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So, I was watching the movie “Food, Inc.” for the second time. Have you seen it? If you haven’t I highly recommend you do. It is an eye-opening piece of film that blows the lid way off of the food supply in our country. It discusses who is really in control of the food choices we have and who isn’t. I will leave the viewing to you, or you can read Fast Food Nation or any of Michael Pollan’s books to get the same information. I will be watching it with my kids very soon because I want them to understand that the changes I am making to the food in our house isn’t because I have completely lost my marbles now that I have turned 40.

The bottom line is every time we go to the grocery store and buy processed food, feed lot meat and dairy, farmed fish, commercially raised chicken, we vote for the horrifically egregious policies that have driven the U.S. to be the unhealthiest yet wealthiest country on the planet. For every swipe across the scanner we are saying, “It’s OK. If you produce this crap, I will buy it.” I’ve got news for you, if you buy it, NOTHING will change. The more often you buy it, the more money will be spent on producing it and marketing it to our kids so they grow up and buy it. The cycle will continue.

The entities that produce our food are not farmers or ranchers like the pictures on the label imply, they are factories with assembly lines and chemicals.

What some countries spend on healthcare costs in total is about what we spend per person! And we are sicker! There is something fundamentally wrong with this picture.  I will not spend this post reciting Food Inc. but I will list a few stats.

  • In the 1970’s the top 5 beef producers controlled 25% of the market, today the top 4 control 80% of the market. (Tyson, Swift, Cargill and National Beef are the largest) Anyone up for a game of Monopoly? Ok, not funny…
  • The average supermarket has about 47,000 products on the shelves at any one time. What?! No wonder we’re confused about what to buy.
  • McDonalds is the largest purchaser of ground beef and potatoes in our country and one of the top purchasers of pork, chicken, tomatoes and apples. Is anyone surprised by that last one? I was.
  • The average chicken farmer borrows $500,000 to produce chickens for the above companies, yet earns about $18,000 a year. You’ve got to be kidding me.
  • 30% of our land is used to grow corn due to government subsidies. What’s wrong with that? Many things, not the least of which is that high fructose corn syrup is now in seemingly everything from juice to hamburger buns to salad dressing to processed baked goods. It is also why feedlot cows are fed corn instead of grass which is why they get sick and are in need of antibiotics.  Don’t even get me started on soybeans. It’s a very similar story.
  • If you remove a cow from it’s corn feed for 5 days before slaughter and feed it grass, you remove 70-80% of the E coli in its gut. But most beef producers won’t do that for efficiency reasons.
  • 90% of the soybeans grown in the US today are a product of Monsanto’s genetically engineered soybean and it is seemingly in everything!! They are on a mission to make it 100% through litigation and bullying small farmers who want to use their own un-engineered seeds. They own the soybean. Watch the movie.
  • Monsanto has very close ties to the various regulatory and judicial bodies that pass laws and policies, including Clarence Thomas, prior Monsanto attorney. Two people tied to the Bush administration (Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft) and two from Clinton’s administration (Mickey Kantor and Robert Shapiro) There are many more examples. Talk about the fox watching the hen-house!

Look, I know we are all so busy. It is nearly impossible to not buy this stuff when time is such a precious commodity and economic times are tough. It is much easier to blissfully buy what is convenient and remain un-aware. I did, but it made me sick, very sick. I am still not the perfect paleo consumer either, but I am getting better. All I ask is that we be aware of the impact of our choices as we make them. Just do what you can, when you can, to make a difference.  If we all make a conscious effort to speak with our dollars it WILL make a difference. Case in point, even Wal-Mart has begun to carry organics, and not due to a desire to promote the greater good; it was 100% because it was what their customers wanted!!!

 Some practical ideas:

  • Prioritize where you want to make a difference in your home. You don’t have to tackle everything all at once.
  • Find local sources for produce and meats when available. I have a great local source if you live near me.
  • Replace as many processed foods for whole foods where possible.
  • Stop buying food with ingredients you can’t pronounce or can’t identify.
  • Anything that says enriched is a waste of money.
  • Don’t buy foods that use high fructose corn syrup.
  • Don’t buy foods with the word hydrogenated on the label.
  • Opt for organically raised animal foods where possible. Pastured or grass-fed is even better.
  • Cook and eat at home whenever possible. Don’t make it complicated, keep it simple and fresh.
  • Keep whole food snack choices readily available and processed snack foods harder to get. ie. fruits, cut veggies, nuts, cheese sticks etc. instead of cookies, chips and crackers.

We have to start DEMANDING good wholesome food. If we do, they WILL deliver.

Skip This:      Buy this:

Feel free to offer your own tips and ideas on how to make living healthier easier. I would love to hear from you.

Until Next Time,

Laura, Mom Gone Paleo

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No Responses to “We’ve got to get control of the beast!”

  1. Excellent post, I couldn’t agree more! That movie made me want to pull my hair out. Have you seen The Future of Food? That is another amazing documentary, and very clear and concise for anyone new to this whole organic thing…

    I say VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLARS. Every penny you spend supports someone. Is is someone you want to support?

    I live in Southeast Michigan, if anyone needs an excellent source of 100% grass-fed and finished beef, pastured pork, free-range chickens etc …..contact me and I’ll help.

    I think if people start with fats first, everything else will follow. By eliminating trans and hydrogenated oils, they eliminate all processed food, and slowly are transitioned into a more raw, paleo lifestyle….

    • momgonepaleo says:

      Hi there!

      Thanks for that. I will check out the future of food. And I totally agree. If you can start with the bad fats that eliminates so much of the bad stuff in one shot. It would probably reduce overall sugar consumption as well.

      Sent from my iPhone

      ~ Laura

      • datinggym says:

        Love this post. I couldn’t agree more. Saw the movie and is a real eye opener. Convenience is hard so the more we know and are reminded the better. Fresh fruit and veggie markets have no pre packaged foods…Steer clear of supermarkets and I find it easier to avoid “food” with ingredients I can’t pronounce.

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