Ahhh my favourite subject, again! It came up in conversation at a Bootcamp recently. There can be no denying EVERYTHING revolves around food. Food has been used for it all from curing illnesses, to poisoning enemies and a whole lot more in between. Think about it. We are products of an egg and sperm which are products of what? Well they were produced in our parents bodies and consist of protein, fat and carbohydrate, derived from food that our parents ate. Interestingly a woman’s eggs are in fact produced whilst she herself is still in the womb so in all likelihood eggs are derived from food her mother ate as well!
So the facts are we are products of food and of course we grow and develop by eating food. Food could therefore be classified as being ofTop Importance!!
What I find most interesting is that in the early 1900’s diseases such as diabetes, heart and cardiovascular disease, a number of cancers and a variety of other diseases were not prevalent at all. It’s been the past 100 years that these diseases have become the scourge of mankind. The Past 100 Years!!
What has happened to us in that time, I mean can we find reasons why these diseases have taken root? Well I’m sure most of you would say yep we are lazier, we drive cars, take taxi’s, walk on travellators, ride escalators and elevators and sit in front of computers and our TV’s a real lot these days! Sure we are more sedentary (except you regular Ufitters of course!!) but that is only part of it. Yes fast-foods, HFCS (high fructose corn syrup, look at your food labels it’s EVERYWHERE – next step, google it!!), cola’s, ice-cream, chocolate, yeah yeah….but these are not what I’m really talking about here. It’s worse than that, much worse.
How does a plant grow? It puts roots into the ground that absorb water and nutrients from the soil. These nutrients contribute to the nutrient profile of the plant. In the same way we are products of the quality of the food we ingest so are plants.
I have read a lot of books, journals and reputable magazines (this you can read to being mainly New Scientist and American Scientist) on the subject of food. Sure my Masters studies being nutrition and exercise focussed a lot on the topic as well but it has been my reading after the studies that I have found the most interesting stuff.
One thing is certain and that is the world’s soil is in a very poor state. Please stop laughing! Soil?? How does a soil profile remain healthy?? In the old days farmers would employ crop rotation and fields that had been sewn and cropped after several crop cycles would be “put to fallow”. That means the field wouldn’t be cropped for a cycle or 2 and usually grass would grow, cows and other livestock would graze on the grass and what would they do? They would shit and that shit would fertlise the field and help restore the soil profile. Not the most ideal scenario but pretty natural and it worked!
Then farming became a serious business and the dreaded corporations got wind of the profits to be made from the fast-food industry. Basically McDonalds became the largest buyer of beef and potatoes in the US and you don’t need to be a nobel prize winning mathematician to work out that that is a shed-load of meat and tatties! So the corporations, always looking to maximise shareholder value, bought up all the farms! The US went from a nation of farmers (with total farm numbers in the thousands) to about 5 or 6 MEGA farms – seriously! In a lot of cases because McDonalds and other fast-food joints had the whip-hand, they told the farmer what price they would pay for produce. Farms that maintained high levels of hygiene and production standards couldn’t afford to sell at such low prices and went out of business – who stepped in and purchased the cheap business?? In this way the corporations bought up huge numbers of farms over a period of many years.
In recent times, hobby farms and other, larger organic and semi-organic farms have been established to service a “buy local” campaign (in direct response to the lack of control Americans felt they had over their food). This campaign has proven to be a huge success and is providing discerning customers with choice not only on a local basis but also on a quality basis.
The key issue is however not all customers are discerning and a lot simply can’t afford to be! The big farms are primarily interested in profitability and this has manifested itself in some ugly ways. Consider the use of growth hormone in cows feed (a milking cow won’t be ready to produce usually until approx 18 months of age but with GH, it can be 4 months!). Does the GH appear in the milk and other dairy products – yep! Cows for slaughter also get fed GH to speed up the growth period and increase farm profitability. Does GH appear in the meat? Yes it does. But it gets worse.
Instead of cows being fed grass which is true to their natural nutrition (grass takes too long to digest and the dumb animals always meander around taking their time eating….) corporations feed cows “cow feed”. This is usually corn and soy (both crops that in the US are predominantly now genetically modified) mixed in with some other important constituents namely antibiotics and growth hormone. It’s rather obvious for you now to understand why GH is in there but antibiotics?
Intensive farming practises mean animals live at close quarters and even though most of the time the animals aren’t sick, the antibiotics are put in the feed anyway,just in case….
So here’s the thing, the GM soy and corn have been grown in fields in soil that has been fertilised with synthetic fertilisers (derived from oil and natural gas) increasing volume of nitrogen and phosphate in the plants. The plants (even though supposedly resistant to attack by pests due to genetic modification) are still treated with pesticides! The plants in the form of “cow feed”, are then fed to the animals when of course they should be eating grass. The animals are also fed the GH and antibiotics. I ask you do you believe the quality of the meat and the dairy products have been compromised? Do you believe that pesticides, GH, antibiotics and other added safety measures are detectable in these products? THEY ARE!!
Does it make sense? Do you think that increased levels of nitrogen, phosphate, growth hormone and pesticides in the human body could result in increases in cancers and even birth miscarriages? Well they do.
The past 100 years has seen a rapid increase in the human population. It has seen all means of ways undertaken to ensure all these people can be fed. This includes serious short-cuts taken by greedy farming corporations clearly at the expense of the health of human beings. The past 100 years has seen a massive increase of the incidence of many “lifestyle” diseases. There is a direct correlation between foods that contain chemicals and disease. Will you be a victim? Will your children?
We do collectively eat too much meat. And we don’t need it. By eating too much meat we risk ingesting a lot of chemicals. And on top of that we simply eat too much, full stop!! Reduce meat, reduce calories, reduce RISK….
To protect yourself and your family you need to stop buying products from countries with suspect levels of farm governance. You should also be wary of countries that support GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). You can make a choice when you shop. You can ask questions at restaurants. Be aware of the massive dangers when consuming these kinds foods. Empower yourself and teach this empowerment to your children!
I wrote this post with the aid of two books I love and recommend you all read –
“The end of Food”, Paul Roberts, Bloomsbury Publishing and
“The Food Revolution”, John Robbins, Conari Press