Sunday, February 28, 2010

Corn is in your bones

And your hair and finger nails. Did you know that if you took a sample of your hair and looked at its carbon data it would most likely show you are made almost entirely of corn? Really, it would. Think about what you eat mostly. Chicken? They feed factory chickens corn. Beef, same thing. Even vegetables and fruits are sprayed with compound chemicals mostly made from corn. Also, anything with high fructose corn syrup, corn. Just look at the ingredients in regular old products in your fridge. lot's of corn syrup.

Most people are horrified by this discovery. They've even made movies about it: "Food, Inc." "King Corn", "Fast Food Nation". And written books "The Omnivore's Dilemma"

Most of the plastics and many household products also come from chemicals made from corn.

Everything that comes from fast food is entirely from corn. Take a chicken nugget. The chicken is fed corn, the chicken chunks are dipped in corn batter and fried in corn oil and packaged in a box made from corn. corn, corn, corn. French fries were once potatoes sprayed with chemical pesticides made from corn, fried in corn oil and also packaged in a paper wrapper that is made with some corn. the lettuce and tomatoes and onions in that hamburger, sprayed with fertilizers and chemicals from corn, the bread came from wheat sprayed with chemicals from corn, the hamburger is from a cow fed on corn. Even the cheese, if it is a cheeseburger, is from a cow fed corn. Corn, corn, corn.

Your hair is a record of what you are made of, or more specifically, what you eat that makes you. And you literally are what you eat, at least if you look at your carbon makeup.

Is this okay? I mean, we owe a lot to corn. We would not have the modern conveniences and as cheap of food as we have without corn. Yet, the idea that we are basically walking corn chips seems disturbing.

We wouldn't have the obesity problem we have today without government corn subsidies. I mean, we use all this corn because it is so cheap and it is so cheap because the government subsidizes it and the government subsidizes it because right after WWII we needed to use our excess explosion materials. Turns out it was good for fertilizer for corn. So the gov encouraged farmers to grow lots of corn. And even if they lost money on the corn crop (because there was a sudden overflow if you can imagine all those farmers suddenly growing a lot more corn) the government still gave farmers money to make up for it. The more corn they yeilded, the more they were rewarded. Oh, and to yield more they started to genetically modify it. And then they even made genetically modified corn that came with it's own pesticide so that bugs who ate it would die. And we eat that!

And it's given us many more health problems, including obesity problems and a lower life expectancy because we've gotten away from the land and working the land ourselves. We've lost touch with the earth. We've given it into the hands of larger and larger operations. Monsanto, Cargill, others. Larger chicken farms, cattle ranches, dairy farms, corn operations, larger stores buying from larger production companies, larger and larger and larger and more and more and more chemical fertilizers and pesticides and it gets cheaper and cheaper the larger we get. Our food is so pumped full of this corn and unnatural chemical fertilizers and pesticides and growth hormones and antibiotics. It's unhealthy and scary and we are slated to have a shorter life expectancy than our parents for the first time because of it. Because it's more about profit margins than about caring about what goes into our bodies and thinking about the land.

People think I'm in over my head when I tell them I have a 480 sq ft garden and soon to raise free-range chickens. But I want to feed them from the land, free of pestisides and residues. In turn they are my own natural weeders, bug eaters and the best fertilizers. They do it naturally. They feed my land and my land feeds them. It's healthier for them and for me. I realize not everyone can do this. So if you don't have a spot of land to work yourself you can still prolong your life, preserve the land and get back to your ancestral roots by shopping organic and pesticide free, preparing meals at home, buying free range eggs and grass fed beef. You can educate yourself on what goes into your mouth (and out of it as you help others catch the same vision of redirecting us back to the land and caring about what we are doing to it and to ourselves). I hope in the near future you and I won't be at our core just a bunch of corn.


erinannie said...

I'm horribly allergic to corn. If I touch a corn stalk, I get hives instantly. Eat popcorn in a moment of weakness? Prepare to pull out the epi pen and head for the emergency room before my throat completely swells up. So I also avoid corn based products like cereal, etc. But I'm not very good at avoiding all corn based products. Your blog post has me wondering what more I should avoid...

George Marie said...

Corn and our lives are inextricably linked. Some of the results are good and some of the results are bad. That's not really what I want to point out though. I do want to draw attention to the massive, massive subsidies that the US government, in the form of the USDA, throw into "farm bills." Farmers are not getting rich off of these subsidies, if they even see money from them at all.

A lot of the farm bill funds go to feed homeless people. Food stamps, in some states if not all, are largely funded through these massive funding enterprises called farm bills.

The forms of subsidy that DO reach the farmer are often small, and are not accessible unless the farmer sustains a certain amount of loss on a crop during a given year.

So, what do these massive subsidies do? Nothing really. They just pretty much keep things the way they are. People with fewer means are not necessarily given the resources to do better with. And farmers aren't getting money unless they are hurting. So that means that in a rare year if they DO make money, they aren't getting as far ahead as everyone thinks.

So what do we do about this? I really don't know. Maybe, just stop subsidizing all together. Maybe throw some of that money into some infrastructure projects, or throw it at the national debt, because many farmers are actually on everyone's side about this...these subsidies aren't really doing any good at all.

In fact, in 2007, the farm bill cost the average family 2,590 a year. In essence, when it expires in 2012, it will have cost a total of 286 billion dollars (don't take my word on that, it came from an internet source). That's a semester of instate tuition at the U....

Maybe getting rid of the farm bill would make farmers more self-sufficient, and more apt to produce a variety of crops. I remember my neighbor used to farm tomatoes when I was a kid. In fact, I used to think he was so much cooler than my dad, because he had tomatoes and my dad was only growing corn...

Anyways, I got to go. Good points. :)

George Marie said...

One more point...ethanol. A lot of areas are dealing with the additive known as MTBE (maybe I misarrayed this acronym). Anyways, we do not know all the effects of enthanol as a fuel additive. It's kind of unfair that its largely mandated on states outside of Iowa (I do not know if it's a law or just some states choose to use it). I think it's interesting that by the time the ethanol has been extracted from the corn, all the energy saved by using it has probably been used up. It takes an enormous amount of water to extract ethanol from corn, and those big plants they are building in Iowa are subsidized, too. I remember they didn't renew a subsidy right away at the end of the year, so many of these plants went into furlough because they were losing money. Think about that. Our tax dollars are being used to subsidize a largely money eating venture. My lack of common sense alarm went off when I read this....

abby said...

I always wanted to raise chickens. I hope your eggs are yummy. It's hard to avoid corn completely, but you are on the right road.