Thursday, August 18, 2011


Food is near and dear to my heart. I like all kinds of food and when I'm not trying to figure out what to feed the picky peeps I enjoy making grown-up dishes with spices.  We all have beliefs about food, for whatever reason: political, moral, ethical, healthful, etc.  The interesting thing about food and where we are now, is that we are killing the planet by creating food.  How bizarre is that?

In the interest of full disclosure, I have no faith in the USDA, FDA, and the EPA for that matter.  Almost all of the people involved making sure our food is "safe" and "healthful" work directly or indirectly with giant agribusiness corporations. They've changed the food pyramid (again) and now when you go to the USDA  website it customizes the food pyramid depending on your age, but it still tells each of us to eat too many of the wrong carbs, not enough vegetables, and that all meat and vegetables (as long as they're cooked well enough) are safe for us to eat. According the the USDA meat from cows fed a steady diet of corn (not their natural food choice),  antibiotics, and sometimes other animals is healthy.  Despite recalls due to various meat processing related diseases. (Food Inc. does a thorough and enlightening job of showing this without beating you over the head on the issues.)

Our government doesn't  do any better with vegetables or oils.  Did you know that almost all oils (other than organic) use hexane (a biproduct of gasoline production) as an extraction method? It is not listed on the ingredients because the hexane "evaporates at low temperatures".  Ditto for soy processing (including tofu).  Is this really safe?  I'm sure studies have been done, but are they done by an independent company or one that's payed by the corporation itself (kind of like drug trials).

Ok, so our food production is hurting our personal health, but it's also hurting the planet.  30% of the earth's surface is devoted to raising animals for consumption. And that number is expected to increase over the next 40 years.  18% of the planet's greenhouse gasses come from meat production. I am not advocating a meat free diet (I would have in the past and that is a whole different discussion) but we eat, in general, five times the amount of meat we need to a week.  Does it makes us stronger and healthier?  No. For all the talk about health and wellness in this country, we are some of the most unhealthy people on the planet.

I am a huge fan of TED.  The TED talks can be a rabbit hole for me, but educational, so I rationalize it as being ok.  Here's one of Mark Bittman from 2007 on food.

It's worth the twenty minutes out of your day and life - trust me.

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