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I'll preface this with the fact that I am not one to care about 'these things' generally. I don't care about GM foods, a bit of drugs in my meat, and I restrict my conspiracy theories to all things Google.
However I'm really starting to lean towards organic food. Chicken's what got me started. I've long refused to eat our store bought chicken. It's tastless, it's only weeks from being an egg, and it's pumped full of water. I can't bear the taste. However, range fed organic chicken, well, watch your fingers! So now all of our chicken either comes from a friend's farm, or we drive 35 minutes and buy it from an organic farm.
Same thing with beef. We no longer take chances with store bought beef being tough/not tough/tasty/bland. We buy so many pounds once a year from a local farmer, from beef he's run outside on his land with nothing else added.
This coming growing season I'm going to build a reasonable sized vegetable garden, in our back yard in suburbia, water it with rainwater and feed it with the compost we've been creating for the last year. We're going to have fresh beans/radishes/lettuce/peas/carrots and so on. Not really all that much work and I know a small amount of space can produce a lot. And I figure I can hold the kid's interest for about 2 weeks before they're bored with it.
Now I look at all that and it sounds like I'm some sort of beard-growing hermit unibomber :). But I'm not, I'm a family aged western civilized guy. And if I'm doing all this, then all this organic stuff has truly gone mainstream.
What say you? Are you all just eating the local supermart produce? Or are you careful with the source of your food? Or something in between?
|I was diagnosed with hypertension and have the damnedest time finding meat that's not injected with some sort of brine. |
sgietz, I feel for you. For what it is worth, what he is talking about is a real issue and not emotional claptrap. (Tip: avoid Walmart.)
The organic industry is full of hacks offering more emotion than real benefits, but the organic industry is nothing compared to some of the slimy practices done by many "conventional" food producers.
|It tastes different. Our sense of taste evolved to let us choose food that matched our nutritional needs. Therefore, if it tastes different I will assume it is nutritionally different until it is proven otherwise. |
Taste is important to good health. People will NOT eat nutritional food if it does not taste good. They will prefer good tasting food over food that is nutritional. (Thus, the problem of us consuming too much salt.) The goal is safe, nutritional food we can afford that tastes good. Can "organic" get us there? In a weird, somewhat illogical way, I think it has made a major contribution toward that goal.
But does safe+nutritional+affordable+tasty=organic? I'll be kind and say, "Not yet."
Well, Walmart is about the only thing around here that doesn't burn a hole in your pocket. :(
I guess the only way to get good food, is to put a bunch a cows in the backyard, mix in some chickens, and grow veggies. I grew up in Germany, and I really miss the quality of the food there. Fresh meats, produce, and baked goods, all local stuff. The taste difference is phenomenal!
There is a German baker in town, and his stuff is excellent, but it's still sub-par, because of the ingredients he has to use. Very sad!
Sgietz, see if you can find a local farmer. That brine is exactly what turned me off mainstream meat.
The last time we had it, my wife cooked some chicken breast in the oven. It came out 1/2" deep in water and smelled like buttcrack. It didn't make it to the table. I'd likely still be eating store chicken if it wasn't for that.
Here, the meat is described as 'seasoned'. I asked a butcher about it when they first started injecting it and he was quite open about them injecting water. Since they couldn't just do that, they injected brine. That gave them the ability to inject water to get the weight up and call it seasoned. I don't know that they even call it seasoned anymore.
Blech. The stuff just reminds me of something vat grown. As I noted, I'm no food snob or connessieur. If it's beyond me to eat the stuff, anyone with any resemblence of sensitivity is going to have a problem.
They can't even make chicken taste like chicken anymore :).
Walmart was reportedly offering "organic" or "natural" meats in many of its supermarkets. You have look for it and it costs more. This is a 2006 report:
|I don't know that they even call it seasoned anymore. |
I never buy meat that is called "seasoned". They still sell it around here. A decade ago I bought a whole chicken that was called "seasoned" .. but by seasoned they mean, spices were added to cover the fact the chicken was turning bad.
|I never buy meat that is called "seasoned". They still sell it around here. A decade ago I bought a whole chicken that was called "seasoned" .. but by seasoned they mean, spices were added to cover the fact the chicken was turning bad. |
What about the seasoned meat from the Deli dept in supermarkets? Is it bad too? I thought they are just expensive but for convenience.
I'm a fan of Chef Ramsey (the very loud British guy). He has a show called "Kitchen Nightmares" where he whips declining restaurants into shape. He usually scours the kitchen and food storage areas. It's unreal how unsanitary these places are, and I'm afraid this is very common. Just recently my wife and I had our *pipes* cleaned by some bad food at that "Apple(...)" place. And I was served partially raw chicken at another place some months before. That is outrageous! These people won't rest until someone dies from that disgusting food.
I think the same is true for groceries. The products are filled with so-called *flavor enhancers* when it should be called *bad flavor masking*. Bleh! And people wonder why there is an epidemic of heart disease, hypertension, cancer, depression, arthritis, restless leg syndrome (what a crock!), and the list goes on.
|I'm a fan of Chef Ramsey (the very loud British guy). He has a show called "Kitchen Nightmares" where he whips declining restaurants into shape. He usually scours the kitchen and food storage areas. It's unreal how unsanitary these places are, and I'm afraid this is very common. |
I like that show. Lots of profanity :-)
|I think the same is true for groceries. The products are filled with so-called *flavor enhancers* when it should be called *bad flavor masking*. Bleh! And people wonder why there is an epidemic of heart disease, hypertension, cancer, depression, arthritis, restless leg syndrome (what a crock!), and the list goes on. |
Most people don't have time to cook. That's why there is lot of demand for quick meal items filled with preservatives, lots of salt.
From The New York Times:
It’s Organic, but Does That Mean It’s Safer?
|Although the rules governing organic food require health inspections and pest-management plans, organic certification technically has nothing to do with food safety. |
“Because there are some increased health benefits with organics, people extrapolate that it’s safer in terms of pathogens,” said Urvashi Rangan, a senior scientist and policy analyst with Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. “I wouldn’t necessarily assume it is safer.”
Why should organic food be "safer"? Bacteria and fungus don't care if your food is organic or not. But that does not make organic food worse it only shows how stupid some people are.
|...people extrapolate that it’s safer in terms of pathogens... |
Last year's organic E Coli spinach episode should have thrown out the window anyone's faith in safety from pathogenic infection. But that's a straw man argument. The whole point of organic produce is not about safety from pathogenic illness, it's about about farming with nature, taking into account bees, butterflies, chickens, ducks, spiders, ladybugs, frogs- essentially the ideals of permaculture [en.wikipedia.org]. Monoculture isn't the ideal envisioned by the word "organic" but it fits into the loose government definition. Permaculture is the ideal.
Safety from pathogenic illness is not a part of this conversation. It's a straw man argument.
It even goes deeper than plants. Take mosquito eradication. In prior years they sprayed DDT which caused cancer clusters. Now they're advocating introducing non-native species of fish that harm native populations of endangered frogs (that eat mosquitoes) as well as eat the larvae of drangonflies and damselflies (that also eat mosquitoes).
People who complain of too many caterpillars and snails eating their veggies are consistently people who do not encourage bird populations in their yard with bird baths, feeding stations, and bird food. People who complain of rabbits eating their vegetables are usually people who live near wild areas where habitats for predators like owls and hawks are non-existent. You can't have everything. You have to identify the imbalance and address it. But the solution is usually to go to the store and get chemicals, poisons, traps, etc.
There's a better way.
It took millions of years for this perfect balance, and we think we can master it overnight.
|It's a straw man argument. |
Not that I'm going to arm myself with any facts, but I think I disagree.
I suspect that the tendency to better quality food or organic or whatever it is that I'm buying, that the growing and raising of that food is strongly correlated with less chance of nasties being in the food.
At least, I hope so. There's been numerous issues in recent years that are one of the underlying reasons we're moving away from the monster store type groceries.
First, I buy food off local farmer, it hasn't gone through high end processing like the standard store bought stuff has. That additional processing, with a focus on speed and cost and potencially at the expense of quality, I believe can lead to new problems like the bacteria problems some produce has had. So I believe that going more natural introduces less bacterial issues into my food chain.
Secondly, if I'm getting all the other benefits anyway, the idea that I'm also doing away with other additional chemical additives is another strong positive for me. And I believe that makes me 'healthier'.
I do know that if I grow stuff this year using the square foot gardener stuff mentioned earlier in this thread that I've then been in complete control of that food for 100% of the time. Pretty much 0% chance of any problems. When I buy from a farmer locally I'm buying from someone that I trust that's been in control of that food for 100% of the time. That's got to be better than eating vegetables that could have started their journey half a world away - and that have a demonstratably higher than 0% chance of feeding me somthing bad.
Your hopes are unfounded. Where do you think manure comes from?
Many pathogens can live in manure and be transferred to the soil. This is why I say it's a straw man argument. Organic food is not about safety from food borne pathogens. It's about a return to natural gardening techniques, the ideals of permaculture where you are positively affecting the environment with your farming activity and yes, getting away from chemicals such as pesticides and franken-species of produce.
|In prior years they sprayed DDT which caused cancer clusters. |
|The investigation mandated by the 1993 law funded 5 separate large US studies of women located mainly in the northeastern United States, to evaluate the association of blood and serum levels of DDE (a chemical produced as DDT breaks down in the environment) and PCBs with breast cancer risk. In a review of these 5 studies published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers concluded that "combined evidence does not support an association of breast cancer risk with plasma/serum concentrations of PCBs or DDE. Exposure to these compounds, as measured in adult women, is unlikely to explain the high rates of breast cancer experienced in the north-eastern United States." |
[medscape.com...] (subscription only)
But, I like your thinking. Be careful. Use these tools ONLY when necessary. (As in using DDT to get rid of malaria, saving thousands of lives.) Death and disease are very natural, alas.
[edited by: lawman at 12:37 am (utc) on Mar. 8, 2009]
[edit reason] Noted That Link Is To Subscription Site [/edit]
So you really believe, and expect others to believe as well, which things are true or not true based on what a U.S. government agency tells you is true?
[edited by: Jane_Doe at 8:52 pm (utc) on Mar. 7, 2009]
|So you really believe, and expect others to believe as well, which things are true or not true based on what a U.S. government agency tells you is true? |
Depends on the agency and how much detail you want to get into. For example, our USDA decided that it was worth hundreds of millions of dollars for them and the food industry to create an organic labeling program. I did not think so at the time and the result over time has proved my point. Organic labels, instead of making our food purchasing easier and more simple, has made it more difficult and more complex. And, in many cases for many people, more expensive for consumers and farmers. (The middlemen, on the other hand, are have done well with slapping a label on their goods and hiking up the price). The benefits to the environment--and there might be some--could have been achieved in other ways.
The National Research Council, which has reports many organic supporters like to quote, has offered advice such as grazing cattle on native easy to sustain johnsongrass. Not wise: If you can get them to eat it, they'll get sick.
I was not too keen on our government banning research using stem cells. Now that has changed, for the better I believe.
I have an understanding of DDT. Misused, it can and has cause real environmental damage. But, from what I know of how cancers might be impacted by the environment, I don't see a link and those who thought they might find one if they looked have not.
DDT was an effective tool to address the problem of malaria. Then it was used to address annoying bugs, Then it was used just to kill bugs, both good and bad, because it was easy. The tragic result was covered well in "Silent Spring."
If you spray because it's easy or if you grow "organic" because it's profitable, either way, you're asking for problems. Mother Nature is not concerned with profits nor with what is easy.
FDA Approves Salmonella
I must be one of the odd fellows out... Organic to me means not plastic, metal, toxic or without nutrition. I really must be one of the odd fellows out in that if it can bite me, but I kill it first and then eat it, it must be organic...and tasty. :)
Meanwhile... drink coffee? Grown in your back yard? If not, then most likely it was grown with DDT on a different continent as the pesticide. Might be the reason for the brilliant aroma and sharp, tangy taste.
I prefer "organic" to mean the opposite of "inorganic". All the rest of it is marketing B.S., Greenies, and/or politics which want to control/dictate, ie, a lust for power.
Range free chickens have been around as long as farms existed...and long before that as well... and take a look at how these organic creatures are raised for a real education.
Trying to control pests by "natural" means can cause more problems than they solve
eg Cane Toads in Australia were imported to kill cane beetles
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