Saturday, October 16, 2010

You Are What You Eat.

You Are What You Eat

I have been thinking a lot about the food we eat.
How many times have we been told "you are what you eat". Well, the afterthought today comes in two different forms.
It is either, "yes, you are what you eat, except when it comes to adding hormones or genetically modifying foods" or "yes, you are what you eat, and everything out there will kill you!!!!".

Now, I like to think of myself as a level headed kind of person, I can be very skeptical about the "cause du jour".
However, with all the increases in obesity, autoimmune disorders, diseases, learning disabilities and Autism, it is hard not to look at food, and the changes in it from one generation to the next, as a possible (and I stress POSSIBLE) cause. Is it really a stretch to think that something we put inside our bodies on a daily basis, several times a day, could be causing some of the problems many, dare I say most of us are confronting? Also, I don't think proposing solutions to return to a more natural way of eating is radical.

What I do know is we have an entire generation of parents asking themselves did I cause this ________ (insert you or your childs issue here) to occur in my kid or in myself? Am I just a weak person / parent? What am I doing wrong??? Why was it so much easier for our parents?

I have begun the process of educating myself to what has happened to our food, since food is one of the easiest things to control in our families lives - if we have a spine, that is! ;)

This month, I have been trying to focus on hormones that are added to our chicken, beef and pork, to increase the amount of food that comes from each animal.
We have the food industry and federal gov't on one side, assuring us these hormones are safe, both for the animal and the consumer (um, that is you and me).
On the other side, we have doctors, vegetarians, animal rights groups, child advocates, etc. etc, all telling us it is not safe for human consumption.

Interestingly, the Pill, a hormone used to prevent pregnancy, has a warning label all over it. We know it wreaks havoc on women's bodies. Other hormones, whether used to minimize the effects of menopause or to increase masculine features in men, also have warnings all over them. Logically, how can I come to any other conclusion, that these hormonal additives must not be good for us? I know medicine and hormones can be transferred through breast milk, because I was not even allowed to breast feed either of my sons, due to medications I was on. Am I to believe that these hormones are not transferred through our foods to us? If I am missing something, please tell me. I know I will get arguments that the "evidence" just isn't there to support my conclusion, since the FDA says it is safe. I wonder if the FDA thinks that it is safe or just safe ENOUGH? The second thought I have is "is it necessary?" For me, it isn't necessary to increase production ( and therefore profit ) when it may be causing harm to humans. A conflicting concern I have heard is this: removal of hormones will decrease production, which will lead to less people having access to animal protein? That is something which requires more research, but raising bountiful and healthy animals was occurring before the introduction of growth hormones, so I don't see this as a realistic concern. I would not want a result of any campaign to be more deaths of humans, as in the case of the banning of DDT and the rise in Malaria deaths in Africa, and all over the world.

I have a simple proposal. Lets work together, and pick one type of meat: chicken? ( I am open to any suggestions ) Get our friends and neighbors to write letters to Wal-Mart, Safeway, Costco, Kroger, etc. expressing our concern and unwillingness to continue feeding our families chicken with hormones. This is exactly the type of action that led Wal-Mart to remove rbST from its Wal-Mart branded milk. Other dairy's (not all) soon followed suit, PROVING, you can be profitable and give customers what they want. For me, this is NOT about destroying Corporations. I want Corporations to be successful, I want shareholders to earn, but I do want them to earn responsibly.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.