What You Are Up Against......
Virtually all of the meat and poultry (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, etc.) found in your local grocery store comes from animals raised in so-called confined animal feed operations (CAFOs). If it wasn't raised in a factory farm, it will typically bear a clear label stating it's "grass-fed" or "USDA 100% organic".
Large-scale factory farming is the cheapest way to raise meat, thereby allowing for the largest profits, but the ultimate price is too high as there's a complete disregard for human health, the environment and the ethical treatment of animals.
Far from being what most people would consider "a farm", these massive operations are more like industrial warehouses, stocked to the hilt with animals that are quite literally crammed together. Due to the overcrowded, unhygienic conditions in these livestock factories, most of the animals end up getting sick, and whether they're ill or not, they're still routinely given antibiotic and artificial hormones to promote growth (to get them to market faster and pocket the money sooner).
The natural diet of a cow is plain grass, but CAFO-rasied cows are fed pesticide-laden grains and other byproducts instead. Not only does this upset their digestive systems and alter the nutritional make-up of meat, all of the feed additives also get transferred to you when you eat the meat. The routine use of antibiotics in particular has led to the rapid rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs that now threaten human life.
The factory model also directly contributes to Americans' increasing reliance on processed junk foods which in turn drives the rise in obesity and chronic disease. For the past several decades, the focus has been on creating ever-cheaper foods. You cannot achieve top quality and rock-bottom prices at the same time. Something has to give, and quality nutrition definitely fell by the wayside as technology overtook the food and agricultural industry.
While you're looking for your farmer,
you still have to eat
Regardless of where you do your grocery shopping, there are signs of high-quality, health-promoting foods you will want to look for, so read labels and opt for American brands whenever possible.
1. The food should be grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic foods fit this description, but so do some non-organic foods.
2. The food must not be genetically modified. It would be nice if it was stated on the package, but we aren't going to have to work hard to force that regulation onto the food industry.
3. It should not contain growth hormones, antibiotics or other drugs.
4. It should not contain any artificial ingredients including chemical preservatives.
5. It needs to be fresh. Keep in mind that if you have to choose between wilted organic produce or fresh conventional produce, the former may actually be the better option.
6. It is not factory farmed.
7. The food should be grown with the laws of nature in mind. This means animals fed their native diets not a mix of grains and animal products, and they should have free-range access to the outdoors.
8. It should be grown in a sustainable way using minimal amounts of water, protecting the soil from burnout and turning animal wastes into natural fertilizers instead of environmental pollutants. Round Up comes to mind as a fertilizer to be avoided. fh
If you are lucky enough to find food that meets this criteria, it is the best way to keep you and your family healthy because this food falls under the designation of "real food". Reclaiming your kitchen as more than a "show place" or "fast meal stop" is part and parcel of healthful living, so you know exactly what you're putting in your body.
Clues To Identifying REAL FOOD
It's grown and sold "whole"; Has variable quality;
Has vibrant colors and rich textures;
Has a strong connection to land and culture.
Produced, manufactured in a factory and sold in neat, convenient packages; Always the same with no quality or taste variance;
Stays "fresh" for extended periods of time;
No preparation required - just heat and serve;
Contains fillers, additives and preservatives to make otherwise dull and bland mixtures appetizing; Artificially flavored and has no connection to land or culture.