I have a lot of pent up rage directed at the way our country approaches food.
So I've decided to start writing about why I eat the way that I do, in the hopes that it will at least shed some light on why I made the decision to change my food system. Because I also have a lot of pent up rage directed at the people that make fun of me for eating differently.
I don't understand why our society has gotten to the point that people are deemed weird or silly or stupid for wanting to eat food that is good for them - and good for the planet. I do understand that Americans are busy people and that fast food, up front, seems to cost less and save time. But eating food that will ultimately make your life harder, slower, more expensive (b/c of rising health care costs), and shorter doesn't seem to be all that great.
My dad and sister joked at dinner tonight that they couldn't tell the difference in flavor between the eggs in breakfast sandwiches from a stand at the Winter Market and the conventional eggs they buy at Kroger and eat at home. The flavor isn't my motivation - it is an amazing benefit to having sworn off most conventional foods, but it isn't the point.
The point, is that our modern food system is destroying us.
It is horrifying.
I watched Food, Inc one afternoon while I was still working as a nanny. The kids were napping and I had a knitting project to work on. I don't know how anyone could witness that information and ever look at their food in the same way.
I'm not one of those people that believe veganism or vegetarianism is the way to save the planet/end world hunger/be healthy. I'm allergic to all legumes, so most traditional sources of protein for vegans and vegetarians are off limits to me. I can't eat beans, soy, or peanut butter. No soy = no tofu, no tvp, no veggie corn dogs or imitation sausage.
I buy local for a lot of reasons. I absolutely love cooking dinner and realizing that the beef came from my favorite farmer lady, the potatoes came from the cute boy in plaid flannel, and the tomatoes were home canned out of a friend's garden.
I like knowing that the bacon I eat for breakfast came from a farm that let animals live in the way animals were put on this earth to live. They are allowed the diet that is natural to them - not to put too religious a slant on it - but the diet that God designed them to survive and thrive on. The diet that makes their food nutritious to humans. Grass fed beef doesn't taste good because it has less fat in it than conventional. It tastes good because that cow ate what it was naturally designed to eat.
I was raised in the church, taught that we were to be good stewards of the earth. And despite whatever other issues I may have with theology, this makes sense to me:
We are care-takers. "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till and keep it," Genesis 2:15. The Hebrew words shamar and abad, usually translated as "till and keep" in this verse, could be just as accurately translated as "serve and preserve." The word shamar is also used in Numbers 6:24: "The Lord bless you and keep you." God desires that we treat the creation in the same way that God treats us. (from an awesome site about the Bible and the environment)
I like to jokingly point out that Jesus ate organic food. Non organic food didn't really exist until the twentieth century, when the great advances of technology made antibiotics and toxic chemical pesticides and fertilizers possible. Cows have been around a lot longer than scientists and chemicals. So have pigs and chickens and apple trees and carrots and farmers.
Go read anything Michael Pollan has written. Watch Jamie Oliver's TED Talk. Visit a local market and talk to a farmer. Drink water instead of diet soda, because the artificial sweetners DO CRAZY THINGS TO PEOPLE. Look up the statistics about this generation of kids - the first generation who will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents because of diet related, totally preventable health conditions.