Does anyone remember the movie Soylent Green? You know, the one in which the rations they were feeding everyone were actually people, not food. That’s the first thing that came to my mind when I read the following article. That and what the eff!?
Since my decision to get healthier and become more aware of what I’m actually putting in my body, I’ve run across a bunch of articles similar to this one: 11 Horrifying Facts About Your Fresh Groceries. (Thank you to my man for bringing this specific one to my attention. Good job, hunny.) Because of this horrifying information, I have gradually changed a lot about my diet. Of course, you can’t avoid every harmful toxin or poisonous chemical the FDA approves for the “food,” or rather, the food-like products we eat every day, but you can definitely take steps to cut out as many of them from your diet as possible. And that’s what I’ve done (or so I thought), but it seems I still have a long way to go.
Let’s just go through a couple of these. For fun, of course. Well, really, it’s for the betterment of your health. But health is fun, right? Not always. Sometimes health makes you want to puke. You’ll understand after you read these next two points.
1. Farmed Fish and Shrimp – I refuse to buy this stuff anymore. Ever since I read this article on Mark’s Daily Apple, I have been acutely aware of each piece of seafood I buy, where it comes from, and whether it’s farmed or wild. I realize that I’ve eaten farmed seafood since then, as it’s more difficult to gather this information in a restaurant. However, if it’s a nice enough seafood place, they’ll be able to tell you which fish is wild and which is farmed. This article is also the reason I decided to start supplementing with fish oil (which I’ll post about soon, but here’s an article to tide you over till then). While I don’t agree with eating crap food and taking tons of vitamins every day in order to make up for what you’re not getting by eating that crap food, I think there are a few supplements everyone should take that are essential to overall good health, fish oil being one of them. Anyway, avoid farmed fish like the plague. Yes, it’s more expensive to buy wild fish (although not always), but the health benefits in the long run are well worth the extra buck or two you’re spending now. Here are a couple other good articles about farmed fish: Health Concerns & Chemical Use – this is an expansive site that gives an in depth explanation of the health dangers as well as environmental and economic impacts of salmon farming; The Dangers of Farmed Fish – check out the rest of Dr. Axe’s site – lots of great information there.
This next point gets me all kinds of fired up. I’m sure you’ll be able to tell.
2. Arsenic in Chicken – Like, for real, FDA? Thanks to Pfizer’s drug, Roxarsone, arsenic is ever-present in the chicken we eat due to the chemically-laced feed given to broiler chickens. Super duper. It seems that the EU got it together in 1999 and banned it, yet 14 years later, the good ol’ U.S. of A. is still down with ARSENIC IN OUR CHICKEN! Is this not ridiculous to everyone? Apparently it is ridiculous to Maryland; its government actually took steps to ban the feed laced with Pfizer’s drug. And, even though Pfizer suspended use of this feed in 2011, the U.S. (besides Maryland) still gives leftover Pfizer Frankenstein feed to its chickens. Further, Roxarsone is still approved for use in Canada, Mexico, and a slew of other countries that may possibly (and probably do) export their poultry to the U.S. To make matters worse, high levels of arsenic have been reported in many U.S. crops as a result of contaminated fertilizer, which is, of course, dried poultry waste. The levels are heightened because the arsenic is concentrated through the process of drying the poultry waste in order to create fertilizer. Yum. By that same token, the U.S. also allows for the use of MSMA (monosodium methyl arsenate), an arsenic-based herbicide used legally in U.S. agriculture. By the way, the EU has never approved the use of this, or any other, arsenical herbicide. But it’s an organic arsenate! That makes it better, right? Well, if this gives you some perspective on why it’s harmful – regardless of its organic nature – I found this exact sentence on its Wikipedia page: “Another common use is for burning the marked lines into grassy sports fields.” Yes, I would love an extra serving of MSMA; thank you so much for asking. Wait, that’s right, you didn’t. Oh, and I guess the FDA and Pfizer are besties because Nitarsone, another arsenic-containing drug, is still approved for use in poultry feed in the U.S. To top that off, no one wants to disclose the contents of this feed, which doesn’t seem shady at all, right? No, of course not. How can something that’s been done since 1944 be shady? Personally, I like my arsenic with a side of chicken.
All of this sounds quite appetizing, doesn’t it? Soylent Green, anyone? I think we should all just start eating tofu-textured rations made of equal parts arsenic and human remains. The FDA simply amazes me. By that, I mean it makes me want to move to Norway, where at least they don’t allow yellow dyes 5 and 6 in their mac ‘n’ cheese (<– I signed that petition immediately, by the way).
To sum up, our food standards here in America are Awesome! Gimme an A! Gimme a W! Gimme an E! Gimme an…oh, nevermind. It’s exhausting to be any more facetious about this matter than I’ve already been. I actually got really angry as I wrote this post. It infuriates me to think about how much we trust the FDA to have the public’s best interest at heart when approving the food items we consume. Knowing that it doesn’t, and probably never will, just makes me feel dumb and naive for ever thinking otherwise. This slow and constant realization that most of what we eat isn’t safe is almost enough to make me revert to my ninth grade self, in which I deny food’s basic nutritional properties and insist on getting all of my energy from the sun. Unfortunately, it didn’t work then, and it won’t work now. Plus, I’d rather know what’s harming me and try to avoid it, than be ignorant and never know what hit me.
I guess I’m finished with my rant…for now.