Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I care about my food?
A valid question. Why not just let the food companies feed us what they will? After all it all looks like food right. Well look at it this way, if you’re going out to buy a new television you’re going to research your choice. After all it’s an expensive decision. You’re going to talk to the salesman, reasearch online, talk to your friends. Plasma, LED, LCD, CRT? HD, SD, 720p, 1080i? Lots of choices and you want to make the right one.
However if someone takes your TV away, or if something goes wrong with it you’ll go on living just fine. If somone takes your food away or if there’s something wrong with it things won’t be fine. Why not put the same effort into finding out where your food comes from and making an informed decision when buying it? Food is something you eat, something you put in your body. It effects how you feel, how long you live, and many other things not as obvious (environment, air quality, economics, health care, etc…).
What’s wrong with modern chicken?
Modern “conventionally” produced chicken looks a lot different than chickens 40 years ago. Now chickens are raised to slaughter weight in half the time, have massive breasts (not good for a chicken), and are more uniform. While more efficient, there are a lot of health problems with the system.
Chickens are kept in such tight quarters they need a slew of antibiotics to keep diseases from spreading. As a result many harmful strains of bacteria are becoming antibiotic resistant. The shitty (and I mean poop) conditions they live in give the chickens lung diseases and infections. Forget animal rights for a second, you want to eat something diseased?
Chickens are fed a number of hormones to increase their growth rate. These hormones stay in the meat and have unknown effects on humans. I couldn’t tell you exactly what they do, I just know I would rather live without them.
Remember those huge white breasts? Well the chicken boobies grow so fast that the rest of the chicken can’t keep up. The vital organs have trouble keeping the chicken functioning properly and the muscles and bones can’t keep the chicken up-right. Most conventional chickens can only take a few steps before having to lay down and rest.
If modern chicken is out, what about modern beef?
Beef, oh how the Western Diet revolves around beef. Myself included, I love hamburgers! The cows we eat today don’t reflect the cows of old. If my Kosher understanding is correct, those who follow Kosher rules don’t eat pork because the pig is a “filthy animal.” Well if that’s the reason we should count beef out too.
Cattle today are kept in CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations). Instead of the happy cow feeding off grass and wondering the plains that you see on most store packaging, today’s cow stands ankle deep in feces, eats a strict diet of grain, horomones, and anti-biotics, and is relatively sedentary.
Hormones help the cows develop faster as in chickens. I can’t imagine all those horomones don’t effect developing children.
Cows evolved to eat grass. That’s why they have a rumen and four stomachs. The diet of primarily corn that they eat was chosen primarily because corn is cheap and makes the cows fat quicker. Since the cows cannot digest the corn properly their stomachs become overly acidic and need to be treated with another slew of antibiotics. Not to mention the close quarters and pools of feces they live with, the spread of diseases like the antibiotic resistant E-Coli 0157-H7 get into the meat that we are eating.
The cows go to slaughter caked in crap. With the amount of animals “processed” per hour it’s darn near impossible to keep all that crap out of the meat. Think of the poop next time you eat a fast food burger, mmmm, delicious. They try to treat this with chemical baths, UV rays, you name it. That means they they have to treat the meat to add somem of the flavor back in.
On a nutritional note, cows are just made to get fat and create volume, same as chickens. They don’t get any of the nutrients they would get if they were rasised naturally. If they don’t get it, we don’t get it. Natually raised meat is way more nutricious, and much better tasting.
What is a GMO?
“Genetically Modified Organism.” There are a lot of GMOs on the market today but let’s concentrate on the biggest, corn. Corn is in everything! It’s a big fat bag of starch that can be tweaked and modified to suit your needs.
Some genetic modifications include the Terminator Gene and Roud Up ready seeds. The Terminator Gene renders the plant sterile after one season. That means farmers can no longer save their seeds from year to year. Thus they are forced to buy seeds from Monsanto every year. Not very sustainable from a farmer’s business standpoint.
Round Up is a herbicide that kills weeds. You’ve seen the commercials for Round Up on a residential level I am sure. Round Up ready seeds are modified so when you spray round up on a field, all plants that do not have the gene die and only your plants are left. Pretty effective for killing weeds. I don’t like the idea of pesticide residues on my food or pesticide run-off in my water so I try to stick to organic.
This video is long, but very worth watching. “The Future Of Food”
What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. I wrote about it in the blog here. The basic principle behind a CSA is you the comsumer buy a CSA share from a farm at the beginning of the year. You pay up front about $500 or so. Most farms differ and many are willing to work around your budget.
Then when your CSA starts (mine starts in June) you get a box of fresh vegetables each week until it ends (mine ends in November). I did the math, Kate and I split a vegetable and fruit share with another couple, it works out to $12 a week for both Kate and myself during our CSA.
This works on two levels, it delivers fresh delicious vegables to you every week, and it gives the farmer a solid income base for the farm. It makes buying vegetables cheaper for you, and takes some of the stress off the farmer.
Ask a farmer at your local farmer’s market about their CSA or Google CSAs in your area.
What are you riding to prevent?
Food related maladies such as diabetes, heart disease, and especially obesity have become epidemics in our country. As a man who likes analogies I equate what we’re doing to weeding.
If weeds get out of control they can kill a plant. If you go through and just rip the head off of the weed it will be gone for a while but you have not gone to the root of the problem and the weed lives on.
Riding for a cure, although noble, does not go to the root and ask why are these things happening in the first place. No I don’t think food is the sole reason these diseases exist, but I DO know it is a huge factor in why they are such a problem.
Kate and I hope to encourage people to alter their eating habbits and live more active lives so that they may never have to deal with diabetes, heart disease, obesity, or the number of diseases that can be traced to what we put in our mouth.
Are you vegetarian or vegan?
The answer is quite simply no. I am a true omnivore. Also, I am a self-proclaimed bacon enthusiast. I don’t have any problems with vegetarians or vegans, it’s just not my style. Kate and I try to, and have been quite successful at eating vegetarian every other day. We are however very very careful about where our meat comes from.
So are you going to start your own farm when you get home?
Starting my farm this year, 2013. While this is the first farm I will have owned by myself, it’s not my first time farming.
You love cooking don’t you?
Hell friggen yeah…Pardon the language here. Food that’s grown and raised in a healthy and natural way will turn your cooking into something completely different. Even the most simple meals feel gourmet when the quality of the ingredients is top of the line. You’ll stop eating vegetables because mom’s forcing you to and learn to truly enjoy them.