Cooking is Like Science

Cooking is Like Science
Cooking is Fun & Healthful!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Problem Isn't With The Grocery Store

Did you know that the first supermarket in America was build probably around 1946? What did they have before that then? Farmer's markets? Outside markets? Small grocers? I don't know because I wasn't there, but I do know that my ancestors owned a small grocer that sold eggs and produce in the early 1900s.

   What is the problem with our food today? Why is it that we go into a grocery store and find shelves filled with all kinds of boxes and cans of food? Is this normal, and if so, why do we have it?

   After months of trying to study this problem, I am coming up with some answers. First, let's consider a few things. People in the olden days died, and many did not have good resistances to diseases like the flu. Many died of bronchitis, or other lung diseases. In spite of that, many did live long lives. What makes a person live a long life?

    In the early American days, there was good soil. When the Pilgrims came over, Squanto taught them how to plant their gardens. They brought seed over here from Europe and already knew how to garden, but with Squanto's help, they grew a lot more than they imagined!

   We had good soil here, and access to unpolluted water to catch fish with. As the population grew, people spread out over the land and build farms. They engaged in bartering, which was a system that worked well for them. For example, if one person had an abundance of eggs, but not much milk, she could trade her eggs with someone who had milk to trade (and remember, this was before homogenized, pasteurized milk). Trading would go on in the little communities. Everything was fresh and people were able to trade their abundance with others who had other items in abundance. People made their own soap and candles. There were no trucks around spraying for bugs. There was no trucks on these farms to kill the insects, and it was hard to deal with the destruction caused by insects, at times. There were no sprinkler systems, thus, no water tainted with chlorine and fluoride, as well as other undesirables. Everything was pretty much pure. Yet people still died. Why?

   The death rate in NYC was great. Could it be though, that there were so many people living together in these crowded conditions that spreading germs was inevitable? People lived in buildings (in the 1800s) like apartments and it doesn't seem like there was any room for farming. NYC was so crowded (I did genealogy research because this is where some of my ancestors came in) and people from all over the world kept coming in. There was Little Italy and Chinatown. Many Irish came to NYC as well as German people. I can't imagine how these people lived or even what they had to eat or drink. Have you ever heard of Hell's Kitchen? It is near NYC.

   But there were other parts of New York and surrounding states that had a lot of land. People started and built farms. You can still see some of these farms today. Unfortunately, with the increase in technology, many have sold their farms and gone into other businesses.

   Today,  farms are going extinct. The farms that are left have to survive. Why is this? Modern technology has provided a way to make larger farms which require less farming skills (which, to many, are considered 'primitive'). Instead of America being made up of tons of little farms, it is made up of a few large, huge, agricultural farms, owned by corporations. These corporations provide food for every grocery store in America. What is the trade-off though?

   There are a couple of trade-offs. One is, that the animals on these farms have to be given anti-biotics on a regular basis, for fear that the animals will contract a disease and could contaminate the other animals as well as the food that the animal is supposed to supply. So, when you drink your glass of milk provided by a large corporation, it will have antibiotics in it. You might think that is good, but in reality it is bad for you. Antibiotics kill your gut flora, which is necessary for you to have a healthy gut and to digest your food properly. Antibiotics also kill good bacteria as well as bad, so if you are trying to build up your immune system with probiotics, the antibiotics will kill the good bacteria as well as the bad.

   All this goes back to doing what is best to build our immunities. We could sterilize our houses inside and out, to get rid of the bad germs, but whenever we do that, we destroy good germs too, in fact, the ones that will fight off the bad germs. We could create an environment that is not as sterile, and that would help provide a good environment for the good germs to grow in. If we get sick with a disease like Scarlet Fever for example, during the time of our sickness, our bodies are building an army of good germs that will fight off the germs that cause Scarlet Fever, and when we are well, we have a built-in immunity to Scarlet Fever and probably will never catch it again during our lifetimes. (I am not saying that you should not take antibiotics if you have Scarlet Fever! They could save your life like they did mine.) As important as antibiotics are in killing germs that cause diseases, they should only be reserved for times of sickness, or life threatening diseases. On the other hand, we do not want to stay on antibiotics for no reason. But that is what we do when we eat meat and drink milk and use milk products because of the antibiotics that are in them from the agricultural farms.

   Another reason that large agricultural farming is bad, is due to the use of growth hormones given to the animals. For example, chickens are given growth hormones that make them abnormally large and plump in just a short time. A chicken takes several months to grow big and large, but if it has been given growth hormones, it will be big in just three months. How's that for a nice Thanksgiving dinner entree? That big fat juicy turkey you ate for Thanksgiving last month probably was filled with growth hormones. Is it any wonder that girls begin puberty much earlier than their mothers and grandmothers did?

  Here's another reason why big farms are bad: The animals have to be tied and can't roam around. That might not sound bad to you but think about a couple of things. The animals have to stand in the same place where they go to the bathroom. The animals are filthy. What does this do their minds? Chickens in chicken houses never see any light. They live in darkness until they are killed or if they die first. There is no room for the chickens to move around in these chicken houses. When animals are kept in horrible conditions like this, it could affect their minds. It could also affect hormones that go through their blood streams. And we eat the product of all this!

   So, that problems really are not with the supermarkets, although they are the carriers of all these strangely produced foods. The problem lies with the farms. The problem lies with the government's support of large agricultural farms which are owned by large corporations. People used to get their food from local farms, with untainted growing methods, but today these farms are being discouraged. They are being pushed out of the way by the large corporations who own these large agricultural farms.

   People today even make fun of farmers. They call them 'primitive' and try to communicate to others that they are outdated. These people tend to trust 'science' over years and years of proven methods. There is a kind of 'pride' that people have with associating with science and technology. We laugh at anything old fashioned, but we would be surprised at how much wisdom these old folks have!

   Let me give one more example. This is kind of funny (if any of my friends who are guilty of doing this, please realize that I think it is kind of funny and I am not using it to make fun of you!), but I have been making soap for many years. For a while, I used Dial soap because I heard it was good in clearing up diaper rashes. I reasoned that it should be good for my face because I still have a problem with acne. Well, I had a skin sore on my body and asked the doctor about it. He told me to stop using Dial and recommended that I use something mild. That was when I decided to make more homemade soap and use it. The sore cleared up and never came back. The doctor explained that the soap you buy in the stores has chemicals in it. I had no idea. But I have given soap to my friends and family, and occasionally someone will laugh and ask me why I am making soap when I could just buy it at the store!

   Large agricultural farms owned by corporations have to use antibiotics, growth hormones, and cannot allow their animals to roam. Local farms do not have to employ these means to grow good food. But we need local farms in every area to cover the people in all the places in our country.

    The Grocery store sells whatever people will buy. So, if we continue to buy Smithfield bacon or Tyson's chicken, the store will continue to sell those items. But if we ask for organic, free-roaming meat that doesn't have growth hormones or antibiotics in them, then the stores will carry those items as well. The stores will be successful as they sell the items that people will buy. So, let's invest in the food that we eat and the food that we want our local supermarkets to carry.