I am now blogging at a new blog: erdman31.com

If you post comments here at Theos Project, please know that I will respond and engage your thoughts in a timely manner.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The System, our food, and healthcare

From Getting Real about the High Cost of Food:

"Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won't bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench. He's fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he'll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around. That's the state of your bacon — circa 2009."

I recommend reading every itty bitty bit of Getting Real about the High Cost of Food.....this topic follows up a bit on our discussions about The System, the American way of living that denigrates life, treating everything around us as economic units that fit into a grand system aimed primarily at productivity and profit. It teaches us to objectify others and ourselves, cutting us off from understanding and developing a genuine and authentic self.

We've transformed the essential human profession — growing food — into an industry like any other. "We're hurting for job creation, and industrial food has pushed people off the farm," says Hahn Niman. "We need to make farming real employment, because if you do it right, it's enjoyable work."

Most of us don't question the food we eat, and yet it is one of the most basic and fundamental elements of being human. We buy what we are sold. We eat what we are told.

And yet we really are what we eat. But we don't have time to care about food.....we are usually too busy producing stuff, buying stuff, or being entertained.

And now..... drum roll please!......tying it all in to healthcare:

At a time when the nation is close to a civil war over health-care reform, obesity adds $147 billion a year to our doctor bills. "The way we farm now is destructive of the soil, the environment and us," says Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist with the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)."

And this excellent conclusion:

Whether that happens will ultimately come down to all of us, since we have the chance to choose better food three times a day (or more often, if we're particularly hungry). It's true that most of us would prefer not to think too much about where our food comes from or what it's doing to the planet....The industrial food system fills us up but leaves us empty — it's based on selective forgetting. But what we eat — how it's raised and how it gets to us — has consequences that can't be ignored any longer.

(FYI, we had a good discussion in the comments section of a prior post, The System and Food Inc..)


Anonymous said...

Two good places to start when considering the topic of food would be:

The Face on Your Plate; The Truth About Food by Jeffrey Masson and A Delicate Balance via:


And yes the primary act of self-responsible health-care begins with what puts in ones mouth. People DO quite literally eat their way to hospital.

The corollary being that changing ones diet is the necessary first step in any attempt to heal dis-ease.

Matt said...

Unfortunately I heard a completely absurd "statistic" that healthy foods cost 10x as much as normal foods. Anyone who is currently eating healthy food (at least most of the time :D ) knows this is waaaay off. But that is what the general public will cling to. It seems that people can only contrast a TV dinner and coke from Wmart with wild-caught Salmon with organic green tea grown by Tibetan monks. A simple and money saving way to start being healthier is to quit drinking sodas (including diet) and start drinking water.

Like a Mustard Seed said...

"the American way of living that denigrates life, treating everything around us as economic units that fit into a grand system aimed primarily at productivity and profit."

Liked that line. Seems like we have gotten very good at taking everything and turning it into nothing more than a commodity to be bought and sold at the cheapest price. Food, energy, water, people. Nothing is sacred. Even the gospel is treated as little more than a commodity, something to profit off of it's exchange...