How to Rebel Against Corporate Food
The term “corporate food” is pretty disturbing if you stop to think about it. Corporations aren’t usually known for their strong ethics or for placing people above profit. And yet, somehow, more than 70% of food in America is processed and almost two-thirds of the food available comes from only 4% of the farms.
This means that a very high percentage of the food consumed in America was somehow provided by a corporation whose main goal is profit, not nutrition. (Read more about the dangers of this type of consolidation.) We would all be much better off if we focused on local food and cooked from scratch, and that’s what this week’s round-up is all about.
Please remember that rebellion doesn’t mean that you have to lead a protest against Monsanto’s national headquarters or march through the fields of a nearby industrial farm, waving signs. You can rebel quietly and staunchly by refusing to purchase what they are selling. Growing your own, buying from small local farmers, avoiding processed food like the plague that it is, and cooking from scratch are powerful weapons against corporate food.
As always, I really hope you’ll share your links and ideas in the comments below, and don’t forget to give your input on the Foodie Friday question!
Mason Jar Salads: One of the biggest reasons that healthy eating plans go awry is a lack of time. If food is not convenient when you’re hungry, you are far more likely to reach for something processed or go through drive-thru.
I recently discovered the wonderful world of mason jar salads and life will never be the same. (Obviously, as a canner, I have many jars just waiting to be filled with healthy ingredients.) If you like to prep your food ahead of time so that something good is always at hand, check out this awesome little book with 50 recipes for mason jar food prep.
These are kid-friendly, too, since you can customize the ingredients to suit the tastes of picky eaters. Mason jar salads will stay good for 4-5 days, meaning that you can make an entire week’s worth of lunches in a Sunday afternoon.
There is a little more to it than just slapping some ingredients into a jar, though, so pick up this book! (Note: as with all successful books, there are quite a few knock-offs, many of which aren’t very good. Ensure that you get the original book!)
Farmstead Feast – Winter: This inexpensive little cookbook will walk you through all things seasonal that are good to eat right now to help you with your endeavors to eat more locally. Not only is eating seasonal healthier and better for the environment, it’s a whole lot easier on your budget, too.
Check out the seriously delicious, simple-to-make recipes, then head to your local farmer’s market, confident that you can turn those unfamiliar-looking winter veggies into a feast fit for royalty. (Bonus: This can help you to plan for next year’s fall garden, because you’ll know exactly what to plant so that you can enjoy the same food next year right from your own backyard.
The Fanny Farmer Cookbook: If you want to avoid processed food ingredients in your recipes, one of the best ways to do so is to use a cookbook that was written well before processed food was commonly available.
My very favorite old friend in the kitchen is my Fanny Farmer Cookbook that I picked out of a dusty box at a yard sale. When I was newly married, Fanny is the one who taught me to cook as I worked my way through the recipes.
It’s a little different than modern cookbooks since it came from an era during which nothing could be allowed to go to waste. This is a thorough, old-fashioned cookbook that deserves a place on your shelf.
Foodie Friday News
Yet again, it looks like research is backing up we know: organic food is better for you. Of course, media outlets that rely on income from junk food advertisers and corporate food companies like to scoff at those of us who insist on the healthiest food around.
Back in 2012, the NY Daily News recommended that we save our cash and just buy conventional. Forbes (notorious for their support for genetically modified foods and Monsanto) cited the same study and too the insults a step further, suggesting that an insistence on organic food was simply “affluent narcissism.”
The “experts ” even co-opted a legitimate mental illness, orthorexia nervosa, and said that those of us who focus solely on consuming unprocessed, organic food are suffering from this illness and require treatment. But there’s good news.
In the largest study on the topic to date, a team of experts from around the world confirmed that organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than their conventional counterparts. And that doesn’t even touch on the fact that when you consume organic meat and dairy, you aren’t ingesting hormones, antibiotics, or second-hand pesticides and GMOs.
Check out this loophole the FDA allows for food manufacturers. If you are still under the delusion that the FDA is looking out for your health and well-being, it’s important to understand that the only people they’re truly looking out for is the ones with deep pockets in the food and drug manufacturing businesses.
Here’s yet another example. Did you know that the classification “generally recognized as safe” is actually meaningless? It’s all based on the honor system.
That’s right – the people who sneak MSG into products to trick you into thinking you’re eating something delicious are the same people who get to classify an ingredient as safe, even if it is completely untested. (In a grocery store hoax of epic proportions, I don’t even consider many of the ingredients in the stuff sold as food to actually even be food.) Find out what some of those horrifying “safe” ingredients actually are.
And finally, a battle against glyphosate in our food has been tentatively won. It isn’t unreasonable to be worried about weedkiller in our food, but until now, there has been no required testing whatsoever, even on heavily sprayed GMOs like corn and soy.
Finally, after years of irrefutable proof that the herbicide caused toxicity and death (and the EPA raising the allowable limit regardless), the World Health Organization declared that glyphosate was a probable human carcinogen.
It took a while after that declaration, but it looks like there has been enough of a public outcry that the FDA is reluctantly going to test for pesticide residue in common foods. Well, maybe.
An FDA spokeswoman, Lauren Sucher, said the agency is “considering assignments” for the current fiscal year to “measure glyphosate in soybeans, corn, milk, and eggs, among other potential foods.”
How do you break free from corporate food? It’s not as hard as you might think to free yourself from relying on the huge industrial farms and the food manufacturers. And if you can’t trust the FDA, the USDA, and the EPA to enforce reasonable rules upon the huge corporations responsible for most of the American diet, you can avoid them altogether. Here are 3 tips to help you break free:
- Eat local. (Find a local farm or market HERE)
- Grow your own. (Every little bit of food that you can grow yourself chips away at the foundation of corporate food. You can find some tips for small-space growing in this round-up.)
- Cook from scratch. (Ditch the processed food with these kitchen shortcuts.)
Try your hand at charcuterie. If you’re lucky enough to have some game, then you’ve got to make this summer sausage. (It can easily be adapted to other meats, though, if you don’t have anything as exotic as moose.)
I love filling my spice cabinet with homegrown goodness. Here’s the easy DIY for the best garlic powder you’ve ever used! (One recommendation when making your own garlic powder: You might want to process it outside, lest your home and everything in it smell like a pasta restaurant for the next month – ask me how I know.) Chili powder is also easy to make, and it’s intensely delicious. Here’s the DIY for that, and here is a link to seeds for Ancho chilis, my favorite pepper for making my own chili powder.
Speaking of chili, canning your own is delicious, healthful, and easy. No longer do you need to worry about the questionable ingredients in storebought canned chili. Try canning your own for the most delicious “fast food” meal around. Here’s a recipe for canning classic chili, and one for sweet and spicy chili.
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