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TIME Magazine “Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food”- Cry for Education

In this day and age, everyone has an opinion. And it seems that the opinion outweighs the truth many more times than the truth. Why? Because the opinion is colorful, causes controversy, and is easier to follow. But that doesn’t make it anymore truthful than a pig that can fly. Brian Walsh’s article, “The Real Cost of Cheap Food’, cover story of the August 21st issue of TIME Magazine is simply that. An opinionated article with astronomical opinions and assumptions presented to the public as truth.

I must first apologize for my delayed response to this article, for it is definitely a matter that no one should ignore, because WE ALL EAT FOOD, and therefore we are all affected by the changes that are made in agriculture and we should all be aware of the TRUTH, and not of trumped up opinions that only make themselves heard by feeding on the ignorance of Americans today. And no, it is not that I feel that the general public is stupid, or that they are deliberately ignoring the facts. It is actually the opposite. I feel that the truth is not presented in a fashion that can be understood. The truth about something so basic as food should be taught starting as a child. We learn our eating habits when we are children. Learn to eat from what is placed in front of us, what is available for our choosing, and what we watch our parents eat.

My excellent example: I don’t eat sweet potatoes (yams) because my father would stand in front of me and everyone of my 3 brothers and tell us that sweet potatoes were ‘gross’ EVERY time mom fed them to us. And to this day I look at sweet potatoes and my automatic thought is ‘gross’. Sad isn’t it? My own father conditioned me to dislike sweet potatoes, when he is the same person that convinced me to try something with a name as un-appealing as pigs feet (or pig knuckle). Neither of these foods are bad, both are actually quite tasty and offer valid nutrients.

But anyway. The point is that too many people are unaware of why we need food, and how the body processes food; let alone where it comes from. To so many, we eat because our body tells us too. It doesn’t tell us what to eat though. Yes, there are such things as cravings (and not the pregnant, peanut butter and pickles kind, there are normal food cravings) but many of those cravings are emotionally based, not physiologically. So, in order for us to know what to eat, we need to be taught; and we need to be taught by experts in food and nutrition, not by a journalist who studied the structure of 3 paragraph essay for 5 years of his life. Going back to the article written by Mr. Walsh, this is an article with no scientific backing. No truth, just uneducated opinion. A statement from Walsh’s article reads:

 

“…feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population.”

 And while it is truth that obesity is an epidemic in America, it is NOT true that meat is the cause.

We need to accept that humans are omnivores. We were born with the biological need and capability to eat and digest animal based proteins in order for our bodies to grow and to remain healthy. As members of the society that support sustainability, it is vital that we consider all of the possible resources available to meet our biological need for food. We need carbohydrates as our body’s preferred primary source of energy. And we need fruits and vegetables to help meet those requirements, as well as fulfill our need for micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals). We also need protein, and while our crude protein (the nutrition basis for measuring protein content in a food, that is based on nitrogen content) can be met by eating a [relatively] small amount of protein, we have a specific amino acid requirement that can only be met by eating animal proteins.

 ”A food system — from seed to 7‑Eleven — that generates cheap, filling food at the literal expense of healthier produce is also a principal cause of America’s obesity epidemic.”

 The cheap food that is causing the obesity epidemic in America are the high calorie, sugary snacks that plague the shelves of every convenience, grocery, or superstore in every town. They are the cookies, breads, muffins, bagels, pudding, soda, punch, alcohol, and candies that are cheap, but FAR from filling, which is why we are fat. The cost nearly equals out because of the amount of sugary snacks it takes to actually feel full (and consume 5x the calories in some cases) is far greater than the amount of protein needed to feel full.

 ”As the developing world grows richer, hundreds of millions of people will want to shift to the same calorie-heavy, protein-rich diet that has made Americans so unhealthy — demand for meat and poultry worldwide is set to rise 25% by 2015 — but the earth can no longer deliver.”

 Those of us who live in the industrialized world cannot understand the needs and the desires of the developing world, because it has been too long since our people have been in their shoes. People will have a change in diet, and who wouldn’t? We enjoy the lowest cost of food in the entire world, and we still want it to be lower. Buying cheaply made, cheaply nutritious, and cheaply marketed food seems to satisfy that capitalist desire to stretch that dollar. And, unknown to most, food is grown as cheaply as possible because you demand it that way. And because or the recent demand for top quality at a low price, the systems for growing animals and produce are changing at a constant rate to find the most effective and efficient method possible for reaching this goal. And the basis of that goal is to find a method that allows continued production. Because we work with the land, we do not want it to fail on us. So it is treated in the best methods we know in order to sustain it for future use to feed the exploding population.

 So with a little reason and education, Mr. Walsh’s article can be torn apart with each sentence. His lack of research and knowledge on this subject should be embarrassing for TIME Magazine, and they should be ashamed of his poor performance as a journalist. It is only further proof that what seems to be most likely is not, and a reminder to educate ourselves before we attempt to pass off our ignorance as fact.

 <http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1917458,00.html>

September 14th, 2009
Topic: Environmental News, Sustainability: Social Aspect Tags: None

142 Responses to “TIME Magazine “Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food”- Cry for Education”

  1. kvincent Says:

    Now while I agree that there needs to be changes in the production methods in ALL areas of agriculture, Mr. Walsh’s article here exemplifies how the subjects of sustainability are exploited to simply become the next big controversy and headline. Sensational facts abound yet real, hard evidence seems no where to be found throughout Welsh’s “more – dramatic – than – an – M. Night Shyamalan – script” article for TIME. It is the end of the world and and the four horsemen will be riding pork! Let us use some common sense here. Farmers and producers can only survive if there is a market for their product. Personally I think grass fed is a great answer for meat production, but what Welsh fails to mention is at what price point does Mr. Niman’s premium beef sell? Obviously its enough to support raising livestock rather than selling the prime real estate that the ranch sits upon. Grass fed takes more room, which means less cows per acre, which means more expensive cows, which obviously in turn means more expensive beef. Food doesn’t come cheap for free.

    So, TIME magazine, it would seem that it would be advantageous not not allow this fodder to go to print in the future. After all, if its up to us, people will eventually know the difference between fact and the next blockbuster hit.

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