Food for Life by Deb Tiffany

bookcoverI 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.

8 Replies to “Food for Life by Deb Tiffany”

  1. I toured (for my day job) a poultry plant. Changed my views on things. We try (although not 100%) to get our meat from local farmers who practice less “mass produced” methods. The local butcher is organic and has been a great source of info. I love my bacon too- mmmm bacon- but a balance isn’t a bad thing.

  2. Thanks for your passionate post on the topic, Tiffany. The way we’re living is killing us, and we have to think of how to change things fast. And just buying more local food, and cutting down on our meat intake would make a big difference.

  3. Thanks, guys. I’m all about moderation and never about deprivation. If everyone in America refrained from eating meat just ONE day in the week, it would be the equivalent of taking thousands of cars off the road. It just seems like change in agribusiness is going to have to come from the people, and not from the top down. I hope we get there one day.

  4. Lovely post, Tiffany and I agree %100 with your sentiments. We are literally killing ourselves with the way we eat. This is actually old news. The new twist is that we’re taking the rest of the world with us – (witness swine flu, avian flu and whatever the next pandemic will be, not to mention global warming, genetically modified plants, bottled and commodified water, etc….). We have to change the way we eat. And if we don’t … well, I have a feeling it will be changed for us!

  5. I’m curious, were you raised with a “mostly plants” way of eating, or is this something that evolved for you? If so, how did it evolve?

    Doesn’t it seem like our health as a nation has radically declined with this generation? Yet, there’s so much more information and concern about health and healthy living out there than there ever used to be, at least when it comes to feeding our children (thinking of the standards when I was growing up vs. now). It’s a strange juxtaposition.

  6. Kris, my mom just cooked a lot when I was growing up. And I guess I cook the way she did. I use real butter and olive oil. I LOVE vegetables. We usually had fruit for dessert. But it wasn’t like some health program we were on. It was just what was for dinner. I don’t even know what to make of all the “diets” out there. And nothing makes me sadder than the frozen food aisle in the grocery store. I think people have just lost touch with eating as a source of pleasure and celebration in their lives.

  7. I really admire your zest for the topic, Tiffany! I’ve given food a lot more thought since a couple of years ago when I realized that cheap meat was (literally) making me chronically ill… I can’t even think of the last time I ate at McDonald’s (although their livestock management is leaps and bounds better than it used to be).

    I need to re-listen to my audiobook of “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” and get inspired again (coincidentally, I was turned on to that book by last week’s guest blogger, Robin Brande! We were going to start a cheesemaking society, but I think she’s vegan now).

  8. After reading “The Good, Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood” – “The Skinny Bitch” and “Thanking the Monkey” I have not touched one bite of meat (pork, beef, chicken or turkey). If most people realized the way these beautiful animals are killed, vegetables would become your best friend. It has been ten months and I hope it is the beginning of a lifetime of meatless meals.

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