Saturday, 24 November 2012

Food Glorious Food!


Have you ever taken the time to find out exactly where your food comes from? Or do you just buy food based on the price, especially during this economic downturn? 

To be honest, I really can't afford to live off pure organic food on a daily basis. I'm not happy to see animals tortured, caged and tested on but I also have to seriously consider my pocket. Basic foodstuffs already cost way too much, in my eyes and I've got other bills to pay. 

What about all those pesticides they use on our fruit and veg? Which would you prefer - a large, sweet, juicy pear grown with chemical assistance, or a smaller sized, blemished one, but grown naturally? 

I'm hearing all these things about our foods. I mean, factory farming involves shoving a load of animals in a tight space without looking after them properly. Is it right that we tolerate animals being kept in bad desperate conditions, so long as we get fast, cheap food on our plates?

Ok, we keep going on about the starving children in Africa, but why not for a couple of years do intensive farming like mad to produce that food to feed those kids? Nothing wrong in feeding a starving child is there? I mean, it wouldn't be forever. Now, just because we are doing one thing, it doesn't mean we couldn't at the same time also implement long term organic farming.


It was rather alarming to find out I'd eaten GM food that has had it's natural DNA messed about with. In America for example, I've read that most of their vegetable oil is produced via GM crops. In Hawaii, roughly 80% of their fruit called papaya is GM. If for one minute you think about all the things we use vegetable oil for, it's quite daunting. 

Could it be in reality that the food we think is sustaining us is actually harming us? Sooner or later our natural bodies will begin to show signs of what we have been putting into it. Would our next generation think it was all 'worth it'? Something has to give. 

So, is the abuse of animals in order to feed us, morally justifiable?
Are organic foods really worth the price, and do they taste better?
Do you think GM foods are a risk we should take in order to feed the world?

I would love to hear your comments, views and opinions on this. 



35 comments:

  1. Ahhh, the wonderful food debate. This is a hard one, no matter how you look at it. Fact is, I go for cheap food, many times it actually tastes better. I love refried bean for my Burritos, and the best kind is the Walmart kind, the rest are just blah. Have said that though, we are about to start making out own from bags of Pinto Beans....

    All in all, I know that the food most of us in the US consume is honestly bad for us. People don't take the time to wash off their fruits and vegetables like they should. Twinkies, may they rest in peace, were a staple of junk food lovers here in the US, and those could sit out, unwraped, on a counter for DAYS, if not weeks, and still be fresh.... That can't be healthy.

    Then you have the proof here and there, that people that eat organic food, or grow their own live better lives, as far as health and longevity goes.

    Most soda, and other foods for that matter, if you read the ingredients it all sounds like it was made in a lab somewhere.

    And getting to the point of animal cruelty, its hard not to say they are tortured, when you think of how many animals have to die to feed the population. Is there ever a humane way to slaughter hundreds of millions of cows a year?

    There is no clean cut answer to anything, because fact is, we live by money. There is a very high percentage of this world that cannot grow their own food, whether they live in cities, or whatever. So we are dependent on the capitalistic nature of the food industry. All we can do is hope that the people running those industries are doing the best they can.

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    1. Ah, you beat me to it Dan. I was just about to say you should make your own with pinto beans, it's cheaper and most probably would make a whole lot more.

      Yes, if those large organizations were interesting in running fair ethical businesses then maybe our foods would be better produced at a fairer cost, or at least not as expensive as some of the good foods are. Thanks Dan

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  2. I wonder if environmentalism is not just a middle-class fad that the poor cannot afford to worry about.

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    1. Surely environmental issues affect everyone in one way or another, though perhaps the responsibility for taking action rests for the most part on those who have the money, influence, information etc to do something about it.

      You could ask, if the middle class don't act, who will? Thanks for your comment Robert.

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  3. I buy most foods organic, but I am lucky to belong to a neighborhood co-op with a good selection. For me, buying organic and local is as much about supporting small farmers in the region as it is about pesticide-free, non-GMO foods. We don't eat much meat at all, but when we do, I buy grass fed beef or free range chickens. With some produce, there is definitely a difference in taste, especially things like tomatoes and strawberries. It's a tough issue because organic food is a lot more expensive, and I think you also have to enjoy cooking to fully benefit from the $ you spend. Great question!

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    1. I've tasted organic food although I can't afford to have it all the time and there is a big difference in taste. It's really good. I can get to a couple of city farms but like I said, the cost is eye watering but I do get free range eggs all the time.

      I like the fact you also spoke about cooking because there's no point in buying organic food then frying the living day-lights out of it, boiling it to death, or smothering it in those thick oils etc. You do have to enjoy cooking and know what to do with food to really appreciate the whole process. From reading your blog, I do know how you love to cook. Thanks Helena.

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  4. RPD I did research on this issue for about a month and trust me when I say, the stuff I read and saw was enough to ensure that I cross-check everything I buy.
    it has been a 200yr research on nutrition and we still haven't got it right. GM is pretty nascent and the disaster that follows GM is irreversible.
    once you go GM you can go organic

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    1. Thanks Sudanshan.
      I'd love to have a look at the research you did on this issue as I'm very interested. Please feel free to leave a link here for us to do some further reading. Thanks for your comment too.

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  5. Wow, this is a tough one. I do try to eat a clean diet, but that also gets costly, especially with the higher price of organics. We see it here in NYC. Those who live in poorer parts of the city can't afford quality food and eat a lost of processed fast food. Those who make more money can afford better options. So many foods and drinks are like reading science papers now!

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    1. What gets me are those who can afford to eat decent food, but choose instead to pig out on junk! It's not even as though it tastes nicer. Convenience can be dangerous! Thanks for commenting Phil.

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  6. I say there is no healthy food anymore, which is why more and more of us are coming down with health problems. Like so many, I just try to eat the healthiest that I can.

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    1. Thanks Donna. Yes, what you're saying here seems to chime in with a lot of the comments on this topic. You just have to try and do what you can.

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  7. To be honest, I can't afford to look for anything else but prices when buying food. When you have about 5 to 10 euros a week for food you just buy the cheapest or you can't buy anything at all.

    I think Germany, and actually the EU in general, has very strict rules when it comes to food controls and things like that. I think the EU even tried to forbid America to import hormone-treated beef, but then the WTO claimed these bans illegal because it's against free trade.

    I don't think the abuse of animals in order to feed us is justifiable.
    This is really a difficult subject because there are so many aspects to consider... Although in the end (as much as I hate it) it's all about money, whether for the end user (i.e. me or you) or for the big companies or for the governments.

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    1. Unfortunately, our finances can seriously limit our scope for action. And the direction the industry is moving in, seems to be detrimental to health in general.
      We need the protection of law through institutions such as the EU, to safeguard us when our wallets can't.

      I saw an amusing statement the other day which said: "Organic Food - Or, as our grandparents called it - Food!" I appreciate your comment Kleopatra.

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  8. I think very little is actually known about how diet affects our health. For every verifiable fact there are a hundred unverifiable rumors and opinions. So I think a lot of this worry is worry over nothing. People should eat whatever they feel like eating and judge for themselves whether they feel healthy or not.

    As for your other question: personally, I'm opposed to the killing of animals for any reason whatever, so I am a vegetarian. I understand when it's truly a matter of survival or self-defense, when one has no choice, but in the main it seems to me a lot of gratuitous cruelty. But those are just my views and I don't try to impose them on anyone else.

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    1. Personally I don't disagree with eating animal meat. What I object to is the cruel conditions the animals are kept in while they are alive and the chemicals they are pumped with.

      As for eating what you like, I think there is a lot to be said for listening to our bodies... and watching our waistlines etc (and I should know :(). After all, some foods which doctors say are OK, for example cheese or wheat can cause bad reactions in some people. So as much as we can look to experts, we also need to get in tune with our own selves.
      Thank you NP for sharing your views.

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  9. hi there, i am not here to comment about food though i love food, hope of becoming a vegetarian when the time is right :) but i need your help, how could i contact you ?

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    1. Thanks Gabriel. Please feel free to send me a private message via BC or Bloggers.

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    2. oh i deactivated my BC account, had some issues which made me mad and I've decided to cease my activity on BC

      how could i get in touch with you in more of a private area ?

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  10. I do think often about the consequences of the foods we consume. In many ways, we have made our bodies like a chemical dump. I am sure that this is a contributor to the vast of amount of new diseases that are invading our bodies. I don't go the organic route, but I do watch what I eat and seriously try to minimize processed foods.

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    1. Not everyone can afford the organic route, unfortunately. But that doesn't mean we can't all take steps to inform ourselves and try to increase health and reduce harm.
      I strongly believe 'health is wealth' and as I get older I'm trying to become more and more discerning and disciplined in this area... I need to!
      Thanks Frank.

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  11. Yes GM food is bad, no question, but the real enemy is sugar and fructose in particlular. Not fat or cholesterol. Distrust low-fat anything, too much fruit and artificial sweeteners. All the best health knowledge is underground, so don't just listen to the mainstream.

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    1. Thanks for raising this Neil. It's not an angle I have ever come across before. I suppose my concern with underground sources is verifiability. Can we trust them?
      In other words, how can we be sure that areas of research that take place away from the debate and mutual peer accountability are reliable and scientifically sound?
      This question is an important and relevant branch of this debate. Thanks for you comment Neil.

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  12. Ho food..Glorious Food as you called it!And you are right !!! I simply love food ! I have a passion for it...

    But ohhh you pointed out very important issues, that normally we never ask what goes on our plates! unfortunately we live in a world where food is mass produced to be able to meet the demand! but is that so? so why there is such waist of it? Guess its called business!

    Before my country joined the EU, food was good...not to say great! prices were affordable and veggies where all natural as we brought direct from the farmer!! (you could actually taste the sun in the fruit, if you know what I mean!). then foreign fruit and veg started to come in and send poor farmers to an early retirement!!

    I work directly with food as you might know, and I notice the quality deteriorating quickly year after year and the introduction of more non-natural ingredients...few examples are Cheese , butter, oil,sugar, honey and then the natural stuff as eggs and milk all modified to produce more and be able to make more sales...but the nutritional value is reduced close to nothing...and so our bodies suffer as it is not getting the requirements needed daily making us eat more and facing obesity and many more health issues!!

    I can actually go forever here but I'm stopping here

    great post Rummy ;)

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    1. Thanks Chef Hotei. What a depressing insight from the professional end of things. So from your perspective globalisation, instead of opening up possibilities for us to experience a greater variety of foods, it has actually led to a reduction in quality?

      Quantity over quality again.

      I don't know if it's just me getting older but I see some really young and healthy looking 80 year olds around. I don't hold out much hope that our generation will look so good when we reach that age, and I think diet will have much to do with this.

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    2. I am not implying that globalisation is bad, have to say that there is variety on the market more then ever. But as you pointed out the price do make a difference! and one thinks twice before dropping the item in the shopping basket. When it comes to restaurants well...hummm how can I put this.... the economic state of many countries have seen better days so for the restaurants to survive the competition and compensate the lost clients (due to many factors), cost cuttings are bound to happen! so food is no exception.

      I look at the older generation just like you...and the same thought goes trough my mind. Am I going to be as healthy as them when I get to that age?(If I ever get) well with all the stuff we eat and drink I doubt it :/

      Thanks

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  13. Can someone explain to me the "risk" associated with GM foods? I can understand that foods grown in less favorable conditions may offer less nutrition, and I can also imagine that genetic modification has allowed us to grow food in these poorer conditions, but that doesn't really sound like a risk to me.

    Pesticides are another subject entirely, and I can understand how toxic residues on our food would negatively impact our health.

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    1. Okay, first of all, I'm not setting myself up as an expert. This is just my attempt at some common sense thinking around this subject, so to speak and inviting those who have more information to contribute, as some have.

      Here's how I see it - For thousands of years we have had crops growing, breeding, even adapting to environmental changes, all through the forces of nature. The gene pool they grow out of is, therefore something that has developed alongside the animal life which feeds on it.

      Then man comes along and tampers with those genes. Who can deny that this could lead to some unpredictable results? Worse still, once these plants begin to breed with natural ones, the results will be a cross breed of natural and GM which means that any problem genes will then pass into the eco-system and could spread uncontrollably. And this result could be permanent.

      I suppose it is this element of the 'irreversible unknown' that worries me. Thanks Neel.

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  14. Rum-Punch, surprise, surprise, surprise. Bet you didn't expect to see me here again so soon. I actually came by for a reason, but I will get to that after I comment on your post.

    We as a race, people, humans, are omnivorous. But we are also predators. Probably the most voracious predators on the planet. We consume everything and anything, mostly without ever giving it a thought. I'm sure if most people knew where their food came from, or how it was handled before it came to them, there would be a lot of wide eyes, and stares of disbelief.

    I don't know enough about the genetic engineering and enhancements of food to make an educated opinion, I can only say something about it doesn't sit well with me. It's not natural. Recently, the state of California proposed a bill that would require all GM foods to reflect their origins on the packaging. The bill did not pass. They can still keep their methods incognito, and that I definitely do not agree with. These things should be made known so that we can make our own choice if we want to eat that product or not.

    As far as pesticides, herbicides, and things such as growth hormones... These things can't be good for us. I too, can not afford to live on a strict diet of organic foods. The prices are outrageous. So it makes it nearly impossible to avoid these things. And they DO affect our bodies and our lives. What do we do? I don't know...

    And the unethical treatment of farmed livestock, fisheries, or any animals for that matter is an issue that needs to be addressed as well. I am a meat eater, I am a predator, a hunter, a fisher, whatever you want to call it... I LOVE bacon. But I have a heart, and believe it or not, it's rather soft. I can't stand to see an animal suffer. There just isn't any need for it. We produce to much food as it is, so much goes to waste. Things in nature are not OURS to do with as we please.

    There is a balance in nature, a delicate balance at that. And I believe that we, us, people are throwing the balance off with these practices that you've highlighted here. Once again I commend you for a thought provoking post.

    On another note, to the business I came here for... I would like to get connected with you on a different level. I realize your blog is written anonymously, and I certainly understand the reasons for this. So I am going to leave my email here jonwhiting55@yahoo.com I have a proposal for you. If you don't want to, it's all good. But just so you know your anonymity will remain safe with me. Hope to hear from you soon. See ya...

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    1. We seem to see things the same. Except the hunting and fishing bit - there isn't much opportunity for that in East London, unless you have a taste for street-pidgeon!

      A few people have mentioned wanting to eat more organic, but cost being an issue. I have heard a piece of practical advice from a trained dietician:

      If you can only afford to buy some organic products, it is better that they be those things that grow in the soil (Carrots, potatoes etc.) rather than things that grow on a branch (Apples, tomatoes etc.). The reason is that something sitting in the soil soaks up more pesticide than something growing on a branch, where there will be a higher degree of run-off.

      Hope this is useful. Every little helps. Thanks for your comment Jon and I'll be sending you an email in a short while.

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  15. Hi Rum-Punch Drunk. I really like your idea about intensive farming to feed starving children, and also implementing long term organic farming. I buy organic food when I can but can’t afford all organic food either. Yes, I do believe it’s worth the price to buy as much of your food organically grown as possible because your health is worth the price. Years ago, I read a book by Adele Davis called, “You Are What You Eat.” Changed the way I thought about food. I try to do most of my food shopping now at Whole Foods Market, a natural foods grocery chain we have here in the US. They buy their produce, meats and dairy from local organic suppliers. I think they may have expanded to the UK too. I try to buy all my fruits and veggies either there or from local farmers’ markets. As much as possible, I try to buy my chicken, fish and dairy from Whole Foods now. (Although my husband will still buy steak and meats at the supermarket because of the price.)

    The abuse of animals just to feed our bellies is not acceptable to me. That’s why I now buy only cage-free chicken, even if I have to buy it at the supermarket. I get my eggs at the supermarket because the price is better than Whole Foods but I no longer buy the cheaper supermarket house brand eggs I used to buy. I buy the Eggland brand (sold at supermarkets here) because the hens are cage-free and not fed hormones. Even though I try to eat healthy, I know there are lots of ways pesticides and hormones can get into the food. But at least I know I’m trying my best to limit it.

    About GM foods...I don’t have a problem with it. I don’t think it’s as scary as some people think. I think GM foods are a progressive approach to food production. There are definitely pros and cons, but if you can produce food that can be grown without pesticides at a low cost and feed masses of people, then it should be considered. Purely organic food is better, yes, but too many people in the world are starving, we have to globally think outside the box.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your views. It's good to have an opposite opinion on this. I guess the reason why I can't entirely agree with your point regarding GM is this - We don't know for sure what the risks are. If it was simply a guaranteed way we could provide more food for those who need it most, I can't think of anyone who would object to that. But how can we be sure we won't be simply moving from the frying pan into the fire? It' such a big step! With a powerful food-industry lobby, has government done their duty to ensure that the appropriate scientific checks and balances have been put in place?
      Thanks JerseyLil.

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  16. Hey hey...those friends up there already tasted lots of foods. Food nowadays are way too pricey! Why don't we start to grow basic plants to start with saving money.Like growing parsley, thym and chilli.anything that will save around 2 pounds.Everytime you are out there in the market.
    Yeah..food are tasteless now, manufactured synthetically,they resembles soft rubber, with artificial flavours added to it, you can eat your fingers!
    Take for example the Crab Sticks.They are tasty and smells good.you are eating evrything except crab!or should i say crap...

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    1. Good idea about growing basic plants to save a quid (£) or two, and you'll have a lot more of it at your disposal. As for the crab sticks, I had to laugh because we are all finding out just how much horse-meat has passed our mouths, ha ha ha. In fact I love horse-meat, and if I had known it was in those cheap burgers I would have bought it myself. Thanks Mr Potato.

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