There’s no doubt that we live in a toxic society. We eat terrible food, and way too much of it. It’s grown with all kinds of pesticides. Yet the produce doesn’t die, because our buddies at Monsanto have literally altered the genetic make up of the plants to survive the harsh chemicals. Yuk. We’re being experimented on like a science project all in the name of higher crop yields.
Wait, don’t we have an over abundance of food in this country? According to one site, 40% of our food in this country is tossed out! https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-hunger-us Yet we are contently altering our food to produce more, quicker, cheaper. So maybe we’re actually being experimented on in the name of dolla dolla bills ya’ll. (Sorry, couldn’t help it)
Toxins aren’t just in our food chain; they are in our cosmetics, our body care, and even in our air. This is the price of industrialization. It’s not all bad. My Acadia is way faster than a horse and buggy. But we need to find practical ways to reduce our toxic load. In a non-obsessive, non-stressful way.
Well, all of these labels should help right? Yeah, no. Not so much. These labels can be misleading and at times a complete waist of money. They can also give a false sense of security for ingesting some not nice things.
While some people will religiously purchase organic, others could care less about any of it. I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. Let me do my best to explain why, and what these various labels mean.
The main labels or hot marketing words that come to mind are “organic”, “non-GMO”, “natural”, and “toxin free”. Lets touch on a couple of these real quick.
This sounds great. Who doesn’t want their peanut butter made “naturally”? When you see this on a label you feel all warm and fuzzy and earthy and safe. So you buy it.
Guess what it means…nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada. If you want to know how natural something is, read the label. Don’t pay more for that face wash because it says “contains natural ingredients”.
Same goes for “non-toxic”. There are actually a lot of really good non-toxic products out there. But you better know the company, their production methods, and what they stand for; because anyone can say they are non-toxic. Want to know if it’s toxic or not? Look for third party testing. We will touch on that more later.
Now that we’ve scratched the easy ones off the list, lets move on to the trickier subject matter. ORGANIC. I don’t believe there is a one size fits all answer here. I look at my shopping list in 3 different sections where organic is a choice. Meat and animal products, produce, and personal care items. Today we will touch on the first – meat and animal products
Why I don’t buy organic meat, usually
Have you ever been to an industrialized farm? Well I haven’t either. But I’ve seen pictures and heard the horror stories.
Before I start my rant about the animal rights piece of this story, please don’t think I’m a crazy PITA person. I’m far from it. Yes I love animals, but I think we should eat them. I’m even ok with wearing them. But, I think the animals should be respected and treated kindly and have a nice happy life on a cute farm before they become dinner or a coat.
Here’s the problem with industrialized farming. This isn’t a farm at all. It’s a factory. Period. You want the biggest animal in the quickest time frame, utilizing the smallest space and resources. The animals live in extremely tight quarters. This would normally lead to illness. Especially since they are rolling around in their own excrement. Yup, your chicken nugget came from a chicken forces to chill in his own chicken poop. I said it.
How do you fix this problem? Let them frolic in a field and eat bugs like the chicken would in nature? Hell no, you stuff it full of antibiotics. Keep them suckers germ free while you over stuff them to the point they can’t stand up. How do you get them that big? Steroids of course! Why not? Oh and hormones too. Don’t forget the hormones. If you want to get a little more in-depth on this topic check out this page. http://www.farmsanctuary.org/learn/factory-farming/chickens/
So what are we feeding these antibiotic, hormone, and steroid stuffed creatures?
Not what God intended! But, does it matter? Well, yeah, duh. Of course it matters. You are what you eat. And that’s true for cows and chickens. Cows for example are meant to eat grass. Industrialized cows do not eat grass. They are fed feed that is mostly corn and soy. A healthier animal will always come from being fed its natural diet. Not cheap feed to plump them quicker. According to the following website, the feed industrialized cows are given actually changes their GI track to one that is more acidic, which breads e. coli. Yum. http://www.sustainabletable.org/260/animal-feed
Industrialized animals are unhealthy, inhumane, and take a toll on the environment that I didn’t even touch on. You can Google that one yourself. Not ready to become a vegetarian? ME EITHER!
My answer to this problem is to buy from a local farmer. I buy from my friends at Curtis Farms. They are not certified and they do use some feed. The animals are treated exceptionally well. In fact, my kids go play on the farm and whenever they have baby animals we all go play! They are only given medications if they are sick. Not prophylactically, because they don’t need it! They have space to move and live.
We buy the whole animal, or split it with another family if it’s a cow. It is processed at a non-FDA site. Gasp! Why? Well duh. Where do you think all the e. coli comes from? Industrialized processing centers. I don’t want my cow at the same butcher as the gross cows. This option is actually very reasonably priced. Finding a local farm might take a little homework on your part. But I bet there’s something around.
If this is not an option, you can always buy organic in the grocery store. Just keep in mind, organically grown doesn’t always mean humanely grown.
All the other animal products
So you love milk. Ok. Milk is debatably good for you. For all of the same reasons your meat should be organic, humane, and free of garbage, the cow that your milk comes from should be too.
Milk is a wonderful example of the flaws of organic labeling. Ever heard of carrageenan? Carrageenan comes from a type of seaweed and is used to stabilize milk products. Since it is “natural” from seaweed it is often used in organic milk products. In fact, it’s difficult to find organic milk products that don’t contain this.
The problem with carrageenan is that it is known to irritate the lining of your gastrointestinal tract. The FDA claims that it is safe. A quick pub med search shows numerous research studies on anti-inflammatories where carrageenan is used to induce a state of inflammation. Granted, this was most often administered subcutaneously to rats to induce swelling in the foot. That hardly carries over to the human GI tract.
The following study does show that carrageenan increases inflammation and neoplasms in the GI tract. This is enough for me to steer clear. There are brands out there that do not contain carrageenan, but again, you have to actually pick the label up and read it! Believing the almighty organic label will fail you in this instance. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1242073/pdf/ehp0109-000983.pdf
Well that was a longggggg blog. And for sticking with me I reward you with a picture from Tommy Boy so you can all remember fondly. Yeah it really has nothing to do with the topic, but it came to mind when I typed the word butcher earlier. YOUR WELCOME!
Next week we’ll touch on produce. So, if you have no interest in labeling of food products, you might want to skip. I just might have some bonus content next week, so be sure to check in 🙂