Friday, July 4, 2008

Eating Garbage and Eating Shit!

Alright, so occasionally my family and a few friends like to tease me about different lifestyle choices I make, or the things that I value. This is especially true with some of my thoughts toward food. This is meant to be a kind of tongue-in-cheek response to that, and not meant to be taken too seriously. If you happened to read issue #2 of this zine, then you probably read my piece on humanure. A common joke is that when I start a farm one day, we're all going to go out and poop on our crops. The neighbors will look out the window and say... "there goes those crazy hippies again... pooping on their crops." Obviously this is friendly teasing, and it usually makes me laugh a lot. The idea of "eating poop" (via humanure) is so far outside of cultural acceptance that it is quite shocking to most people. The same could be said about rescuing food from the dumpster. In fact, one day my family was sitting around the dinner table enjoying a nice meal when my sister decided to share with the family that I eat out of dumpsters all the time. At first my parents thought she was joking, and then my dad said "no... really?" I kinda just smiled and said "well..." My mom left the table crying, thinking that she had failed as a mom because I was so poor that I was salvaging food from dumpsters. Yikes!

Our country has a food crisis. You are probably aware of it. Since the early 90's, obesity has skyrocketed. *In fact, I recently read that it is soon expected that obesity will soon be a larger global problem in our our world than hunger and starvation, even in the developing world. One of the most common health problems associated with obesity is diabetes, which has also become the norm for millions of Americans. Information about the causes of cancer are constantly changing, but a bad diet is definitely one of the most accepted sources. Heart Disease is on the rise as well. Everywhere you look, you hear about new ways to get fit and lose weight. Aside from our addictions to superficial beauty, we are also addicted to convenience and addicted to oil. While most people would frown upon dumpstered food and humanure, these same people don't think twice about processed foods. All processed foods are stocked full of corn and soy derivatives that come from the enormous surpluses created by the industrial food chain. This includes our favorite villians: High Fructose Corn Syrup and Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil. Fast food doesn't really do the body good either, and I'm sure theres some crazy stats on how many people eat fast food. Ever seen the film Supersize Me? Of course, all of the industrial food is sprayed with harmful chemicals (many of which are made directly from fossil fuels) that are engineered to kill other plants and insects- so why should we assume that it's safe for us to ingest? In addition, most of these crops are genetically modified, and it's unknown what kind of effect that that will have on us.

And we can't forget the good ol' meat and dairy industry. How about all of those hormones given to the animals to make them grow, produce eggs, and produce milk at unnatural exponential rates? Mmmm... rBGH, does a body good! If you're ever bored, check out the effects it has on young girls. Or perhaps all the antibiotics that are given to the animals so they don't get sick and die being in such close quarters with all the other animals. And yet, I recently saw a huge recall of meat. The reason: a video was released where the "ranchers" were pushing and even carrying the livestock around with a fork lift because the were too diseased to walk. Unfortunately all the meat from those sickly cows had already been consumed, mostly in school cafeterias. School cafeterias could be a case study on their own really, as they generally get the surpluses that have no use elsewhere. The correlation between nutrition and A.D.D. is another fun study if you get bored sometime. One of my personal favorites, though, is the common practice of enriching the livestock feed with fats and proteins. The source of this fat and protein comes from leftover scraps produced by the meat industry. Cows eating cows (this is actually illegal now in most places), chickens eating chickens, pigs eating pigs. Hooray for cannibalistic meat products! Hooray for mad cow disease!

Dumpstering has been good to me. I've never gotten sick off of anything that I've eaten out of a dumpster (okay, that salmon sushi made me feel a little queasy once, but at least I didnt barf). That's not to say you should eat anything that comes out of the dumpster, though (I knew better than eating that sushi!). I can't begin to tell you about the smorgasbord of goodness that I've gotten from dumpsters! Cases of Odwalla and Naked Juice, garbage bags full of Ezekiel and other organic breads, $1000's worth of organic produce with imperfections, organic cereals, organic yogurts and cheeses, and tons of other super healthy foods. Okay... to be fair, I also have a real knack for stumbling across pizza and donuts, which probably dont help the case I'm making for health; but we can set that aside. Perhaps riding a bike instead of driving makes up for that dirty laundry? Haha. Oh, and as for the humanure thing... it's some of the richest fertilizer money can't buy (yet?). Better than the crap thats made from fossil fuels and other synthetic garbage.

And so, friends, I'll let you be the judges... who today is really eating garbage? Who are the ones eating shit?

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