I am rabidly passionate about this week’s subject. Food. It should be so simple, so basic, but it’s not.
People, readers, everybody–we are seriously f***ed when it comes to our food. As I’m writing this (on Monday night) it’s just emerging that fecal lagoons for pig farms are a likely source for the current swine flu outbreak.
My first reaction is ew. My second is duh. What the hell did people think would happen when thousands of animals are herded together in unsanitary, mind-blowingly unnatural conditions? And before anyone gets on their high horse about this being in Mexico, let me politely remind everyone that the meat company responsible for the lagoons is one hundred percent American.
I know I probably sound like some earnest, vegan, eco-terrorist, and I’m not. I like bacon as much as anyone. I am, however, a mother, and I would very much like my children to have a fair shot at survival.
The pig is a noble animal. Smart, resilient, resourceful. But packing pigs into an industrialized meat farm denies them this essence, and isn’t that what food is really all about? Essence? What’s the point of eating pork that isn’t a pig first?
Did you know that industrial meat practises are responsible for as much global warming as cars? And eating lots of meat isn’t even healthy.
We really need to change the way we eat in America. I’d start by reducing our meat intake. We should treat our meat with the respect the animals deserve. Make meat a special occassion meal–the centerpiece for a holiday or weekend dinner party. Or serve a little meat complemented with a lot of vegetables, like in a stir-fry or a stew. A good portion-guage for a serving of meat is the size of a deck of cards.
Let’s get cooking again. Let’s make a pot of beans our new convenience food, or a platter of roasted vegetables. Dinner really can take fifteen minutes from stove to table. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive.
We’re killing ourselves with type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, and now our eating habits are in danger of sickening everyone on the planet with a possible pandemic. Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?
So I say let’s have a national pledge to eat often, eat better, and eat mindfully and with gratitude. And here’s my last plea. If you agree with this post, pass it on to a friend, maybe with your favorite vegetable recipe, or quick, homecooked supper idea. Your future might depend on it. Bon vivant.