hogs that have to be defended like this and I can only hope they win, it’s because companies like Monsanto violate all that’s good and decent in agriculture and many of us happily munch away at corn-on-the-cob that’s been genetically modified and intoxicated with chemicals, it’s because kids eat too many pesticides on any given piece of fruit, it’s because kids eat blue icing cakes and nitrate-laden cancer-causing hotdogs, it’s because kids get type II diabetes way too early in life and many never get to know what real food is and where it’s coming from. It’s because we’ve come to accept gigantic dinner portions that might or might not contain a three-pound steak from a cow that’s lived half of its miserable life in a puddle of its own excrement eating foods that are cheap but not intended by nature (corn instead of grass), it’s because people wait for food recalls to be reminded that the food they eat is a disaster waiting to happen. It’s because food should not pollute the planet it grows out of or on it, but most of ours does. That’s fundamentally wrong.
When and how have we broken away from real food? And most important, why? Why do we want it all at all times and why do we want surplus? Food should not be cheap but it is. Real food has a real price. I am not rich, I really am not. But I do believe that real food is worth the extra money. Lots of low quality conventionally grown food versus smaller amounts of real food. Which one do you choose? Real food that grows at its own pace is rich in nutrients. In other words, satisfying. Satiating. That it is unhealthy to eat until seams burst we already know. How to break the habit? Eat less, move more, breathe deeper and drink enough water. We throw away food even when it’s not spoiled because it’s cheap. there’s more where that bruised apple came from. We throw away because we are not aware of the work that goes into growing an apple or a tomato. We throw away food because we’re not aware of what it means to raise healthy animals. I am not exactly a meat eater but the thought of crowded sick animals or birds awaiting death so food stores can have mountains of ribs and drumsticks, well, it sickens me.
I get eggs from someone who has chickens in his back yard. They roam free and enjoy the good chicken life all chickens should have. People have to pay for the luxury of having chickens like that. Four per lot here in Vancouver they say. And there’s concerns about noise, smell, avian flu and such. I wish there would be health concerns about caged chickens sold in a regular food store for example. After all they were shown to come with arsenic and antibiotics. Arsenic is a carcinogenic compound. Yet there is no warning. Meat is but one chapter of the food story.
We cannot allow ourselves to disconnected from real food, it’s a mighty expensive habit. Eat less but eat clean. Cicero said “Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat” and one could almost be fooled into thinking that we are doing just that, living to eat. But in fact we are killing ourselves with food. It’s too much with too little of what we need to nourish ourselves. We’re giving ownership of our food to a handful of big corporations, being pork, cattle, corn or soy ones, and stepping away graciously too preoccupied with other things or sincerely satisfied with what they have for us. We forgive the recall mishaps as soon as they happen and continue to sign up for “all you can eat” menus. Somehow I wish for us all to pause and think.Think of how we still have the luxury to make choices.
Today the boys and I took our two piglets (guinea pigs) out in the sun for a yummy snack of dandelion leaves. There’s so many of them in the front yard. I like them too. Yes, I just said that. I like the slight bitterness of early spring dandelion leaves. Aside from the earthy taste, I know they are a good liver cleanser and I need that. We all need a bit of cleansing, you’d most likely agree, but these days we need more than ever. Because you see, that’s a big part of why I’m angry. I may strive to eat clean real food but I happen to live on the same planet as the big boys who play God with food from growing it to processing it into scary stuff like the Grapple (apple that smells like grapes, yes, the horror!) and hotdog-stuffed pizza crust (not kidding, it exists). And because I do, some of the bad stuff they use ends up in my food too, ends up in the air I breathe and ends up in the birthday cake my kids are being served at their friends’ parties. There seems to be no escape, but there is. Still. It starts with saying NO to what’s not real and clean. I say that when people eat with their brain rather than just mouths they are healthier. When we eat with a conscience and leave the table when half-full we’re lighter and closer to where we should be. Choose local clean food, choose humanely raised animals and buy less processed foods. Make it count. Your choice that is.
PS: If you wonder whether I avoided using the term “organic” the answer is yes. The very term has been abused and overused lately, hence I choose to go with “real”. I hope bruising will clear soon and I’ll get to use it again. More about this in a near future post.