Growing up, my parents instilled in me a healthy skepticism of conventional medicine. They treated our illnesses with natural remedies, rest and nutritious food. Hospitals were good for fixing broken bones, but not much else. I rebelled from much of what my parents taught me, and might have rebelled from their antiestablishment view of medicine, if it hadn’t been for a defining moment in my education.
Down to Earth's blog
The Supreme Court began hearing arguments yesterday appealing a 2006 ruling in favor of Northern California organic alfalfa growers. In Monsanto Co vs Geertson Seed Farms, Phillip Geertson and other producers of organic alfalfa argued that nearby production of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa threatened to cross-contaminate their crops. This will be the first case involving GMO crops accepted by the Supreme Court.
I stumbled on a lovely volunteer organization called Animal Assisted Happiness, courtesy of a friend at the Care2 network. Vicki and Peter Higa are the founders of AAH, and their goal is to facilitate interactions and relationships between animals and children with special needs or challenging family circumstances.
In a recently concluded 12-year study, scientists found that people who eat meat regularly, especially meat that is well done or cooked at high temperatures, may have a higher chance of developing bladder cancer.
The story of how one man discovered the healing properties of water sounds like the makings of a medical thriller. It even has a mysterious hero – Dr. Batman, MD.
Foer makes the case, in this final chapter of Eating Animals, that food is at the heart of the human dilemma. Eating is the most universal act, and its implications are far reaching. What we eat affects our relationship with our environment, our relationship with family and with our extended family – the other living beings that inhabit this planet. Food is a source of comfort for most people. We eat, many times, to resolve our anxieties. We eat to forge social bonds and to escape, temporarily, from the constant barrage of demands we face in life. Eating, then, is the activity which most calls on us to consult our conscience, and the activity we are least willing to examine.
Unless you have an addiction or a profit incentive, you probably know by now that soda is not good for your health. Soda delivers empty calories that you’re body doesn’t recognize as food, and which carry no nutritional value. Drinking soda on a regular basis is linked to tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, kidney problems, and a host of other health problems.
In the second to last chapter of Eating Animals, Foer gets to the crux of his argument. After surveying the history of animal husbandry and investigating the recent emergence of factory farms, he concludes that support for the lesser of two evils is justified.
Q: What can you do with 87,000 pounds of shit? A: I don't know, but think fast, factory farms produce that much every second
In this chapter of Eating Animals, Foer pulls back the curtain to reveal the end product (literally) of the factory farming system: shit. Boatloads of shit. Communities surrounded by shit. Landscapes overrun by shit. Shit in the air, shit in the water, shit in the food.
When I was a kid, my mom took us on a tour of a historic coalmine in West Virginia. Near the entrance, there was a small black and white picture of the mine back in the 1920’s that I had to stand on tiptoes to see. Staring back at me were twenty sooty faces and one tiny bird in a cage. I asked my mom what a bird was doing in the middle of the earth. She explained that in those days, mining shafts were unventilated. Because canaries are particularly sensitive to toxic gasses like carbon monoxide and methane, miners brought them down into new seams to serve as warning signals.