Food Fear: Trust your food about as far as you can throw it

Lots of people have food fears lately. With good reason, too. Once in a while there are outbreaks of nasty things that do immediate damage within our food systems. Our fast foods and convenience foods are loaded with tricky ingredients that apparently make people unable to stop eating them while slowly their weight ballons and their health may be affected. Even organic foods are tricky – they might come from a factory farm and still be ‘organic’ but what the USDA calls organic and what other people call organic may be different. Local foods are fine as long as the grass-fed cows are not pastured with the free-range chickens (although it makes a pretty picture for sure). And if you don’t know why, then there is yet another thing to find out about and be scared of!

How to decide what food to trust. There are many opinions. So many ways to sort this out that even that can be frightening.

I’ve decided to take things into my own hands. For a long time I’ve known something about fear and trust. And what I know can be boiled down to a few words, which it could be you’ve heard before:

“I’ll trust him as far as I can throw him.”

Absolutely. There is meaning in that phrase. When someone says that to me, there is no question in my mind as to ‘what it means’. It is clear and decisive. And there is methodry involved, scientific methodry. Throwing.

I decided to test some new foods from the supermarket today, compared to some I already buy, to see how far I could trust them. Who knows. It might be the packaging full of chemicals. It might be chemicals in the growing process. It might be the way the corporation is run. It might be the caloric content. It might be the way the food has been treated. It might be gluten in excess or sugar there’s always sugar or worse some sugary thing made from corn. I need to find out what I can trust.

I walked to the playground nearby to conduct this test, so that the foods would all be calm and content, pleased to be in a joyful childlike environment. And I started throwing.

Each throw was the same. I used the same amount of strength and stood in the same exact place. And here are the results:

The little frozen challah breads came in as the clear winner in trustworthiness since they could be thrown the furthest. Next it seemed as if the asparagus and the honey bear honey were a tie, though the asparagus was right in the center unafraid of the test and the honey bear honey sidled off to the left a bit.

Lamb chops, banana leaves, and granola were somewhere in the middle. Trustworthy but apparently worth watching a bit, just in case they try something.

Last was the tofu. It did not go very far. Distressing, for tofu always presents itself as one of the foremost trustable foods. But then again, it often is like this. Underneath the bluster of loud ideology can be found some pretty big cracks if one chooses to look.

I hope this scientific method to determine if your food fears are justified helps you as much as it has helped me. Please send in your own results from any testing you may undertake.

It’s just one way of making the world a better place.


7 thoughts on “Food Fear: Trust your food about as far as you can throw it

  1. Once upon a time, people didn’t have the luxury to fear their food. In fact, they lived in a nearly constant state of fear of an absence of food.

    The World already is a “better place”.

  2. Carrie, if I remember correctly there’s no problem if all the animals are assured to be completely healthy. I think the concern arises where the care given the animals (either by the farmer through their own knowledge – or by the farmer and a vet together) is not what it should be to assure that the animals are completely healthy.

    This is not my area of expertise, of course . . . the information came to me through a story told by a neighboring farmer who came to visit my acreage when at one point I was considering raising chickens, lambs, or pigs in an area where traditionally mostly steer were grazed. I was at that time searching for the bucolic pleasures of the slower life which would have included farming and embracing the efforts of others who were attempting to do the same.

    The area was moderately poverty-stricken. This was no gentleman farmer’s paradise but a place of thin shoe-strings for most of those who lived there and who had lived there for generations.

    I was eager to learn all I could and had many questions both about my own land and about the other small-hold farmers who were selling their products from nearby. At one point we were talking about the two places one could get fresh-killed (semi-organic) (sic) chickens and he approved of one to a point but still was not totally approving because they were operating vaguely under the radar of the authorities. There was no health department surveying the area – it was out sort of in the middle of nowhere.

    But the other place which would sell fresh-killed chickens, a small place – he was adamant that it was not a good idea to entertain thoughts of buying from them. Reason being that the chickens were pastured with the cows and neither one (but moreso the chickens) got the veterinary attention required.

    The major concern was a very common infection or bacteria, if I remember correctly – which (if the animals were not given regular antibiotics) would leave traces in the droppings so that when those droppings were consumed in the cross-pasturing process, the other animal would be infected in such a way that might not cause it too much trouble, but which could cause the person sitting down to dine upon it some trouble.

    His points made to me were: Know what you are doing before you raise livestock. It’s not just something one can jump into and do without a lot of knowledge and resources (I totally agreed then and do now). And know the farmer and know what you’re supposed to know about the farmer before you eat something they sell you, if there are no regulating agencies watching out for the consumer in the case.

    It would be funny, though – if his warning story turned out to be one big honker. There was a tremendous amount of small-town vituperation and emnity hidden behind the easy manners, quiet tones, and smiles that went back decades between various folk in that small holler . . . !

    I look forward to hearing more about this, from those with more knowledge than I have. 🙂

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