Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Food, Inc.

Thanks for the comments... we are so excited to meet this little one! I think I am going to worry probably until she is born, but I'm pretty set on not doing the amnio. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if we had a miscarriage. I'm just going to do like Nina said and focus on those pretty ultrasound pictures! There are a thousand rabbit holes of worry to go down as a parent and if you let yourself start thinking about things that could go wrong, you're in trouble. Even if the baby is born healthy there are still a thousand things that can happen or go wrong after that! It's hard for me to practice what I preach, but it's not worth paying a worry-debt for the future.

We have another ultrasound December 22 to follow up. I originally had it scheduled on the 15th, but the tech said I should come in a week later since it looks like the baby is a week smaller. Which just makes me wonder more... why don't they just recalculate the test?! Anyway, moving on!!

The other night Adam and I were getting in to bed and when he turned the lights out, it looked so bright in our room even though we had all the drapes drawn. I was like, what IS that? Is that the MOON? And Adam peeked out the window and said, Oh, Good Lord... those are the neighbor's CHRISTMAS lights. Seriously we felt like the neighbors of the Griswolds on Chevy Chase's Christmas when they got blinded by Sparky's Christmas light spectacle. Good grief.

Adam and I finally got to watch Food, Inc. It's been on backorder through Netflix for MONTHS. Maybe almost a year now we have been waiting for it to deliver.

We, of course, had already had our shackles raised after reading or watching the likes of King Corn, Fat Head, The Omnivore's Dilemma and Good Calories, Bad Calories. This movie would be a nice introduction, or just a complement to the other resources, if you've seen/read one or more of them.

I defintely spent about 1/3 of the movie with my eyes closed. There are some very graphic and disturbing images of feedlots and slaughterhouses that I just didn't want to internalize. I am aware the situation is not that great; I don't need to have the images seared into my brain for all eternity. If you can get past those scenes, the rest of the movie is really interesting and eye-opening.

The three things that really stuck out in my mind were first, that there seemed to be so much secrecy around food production companies. Like the meat-raisers wouldn't let the crew film inside the feedlots or chicken coops, and declined to comment for the film. Why shouldn't we be allowed to see and scrutinize where our food is coming from? Right shouldn't fear light. That's messed up.

Second, that so many of the world's problems seem to have a nexus in U.S. food policies. For example, U.S. subsidies of corn and soybeans put farmers out of work in developing countries and increase social and political strife. This is happening in Mexico - as a result of NAFTA, Mexico was flooded with cheap grain products from the U.S., putting many Mexicans out of work, and contributing in no small way to illegal immigration and crime problems. If you consider the healthcare debate, you could make a strong argument that if people were not eating so much cheap processed crap (with corn and soybean by-products at their heart) there would be a lot fewer health problems and a lot less cost for healthcare. Two of the three major health problems in the U.S. are largely preventable or mitigated through diet - heart disease and diabetes. It is possible to make candy and cookies that don't have that crap in it. Go look at the ingredients in the gourmet German candy and cookies in your grocery store and compare it to Oreo's or M&M's.

And third, that the U.S. government seems to be very complicit in perpetuating and even exacerbating the problem. A shocking number of big food company former employees and even CEO's are now running the FDA and other regulatory bodies meant to protect consumers. Of course business is business and the bottom line will always rule in that context, but the government has a responsibility to regulate their operations in order to protect people. This is one area where I am definitely pro-government intervention; I'm usually more of a laissez-faire type. For example, because of complicated regulatory loopholes, it's virtually impossible to shut down a food company for having multiple food safety violations (like e. coli).

Where we are going as a country on the issue of food production, manufacture, sale, etc is disturbing. The film ends with a list of things you can do to change the situation. You vote with your dollars, and if you are unsettled by what is going on, you can buy from companies that treat animals and their employees ethically, support organic and local agriculture, and eschew frankenfood ingredients like corn and soy byproducts.

Phew. The air is getting thin up here on this soapbox, I think I'll step off now. Watch the film and see for yourself!

No comments: