Food Inc. and our Meat System

In America, we are the proud kings of industrialized processes in all industries. We have achieved economies greater than any human beings who ever came before us. (“Economies” refers to economies of scale, by making production extremely cost-effective.) It is capitalism at its finest. We can also proudly say, “there is enough food to feed the world.”

But when we apply new science to food we start getting undesirable byproducts. “Food Inc.” is a 2008 documentary directed by Robert Kenner, which investigates the very unfortunate side-effects, including: E.coli growth in cows that are fed cheap corn rather than grass, the massive recalls of tainted meat which have led to avoidable deaths (often children), and poor treatment of workers (often illegal) in meat-packing facilities.

In order to live healthier lives there should be a push to consume “free range” animals, which are raised on the natural diets they’ve consumed for thousands of years. As shown in the investigative reporting, the highly mechanized way we raise animals has caused unnatural side-effects. We allow meat-packers to keep producing because our meat prices stay low. The USDA approves all the meat you see on the market shelves, but we still saw the largest meat recall in history on February 18, 2008, when a California meat company ordered the recall of over 143 million pounds of meat. 11 recalls were ordered in 2009, and we’ve already seen 100s of thousands of pounds recalled in 2010. We should all inform ourselves about where our food comes from, because the “greater good” in society is usually trumped by the greatest profits.

This report is important for all to see. Watch it here via Youku.

Move Around and Flex your Body

lazy cat on the couch
Easier than entertaining mice

Things I’ve been learning in Asia are not new but, instead, are confirmations of good ideas that have sat quietly in the back of my brain for a while.

I’ve never been the type to ask someone else in the room “could you pass me the remote?” or “can you just hop into the kitchen and get me a glass of water…?” Those requests always seemed kind of lazy to me. The only time I’ve ever requested this kind of help was when I was bed-bound from flu or a broken bone.

When I think about it even more, I truly feel that there is not enough movement in our daily lives. If you’ve seen Super-Size Me, a documentary about a man who eats McDonald’s everyday for 1 month, you’ll notice that the average person takes 3,000 steps in a typical day. Think about it… we get up, walk to the car, drive somewhere, go to the office from the parking lot, sit for hours, and repeat the movements going back home. City people probably walk more, but they are walking by loads of tempting food and desert shops too…

There is a saying in Chinese which goes “饭后百步走,活到九十九” – “Take a hundred steps after eating and you’ll live until you’re 99” literally. So, find a reason to walk after dinner… or make extra movements when you are doing things in the house. Really, inefficiency by moving more than necessary is a good thing! (A more active bedroom life can help too…)