Talking about comic books, TV shows, movies, sports, and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Boots' Best - Food, Inc.

Some people like going though life with a paranoid demeanor, jumping at every creak or crack, constantly questioning the intentions of others.

On the flip side, there are those people who prefer to coast on by, never questioning the practices or policies of any authority figure or corporation, always living compulsively, never worrying about what sort of effect their actions may induce.

Food, Inc. is for both of these types of people and everyone in-between.

In this documentary, we hear from farmers and consumers on the practices and mentality that have influenced our everyday eating habits and ,thus, our life in society.

There is truth out there. Unfortunately, even those who know the truth might not value it more than saving $25 a week on groceries.

I knew before viewing this film that corporations were all about turning a profit at whatever expense they could fathom. What really opened my mind was the information as a whole. I had no idea that 4 or 5 food corporations pretty much fed the nation with their products. I didn't know that chickens matured something like 250 times faster with genetic engineering and horrendous living conditions. I didn't know that a child could get E coli from a burger, have to suffer without even being able to drink water, and then die 12 days later.

In the past year, I've made a conscious effort to attempt to eat somewhat healthier. I'd been the guy who could eat fast food at least once a day and think everything's going to be fine as long as I play hockey once a week for an hour and a half.

As I've discovered, the healthier I eat, the better I feel. After viewing this film, I'm now ready to take it one step further and support small local farms who treat their customers, product, and the planet with respect. It's a win win situation. I'll feel better. They'll be able to support their family. We'll all be shiny happy people until the meteorite disintegrates the planet.

I'd recommend Food, Inc. to everyone. Ignorance is acceptable to a limit. Stupidity isn't.


  1. Have you ever had Beefalo? I highly recommend it.

  2. What is "beefalo"?

    Had as in "digested" or in the "biblical" sense?

  3. Heheh! Have you "known" beefalo?

    It is a hybrid creature of cow and buffalo. They need less assistance than cows and are better for the environment and the meat is leaner and tastier.

  4. Interesting. I didn't know they had done that!

    Are they free range, grass fed, evil genius mutations?

    Is it available at Kowalskis and such?

  5. Beefalo, huh? And this is a real thing, not like a chimaera or minotaur? Intriguing.

    So was this documentary more or less accurate than the classic film on the meat industry hosted by Troy McClure, "The Meat Council Presents: Meat and You: Partners in
    Freedom"? You know, the one where we learn that if it had the chance, a cow would eat us and everyone we love? :)

  6. I don't think so - I think Big Beef has the market on...the supermarket. I could have tried harder on that sentence but I'm tired. You'd have to find a ferm that raises them. Where does one find a ferm you ask? I have no idea but they are, to the best of my knowledge (real ringing endorsement there), free range and only eat grass.

    When I grow up, I'm going to Bovine University!

  7. baroness van bitzenhoferFebruary 9, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    Thanks for reminding me that I need to see Food, Inc!!!

    For the literate folk, here are a few books that I feel will also get you thinking about your food and its origins:
    Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
    The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
    The Ethics of What We Eat by Peter Singer and Jim Mason

    These books nudged me into the vegetarian lifestyle, but for those who are convinced they can't live without meat, they at least give you a good look at where your meat comes from and make you think about the more positive decisions you can make when selecting the meats you do eat, as well as everything else you consume.

  8. We always buy organic when available, and only free range organic eggs. Sometimes it's tough to find the healthier/less cruel option though. Though our local store does sell Bison, which is healthier.

    I want to shop at Whole Foods, but it's a bit of a drive and pricey. But i really want to try out my new Tal Ronnen vegan cookbook- not because i'm vegan, but because his food looks AWESOME

  9. "Ignorance is acceptable to a limit. Stupidity isn't."

    Well said. I've never heard of this documentary. I'm intrigued.

  10. I've never understood the whole "vegan" thing.

    Animals are everywhere especially on your skin and vegies and such.

    The whole ethics behind veganism seems to be, "If we can SEE the animal, then we won't eat it. If we can't SEE it, down the hatch!

    Also, I dated a girl once who said she was Vegan but had a closet full of leather belts and shoes. She did a lot of drugs.

  11. Hi Carolina! Thanks for coming over and checking us out.

  12. baroness van bitzenhoferFebruary 11, 2010 at 7:12 AM

    I guess I don't understand your comment about animals being on "your skin and vegies and such."

    For some people, veganism is more about how the animals that those products come from are treated. Eggs are one of the worst - billions of chickens are kept in atrocious conditions, and even some "free range" chickens are only given a small fenced in area of dirt to allow those farmers to use the words "free range." As a vegetarian, I do avoid wearing leather, but I get that that may not be the case for everyone. It's a tough topic no matter which side of the fence you're on.

  13. Bacteria and insects are living organisms/ animals. We eat these everyday with or without our knowledge.

    Most of the "vegans" I've met seem to be people who are trying a little too hard to have a "personality".

    I'm all for being humane and respectful to every living thing, but making a claim such as "I will eat absolutely NO food containing animal by products" is impossible.

  14. Wow, even when the Baroness likes your post you still try and antagonize her.

    Anyway, technically bacteria is in a different category than animals. But I suppose that's arguing semantics.

    Vegetables are living things and vegetarians/vegans eat them all the time. So anyone who says they won't eat a living thing obviously isn't being literal. Unless you're eating rocks you're eating something that's living in some form or another.

    I generally say that I don't eat anything that has/had a heartbeat.

    Like most things in life, you have to draw a line somewhere and inevitably that line can be considered arbituary. My line for what I eat revolves around what has a brain, awareness of its surroundings and, probably most importantly, feels pain.

    That combined with environmental factors and the fact that I don't need to eat animals to live all add up to me not (intentionally) eating meat, fish or poultry.

    "Trying to have a personality" has never been a reason of mine and, frankly, I don't like the insinuation.

    Of course, I could flip this argument around and say I don't understand people who are against animal cruelty but eat meat. Isn't eating an animal cruel in itself?

    I could also make the argument that dog fighting and eating meat are very similar. But then people may mistake me for thinking that anyone who eats meat is unethical or evil, which isn't true either.

    But I'll just say that the idea that because we humans breath in micro-organisms and swallow spiders in our sleep makes people who are vegetarians/vegans hypocrites is crap.

  15. I wonder if there's any money in pissing off the Baroness - I heard once you should try to find a career your good at.

    I wrote "most of the vegans I've met". This includes the hundreds of annoying customers who come in my restaurant with a laundry list of things they want done and granola people I've come in contact with throughout my travels. Of course there are smart people who have well-thought out lifestyles and are just trying to follow a credo. "Most" of the ones I know, though, don't seem to be clumped in that category. On the flip side, I'm sure I don't know these people for who they truly are and my bias is clouding my judgment.

    We all have those "types" of people who annoy us for no good reason.

    The Baroness is easily annoyed by big fat jerk faces like Adam Pankratz.

    I see nothing wrong with eating any animal. As the argument goes for other topics - it happens in nature all the time.

    I just think it's horrible that we as a society have allowed "science" to completely change our nourishment intake.

  16. I generally don't like arguing about this because A) it usually ends with my blood boiling and nobody's opinon changing and B) I know that, even without eating animals, I could make smarter decisions on the food I buy and eat. So I feel like I'm in no position to judge. (Kind of a "he who is without sin cast the first stone" sort of thing.)

    I'm always confused about how people talk about humans needing to get back to nature. Does that mean humans are not nature? If that's the case, why should they act like nature? Shouldn't they just be what they are? Or, you could consider humans as natural beings. If that's the case then anything they do is natural.

    But, if we want to consider humans as natural beings capable of going beyond what is natural but generally shouldn't do so, then so be it.

    First of all, what doesn't happen in nature all the time, among other things, is blogging on computers, driving cars and filming and watching movies. None of those seem to bother you.

    Some things that do happen in nature is rape, homosexuality and mothers eating their young, all of which I believe you're against. (Just to be clear for newer folks, I'm only against two of those things, but that's a debate that happened a long time ago.)

    Also, most ancient human civilizations ate meat very sparingly. It's not that they found it unethical, it was just that hunting animals was hard. Generally, the human diet consisted of fruits, nuts and vegetables with some meat on rare occasion. It was the "unnatural science" that brought the industrial, assemebly line meat most people eat today. (Which also lead to people eating more meat than they did in the past). Even farms raising cattle and other animals could be considered "unnatural."

    So, basically, I'm saying that unless you're saying everybody should strip off their clothes and go live in the wild then trying to base what humans should do on what's "natural" simply leads to contradictions. (Which isn't to say that humans shouldn't decide to promote and preserve the nature around them. I believe they should.)

    I personally believe that humans are superior to animals. (Well, from what I know anyway. I accept the possibility that some animals may be our equal.) I believe humans are superior because of our higher level thinking and ethics. In my opinion, what makes us superior to animals is what leads me to believe we shouldn't eat them: our ethics.

    I suppose I should just say it, my ethics say that to inflict pain and torture on a living being solely for one's enjoyment is wrong. (Which is just one of the reasons I don't eat animals.)

  17. I agree with your ethics on this matter, however, I'd argue that omnivores don't eat meat solely for enjoyment. Our bodies need the nourishment from meat and since we, for the most part, have become accustomed to our diet, enjoyment can be a run off effect. I know there are alternatives to get the proteins and such but, in my mind, science will never be able to tell us the "best" way to nourish ourselves. There are just too many variables.

    I view meat as an essential part of my diet. In recent years, I've tried to eat less, because, like you said, years ago and in many cultures other than us FAT AMERICANS, meat was only an accompanying item in the meal, not the primary focus.

    Most things in moderation are good for you like bacon, lesbian porn, and kicks to the groin.

    My "happens in nature" comment was slightly facetious.

    By the way, it's good to have you back, Dr.!

    What ever happened to the GENTLEMEN OF LEISURE President? Has he and Hulk gone incognito?

  18. And thus we reach an impasse. I say humans WANT to eat meat and others say humans NEED to eat meat.

    Of course, I really don't rely on science to say humans don't need to eat meat. (Do scientists say humans don't need to eat meat? I suppose some do and I'm sure others say meat is essential.) All I need to is look at myself. I haven't (intentionally) eaten meat in about 15 years and I'm as healthy as the next person. In fact, I seem to get the least sick of anybody I know. Is that because I don't eat meat or just coincidence? Who knows? The point is, not eating meat hasn't seem to adversely affect me.

    I suppose I could drop dead tomorrow. Then again, all the meat eaters out there could get E. Coli at any time. Who knows? (Although, there was that E. Coli outbreak in, I think, onions. They got contaminated with shit water...ain't our world grand?) So I suppose instead of blindly relying on science, you could just look at me or the thousands of other vegetarians out there and see that the human body can be healthy without the intake of meat. Bob Barker is a vegetarian and he's still alive and kicking.

    So, I guess what I'm saying is that from all I've known and seen (and the fact that I exist), humans do not need to eat meat for sustenance. (Although I'm sure plenty of people disagree with me on that.)

    Yeah, I had been gone a while. The Vikings blog and my own laziness kept me busier than I expected. I've been thinking that we might hear from the President and Vice President at some point...but they'd need something interesting to say. They're not men of words, they're men of action.

  19. Nothing elicits an argument more than food. But, it is something that is very important to discuss. I recommend keeping the following things in mind when you discuss this topic. Everyone you are discussing with is a human being. Human beings make decisions based on a unique perspective shaped by genetics, experiences, spirituality and lastly information. You may not be able to change another human beings opinion because of the aforementioned things but by being present in the discussion you are changing that catalog of emotions and information that each person carries with them.

    One more thing; helpful tips from a food scientist. PLEASE READ and FOLLOW these:
    1. Use a thermometer when cooking!! (This is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from foodborne pathogens)
    2. Wash your hands! Lots of soap and friction!!
    3. Read food labels and if you don't understand something look it up!
    4. If you feel something is rotten with food laws and regulation write your congresssional representative/s


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