Food For Thought
Food For Thought
I love food.
I grew up with a mother that was equivalent to a gourmet chef. We sat around as a family nearly every night and ate beautiful extravagant meals together. Most of the time when we would make it out to a restaurant for a special occasion, we’d all end up praising my mom in the car on the way home about how much more we enjoy her food than eating out. That being said, going to the local Furrs was not necessarily the epitome of culinary enlightenment but the point is, my mom makes damn good food.
Almost 4 years ago when I became a mother myself, I was suddenly reeling at the idea that it was my responsibility to take care of this little person who knew no better. It was then that I started becoming educated on the ugly truth behind factory farming and where our food comes from. My family and I successfully became vegetarians for three years (full on vegan for 6 of those months) and it seemed to go really well for a long time. Until about a month ago…
It all started on a road trip to Northern California. I had no idea what was in store for me as I innocently drove past In-N-Out burger. I can imagine if you grew up vegetarian, the idea of eating meat is unfathomable. But if you grew up with the marvelous food my mother prepared, divulging in a luxuriously rich Bolognese (with red wine of course) or once in a while a greasy hot dog out of a NYC street cart, after three years you would start to relapse too. One double-double animal style later and my tree-hugging hippy eating ways went out the window. I fell hard and hit every branch on the way down.
For me, eating is an emotional event (which is how I explain baking and then eating pies in the middle of the night at peak stress times.) Having meat again took me right back to important moments in my life. The smell, the texture and the ceremony of it all…look at what I’ve been missing!!! But I felt so guilty. I had stopped eating meat, and for a very good reason. The health of my 3 ½ year old daughter. How in the world could I find balance!!??
Luckily that’s when I saw a trailer for a film called Food Inc. (www.foodincmovie.com) and made plans with my foodie friends to go see a screening.
My astrological sign is Cancer, which is where my love of food and my extreme sensitivity come from. This all was proven when four minutes into the film I started crying uncontrollably. I mean shoulder shaking, snot flying, can barely breathe crying. Needless to say, my friends were embarrassed. It wasn’t the images of cattle, chickens and hogs being abused and severely mistreated. I had suspected and prepared for that going in. It was the injustice of the system and the way the wool has been cleverly pulled over all of our eyes. The way the farmers, factory workers and lower income and minorities have been left no other choice.
I’m going to try not to get all preachy on you. Whether or not you decide to see the film is entirely up to you but let me put it this way. I have found a way to eat the foods I enjoy so much without worrying about the ill affects. Support your local farmers. I cannot stress this enough. When you buy locally, you buy seasonally and you are essentially voting with your dollar. You are saying “no” to the corrupt system that is killing our planet and us. You can eat meat with the knowledge that there are no harmful chemicals, hormones, G.M.O’s and that these animals were treated with respect and free to act on their inherent nature. You can eat vegetables that don’t taste like the idea of a tomato but are like eating sunshine itself. If you can’t afford to shop locally, let your favorite farmer’s market know you’d like them to accept food stamps. When you shop, try to buy organic when possible. You are making a choice and it DOES make a difference. Let’s fight for our farmers. Planting seeds, helping them grow and feeding our neighbors, is one of the most honorable professions I can think of. Let’s let them know they are not alone. Let’s fight the system. You owe it to yourself and our future generations to know the truth about what we are putting into our mouths.