Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Food, Inc.

Be forewarned....this is a LONG post full of my opinion.....just so ya know! ;D

I just thought I'd share this trailer for the new movie/documentary about the food we eat. So many people wonder (as I've recently heard through the local grapevine) why we like to:

eat fresh foods

eat as much organic as possible

why we have a garden to grow our own food

why we have laying hens for eggs and even chickens for harvesting

why we are considering getting our own cow for beef (because local supermarkets only sell beef from Mexico, Uruguay, China, Canada, and New Zealand....all in the same 2 lb. package, mind you.)

why I don't eat fish from the supermarket (did you know that the majority is farm raised in China and India among other countries?)

why we don't eat out in restaurants and most of the time, pass on restaurant invites....

why I hardly buy processed, boxed or canned items at the grocery store

why I check the label on every item I buy to see the country of origin. Did you realize most of the apple juice, among other juices, sold in the US comes from China? Seriously...check your package.

why I cook from scratch

why I think eating this way is so very important for the futures of
my children's health and for my own health

why it disturbs me that we, as Americans, find ourselves being tricked by the food manufacturers, are being given wrong nutritional information, are spending at least 1/4 of our lives sitting in a doctor's office, we are staying sick and we don't know why.

These are the questions that propel me to take the hard route (not as hard as you'd think) when it comes to food preparation and consumption. These are the questions that make me pass up the packaged chips ahoy and yummy bacon and sausage, never buy fish from the store, never buy canned goods to stock my pantry (with the exception of my hurricane box), why I only buy organic peanut butter after nearly being knocked out by the strong dose of chemical pesticides sprayed on the huge crop growing right across the street from my house (who knows what we're inhaling in our own backyard), why we go at least one day a week without meat and sometimes two.

No, I don't grow everything we eat, but I do as much as I can. No, I don't adhere to these tips I've typed out here 100% of the time....we splurge on birthdays and holidays and at times when we just "feel like it." I buy boxed macaroni and cereal and canned soup in the wintertime and I love canned baked beans when we barbecue. Eventhough we avoid pork products the majority of the time, when we eat grilled hamburgers, I will occasionally buy bacon to have with them and I admit that I LOVE a good piece of my mother in law's baked ham at Christmas. We eat out very rarely, but a few times a year, we enjoy eating in a restaurant and to be honest, if restaurant service and food was better, I'd probably eat out more often. But I hate sitting in a restaurant eating terrible food and enduring even worse service....I'd rather save my money and eat at home.

Am I a health nut? No. Believe me, I've got issues! Am I fanatical about any of this? No. Do I try to make the best decisions I can on a day to day basis? Absolutely.

Click over to the Food, Inc. official website to learn about the issues, learn about 10 simple tips to help change our food system, visit their blog here, as well as learn many other things about our food industry and ways to make better choices for yourself and your family.

Have you ever seen Supersize Me, a documentary put out in 2004 by Morgan Spurlock? If not, I encourage you to click here to see the trailer and you can even watch the entire documentary for free.....you won't believe some of the things you'll discover! I have to say it was the one thing that affected me so incredibly deeply.....the one thing that made a life-changing impact for me. It was the documentary that stopped me in my fast food tracks and gave me such a desire to do better....for myself and my family.

"We do the best we can with what we know, and when we know better, we do better" - Maya Angelou.


It's funny, I didn't sit down with the intention of writing this blog post. I merely ran across the Food, Inc. video trailer that I had been waiting for and all this just hit me. All the talking and the comments, especially those here close to home, just hit me because I think some people may think I'm a little weird because of my views on food and life in general. I realized that much of the "talk" is because so many haven't stopped to educate themselves and don't realize what is going on with the foods we eat. And, for that matter, what's going on with our chemical detergents and household cleaners, pesticides and fungicides.......the list can go on for a very long time. I think for so many, it is just easier to ignore it and keep on going with what we're used to. I however, being the type of person who refuses to be stuck in a box and labeled for any reason, think change of this fashion is going to necessary to counteract our steadily failing health in the US.

Making many changes in this way certainly doesn't mean that you eat icky, flavorless foods. It doesn't mean that you will never be satisfied. It doesn't mean that you'll spend more money. It doesn't mean that you can't still churn out your own junk food. It certainly doesn't mean that you'll magically lose any weight and turn into the picture of health, LOL....that much I know for sure! ;D Seriously, it doesn't mean that you're going to be home-bound and turn into some frumpy old garden lady who can't do more than pull weeds all day, LOL! You can eat all the things you love, but you can do it in a way that will prove healthier for you and your family. If your kids want brownies or cookies or popsicles or ice cream, make them yourself...besides, it's more fun that way! If you buy prepackaged items, read the labels and buy the best choice you can afford. Plant a garden, get your kids involved and enjoy the harvest. It teaches them the value of hard work, persistence, and the value of reaping what you sow. Freeze or can your excess harvest to eat later in the year....it is NOT hard to do nor does it take a lot of time.

I guess my whole point is that we need to learn as much as we can about what we're eating and try to make the best decisions we can based on what we've learned. Should we be fanatical about it? No. Should we let it alter our lifestyles drastically? No. I think everyone should make the best decisions they can at a rate with which they're comfortable. I think every little change will be beneficial to everyone from the personal and family levels to the national level where eventually those in the decision making roles will understand that we Americans expect better quality food to nourish the bodies of ourselves and those we care about.

I also know that this post is based solely on my own personal opinion and I know that opinions vary and that is what makes the world go 'round. I know that for some people, they really couldn't care less about these issues and that is okay! It's all about personal decisions and we all have differences. This post is certainly not meant to offend anyone, it is just a large collection of ramblings from my very passionate heart. These ideas and lifestyle changes are important to me and my family and I just thought I'd toss them out here on my personal blog.

I mostly wanted to put this information out there so that others may better understand me and why I do the things I do, why I live the way I live, and give those around me a peek into my not-so-square box. For me personally, there is a very deep spiritual connection to this way of living and thinking. I find myself closer to God when I'm doing things in a more natural way than at any other time. And for me, that is most important!


marjean said...

I'm with you 100%. We need to pay more attention to what we put in out mouth and our environment...our bodies will thank us. I've started opening my eyes about 4 years ago and I feel better than ever...and the added advantage of cooking whole "real" food...natural weight maintenance! :)

Char said...

good for you...it's all why I'm started buying more and more local produce.

VPS said...

Oh Sandra - we do the same things & raise our own beef. I'll be 60 next year & was blessed to be raised on organic homegrown food . . . . & at 59 take no meds at all. As you know from flickr, my mom is 88 & still squatting up & down. You re SO RIGHT that this is very important to our health & the health of our children.

Also like you do not make a big issue of it - it just a day-by-day choice & sometimes we decide to be "opportunivores" - eating as the opportunity presents itself.

Very nice piece . . . nice put indeed. . .


fromthedepthsofacreativeheart said...

Love your blog, Sandra! And I agree with you 100%.

I have never read my packages. I've just never thought of it before but will begin to do so now.

We buy most of our food in bulk from US growers. A grain mill is on my wish list and will soon be added to the household. We dream of our own garden, chickens & goats to make our own cheese, yogurt & soap. Maybe a cow one day for beef.

spread your wings said...

wonderful and inspirational post. i feel like a lot more people are wising up and starting to live a more healthful life in regards to the food they eat, but many, admittedly myself, are not there yet.

jess said...

I DO agree with you. I try to avoid food dyes and pesticides, because of the kids' autism. Red dyes really DO make a difference.
I doubt I could ever give up bacon. But I also know local farmers.
Finances make it difficult to make my life exactly what I want it to be, but I have ALWAYS wanted my own vegetable farm, and fresh eggs.
Gardening with kids is a great experience, all the way around.

jess said...

Ooops, wanted to add that I'm not a big fan of large scale organic farming... but I prefer 'natural,' or no pesticides. :-D

Spaz said...

I'm in the club! I agree 100%! We went to mostly organic 3 years ago...and it's much easier to find items today in Mobile. I read labels and pay price for the best. I get so frustrated when I happen upon something I want and flip over the package to find all the crap I can't pronouce...even on some natural stuff!

I'm so saddened that I didn't get my little garden planted this year...laziness and time crept in. But I an taking advantage of the local farmers markets and enjoying the bounty.

Your post was perfect timing...I had allowed fast food to creep back into our lives a little to often. Tomorrow is a new day and I'm going to nip it in the bud!

Made some homemade Chocolate Cookies today, with mostly organic ingredients! Better than ANY store bought or bakery bought cookie ever!

Julie said...

I loved this post! If you're weird because of how you choose to live, I guess I am too! We'd have chickens right now...except in our town you have to have 3 ACRES. (Sorry, still a bit peeved about that!) We do, however, buy fresh eggs from my friend's neighbor. We buy very little prepackaged food and very rarely eat out. It started for financial reasons, but now we don't eat out because we like home cooked food better! We decided to do something special one time, so we went out for breakfast. Seriously, how hard is it to mess up an egg? We both kept up the "it's so nice to go out" show and then one of us admitted to liking it better at home. Why? FRESH eggs and a cast iron skillet! =D Anyway, I could go on and on, too. And like you said, we can't do it 100%, but we do the best we can. And it all started with little changes. =)

Kate in NJ said...

Great post..I reall;y agree.
I am trying to change our lives
a bit at a time too.
Just being mindful of the choices we make
and how that will affect my family, and the families of others.((hugs))

Colleen said...

Sandra, what a great time to stumble across your blog! I am blessed to live in a small town that has a natural food co-op, farmer's market, and CSA options locally. My attempts in the community garden flopped, but I'm all set to start my square-foot garden. Livestock are not an option for me, but buying my meat locally is!

Jessica said...

Your thoughts are exactly mine--I'm eagerly awaiting this movie!!

...they call me mommy... said...

GREAT post, Sandra! It has been on my heart lately to get back to healthier cooking...well, baking especially. Last summer, I was doing so much better with making healthy dishes and trying new ways to bake healthier...I appreciate this "kick in the pants" so to speak as I know I'm not were I should be with my eating and therefore my family & kids have a bad example, kwim? THANK YOU.

Jeb Dickerson said...

I don't think you need to be so accommodating in your post. There's no need to apologize for making healthy, aware choices for you and your family. Nutrition in America is, by far, one of the most important issues we face, and I LOVE that you're talking about this.

I get plenty of rolled eyes at the fact that my boys (8 and 10) have never eaten fast food. That they love every kind of food. That my wife prepares everything we eat (90% of the time) from scratch. But we're establishing life long habits here, habits that will affect the health and well-being of our kids. Our kids...the most important people in our lives. Why wouldn't we?

Letting our eating habits be affected/influenced by the ridiculous consumerist predisposition we have in this country is unacceptable to me. Unavoidable in some cases, but that's no reason to just accept it. It's too important.