Chemical Consumption

There are advantages and disadvantages to having a wife whose job is campaigning about the dangers of GMO food. The disadvantage is that you have to read the labels on every item of food before you buy it. The advantage is that you do actually read the labels before you buy it. Because, let's face it, you don't know what on earth they put in "food" these days (or if it is even food at all). My rule of thumb is that if the ingredient list runs longer than four words, then you are probably in danger of toxic overload.

My wife and I were recently discussing this on a long distance call (me being in Colorado and she at home in Iowa). She had just been to see Food, Inc, the chilling documentary film about how big corporations have taken over the supply of food in this country and particularly how they abuse both the animals and the workers at food processing plants. "Basically four industrial conglomerates control just about everything," she explained and most food is now made from processed corn (which is fed to animals and also turned into various food additives such as corn syrup) and soy. Neither of which is particularly good for you in large quantities and both of which are genetically modified. In the case of cows, for example, the corn feed changes the conditions in their intestinal tract which allows for the growth of a new form of the dangerous E Coli bacteria which eventually ends up in your beef should you chose to eat it. "I wondered if our friends who eat meat (we don't) would still eat it if they knew what was really in it and how the animals are treated," she said.

It caught my attention because I had just read an article in Mother Jones magazine about Fiji Water, the popular designer drinking water which comes from ancient volcanic aquifers on the Pacific island of Fiji and is widely touted by celebrities and the proudly displayed by current White House at its televised meetings ( ). Apart from the fact that the company who produces makes obscene amounts of money from selling water they virtually get for free (as is the case with most bottled waters), the water has to be transported thousands of miles to its primary market of eco-conscious consumers in the West, and they use twice the amount of plastic to make the bottle (in China) so it "feels" more expensive, part of the profit goes to propping up a repressive military regime, and the people of Fiji who largely live in poverty are plagued by faulty water supplies which causes frequent outbreaks of typhoid.

Remember that old adage "You are what you eat." Well God help us because a lot of what we are eating is an unholy mix of chemicals, cruelty, greed and corruption. In the light of the current battle for health reform in this country, this becomes particularly important. Unless we, as a country, make the connection between what we eat and how it affects our health, then there can be no real health reform. As Bill Maher put it in a recent blog on Huffington Post "New Rule: You Cannot Complain About Health Care Reform If You're not Willing to Reform Your Own Health." ( )

See you at the local farmer's market.