Simply Healthy Family: Calling it Quits! Why I Started Really Caring About What We Eat.

30.8.10

Calling it Quits! Why I Started Really Caring About What We Eat.

Salmonella, e-coli, PBC's, mercury, antibiotics, injected artificial hormones, ammonia based fillers, nitrates, additives and preservatives, pollution, environmentally destructive, fossil fuel hoarders, Chicken and Cow "Farms" that make Federal Prison look like a Day Spa.


I'm trying to reason with myself. Tell myself I'm over-exaggerating. Make rationalizations. It's not working.

Maybe the vegans have it all figured out. Maybe the rest of us are being naive. Denial can be bliss. I consider myself more aware than the average person when it comes to health. Partly because I'm in the health profession, although you could easily argue that medicine and health don't always go hand in hand. Partly because I'm a mom and a worry wart and partly because I'm informed, I read a lot, obsessively almost when it comes to natural health. Maybe it's genetic. My mom is a true naturopath in every sense. You can't help but be affected when your mom lives with you and lives so naturally and healthy that she hasn't been sick in.... well since I've known her. Not to mention we are starting to look closer and closer to being the same age.

BTW, my mom has a great nutrition and herb/spice blog; Nutrition Queen you should really check out, she knows her stuff!



Most people, myself included are somewhat aware of the abuse and filth that goes on within the animal factories. It's been in the news more and more. However, when the subject of meat comes up, peoples attitudes vary widely. Most are aware of the health, environmental and humane benefits of vegetarianism but push it to the back of their minds in a what are you gonna do attitude. Some simply don't care. Some are meat-o-holics (those are the ones who refer to my everyday salad I have for lunch as " Lawn shavings". Some are in varying stages of denial with excuses galore. I myself float between "I can't afford it."  "What the heck am I going to make for dinner if it doesn't include meat?'" and  "It's to much work/effort." And my personal favorite, " My family would rebel, rebel Big Time."



I've never liked red meat or pork in the first place. As a matter of fact beef and pork churn my stomach at the mere sight and especially the smell of it. Chicken is in my house only to appease my husband and boys, a sort of compromise in my refusal to cook beef or pork. I could most definitely live without it. After the most recent "Egg Scare" and in viewing the utterly horrific conditions in which chickens are kept, I am somewhere in between banning all chicken then setting these "farms" into a bonfire, and maybe, possibly just buying an Organic, Free Range hen and eggs once every month or so...... maybe.

UPDATE..... Once a month chicken for dinner was absolutely do able. In fact, we eat it less than that now and don't miss it one single bit. 




"CAFOs house them as tightly as possible where they never see grass or sunlight. If you can envision one thousand chickens in your bathroom, in cages stacked to the ceiling, you're honestly getting the picture. (Actually a six-foot by eight room could house 1,152)."  Steven L. Hopp (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life)



Honestly, besides the fact that my family would rebel I really, truly am not now, not in the near future about ready to give up seafood. I love it. Luuhuuuuve it. I mean fish is good for you right? Right?......


Geeeesshh, even seafood has it's issues. PBC's, Farm raised, antibiotic, corn fed, genetically "enhanced", environmentally dangerous, mercury levels that would kill a small dog.... but it's o.k. to eat once a month fish. Urrrggggghhh!! Maybe I should wait to post this until I've regained some composure. Oh who am I kidding, what composure?


Is veganism really the answer to total health safety and well being? I mean even supposedly harmless things like spinach, lettuce, jalapenos, pistachios, peanut butter, apple juice, canned foods and baby food have been linked to many instances of food poisonings, not to mention genetically engineered seeds and toxic pesticides. Some of these are the result of the foul water runoffs from these
for mentioned animal factories, some are simply from poor hygiene and over handling. The average item on your grocery market shelf has traveled further than most people travel on vacation. This being a result of us wanting everything now. Forget about seasons and geographical planting zones, we have scientists who've figured out how to bypass the natural scheme of things, hooray.



"If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week." — Barbara Kingsolver and Steven Hopp (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life)









pictures from CBS and MSNBC news





P.S. I was going to post some pictures of the chicken, cow, pig "farms", but it was to upsetting.
I encourage you to do some research and see for yourself where the food your feeding yourself and your family comes from. Food Inc. was eye opening to say the least. I'm not an emotional person by nature, but this had me in tears.





What are your thoughts?

Do you eat meat? Do you buy anything Organic or Free Range?






some information gathered from: CNN.com
'>'

12 comments:

  1. Wow. So much to think about. I've been going back and forth about veganism for awhile, but when it comes down to it, I don't think I can give up dairy. My mom has severe osteoporosis, and I need to take in as much calcium as I can. I know that it is possible to get calcium on a vegan diet, but it is a lot harder. Instead, I'm making a very conscious effort to buy local food and to understand the food process better (which can be scary, for sure)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gwen,

    What a tough crossroads you are at!

    The path toward veganism (notice I said 'toward' it because it is something you aim for but maybe never attain) has many bumps and curves. That should in no way deter you from heading toward it. The idea of being vegan is not about a set of doctrines that must be followed to a T, but living the best way you possibly can for you, your family and the world you live in. So head toward that goal! There is no 100%. 100% may be a goal, but one a true vegan can never attain because it does not exist. We cannot fully separate ourselves from animal ingredients in the world we live in today. The tires we drive on contain animal ingredients. The drywall in our house contain animal ingredients. If we argued toward perfect veganism we would be hypocrites.

    As vegan, our family does the best we can possibly do to prevent the most suffering we can and just coincidentally, that also happens to be the best for us physically (minimizing the most junk in our diet) and spiritually (knowing we do the least harm to the most beings).

    When you are ready to eliminate some animal product from your diet, do so. And each and every time you are ready for another elimination, make it happen. It can be going vegetarian for a while and then giving up eggs. Or whatever your soul is ready for when you are ready for the next step. Just make sure to take a step. No matter how long it takes, just think of the very next step and not the distance you still have to travel. As long as you keep going, you will get ever closer to your destination, no matter how far it is. To not move is to stagnate.

    'A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are for.'

    It sounds like you are getting ready for something, you just don't know exactly what for. Think of what you want to get your family away from the fastest - is it eggs because of salmonella, the dairy because of hormones, the fish because of mercury, or any because of the factory farming cruelties? Identify what you want to chuck and make it happen. One ingredient at a time.

    It is true that peanut butter, spinach, jalapenos and other plant ingredients have had their scare, but had we not had to deal with the animal agriculture by-products (feces), many, if not all, of those scares would never have been. Unfortunately, we do not live in a society that is even remotely ready to ditch factory farming, but if some of us never make a stand, then who will?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think wherever you get your food from you will have to be slightly cautious--bacteria is just out there and it's impossible to be 100% safe. That being said, smaller, more local providers are probably safer.

    As for the meat thing--I'm a bit like you. I could do without beef (rarely ever eat) and pork (eh, sometimes), but I LOVE seafood and I do enjoy fowl. There are a lot of reasons I don't give up meat--it's a key protein source, omega 3 acids--and a lot of reasons I try not to eat much of it--environmental impact, nutritional hazards.

    However, I don't think becoming a vegetarian or vegan is the answer to all of our food woes. For one, I think the health claims overlook some important data. Consider someone who is a healthy non-meat eater. She has to work to make sure she gets all of her vitamins and nutrients, something that the majority of us just don't think about. She also consumes healthy portions of fruits, vegetables and legumes, which many of us do not do. By giving up meat, you are taking on a very specific lifestyle change that, due to its limitations, makes you eat healthily or else risk getting very sick. The diet unto itself isn't what's healthy, it's the amount of work people have to put in up front to really learn how to meet their nutritional needs. If meat eaters did this, we would be significantly more healthy as well.

    I also want to point out that meat isn't necessarily unhealthy. Humans have eaten meat forever. What's unhealthy is mass consumption of fatty and hormone-laden animals. Hormone-free, lean meat is a pretty great source of different nutrients. Too bad hormone-free is so expensive.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh, Gwen, I feel your dilemma. I do, and I am guilty of some of the "push it to the back of your mind" mentality myself. I know that there are terrible practices out there in the food industry, but it's so hard to take it on all at once.
    I do like Vegan Aide's suggestion of taking it one step at a time. If you aren't ready to go vegan, or even vegetarian, maybe try cutting down.
    It's tough for me, because right now I am trying to keep my carb counts low so my blood sugars stay under control. I know that there are vegan diabetics who manage, but it sure isn't easy! I rely on proteins and fats to stay full. I am starting to play with my diet and figure out what works and what doesn't, and maybe I will get to a place where the moral and the healthful can meet.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I hear what you are saying. I've gone from paranoid and simply petrified of all and any foods to finding what I feel is the best for our family. I cannot live in fear. For me, I was, for a time. It was when my eyes were first opened to all that is out there. I cringe that the first 30 years of my life I have been consuming such things, but what's a girl to do now? I cannot change the past, but I can make good decisions for my family now.

    We've switched to shopping at Whole Foods. The major reason was for meat. I just cannot feed my children meat raised in the way that its conventionally raised, now that I know. So I truly appreciate the Whole Foods approach to meat and fish. Because it's more expensive, we do eat less meat. So it's good. It's causing me to think outside the box and have more veggie meals during the week.

    As far as vegan, I don't feel pressured to do so. I just make wise choices for our family. I think meat is fine, as long as its responsibly raised.

    great post, way to stay informed!

    ReplyDelete
  6. A LOT of good responses. Really enjoyed reading them. And Gwen, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your thoughts, as always, you are so funny. I don't think giving up meat entirely is a good idea, but I do think we (as Americans) eat wayyyy too much. I think once a week is plenty (I have no research on this, it's just a personal feeling). The reason I think we need a little meat or dairy (from free-range animals) is that we get conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) from them. This fatty acid is produced by cows & other grazing ruminants from linoleic acid in the grass they eat. It comes into our diet via meat, whole milk, & full-fat dairy products (all from free-range ruminants). Read why this is so beneficial at http://www.mercola.com/beef/cla.htm (or google it). The Journal of Nutrition study in 2000 showed a 20% decrease in body fat percentage also, with consumption of CLA. My philosophy is moderation in all things (as long as they're healthy, which can be a real chore these days unless you have your own farm).

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you everyone so much for these thoughtful comments, they get me thinking and help so much.
    As I thought, most people are aware of this delima in some way. It's tougher than I thought, what to do. My little mind has been working over time on how to healthily feed my fam wo or very little meat.
    I agree with most of you that vegan is not the only snwser, but I do strive to live as close to that as possible for us. We eat TONS of produce, beans, legumes and whole grains and supplement occasionally with Organic etc. foul and fish.

    Vegan Aide, I appreciate your advice and think that's what is going to really work for me right now, one step at a time.... I can do that!
    Buying All Organic, Free Range and local is pricey, so naturally is limiting the amount we eat. I continue to read your blog for great recipe ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Lots of good reasons to go vegan - I am not but I did go organic years ago - with meats and vegetables and eggs.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous9/11/2010

    Wow, I just found your blog. i had much the same reaction when I read In Defense of Food. I started growing a garden, I started baking my own bread, I have found a dairy near my house where the cows are grass fed and the milk is processed on sight. they also sell local eggs. i have started buying my red meat and organic chicken from ( somewhat) local farms, we take turns making the drive and buy in bulk. It cuts down on cost and gives you an opportunity to see where you food comes from, as well as support local farms. I frequent farmers markets during the growing season, and I am working on cutting our meat consumption, although I think going vegetarian would be hard, we love our dairy! These are the small steps I have made so far. I have to try really hard not to obsess over it, some of this is out my control, especially when you have a limited budget. But I feel good about these changes so far.... I can't wait to read more of your thoughts and recipes!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great post, it's raised some questions that I'm really interested in too. For me, I think that a diet predominately on vegetables and what I call "pure" forms of protein such as tofu, chickpeas, nuts and so on is the best. A little bit of fish and chicken doesn't do any harm either. Red meat...well lets just say I'm with you - I hate the sight/smell of it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you everyone so much for these thoughtful comments, they get me thinking and help so much.
    As I thought, most people are aware of this delima in some way. It's tougher than I thought, what to do. My little mind has been working over time on how to healthily feed my fam wo or very little meat.
    I agree with most of you that vegan is not the only snwser, but I do strive to live as close to that as possible for us. We eat TONS of produce, beans, legumes and whole grains and supplement occasionally with Organic etc. foul and fish.

    Vegan Aide, I appreciate your advice and think that's what is going to really work for me right now, one step at a time.... I can do that!
    Buying All Organic, Free Range and local is pricey, so naturally is limiting the amount we eat. I continue to read your blog for great recipe ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think wherever you get your food from you will have to be slightly cautious--bacteria is just out there and it's impossible to be 100% safe. That being said, smaller, more local providers are probably safer.

    As for the meat thing--I'm a bit like you. I could do without beef (rarely ever eat) and pork (eh, sometimes), but I LOVE seafood and I do enjoy fowl. There are a lot of reasons I don't give up meat--it's a key protein source, omega 3 acids--and a lot of reasons I try not to eat much of it--environmental impact, nutritional hazards.

    However, I don't think becoming a vegetarian or vegan is the answer to all of our food woes. For one, I think the health claims overlook some important data. Consider someone who is a healthy non-meat eater. She has to work to make sure she gets all of her vitamins and nutrients, something that the majority of us just don't think about. She also consumes healthy portions of fruits, vegetables and legumes, which many of us do not do. By giving up meat, you are taking on a very specific lifestyle change that, due to its limitations, makes you eat healthily or else risk getting very sick. The diet unto itself isn't what's healthy, it's the amount of work people have to put in up front to really learn how to meet their nutritional needs. If meat eaters did this, we would be significantly more healthy as well.

    I also want to point out that meat isn't necessarily unhealthy. Humans have eaten meat forever. What's unhealthy is mass consumption of fatty and hormone-laden animals. Hormone-free, lean meat is a pretty great source of different nutrients. Too bad hormone-free is so expensive.

    ReplyDelete

If you really like a post please share, like on FB, Google +, Stumble and give it a THUMBS UP or Pin It on Pinterest!

I appreciate all positive and helpful comments! Thanks for stopping by.


 photo copyright.jpg
blogger template by envye