A co-worker of mine brings farm fresh eggs into work on a weekly basis. He sells them for an amazing price at $3.50 a dozen. Last week someone popped their head into the department and whispered loudly, “Have you got any eggs?”. “Why are we whispering?” I retorted. Oddly enough, I have noticed that it is quite common for people to side-step over to me at work and speak out of the corner of their mouths whilst asking if our fridge has any eggs in it presently. I didn’t really acknowledge the odd behaviour until this week.
Is this some sort of clandestine egg exchange? A black-market grocery op? Should I be trying to manipulate who gets the goods and who doesn’t in exchange for preferential treatment if I ever require an MRI or gastroscopy? (I work at a hospital). Maybe I’m just witnessing the people ‘in-the-know’ trying to keep the amazing deal on farm-fresh, free-range, organic, grass-fed eggies on the down-low? I think the chance to get local, healthy food options is rare and thus, maybe SHOULD be treated as an opportunity.
So it got me thinking about food and how my family eats. Then, as in all things, what you think about – you bring about. So I found myself finding and watching a few documentaries on Netflix about what we shove in our mouths daily in North America. I found information about cows steeped in feces with stomachs full of a strain of super E.coli. I found myself watching chickens that could not walk more than 3-4 steps without collapsing because their bones could not support their massive growth from genetic manipulation and forced growth. I found out that a chemical company that developed Agent Orange, now controls over 90% of soybean production in North America by using fear and patent legislation. I found out that the ideal diet for optimal health and weight loss is one that encourages massive amounts of fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes with meat only twice a week max and rarely ever milk or milk products.
So, I am horrified. More due to the fact that I thought we were already eating healthy and making decent choices. I choose to eat organic and always avoid the ‘dirty dozen’ fruits and veggies. I occasionally buy organic meats as a treat. I am celiac and thus already making invested, learned choices about what goes in my shopping cart. I am mostly horrified by the thought of undoing the damage to my children as they have grown to accept their diet of boxed cereals (Whole Grain!), noodles with fake cheese (Organic with Real Cheese!) and sugar-laden granola bars (High Fiber -Low Fat!). I see now, more than I ever have, that food marketing is a joke, with no entitlement to honesty felt by any major food company.
So, as a consumer, what choice do I have? How can I impact the industry? Where do I go from here other than crawling under my fluffy duvet and crying out “I give up! What the hell are we supposed to eat?” You can bet your juicy July BBQ steak that I am not going back to the person I was before viewing these atrocities against animal and man on film.
So I decided to take control of my own eating habits. I will make slow changes for my family, but for myself, I am going for it. Here is my plan:
- First: Hit the market – local if possible – for some Organic fruits and veggies. Feeling as though I would need the fiber, I chose not to juice but to purchase a Nutribullet instead. I started blending up some chlorophyll-filled goodness on Monday. Kale, strawberry, flax, apple, carrot, walnuts, pineapple, cucumber, lemon and almonds have never tasted so good. I blended 3-4 times per day. I ate no meat, only beans and legumes. By Wednesday I had amazing amounts of energy and I no longer craved coffee, bread, sweets or milk. In fact, all of these things that I usually love to indulge in because they give me comfort almost made me nauseous to look at. By Sunday, I had lost 4 lbs.
- Second: Yoga, yoga, yoga – Perhaps this is the true source of all my healthy thinking and awareness lately. 3 weeks ago I started practicing yoga 3-5 nights per week. I am stronger, more calm and I feel more in control of my body than when I began. Look out crow pose – I got you! The physical benefits are awesome but there is no denying the mindfulness that yoga brings. I remember one instructor asking us to recognize the differences in how our bodies felt, left side vs. right side. Acknowledging, but not judging. Experiencing, but not shaming. Wonderful life lessons.
- Third: Protect my family – I am lucky enough to have a lot of options here in the suburbs around Vancouver. I can access organic, grass-fed meats online for my carnivorous husband to enjoy, allowing my family to benefit from my knowledge but not forcing them to change. (All in good time). I can drive 5 minutes and visit a family owned farm selling vegetables that grew up from the ground looking very normal and imperfect. My kids don’t like the texture of my revved-up ‘smoothies’ and so I will have to consider starting them off with juicing. This will be a financial investment..but we are always better off paying now for what we put into our bodies instead of paying with our health later (trust me on this one).
- Fourth: Never forget – The strain on our food system has created where we are today. Chemically treated meat, genetically modified food, and fast-food that is killing us on every corner. How do we walk away from all the convenience? Easily done when we look at how sick people have become. Type 2 diabetes is rampant, cancer is always right next-door, auto-immune diseases are common (so-says the Celiac) and we are all desperate for more! More energy, more distractions, more everything!!! I propose less. Less toxins, less rush, less waste, less apathy.
- Lastly: Get growing – Last year I managed to grow some yummy lettuce and carrots in a planter in my backyard. We live in a townhouse, so I will need to be more creative this year. I hope to conquer vertical gardening this year and start taking control of my food supply, even if only for small additions to each meal. It’s a start that I need my children to see.
So, feel free to observe my journey. Feel free to make one of your own. Maybe you start with a quick decision to pull over at the beat-up sign at the end of the long driveway and buy those farm-fresh eggs. Maybe you go full-out and buy a $500 juicer! To each his own… but always remember that we are all, very much, in this together.
Documentaries that forced my changes:
Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
Hungry for Change