Friday, January 25, 2008

about eating fresh and local

There is a really excellent post over at Culinate that gives an overview of the health and environment issues inherent in big farming and industrial non-food products.

Here's a real eye-opener:
Did you know that many of today’s crops are genetically engineered with a “suicide gene,” a gene that won’t let the crop reproduce? Did you know that, for many food plants like wheat and tomatoes and apples, only 20 percent of the known varieties remain in existence? One in five? Did you know that your average carrot has one-third of the nutritional content as did a carrot in the 1930s? Did you know that crab is sent from the West Coast to China to be removed from its shells, and then back again to our supermarkets? Did you know that industrial farms are systematically stripping the topsoil from our arable land until nothing at all can grow? Did you know that most of America’s bees are sent to California every spring to pollinate the almond crop, that the resulting bitter honey is thrown away, that the bees eat high-fructose corn syrup and many of them just die from the stress?

I had heard rumors about much of that, but didn't know all the specifics. I hate to sound like a Luddite, but this is what happens when both parents work outside of the home, and commute such great distances to spend a day in busiwork that makes nothing, accomplishes nothing, teaches nothing. I was thinking on my way into work today, that obesity is brought on by eating starchy foods with no real nutritional value. Gary Taubes' sources implicate insulin as the primary trigger, but there is still a gap in our knowledge as to what causes insulin resistance, and the breakdown of the body's ability to use its fat stores. I wonder if the answer is simple lack of nutrients? For instance, many vitamins are fat soluable. If we don't eat enough digestible (read: natural, as in partly-saturated) fats to process the necessary vitamins, perhaps the lack of fats actually prevents the body from utilizing its own fat stores? That's a nice homeopathic concept for you.

If you go read the post, check out the comments, as well. The discussion after the post is even better. I'm especially keen on the bit about allergies. I've suspected for several years that my body does not like corn products, but I love Mexican food, and last night I caved and we ordered a Special Dinner from El Mezcal. It tasted great, and I ate relatively little, but this morning my face is inflamed and my guts feel full of concrete. I made myself some nice pastured scrambled eggs for breakfast.

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