The Agriculture Game:
Poking Fun at the Absurdity of What We Call Food
Remember that movie Soilent Green? I won’t spoil the ending for you, but it’s about food that everyone is eating which is made from highly undesirable sources, and the company which produces this “food” makes a big effort to keep under wraps the truth about what the population is eating.
You know, that sounds kind of familiar with what we are all experiencing here in real life as more and more stories arise about the dangerous practices of the major agricultural industries. Animals unethically raised for food who are injected with antibiotics, hormones and steroids; toxic and carcinogenic chemicals being used as food additives for taste or durability; and Genetically Engineered EVERYTHING.
I’m not going to pump more fear into the energy stream of the Internet here and talk conspiracy theories, there are plenty of other folks out there who are doing a fine job at that. I’m here to give praise to the vehicle of satire and absurdity to weasel a little bit of hard truth into the minds of the greater community. I come from a background in entertainment; stage, television and film, and there’s nothing I like more than really smart comedy that makes you think in order to get the jokes.
Enter: Farmed and Dangerous, an Internet web series that premiered in February 2014 on HULU.com. This is a wild lampoon following the deviant practices of a fictional corporate agriculture business that has created a new food for cattle made from petroleum. It’s a fun caricature of the money-hungry corporate leaders and their Public Relations team battling a brave and moral farmer as he attempts to expose the truth of this dangerous new food.
Farmed & Dangerous is produced exclusively by the fast food restaurant company Chipotle, and I am very proud of those guys for making such a bold and public statement about food quality. Now, don’t mistake this article as a fan plug for the burrito chain, because I personally do not enjoy Chipotle as a restaurant. First of all, in the few times I found myself eating there I never really considered the food all that tasty; there is nothing remarkable or special about the flavor of their food in my taste buds’ opinions. Second, those restaurants are so freakin’ loud, it is obnoxiously stressful to be there, let alone trying to eat in such a metallic and concrete tank of NOISE. The music is at such a high volume that everyone in these noise aquariums has to scream to each other to be heard, which doesn’t bode well when you have to yell through a glass wall to the people behind the counter who are attempting to interpret your gestures and lip movements to assemble a gargantuan burrito to your liking.
On the other hand, what I do love about Chipotle is their confident stance against unhealthful food. They serve meats only raised without antibiotics and hormones, they are eliminating genetically engineered ingredients from their menus, and each year they take another step toward better food for the people. And for that I commend them.
With so many news reports, books, and articles being written about how dangerous our foods have become, how food allergies are accelerating as the new plague of American society, how you shouldn’t eat meat, or you shouldn’t eat carbs, or you shouldn’t eat anything, we are left swirling in this maelstrom of confusion about the very thing we use to fuel our magnificent organic machines we call our body. Everyone has a different opinion, different proof, and different stories of miraculous transformational recoveries with food. Why? Simply because we are all different people. What works for one does not mean it works for all. Our bodies are as unique as the varieties of foods we can enjoy. And with all the dreadful stories and studies flying at us like monkeys after Dorothy, what we are left eat, if we follow all the recommendations, is nothing. That is where your intelligent body comes in.
The first guideline to eating for you is: Eat Without Fear! If you avoid foods simply because of what you believe is bad about it, then you are feeding the fear. Don’t be afraid to eat food that may have genetically engineered ingredients, or is not organic, if you are in a situation where you have no choice. Eat and enjoy and in the future plan ahead a little so you won’t find yourself in such a situation.
The second guideline is: Listen To Your Body! Be fully present when you eat. If you consume your food so fast, or while distracting yourself with loud music, TV, or reading, without taking the time to slow down and enjoy your meal, you will never notice what your body is telling you about what you just ate. During, just after, and even a few hours after eating your meal you will notice –if you pay enough attention– how your body feels in response to that food. When you eat dairy foods do you feel heavy, yet when you don’t eat dairy you feel lighter? When you eat quality, grass-fed, organic meat do you feel stronger and more energized compared to when you eat that 85% fat ground beef you find at the grocery store meat display wrapped in that plastic log shape? If you are not paying attention to how your body responds to the foods you eat, you will never know what is best for You and what is best for you to avoid. I’m not saying here to eat all your meals in isolated silence, that would be ridiculous. Enjoy your company. Enjoy your environment. Enjoy your food. But if you are overly distracted with television, or you are eating under stress, you won’t be able to notice the subtle messages your body is telling you. Plus you will very likely be eating so fast with this distraction that you will hardly chew your food. Remember, your stomach does not have teeth, so chew your food completely…in your mouth (I’ll discuss this in a future article). Every body is different, so listen to Yours.
The third guideline is: Vote with Your Dollars! Whenever you choose to buy pre-packaged, convenience foods like Velveeta or Campbell’s or any product with the word “Value” printed right on the label as examples, you are voting for and agreeing with the unethical practices and ingredients these food companies are using to sell you as “food”. Yes, they may be cheaper compared to other organic or non-GMO products, but you are undoubtedly going to pay for the difference you perceive to have saved at a later date in the form of medical and prescription drug costs in attempt to mask the harmful damage, pain and inflammation these poor foods have created in your body. Do yourself, and the world, a favor and buy good, organic, ethically raised and harvested foods that your body knows what to do with. By doing so you are voting for more goodness to come to market, and voting against the bad stuff. Plus when you eat wholesome, real food you need to eat less of it, saving you money in the long run; organic and ethical foods have much higher nutrient per calorie ratio compared with the conventional processed foods at most standard grocery stores. Eat Smart.
What I am saying here is have fun, enjoy your food as the glorious fuel it is for you. Embrace variety and turn you back on fear. Your smart decisions create a positive ripple of good which spreads farther than you know. So put down that Twinkie and go buy some organic almonds.