Food, Inc.

I just finished watching an extremely eye-opening documentary entitled Food, Inc.  I have no idea what to eat after watching it.  I’m going to have to watch it again just to catch everything, but I did catch a few notes you might find interesting:

THE PROBLEMS:

            • McDonald’s is the #1 purchaser of ground beef and potatoes in America.  Consequently, only a handful of companies control our food system.
            • Chicken: the food industry has completely changed the chicken, and the farmer.  The chicken is designed to grow bigger and faster.  When the normal growth cycle is 3 months, it now has been reduced to 7 weeks.  Because people love white meat, the breasts are designed to be huge.  The chickens end up growing so fast that their organs and bones can’t support the growth.  Most can only wobble a few steps before they have to sit down again.
  • Animals in general: animals in general are treated like a production assembly line.  They often sit and stand in their own feces.  Cows end up standing in feces as high as their ankles, all day.  People are not allowed to tape or videotape these growing areas.  The smell alone would drive anyone away and make them think more than twice about the food they’re eating and the food industry in general.
  • Corn: a lot of processed foods can be made from corn.  Plus it can be fed to animals to fatten them quickly, particularly cattle.  They’re even teaching fish to eat it.  There’s a horrible issue with corn and cattle.  Cow are used to eating grass.  It’s how they were designed.  Instead, they’re pumped up with corn – because it’s cheaper and, again, makes them fatter faster.  However, corn also causes them to grow copious amounts of a particular mutated strain of E. Coli.  They actually cut an opening in the side of the cow in order to access a part of their stomach that ends up housing the accumulated bacteria.  A guy was actually digging his hand into the cow’s stomach to fish the bacteria out.  Millions of it was in there.  Just a few weeks (or days?) of a grass diet would fix the E. Coli issue.  But instead of doing that, the food industry would prefer to come up with more sophisticated ways to keep the current system going.
  • Obesity: The major predictor of obesity is income level.  To eat WELL in this country costs more than to eat poorly.  Until chips cost more than carrots, that will always be the case.  See www.ymraonline.org for more info on fighting childhood obesity.
  • 75% of the consumer market has some genetically modified ingredient
  • Oil: We eat a lot of food without knowing it.  There is a surprising amount of oil it takes to raise a steer to slaughter.
  • “The world’s running out of food and nobody’s talking about it.”
SOLUTIONS:
  • Seasonal, organic foods are best: Eat food that’s in season and organic.
  • Be knowledgeable: Know what’s in your food, read labels.
  • Buy local: The average meal travels 1500 miles from the farm to the supermarket. Buy foods grown locally. Shop at farmers’ markets.
  • Plant a garden (even a small one).  A friend of mine, Jennifer Gonzalez, suggests to buy a garden box from Home Depot ($35.00) and then get organic seeds for the foods you want to grow.  She currently grows her favorites: squash, zucchini, broccoli and cucumbers.  Idea from @HealthySptbg: “can we turn vacant city lots into urban gardens?” <– I think that’s fantastic!!
  • Cook a meal with your family and eat together.  Not only is that more healthy, but it’s also great for several other societal issues.
  • Be an advocate: Everyone has a right to healthy food. Ask your school board to provide healthy school lunches.
  • To research: I need to do some more research on something the document mentioned called Kevin’s Law. Ask for food that will keep us and the planet healthy. You can change the world with every bite.
There’s so much more I need to know about the food industry in general.  Watching this documentary helped me see how much I don’t know.  But I do know some changes I can start on today.  Doesn’t seem easy, but I’m definitely motivated to try and make an effort to affect some change.  Hmm…I wonder if I have time to check out Live Oak Farms next Saturday after the Wedding Festivals?

Great people to follow related to this topic: @HealthySptbg, @ForksOverKnives, @ChipotleTweets (Rusty)

Other related movies to watch: Food Matters, Forks Over Knives (Facebook, Twitter), Processed People

Websites: takepart.com/foodinc, ymraonline.org

BUY LOCAL (in Upstate, SC): Upstate Locally Grown, Live Oak Farms (Woodruff, SC), Bi-Lo (mostly local), Milk and Honey Organics

Support restaurants that buy local (in Upstate, SC): American Grocery Restaurant (Downtown Greenville, SC)

National chains that are #foodinc friendly: Chipotle Mexican Grill (also, read about what Chipotle’s doing right)

Authors/other articles to check out: Michael Pollan, The Dirty Dozen (12 least/most contaminated foods)

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Excellent Blog. It is imperative that people learn as much as possible about the origins of their food. I’m certain that the only way to beat or change the system is to educate consumers. Thus, we have our work cut out for us.

    1. MissADS08 says:

      My question is, for the people who’ve seen it (including you), how have you changed what you eat? What have you started doing differently?

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