New York Times columnist, Nicolas Kristof, wrote on 5 April about the use of antibiotics to “treat” livestock destined for our tables. He made the very good point that once you know just what big ag is doing to your food, you have every reason you need to demand organic. Interviewing a research scientist from the Johns Hopkins Center for Sustainable Living, Kristof learned that “poultry on factory farms are routinely fed caffeine, active ingredients of Tylenol and Benadryl, banned antibiotics and even arsenic.”
And while the researcher makes the point that they hadn’t found anything that was an “immediate health concern,” I had to say to myself, “yet”.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I met Dr Robert Lawrence, the founder of the Sustainable Living Center, and heard what he had to say, in particular about the use of antibiotics. His points were:
1. The quality of the food we consume has a direct bearing on our wellbeing: 2/3 of the children in Pakistan, for example, suffer from nutritional stunting that effects them physically and mentally.
2. We self-medicate with food every day: Only clean food can feed your immune system.
3. It should be our urgent goal to eliminate all antibiotics from food production, or restrict their use to only for sick animals under veterinary care, not as a prophylactic shotgun administered by the farmer.
4. Alert the Moms of the world to the health threat posed by the indiscriminate use of antibiotics:Eat much less meat, but make it clean meat.
5. Engage food industrialists and then give them a pathway to make them part of the change. Encourage them to reinvent the meat industry.
At the moment this could be the biggest challenge as, simply put, they don’t appreciate that there is a problem and that their methods are part of it.
Vote with your dollars: I’d rather pay a bit more to the farmer for clean food, than to the doctor for medical care when standard treatments for infection no longer work because the strongest most resistant immune system isn’t my own.
Yesterday, Him Indoors and I spent the entire day in the basement unpacking boxes that haven’t been opened since we left Austin nearly ten years ago. Such memories…such a LOT OF STUFF! Including a garden trowel that came with me from England, a parting gift from the Sainted and Holy, Beloved of Memory, Ray Rix. He was the strong back to my wispy vision of a garden. Without him — it wouldn’t have happened. Full Stop.
Ray was Norfolk yeoman stock. He’d only been out of the county once, when he got on the train in Norwich, disembarked at Liverpool Street in the City of London, took a quick look around, and jumped back on the train. That was in World War Two.
Of course, Ray having never strayed from his birthplace, had a broad Norfolk accent, a soft grrr to words with an r…garrrrd’n. I had my Midwest twang intact. Sometimes we barely understood each other. It made for some interesting times — all good.
Today, as I charge out into my garden, hand-trowel in hand, I’ll be thinking of my old chum. Fossicking around in the border, laying out the soaker hose, snickering at the raised beds I made in the veg garden “Her look like graves,” Ray opined. Thanks, buddy.
And, heaven help me, I’ll be planting asparagus. Again. The third lot I’ve toiled over. Ray imparted a piece of old Norfolk wisdom the first time: “Plant ’spargus and y’rrrr shurrre t’ move.” He was right!
Mayhap we should’na unpacked those tharrrr boxes. Grrrrr.
I left the schoolroom some years ago, but I feel like I’ve been sent back with this relentless numbering of online info. Is anyone else tired of being spoken to like children? 10 Things Not to Eat. 7 Things to Eat. 5 Reasons to Do This. 5 Reasons Not To. Please! Enough already.
Him Indoors, on listening to my 6 Ways This is Making Me Crazy, said “Blame it on Moses. He started it all.”
I had to count to 10 to stop laughing.
Winter was a little late this year. So late it didn’t even bother arriving. And here it is spring in Emmaus already, and my pal Cnythia in Des Moines tells me summer in Iowa is almost half over. Everyone I marvel with about the freakish weather goes on about the freakin’ bug problems we have to look forward to. As the blue plate special on the mossie menu, I have special cause for dread. West Nile virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and canine heartworm disease are, I am assured, imminent — as a non-horse or dog I hope I am not prone, but with my luck…Ah well. So much for the joys of spring.
Just recently I completed replanting my garden (after only one year I’m ALREADY hoiking things out and moving ‘em around, poor souls) to be a doll’s house version of my English garden. (Why? Because I can! since the climate in PA has warmed to nearly zone 7). But now I’m haunted by the ghoulish thought of having to peer at it from behind screens through a miasma of insect repellent.
Thus, Him Indoors has been assigned the task of keeping the gutters clear so no water will pool in dank leaves, cracks where skeeters might lodge have to be filled, citronella candles positioned (the big ones in buckets work pretty well) and Mosquito Dunks stockpiled since, in the cause of OG’s Skills & Abilities department, we’re putting in a water feature. But I’ve tried the Dunks and know they work, they’re discreet and way cheaper than forking out medical co-pays to combat West nile virus. Last resort if I do get bitten? I know to spray the bite with ammonia. It stops the itch immediately. As I learned on a photo shoot in Birmingham AL one summer. The bugs are BIG there, and mean. We broke for lunch, and desperate to do something — anything — to stop the enormous red welts from itching, I reached for the lavatory cleanser tucked behind the toilet bowl in the ladies room. It worked! That old guy with the Windex in the Greek wedding movie was right! It’s not organic but, ahhhh, the relief!
I’ve found the secret to losing weight! It doesn’t involve not eating spuds, bread, pasta, or — if one of the latest diet manuals is to be believed — eating all the spuds, bread, pasta you want.
My method truly works. Eat less, but eat better (ie. more veg & fruit & whole grains). Exercise more…as in go for a walk.
I’m not quite at a fever pitch of perfection practicing what I preach, and I work at Rodale, surrounded by people exercising—we even have treadmill work stations available—and eating piles of green leafy organic things. So I have no excuse. But old habits die hard.
However. My recent attendance at a conference to push forward the agenda presented by a recent Rodale book, “The Prince’s Speech: On The Future of Food”, shook me to my core (which I know needs strengthening). My biggest takeaway? Panelist Dr Robert S. Lawrence’s observation that we “self-medicate” with food everyday, and we can CHOOSE to use either good or bad “drugs.”
Ergo: You are what you eat. And it’s our choice. Really.