“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” Albert Einstein.
I put more research into what my dog’s eat than I do for myself. This is because I don’t trust dog food companies, I question the motives of the industry past what I consider capable for my awareness. When it comes to the foods I consume, I trust the grocery store to bring in safe and healthy food from proven and trustworthy companies that are highly regulated by associations that have been core designed to protect us. I trust this because a human life is valued at 6-9 million dollars in our “honest to goodness” court systems.
I don’t know who regulates our food. The World Health Organization? Health Canada? Canadian Food Inspection Agency? Public Health Agency of Canada? Canadian Food and Drug Association? Agriculture Canada? All of these people together? I wonder if all of these companies work like one big happy family…6 strong-willed sisters in one room, given a problem, would any of them actually survive? (I imagine a quiet luxury boardroom with all 6 sisters safely cocooned inside. The conversation slowly turning to savagery as the girls locks of blonde hair shake loose from their tightly woven buns to unfurl and transform into medusa’s serpents as they rise up and attack each other in a fury that spontaneously implodes the whole room from the inside out.)
I don’t know who regulates the complex processes of getting that food to me. What are the responsibilities on the farmers, the packaging plants, the shipping companies, the drivers, the stores? Slaughter houses are now called processing plants, does this mean they do things differently? It is all so overwhelming that it is easier to simply trust that the food I buy is good for me. Trust to a point that I don’t even read labels, not for me or my children. I ignore the laws and labels as I know that those laws are in place because society believes in them. I ignore the news headlines that say processed meat is linked to cancer, sugar causes diabetes, organic is not organic… GMO, gluten contamination, salmonella, mercury, listeria, botulism…I trust the stores will remove dangerous foods and protect me. I trust our Buns Lake, small town store as the final health and safety check by people I know, people I trust, friends, family, and clients.
My lifelong friend Raya is dedicated to becoming a motivational speaker. I once tried to motivate people to rescue their pets. I thought I could educate people simply by being passionate about doing what’s right. What I learned was, we are inspired only when we open our minds. Our minds are rarely open to receive new information and honestly another’s passion is simply not enough to inspire change. We need to be open-minded and have a need deep within us to want to change. Change requires time. Time…well that’s one thing none of us have thanks to technology.
Here are the facts as I know them: the food industry’s strategy is to confuse us! Mission accomplished! Why do they do this? I believe they do this like any good business marketing must…you simply cannot please everyone. As long as you can create doubt then you can sell that product, that product is your business, that business is your life. The other fact I know…our bodies are rejecting the food we eat…loudly and consistently.
In my dedication to change how I eat I started educating myself by…yup…watching Netflix!! A 2017 documentary called “What the Health” is scary stuff man! They quote statistics and research, ask questions they never get answers to and compare our foods with cigarettes! (Both my Gramma Lee and Grandpa John died from cancer. In my adult life I have literally been at the bedside of close friends when they take their last breath and the cancer wins. Don’t pick this wound open, it is a deep one!) This documentary uses scare tactics to make us switch to eating Vegan. By the end of the documentary I am more confused than when I started…like a pig stuck in a wire pen only as big as he is, not knowing how to turn around or walk or even stretch his legs when he is sleeping. He only knows how to stand, eat his processed corn and curl his legs under him until they cramp so badly he must stand again. Trust my instincts! My instincts tell me to run from the agencies that are covered in secrets like a Cancer Society that refuses to talk about the link between diet and cancer or the Chief Medical Doctor from the Diabetes Association that says prevention of the disease is unclear. Scary!!! I like their arguments about the validity of a purely plant-based diet. In saying that I feel this documentary is so far out in left field it can’t be seen. They say milk is basically coagulated cow pus, eating 1 egg is the same as smoking 5 cigarettes, all fish is contaminated with mercury, starch/ carbs/sugar are good. Ok…I’m out!
Another documentary from 2008 called “Food, INC” again talks about the secrets of the industry. “Our food has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000.” They use words like engineered food, the industrial food system, and the marriage of science and technology. By the end of this show I am jazzed! Yes! It costs more to eat what is good for us, a burger is less than a dollar and broccoli is $1.29. This is because big companies deliver what people want. We simply want something cheap. We don’t care how it’s made, we just want it at the price we want it. There is no integrity or accountability in the current food system simply because we don’t want to pay for it. We want to sink our money into $800 cell phones with fancy protectors that play music, search social media and give us directions with the touch of a screen. Again, the issue is us, the consumer. As long as we want cheap food, we will get it. We don’t care if the honey we are buying is actually corn syrup…it tastes like honey, and we have an extra $5 for a Playstation card!
The fact is that where there is money there is fraud. Our global food crisis is no exception.
Corn is cheap…actually cheaper than production costs…which is why we feed it to cattle in the feed lots. Cheap corn in our cattle produces a fat cow AND produces e coli. E coli is excreted in the manure that the cows wallow in 24-7…run off from that feed lot comes in contact with a neighboring spinach farmer tainting our produce AND the cattle coming into the slaughter houses (processing plants) are covered in manure as they are being butchered…manure in the meat=e coli in us. The fact is that if that cow was to eat grass for 5 days, they will shed that e coli, pastured animals create no run off and stay cleaner. Seems pretty simple to me. Big business says this is not sustainable. (I am reminded of the day I got my teenagers a job picking rocks off a field for a local goat farmer…my government employee ex-husband refused to help facilitate this job for them telling me it was not sustainable!) Instead we put antibiotics in the cheap corn to combat disease from the unsanitary conditions, torture and abuse the cattle, pollute our environment, and harm anyone eating the meat. All the while big companies rejoice that they provided consumers with what we asked for. The charismatic character Ian from Jurassic Park says: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
Another 2017 Netflix documentary called “The Magic Pill” talks about the Paleo or Ketogenic diet, getting back to nature. Healthy fat, non-processed, low-carb diets. The problem seems so simple. You want a fat animal before slaughter, you feed it carbs. You want a body that can heal itself and fight off disease, you feed it a biologically appropriate diet. This might be it!
So…I took a trip to the store, trying to figure out what I could eat on the Keto diet. Yup, me at the store! I wanted plain yogurt with earthy granola like we had at the silent retreat. Every bag and box of granola was 3-5 times over my daily carb intake for small portions. If I ate the pre-packaged granola, what was I supposed to eat for the rest of the day? So I made my carefully thought out purchases and the next morning I diligently measured out a 3/4 cup of plain yogurt, 1 tbsp of walnuts and unsweetened coconut, and a small handful of overripe, out-of-season, tasteless blueberries. I talked myself into enjoying the tart milk product even though the blueberries and coconut did nothing to balance it out. I was so proud of myself when I finished and clunked in my proper proportions and correct information from the original packaging only to have the Keto app say I was over my carb intake by 41g for the entire day! Forget this! I quit!
Everything has corn in it…everything! Everything we buy is well-preserved, full of sugar, colorful, processed, artificially flavored, chemically ripened, packaged in plastic, cardboard, foils, and containers. It’s quick and easy and tasty, and we love it!
In my recent trip to Puerto Morelos the inconsistencies are amazingly clear. The new cedraui has isles and isles of candy, pop, yogurt, cereal…all sugar free! The mexican fellow on his pedal bike has hot tamales that are honest to goodness made from the earth. Year after year we buy from him. This year he was not there. Vanished like he never existed. Replaced by the ratty little burgundy car carrying mother, father and baby crammed in the front seat, a loud-speaker on the roof, and a hatchback full of sweets…at least its real sugar.
Never-the-less we ate like kings on our holiday! Fresh avocado, home-made goat cheese, pickled onions, shrimp, honey, mangoes, barbecue chicken, granola….and ice cream…ohhhh the coconut ice cream! My new favorite is cinnamon ice cream!
My motivation to eat better has me buying bread from a local lady (we admiringly call the “bread lady”), whole wheat, dill and cheese…I now purchase raw milk and we make our own butter…I buy only local honey and I’m committed to growing and canning my own food this year. I will continue to raise happy chickens for their honest eggs and buy happy, pastured cows that give us hamburger with their sacrifice, free range turkey’s, happy pigs with their tails intact that keep their farmers busy with their happy antics, and raw dog food from the same farmer who provides us with beef. He creates dog food with organ meats and tripe and uses aging cows that have lived a happy and fulfilled life on the farm. I honor their sacrifice by not wasting a single part.
I will pay more for these things. I will sacrifice time away from my computer. I will be proud of providing for my family and I feel strongly that I am teaching my kids to read their labels and be their own advocates. I will teach my children to garden. I also feel motivated that I am doing my part to NOT support the food industry that is killing me. I don’t want cheap food, I want honest food. Honest food that is bought without labels or pictures, without packaging, ingredients, color, preservatives…. Is this food really not sustainable?
The scariest part of this story is that the same food that is killing us is killing our environment. But that is for another blog….