I finally watched Food, Inc. this weekend. Wow. Where do I begin? I thought I had a pretty good grasp of the state of our nation's food systems. But this film really opened my eyes even more. Especially as an omnivore. Now, don't jump to any conclusions, I'm STILL not going vegan. At least not yet. I guess that's a good place to start though. Food, Inc. opens up the doors of the big mid-western slaughterhouses and chicken factories and shows us just how absolutely DISGUSTING this industry actually is. Thousands of cows standing in massive lots, knee deep in their own excrement. Thousands of chickens packed into huge, dark closed up chicken houses. These animals being fed genetically modified grains and pumped full of antibiotics. Fattening them up as quickly as possible so that they can be slaughtered and sold. They get so big, so fast, their bones can't grow that fast and many of these chickens and cows can barely hold themselves up.
Speaking of genetically modified grains, and not only grains, genetically modified foods in general. I was blown away by how much of our food is not what we think it is. That tomato that looks so ripe and fresh? Think again. It's been genetically modified to resist going bad too soon. The film talks a lot about corn and soybeans, which if you've ever read anything by Michael Pollan you aren't surprised by this. Corn and soy are found in just about every single food item on the grocery store shelves and these are also modified crops. They are engineered to resist insects or to be resistant to pesticides or who knows what else. One company in particular dominates the GMO industry so much that it's putting organic soybean farmers out of business. I dare not say too much, otherwise I might get sued. Seriously.
I used to pride myself on shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. Fruits and veggies, meats and eggs. Keep it simple. I thought I was making the best choices, but perhaps the chicken breast is not all that much better than the potato chips. Think that's a stretch? I don't. Recently I have been trying to shop for organic products but didn't go crazy about it. After watching this film, my shopping methods are about to get a serious revamping. Now I'd like to find local organic farms that sell grass fed, free range, antibiotic and hormone free beef. Sure it's expensive, but you know what? Living a long and healthy life is worth it. Lately I've been spending a lot more time at Whole Foods. I've been buying cage free, organic eggs and you can really tell the difference. The yolks are brighter, the whites are clearer, they taste better. And you know what? They really are only a few cents more expensive.
One of the biggest arguments for eating crap is that it's cheap. So many people can't afford to eat healthy. Yet they pay a fortune in medical bills and prescription drugs to treat their diabetes and heart disease that could most likely be healed if they just used all that money to shop smarter. I don't have time to cook, I don't have money to buy healthy food, what's your excuse? I'm a single, unemployed girl with a ton of credit card debt, rent, utilities and I rarely get to hang out with my friends but you know what? My first priority is grocery shopping. You do what it takes to be well.
I could probably go on for days about this film and what it's made me think about, but I won't. I just highly recommend that you see it. And really think about where your food comes from and what food really means to you.
Have you seen Food, Inc.? I'd love to hear your thoughts!!