Tuesday, December 11, 2012

anti food snobbery ignorance

I realize that I haven't posted in QUITE SOME TIME and that this isn't going to be my normal kind of post.  (I do hope to get back to those soon, by the way.)  This post is being written out of disgust at how we're blindly force fed faulty information along with our food.  I was going to write a simple little status update but I had too much to say.  What is all this babbling about you ask?  Well, I just read an article in the December 3 issue of Time magazine.  This article is in the "health" section and while it's not filled with blatant lies the omissions and justifications are unforgivable in my opinion.  In "Give (Frozen) Peas a Chance", Dr. Oz, you have shown us that your opinions can be bought by the highest bidder.  My guess is that the highest bidders in this case are the USDA and Monsanto, who share a very cozy bed together.

Before I really get into this let me acknowledge a few things.  I absolutely can not afford to buy all organic, free range, grass fed, lovingly tended foods.  I would love to, but it's simply out of reach.  That being said, the broccoli I grew in my backyard without fertilizer or pesticides was by far the best tasting broccoli I have ever enjoyed.  My boyfriend and I shared it at a pre-Thanksgiving meal with my family and everyone agreed it was delicious.  The easy part is that we didn't put too much time, energy or expense into growing it.  I also need to acknowledge that I love Cheetos and Oreos and other processed-to-the-hilt food sins as much as the next person.  With these acknowledgements made I will say that I eat these foods with the full knowledge that they contain things I would not put in my body if they weren't in such a tasty or convenient wrapper.  Would I chug a jug of pesticides?  No.  Would I chow down on whatever it is they have added to corn to make insects stomachs explode?  Hell no.  But I will make an INFORMED choice to eat these things when I want said Cheetos and Oreos.

For the last several years America has been so concerned with oil wars and what color our president is and who can marry whom that all these horrible food atrocities have just been slipped under our noses without any informed consent.  Take a look at a GMO map of the world and you might be astonished.  As a matter of fact, I'll provide you with one.  GMO FOOD MAP.   So, we have all these foods that have been modified in terrifying ways and our government refuses to require them to be labeled.  We don't even know what effect these foods will have on us.  Then we have our more traditionally scary foods.  Pesticides, hormones and anti-biotics fill our "regular" foods yet we label the organic stuff as the oddball, fancy schmancy food.  Organic foods contain ..... food.  Wow, shocker there.  Granted they cost more because they produce lower yields and they are now the rarity instead of the norm.

I know I know, I ranted and never got to my point.  So here it is.  In this article Dr. Oz talks a lot about how frozen and canned supermarket food is "nutritionally speaking" very close to the food you would buy with an organic label or at a farm stand.  That's some very tricky speech right there ... "nutritionally speaking".  He uses that phrase often in this article and it's not a lie.  Frozen strawberries still have vitamin C and canned meat still has protein.  Organic milk and "regular" (hormone and anti-biotic laced) milk both contain calcium and protein and are fortified with vitamin D.   This is absolutely true.  And if you have to take your 7 year old daughter bra shopping while trying to decide if it's ok for your 9 year old to use tampons and puzzling over why your son's bronchitis won't go away despite 3 rounds of anti-biotics then by all means please call them equal.  I, for one, will pass.

The article boasts a nifty little "supermarket" vs "gourmet market" food comparison chart which is very trickily crafted.  He compares regular store brand olive oil at $5.49 a bottle to fancy gourmet organic extra virgin at $25.29 a bottle.  Let's compare regular non-virgin to organic non-virgin or regular extra virgin to organic extra virgin.  Staying within the same manufacturer would give us an even truer comparison.  He does a similar trick with peanut butter, calling the store brand regular stuff just as healthy as the organic but ignoring all the additives in it.  He's also skips over the bulk aisle peanut butter.  My peanut butter is cheaper than Peter Pan or Jif or even the store brand.  I get it from the bulk aisle and guess what it contains .... smashed up peanuts and salt.  They even offer a salt free version.  I also buy organic popcorn in the bulk aisle since GMO corn is the first thing I'm consciously eliminating from my diet.  It costs less than ANY of the packaged brands on the shelf.  So if he's really trying to help people eat healthy for cheaper why not suggest this?  Because it doesn't have a big company, or a line of them, paying him to do so.  He's not advocating junk food but he's ignoring all the junk that is in our food.  Call these foods nutritionally sound, call them cheap, but please don't call them healthy.  He's glossing over all the chemicals and additives and who-knows-what that is in our food that is KNOWN to cause health issues as well as the ones that haven't been around long enough to have any idea what they'll do to us.  I just found it to be a very biased article that insulted the intelligence of the average American.  While a lot of people may not realize what is in our food or how harmful it can be let's not pretend they aren't intelligent enough to grasp and process this information if it's given to them.  Many countries are banning GMOs or at least requiring them to be labeled.  Go ahead Dr. Oz, Monsanto, USDA and corporate farms, feed us the Kool-aid but at least have the guts to tell us that you poisoned it first!

(As not to offer griping with no suggestions here are my humble suggestions about eating cleaner food.  Do some research and find out which foods are the worst and try switching to organic versions at least part of the time.  Research food co-ops, something I will start taking part in soon.  Grow what you can.  Yes, a field of corn in your back yard probably isn't realistic but some lettuce and carrots and broccoli are pretty easy.  Some things can even be grown easily on a south facing window sill.  READ YOUR LABELS.  While things like pesticides and GMOs won't show up there a whole litany of other additives will.  Buy local when you can. This is just better for the world over all but your food will have more nutrients and better flavor as well.  And think about this .... organic is more expensive because it gives lower yields, yes, but it's also more expensive because it is rarer now.  If we start supporting local (and far away) organic farms and co-ops and the like the cost of these foods will fall back into line.  I'm sure they'll always cost a little more.  After all, there are reasons that the dirty foods are produced the way they are ... it's cheaper.  Educate yourself at least a little bit and make changes where you can.  Whatever you do, please don't blindly eat as if it's safe to do so anymore.)