I finally watched Food Inc. It only took me three years. But I felt it would be preaching to the choir so have avoided it for awhile. I have often wondered in the last couple years why candy is cheaper than a carrot? Or why bananas from Mexico in Portland in January are less than a dollar a pound? Or why lamb from New Zealand is the same price as grass fed beef from 100 miles away?
It kind of was what I agree with but here’s the thing…now I am depressed. I am worried that similar to when I heard about labor trafficking I stopped buying clothes—and rarely have since—I will stop eating because I can’t truly know from where my food comes. A good number of the scenes made me nauseous, disgusted or light headed.
This was shocking because I had seen the horrible pictures before. I knew there is corn in over 90% of our food products–and other non-food products. I had heard the standard cut of meat travels 1500 miles from farm to table. I knew about Monsanto and Smithfield Foods and Tyson. I used to sell chicken for the 7th largest distributor in the world and so have smelled the factory weekday-ly for 10 months of my life. And that chicken was already “processed” when it came to our factory to package! While there I saw how workers were treated—supposedly humanely and satisfactorily for “unskilled” workers. How INS showed up unannounced every couple months with school buses and took a good number of workers away. Honestly, that experience was chalked up to greedy corporate life more than imbecile purchasers driving the market.
A couple months ago, I watched Fork Over Knives, a documentary about how Americans and westerners have been taught (by media and corporations and media corporations) that protein is meat and dairy. We learned the reason we are so strong is that we eat animals. And then we gained enough wealth, while simultaneously food prices dropped and we ate A LOT of meat…and cheese…and milk…and eggs, generally fried with batter to make it more delicious. Then we gained weight because we had a lot of money to buy “protein”. This led to gout, cholesterol, blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and broken legs because of weight and balance. I knew all this. I experienced this…since I was 16.
But then Fork over Knives shocked me when they showed a plant based diet reversing diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol through eating. There was exercise in the mix as well but so many lost weight by cutting out all animal products from their diet. They REVERSED health issues and therefore were off expensive pills and had more time to enjoy the good parts of life instead of being at doctor’s offices.
Since then, I have, for some reason, been more willing to forgo meat or eat it in smaller portions. I have a lactose thing since living in Asia so am pretty good about most dairy, besides cheese and eggs, and occasionally cheesy eggs. I felt like I had a good balance, until I watched Food Inc.
Food Inc. ruined me. It just made me think there is no solution to western food issues without raising it myself. Or someone I know raises it. Luckily my housemates have a good sized garden, we are part of a CSA and will pay a little more for local food. This practice allowed me to eat dinner tonight, because I knew where most of the food was grown. It allowed me to stick it to the man that creates an exploited workforce. A workforce that at the largest processing plant in the country is treated so bad they have to bus them in from up to 100 miles away. A workforce that is intentionally illegal because they can be exploited and replaced more easily. So tonight my fork was voting for local food instead of mass- produced, chemical- infused, disease-causing slop.
I kept thinking about the movie though. The thing that left an impression was a story about a family of minimum wage earners. Two kids, two parents struggling to make financial ends meet feel forced to utilize the various fast food dollar menus because their dollar then goes farther. In my head I was thinking they needed to plant a garden as I watched it. Then it was revealed the issue with lack of financing actually had to do with the father having to spend $200+ a month on prescriptions for his diabetes. Diabetes that could be controlled with diet—a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and grains. The older sister was worried the younger also had diabetes. This broke my heart, especially when it shows their financial based decisions at the store. It just breaks my heart that we are killing our fellow humans by being silent, and allowing WALL-E to become real life.
So what am I going to do? I am going to use my fork and dollar to vote (like is suggested in the movie). Also I am going to keep cooking and feeding healthy food to those I care about.
What are you going to do?