I've noticed that my last... four posts... had an exclamation point in the title. I guess I only feel the need to blog about happy and exciting things in our life! haha.
Well, not to disappoint, but Aaron and I are excited and happy about more things. I recently watched the documentary Food Inc. on the watch instantly section of Netflix after hearing about it from one of Aaron's coworker's wife at his work Christmas party that was held a couple weeks ago (what an impressive run-on sentence that was...). Anyway, it is an amazing documentary, it shows how the food system effects so many other spheres of life. I don't even know where to begin... here is a short synopsis from Fandango:
"The USDA and FDA are supposed to protect the public, so why is it that both government regulatory agencies have been complicit in allowing corporations to put profit ahead of consumer health, the American farmer, worker safety, and even the environment? As chicken breasts get bigger and tomatoes are genetically engineered not to go bad, 73,000 Americans fall ill from powerful new strains of E. coli every year, obesity levels are skyrocketing, and adult diabetes has reached epidemic proportions. Perhaps if the general public knew how corporations use exploited laws and subsidies to create powerful monopolies, the outrage would be enough to make us think more carefully about the food we put into our bodies."
As the quote above suggests, Americans are intentionally in the dark when it comes to how their food is processed. Companies have fought so hard to prevent us from seeing and understanding the current food processing system! WATCH THE DOCUMENTARY!
America is a great country, and I'm grateful that we have access to plenty of food. But.. things have gone too far. Many of the big players in the FDA, USDA, and even a Supreme Court Justice has close ties to the food industry... ulterior motives? I think so.
The food system we have in place also effects immigration. The big meat packing companies encourage workers to come from Mexico to work in their plants. They treat the workers just like the animals - they are disposable, they won't fight back, they can't. They even have agreements with immigrations services to come and arrest 15 or so illegal immigrants everyday - not enough to impede production. The government is going after the people who have been slaughtering our cheap meat, not the companies who have actively recruited them.
We also watched the documentary King Corn. We've all heard about high fructose corn syrup, and how its a substitute sweetener for sugar that is not very good for you. Well, corn has been disguised as many different types of acid that is in almost all of the food we eat. Why? Well, the government pays farmers to produce corn. We have so, so, so, so much corn in the USA with basically no nutritional value. They have found other uses for it... it doesn't make our food healthy... it makes it CHEAP. We also feed corn to chicken and cows. This cheap feed fattens up our meat. It saves the "growers" money on feed and shortens the time it takes for the animal to reach the size needed for slaughter. Chickens and cows aren't meant to eat corn, and if we didn't slaughter them for meat, they would die from their diet anyway. The fat content in our meat is significantly higher from corn fed animals than naturally raised animals.
I honestly can go on and on and on .... my mind is racing with all of the new things I have learned this past week. I feel like I need to organize my ideas a little better, before I can convincingly explain my position on these issues.
I feel no desire to become a vegetarian. It's not just that the animals are treated poorly, it's that the food we get from them isn't even healthy! Technology is a great thing, and it has improved our lives greatly in many ways. But, when it comes to food, it needs to be as natural as possible. We should eat food as it was intended to be eaten. The processed cheap crap we have access to, i.e. fast food, does not help keep our bodies healthy.We all have one body during this life. Why don't we care about preventing obesity and diabetes?
The average American only spends about 17% of his/her income on food - and that includes going out to eat. Aaron and I have decided that we rather spend a little more money on food, and get the organic stuff. We have realized that keeping our bodies as healthy as possible is much more important to us than getting new clothes, electronics, furniture, etc! What good will all of our stuff do if we're sick? For the first time ever, our life expectancies in America and less than our parent's. Chances are, if you are younger than 30 years old you've never had grass fed meat! We eat sugar, fat, and salt. It's cheap, easy, and tasty. But it's not worth killing yourself over.
I know this seems kind of extreme, but of all the issues to care about, isn't this the most intimate? Each one of us is responsible for feeding ourselves and our families, we have to decide which food products we will support every time we go to the grocery store.
The beautiful thing is that the entire food industry is based on one thing- consumer demand. Right now, most of us demand cheap food. So we get low quality, cheap food. Instead, we should start to demand healthy food. Real food. America is smart, we will come up with efficient ways of producing high quality, organic, healthy food.
Aaron and I are going to buy the $3 dozen of eggs and $5 gallon of milk. Yeah, it's a little more expensive to get the organics... but it's not really that much. We're also really excited to go to the Farmer's Market once it reopens. We found out that the one in Provo is open from May-October, every Saturday. Locally grown, organic food really is the best possible thing you can eat!
I really want to do more research on all of the subjects touched upon in the documentary Food, Inc. I would love to write a Masters Thesis on it. Maybe if business school doesn't work out I'll get my master's in Sociology and research and write about this stuff :)
I urge you all to make a goal to become healthy today!! And watch that movie.... ;)
This year Aaron and I decorated our place with a little Christmas tree. It's the first one either of us has decorated since moving out of our parent's homes. It warmed my heart to see it all lit up in the evenings.
We were very happy to travel home to Maryland for Christmas and New Years. We got to spend time with my parents and all of my siblings. We even got to help Steve with his proposal to Liz two days before Christmas. My brother Larry is getting married to wonderful Megan in June, and Liz is going to marry Steve in July! We really enjoyed relaxing at home, and enjoying one another's company.
Aaron made this short little video of some of us making "gingerbread" houses with graham crackers. I feel so fortunate that I never have to worry about whether our lives are sufficiently documented... Aaron always does a great job with his photos, and he is really excited to explore the world of film with his new camera.
2010 was really a spectacular year for us. We got engaged, I went to Ireland with my Mom and sister, we got married, our families spent time together, we stayed in Hawaii for a month, we moved in together, etc, etc. We truly have been blessed. We hope that everyone has been able to sit and reflect on how wonderful all of our lives really are - we have hard times, but all in all, life is good!