Food Inc. Gave Me Anxiety.

Posted on Tuesday 20 October 2009

Documentaries are supposed to make you think. Give you insight in to something you either aren’t in tune to (yet) or something you feel strongly about and are seeking more connection with. Food and I have a very serious relationship, so for me, going to see Food, Inc. meant the latter.

Food Inc. opens our eyes to the realities of the American food system, and answers many of the questions we fail to ask ourselves. Where does our food come from? Who is growing or raising it? How is it readied for the grocery stores? And finally, who is in control of all of these facets of the grand operation? But then again, how were we supposed to know that we should be asking these questions in the first place? Eating comes naturally, we’ve been doing it all our lives.

If you have yet to see it, you should. It’s interesting. It’s educational and eye opening, but not in the extreme Michael Moore documentary fashion, more in the good journalism fact seeking fashion. However, if you are a believer in “ignorance is bliss,” and you’d rather not question the three (and many times more) most vital parts of our day, you may want to sit this one out. (Fear not, there is very little graphic imagery, simply real accounts from real people who know the insides of the system that most of us are unaware of).

Without spoiling the goods, the whole point of this post is the result that Food Inc. had on me personally. And that is, dilemma and confusion.

Now, when I walk in to my local grocery, I’m faced with choices. And not, white or wheat? I mean, if I buy these particular burger patties I am supporting inhumane slaughter practices and hormone-pumping factory farms. But if I buy these other free-range, grass-fed, antibiotic-free burger patties, I won’t be able to afford the ketchup that goes on top. What are the consequences of buying or not buying organic? It isn’t simply money. It is morals, values. It is beliefs. And having worked for an organic mushroom farmer, and being a huge animal advocate (though not necessarily vegetarian), mine are now somewhat at conflict after learning some of the things I did from this movie.

Knowing exactly what I am actually putting in to my body, knowing if a food has been genetically modified in to something that defies the definition of actual food, knowing if it’s traveled long, far and wide (from where exactly is a mystery) to get to the refrigerated walls of my local grocery…knowing these things has become more important to me. However, dating a chef and smelling the sweet aroma of searing foi gras overtaking my kitchen and wanting to very badly indulge makes me feel guilty. I love food. I love trying new things. I am a huge fan of culinary greatness, in all its glory. But I also don’t like the idea of what happens to certain things before they reach my dinner plate. So where do we draw the line?

I do my part. I recycle, turn off the lights, try to never use plastic water bottles and use my handy reusable bags almost always (or at least when I remember to bring them with when I venture out). So do I offend my chef boyfriend after he sweats away all day in the kitchen by deciding I can’t eat his meaty masterpiece because it didn’t come from a well-treated, happy cow? If turkey is on sale at the store, do I buy the more expensive organic because it’s the “right thing to do?”  Or, do I listen to the words of my late Yertle (grandma) who survived the depression, who taught us the value of stretching every dollar on something we all now typically take for granted: food.

You tell me.

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