Saturday, March 21, 2015

It All Begins with Dirt

This post will be a little different from what I normally post on this site. Bear with me; I'm going to attempt a homework assignment for school.  

I started this blog after beginning to research nutrition and the way it affects our bodies. In case you didn't know, I am a breast cancer survivor who was totally perplexed on how it was that I came to get cancer in the first place. I was, after all, relatively healthy; not overweight, not a smoker, drinker or druggie.  As a child, I was raised mostly on home grown food, both from the garden and our barn. I had all the “right” things going for me, and none of the bad. The only risk factor on the list I could check off was that I was Caucasian.  So how did I get cancer?

As I started researching, one of the main things I could figure out, that I could control anyway, was the food I was eating and it's affects on my body.  In a very short time frame I became a vegetarian, and then a vegan. Now I eat mostly a plant-based diet, occasionally eating fish when I'm too lazy  busy to fix a complete meal. Eating plant based is more work than fixing chicken or beef every night and throwing a potato and some peas and carrots on the side and calling it a meal. Eating mostly plants requires a little more planning to make sure I get in all the nutrients I need. When I don’t do it correctly, my body lets me know about it, and then… out comes the fish for a quick lazy fix to help pump in some of what I need.  It’s not a perfect diet, but I try to stay balanced in both what I eat and how I think about eating. I don’t want to be “that” fanatic whom everyone avoids.

As I’ve stated before on this blog, I’m not out to convert anyone to become a vegan or vegetarian, although there are plenty of good reasons I could give you that might get you to consider a plant-based diet. What I do want to accomplish is not only sharing good tasting healthy recipes, but also give you good solid reasons for choosing the best of what you put on your and your family’s plates.

According to Compassion in World Farming, 2 out of every 3 farm animals in the world are now factory farmed 1.  You might ask “What is factory farming?”. A factory farm is a “farm on which large numbers of livestock are raised indoors in conditions intended to maximize production at minimal cost” (Merriam-Webster

Why does that matter?

I won’t go into the horrific and inhumane practices and conditions in factory farming. That would just be cruel to you. If you’re ready to feel disgusted and violently ill, just look up factory farming on the Internet and click on any link. I won’t do that to you here.

But turning a blind eye to this doesn’t just prevent you from wanting to puke, it prevents you from staying healthy. It prevents you from making the best food choices you can in order to prevent disease in your own body in the now or near future.  If you choose to eat meat, then please, know where it comes from and what it is fed. After all, you are what you eat and what they ate.

Pork, ‘the other white meat’ comes from pigs that are forced to live in a space no bigger than their own bodies and lie or stand in their own feces. “So”, you say, “I am not into animal rights.” That’s ok. I can’t really say that I am “into” animal rights either, but you still need to be concerned. “Why?” you ask, because this unsanitary practice actually makes the pigs sick.2.  All animals are routinely shot up with antibiotics to help control these sicknesses due to their unsanitary surroundings, but then those same antibiotics are passed onto you. And oh, yeah, those sick animals provided they don’t die before they are butchered, are still slaughtered and put on your local grocers meat rack. Those that do die before they are butchered are chopped up and put into your pets' food. Check your pets’ food label for ‘bypass protein’, which translates to dead animal remains, not butchered, dead first.  

I won’t go on and on about all the different animals and how they are treated and what they are treated with. But please know that factory farming is a big bucks business where the “product” is forced to grow fast using antibiotics and growth hormones to get on to your grocer in record time.  All that ‘stuff’ that goes into that animal goes into you too.

The factory farmed meat is fatter, sicker and full of drugs which is passed onto you, causing early physical development in our children, heart disease, cancer and other diseases that could be prevented.

So to circle back around to my title, It All Begins with Dirt, when we grow or know where our food is grown, we are much better off. You may not have the resources to grow your own vegetables or raise your own meat in your back yard, but there are people around who can and do raise food that is free of pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones. These same people work with the seasons and allow their animals to eat the way they were meant to eat.  

Chickens eat grass, seeds and insects. 

Cows will graze on grass, love and sunshine. 

And pigs love to eat grass, root for bugs and get treated with garden scraps.

These animals are growing at a normal growth rate, in the sunshine, eating what God meant them to eat. If you choose to eat meat, eat meat that ate what it was supposed to eat in order for your body to benefit in the best way it can. Dirt supports grass for the animals to graze and the crops to grow. When we do it right from the ground up, we’ll all be much happier and healthier for it.

Here are a just a few resources to look at if you are interested in learning more about what and what not to put on your plate. There is much, much more on the topic if you choose to look.

1.    1. Lymbery, Philip. "Facts and Figures." Compassion in World Farming, 2012. Web Accessed through March 21, 2015.

2.   2. Wing, Steve. “University of North Carolina “Pig poop fouling North Carolina streams; state permitting questioned.”   Environmental Health Sciences, 2013 Web accessed March 21, 2015.


Tiffany McDonald said...

Great read! Also check out

Donna Shaw said...

Very well put! Agree 100%.

Jill Stump said...

Thank you so much for sharing Mindy! Great article indeed!

Linda Fleck said...

Excellent, Mindy!! Very well put! Love this sentence from your post - "But please know that factory farming is a big bucks business where the “product” is forced to grow fast using antibiotics and growth hormones to get on to your grocer in record time. All that ‘stuff’ that goes into that animal goes into you too." This is so true!

Rick Shaw said...

Very nice Mindy!

Amber Spear said...

Awesome article Mindy !

Dave said...

Good job, hon. And it's good to see you write again. Keep it up.

Mindy Howell said...

Thanks all for your kind words and for your support through schooling! And don't forget to support your local farmers!

Jenny said...

Just signed up to support my local organic farmers with you! Still need to figure out which farmer to buy hubs meat from.
I'd really like to know who's brilliant idea it was to start all this. They need a good smacking! I have no doubt that my PCOS - and the PCOS of like, every other woman I seem to meet, started with false hormones entering our systems!
Good blog :)