My lovely partner Megan and I embarked on a semi-vegan mostly vegetarianism diet at the start of 2012. With a few notable exception, we abstained from eating meats and other animal proteins, while making certain occasional exceptions for dairy milk, cheese, ice cream and butter. After a year of trying a mostly vegan foods we are resuming semi-vegetarian diets.
Much can be said about why "eating less meat" is probably a good ideas for most Americans. The average American diet is very imbalanced and gives rise to an impressive array of costly preventable diseases, sickness and suffering.
Too Much = Sickness
The over consumption of animal proteins in the American diet is responsible for cancers and heart diseases for example. The over consumption of high glycemic index foods (donuts, candy, pop, junk food, high fructose corn syrup/ trash, ect) is responsible for obesity, type II diabetes, stroke, inflammatory auto-immune diseases, joint problems, soreness, loss of energy, lowered immunity, endocrine malfunction, hormone imbalances and other health problems.
Food and Fitness is Medicine
With this in mind, Meg and I will absolutely continue making healthy food and lifestyle choices. We both understand that a healthy lifestyle improves fitness while boosting mental and physical endurance and agility. People that eat healthy and exercise regularly are able to recover from sickness faster, they take fewer sick days from work, and are more efficient overall than their unfit peers that live lives of moving less and eating more.
My primary reason for doing this is to increase my average net protein consumption. We will only eat organic, ethically raised meats, and fish, and animal products. Our goal is not to eat like the average American, but rather to reintroduce "balance" into our diets that make eating more "convenient", less "complicated" and more "tasty".
Cows Eat Grass
One of the major problems that most Americans face with red meat is the health of cow from which it is derived. Sadly, cheap beef comes from sick cows that live in something very much like a concentration camp. Here in this Compact Animal Feed Operations (CAFO) thousands of cows live out a depressing, pain filled, tortured life of eating GMO pesticide saturate corn in a land where not a blade of grass grows. These cows are constantly sick because of their artificial unnatural corn trash diet, and they are killed (rendered) in a way that is inhuman, cruel and mean-spirited. Unsurprisingly the cheap beef rendered from these cows is intensely unhealthy to consume. The overuse of antibiotics and growth hormones in these tortured sick cattle only increases the unhealthiness of the meat they end up becoming. You can get grass fed all natural hormone and antibiotic free beef at most stores that retail raw beef products. Meg and I will eat beef, but only grass fed organic beef.
What about Chicken?
Same story. Meg and I will eat chicken that comes from healthy chickens. Today for example I had french toast (organic eggs). If we buy chicken, we will look for organic, hormone/ antibiotic free kinds. The idea is to eat smaller portions of healthy meat.
A History of Dangerous Changes
Many things have changed over the last 50 years. Sadly, many of the changes that happened in the "food sector" were changes designed to make food faster and more profitable. Business ethics were neglected in pursuit of ever increasing profits, the costs of which are just being discovered as more people come down with preventable illnesses from consuming the for profit toxins in processed and "fast" foods.
Fast Food Trash
The explosive growth of fast food restaurants is perhaps the most visible example of the toxic changes in the American diet. Companies like McDonalds operate tens of thousands of fast food restaurants that serve over 46 million people every day. Many Americans are so confused that they think McDonalds servers delicious healthy foods. Some have such a strong aversion to the truth about the toxicity of fast food that they outright reject the truth it is presented to them.
Synthetic Food Chemicals
Chemical engineering became a part of the grocery store when creative food companies began blending in preservative chemicals to extend the shelf life of their products, which in turn reduces loses and improves profitability. Chemical preservatives are the cheap way to extend the life of shelf stable packaged foods. More expensive high technology vacuum packing, foil packing, and organic preservation methods are available and have been available to industry for decades. The high costs of low prices however pressures these companies by competition to use the most cost efficient methods of extending shelf life. What they do not say on the box is that commercial synthetic chemical preservatives are carcinogenic.
Artificial dye was introduced to make nutrient poor foods look "healthier". Conventional chemical spray agriculture with monocrop configurations brought with it soil nutrient depletion and sick plants. Food plants grown in conventional chemical monocrops have less lower, lower nutrient density, and less flavor. Mono-crops were developed to enable large scale mechanization of agriculture, to bring the efficiency and speed of machines into the food equation. Before industrial agriculture, most food production was a very "hands on" activity. Sadly, the focus on increasing scale and lowing costs resulting in neglecting consideration of food quality. The nutritional quality of food has been declining ever since industrialized agriculture was introduced.
Artificial flavors gave food processing companies the ability to engineer flavors into processed foods. Mixing essential oils, synthetic chemicals, and psychoactive compounds, these creative engineering based food processing companies make up for the lack of flavor in conventional foods by engineering in artificial flavor profiles. The processed food sector took hinds from the cosmetic and perfume industry, understanding that a carefully engineered mixture of tiny amounts of synthetic chemicals can radically improve the flavor of an oreo cookie, snickners bar or other junk foods. These foods additives are often designed like synthetic psychoactive drugs, so that the consumers of the foods have a mind altering albeit extremely subtle experience while eating the junk. The goal is to make the foods as tasty and addictive as possible to increase sales. No attention is given to the toxicity of these activities. Many of the chemicals in processed foods that are non-toxic alone, become extremely toxic when mixed, combined and processed chemically and thermally in the bag, box, junk foods.
Understanding is Different that Appreciation
It is widely accepted that almost everyone knows that processed foods are less healthy then the raw foods from which they are made! While people generally accept that eating foods from a box is not exactly healthy, most Americans do not seems to understand or appreciate the toxicity of the foods and edible products they are regularly consuming. Many industry experts refer to these foods as "peudo-edible, semi-edible, or franken-foods".
GMO Labels ?
Many efforts to increase consumer awareness through product labeling are met with fierce industry opposition. Evil companies that profit from genetically modifying food crops like monsanto do not want you to know what you are eating. They know that if a GMO label is added to food, the general public will start asking questions, questions that have answers that will condemn GMO foods and ultimately create policy pressure to phase out GMO's, which in term would be disruptive to monsantos business activities.
Genetically modified organisms are essentially science experiments at this point. Many unknowns remain about the safety of eating these "engineered" lifeforms. Many of the genetically modified food crops currently being grown are engineered to produce systemic pesticides internally in their tissues. This means that you cannot "wash" the pesticides off. People that consume GMO foods (almost all Americans), are unknowingly consuming foods laden with pesticides. In this way the American general public is being treated like a science experiment by companies like monsanto. They want to keep the experiment going because it is profitable and so that they can get free research. They block efforts to label GMO foods because they know that the labels would reduce the profitability of their GMO business.
We have a right to know what we are eating. If the foods are GMO, they should be labeled as such. We deserve honesty from the companies that produce our foods. We live a far cry away from the Mom and Pop farms of yesteryear. Never before in American history have such a limited number of people been responsible for producing the food for everyone.
Evil Factory Farms
The consolidation, conglomeration and industrialization of family farms into factory farms brought with it this crazy dangerous GMO technology. The industrial agro-chemical companies that own the factory farms are not interested in food safety, or sustainability. These same companies are responsible for disease promoting monocrop farming. These greedy companies have almost eliminated the use of crop rotation on industrial farms. These evil companies developed compact animal feed lot operations, essentially concentration camps where animals live out a destitute, pain filled life of sickness and suffering. When corporate profit is the only thing considered in food production, quality will be thrown out the window for quantity. When maximizing profit is the primary motivation, long term sustainability, soil healthy and environmental issues are not considered.
Disconnecting People from Farms
The farmer has been removed from the farm and replaced by machines owned by a corporation. The consumer has been removed from the farm by the "grocery store". The food system in America has changed so radically that many people believe that food comes from a store; they forget that all food is based on plants that grow in soil in the sun on a farm somewhere far away; that cows eat grass not corn that grows in the soil under the sun. As the consumer and family farmer was separated from the means of production in agriculture, the growing disconnect gave rise to cost cutting toxic corporate profit focused efficiency. These corporations view the world through a lens of exploitation.
Do industrial farms care about soil health? If we examine the liberal use of toxic chemicals in agriculture, it would appear that little to no consideration has been given to soil health. The black suits in this industry seem to think that soil is made of non-living mineral resources. They think that you can make soil by mixing rock dust with petrochemicals. Many of today's highly productive inedible corn crops grown in America are essentially grown in artificial soil.
Real soil is alive with lots of biological activity. Real soil is made of decomposing organic matter and the organism that thrive in this mixture. If you study how soils are formed in nature, you will discover how soil is alive. There is a great movie about soil called "Dirt" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1243971/
Synthetic Food / Yuck
Synthetic Pesticides, synthetic hormones, synthetic antibiotics, synthetic dye, synthetic sweeteners, synthetic preservatives: many processed foods are a toxic mixture of GMO high fructose corn syrup trash mixed with and array of other synthetic chemicals. Does that really sound appetizing or healthy?
"Why Choose Organic Food"
"Organic Food for Better Health"
"Dirt is Life"
"Animals in Concentration Camps"