Sunday, July 31, 2011

Where is the real food?

“You look at the labels and you see farmer this, farmer that. It’s really just
three or four companies that are controlling the meat. We’ve never had
food companies this big and this powerful in our history.”
– Eric Schlosser, author of “Fast Food Nation.”
As we enter August, I've come to realize how much I have not missed eating meat throughout the first seven months of 2011.  As many of you know, I started a journey this year with my husband (at his urging and suggestion) to adopt a pescetarian diet.  This diet is an octo-lavo vegetarian diet with the addition of fish, crustaceans and shell fish - in other words - I don't eat things with legs or wings (but technically crustaceans have legs).  My husband, Dan, made it through January and decided that this form of eating was not for him.  He has since gone back to a full carnivore diet while I've continued on the pescetarian path.

Then April came around and I decided that since I was being conscious about what I was putting into my body already, I might as well take it step further and work on getting healthy overall.  I've since been following a generally strict caloric in-take, while sticking with pescetarianism, as well as targeting at least three work-outs per week.  It's been a struggle and I'm not perfect but I've lost over 20 lbs, down three pants sizes, feel amazing and actually have registered for a half-marathon coming up in November.  I've got a long way to go to be as healthy as I would like, but this year has really been life-changing thus far.

So why am I providing you with the most recent updates on my journey?  Well, as I have changed my life, I've also tried to take the time and educate myself about food and fitness.  From books to magazines to blogs to social networking... I'm utilizing several resources to gain knowledge and learn about what I'm putting in my body.  During a conversation last week with a friend (who has recently adopted a vegan diet in order to naturally combat Type 2 diabetes) the documentary film, Food, Inc. came up.  While I had heard of this film previously, I had never actually seen it.  My friend had mentioned the a few topics that were covered in the film and I decided that I must see it.  That same night (Wednesday of last week), I watched the film (thank you Netflix Instant Queue!).

"Food, Inc. exposes America's industrialized food system and its effect on our environment, health, economy and workers' rights."  It is truly and eye opener.  Now, I wouldn't say that I had previously been ignorant to some of the things that happen in the American Food Industry, but I was for sure not versed in it (nor would I say now that I am fully versed either).  This documentary provides insight into chicken and beef farming, the over- and misuse of corn, industry and government cooperative corruption, waste and pollution, human rights and several other topics.

After seeing chickens that are so pumped with hormones that their legs can not develop fast enough to carry their over-sized bodies; war-ready soybeans; cows that are forced to stand knee-high and deeper in their own waste; vegetables grown in manure that is full of bacteria and chemicals, and so many other horrible sights, the main thing that I took away from this film is that I did not want to go back to eating animals.... ever... and while I can't make that promise, I can guarantee that if I do, it will be different.

As much as an animal lover as I am, the treatment of the animals (also very tough to see) was not what hit me the hardest.  The major cord of mine that was struck is that the animals that we are eating are not real animals.  They are pumped up and full of junk and genetically modified and just not real.  It's amazing science that we can make chickens with double the breast size in half the time or cows that constantly lactate, but we are doing that with hormones that are then being passed into the food we consume and then into our bodies.  Sounds yummy, doesn't it?  This film changed me and I just don't want to do it any more.  I want real food.  This goes for pretty much all food.  Produce, meats, dairy, eggs, fruits.. all of it.. I want real, natural food.  No chemicals, no hormones, no genetically modified (aka mutilated!!) organisms (GMO).  None.

So that is what I'm going to do.. continue to change and grow and learn and improve me.  I want to find local and real food sources and eat real food.  Is it going to be easy? No way.  Will I fail along the way?  Hell yes.  Will it be worth it?  I sure as shit think so.  And of course I will be keeping you updated.  I haven't set any deadlines or end-all goals, but this will be an on going project.  The next step in a life transformation.  Oh and Dan too.  I'm just as concerned about what is going into his body as mine.

If you get a chance, check out Food, Inc.  There are several different topics covered so I think each of us would take away something different, or maybe even nothing at all, and I would love to hear your views and opinions as well. 

(More information available at Hungry for Change and  TakePart

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