Lab-Grown Meat – Food Is More Than A Sum Of Its Parts

Today I’d like to vent about the mixed signal the “health” industry sends. Even those alternative health people who claim to be outside the norm. Those who tell us to question everything. Those who say conventional wisdom is wrong and we are mislead. And those who say that real food and nutrition is the answer to our problems. This is sweeping, and it’s coming to you as a vent because I’m so sick of Internet bullying!

I was following this group/page about gut health. I don’t even remember the name because I’d just started following it a few weeks ago, and I un-followed it without much thought of sharing the page with anyone else. Mostly because, well, no one needs to be talked down to or bullied. And I know the owner of the page would say she was just opening up discussion and found it “interesting” and “intriguing” (both annoying words she’d keep saying after talking down to the responders).

First, I should mention, I should have un-followed this page almost immediately. Right after I started following the page, she posted something about what is the leading cause of constipation (according to a new study). And rather than giving the answer quickly, she let commenters argue over it. For hours and hour. Finally I went out and googled the research. And then she flippantly replies later, like it was an after-thought, but posting a link to her own page (and not the study). Don’t have a page offering health advice if you’re not going to give it, or hold it back so that those who read the info but don’t get the right answer read the misinformed comments. And THEN you still don’t link to the study, you’re only using it to prop up views on your personal page.

Like I said, my fault. I should have followed my instincts and un-followed then.

But this trend. This using health and holding information hostage is such a turn off for me with the “alternative health industry.” They besmirch people who have taken public information at face value all of these years. But you know why they do it? Because it’s offered in easy to digest (pun intended) chunks of information that make sense and are offered in whole, complete statements when they’re teased. So, for example. You read the headline. Are interested. Click. There’s the story.

And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with people doing this. Most people aren’t scientists. Most people don’t know where to go to find “good” studies. And if they do find the good studies, it’s often confusing to interpret the results. And beyond that, it’s hard for someone who’s new to trying to read these studies to realize the studies are NOT conclusive across the board.

The weird thing is, everyone’s always acting like there’s one solution. There’s not. We’re all unique little snowflakes. For real. Even if our bodies started out the same (spoiler: they don’t), the whole of our lives are varied. Some of us were sick as babies and exposed to medicines others weren’t. Some of us have had our tonsils or appendixes out. Others haven’t. Some of us have been exposed to long-term antibiotic use. Others haven’t. Some of us grew up vegetarian, or low-fat, or on a fast food diet. Who we are right now is a sum of who we have been. (That’s true emotionally, physically, mentally, etc.)

So, today’s topic was about the stem cell burger. This is fake-meat created using stem cells of a cow. According to NBC News, “stem cells from cattle nourished in a broth of chemicals.” Mmmmm. Doesn’t that sound delicious? A broth of chemicals. That’s like chemical marinade. I wonder if I can choose my chemical marinade. Maybe Round Up?

To many people, this whole project makes them think of GMOs. Not because the food is genetically modified, but because it’s food made out of not-food. Or some scientific process to make food cheaper and “more efficient.” Many of us have just gotten past reading how the EPA approved allowing an increased acceptable amount of Round Up in our food. This is the Round Up I wash my hands if it gets on me. The Round Up most parents won’t let their children or pets near. Back in the dawn of Monstanto and their “improved” corn GMO, I’m sure everyone thought, “Great! Increased product. Decreased waste. Increased profits. Everybody wins!” But look at corn farmers now. Hell, even farmers (not corn) I know talk about how they moved to hybrid products. And when the changes are sold to you, it’s often during hard times. During months or years of drought. Or after years of losses. When the farmers feel like it’s about time to fold up shop. So, they make the changes thinking they’re keeping up with the times. Thinking change is good. Thinking this is the future.

Only now they regret it. I think we all regret it! Some crazy number like 90%+ of farms are Monsanto farms now. Very few people want to eat corn anymore. And trust in America’s farmers is going way down. Are they organic? If so, are they really organic? If not, why? And not all farmers can afford to be organic. And in the past, not being organic may not have been as bad as it is now. The greedier we get, the more shortcuts we take, and the more can go wrong.

So, when it comes to fake meat, I’m skeptical. And I think skepticism is good. Honestly, everyone should question everything. If there’s doubt, ask questions. If there’s still doubt, don’t put it in your body. I think human beings are made to be inquisitive. And life has made us a little cynical. But when it comes to anything that involves profit, there’s always someone benefitting. Always. Farmers benefit as well, and that’s why you should research the farmer you buy from.

Here’s the thing: Just because we take vitamins to supplement our diets, doesn’t mean we want those supplements to be a mainstay. Especially if we’re currently deficient, have something going on that’s making us more deficient than normal or we’re recovering from something that’s made us deficient in the past, fine. Sometimes diet isn’t enough for everything. Especially in the beginning stages of the transition to healthier. When I first made my transition to health-based eating (meaning eating for health, not eating to lose weight or without a thought), I was miserable. Dead tired, grouchy, short-tempered, hungry all the time, constant sugar cravings, etc. I did a lot of research for where to start to get back to health, and along the way, I took some supplements. Some I took intentionally for short periods. Others I would have assumed I’d take forever. But now? The only thing I take regularly is a probiotic (with a prebiotic in it, and maybe one day hope to cut back on that, but I’m still dealing with some gut issues). I occasionally take vitamin D, fermented cod liver oil and use topical magnesium oil. And even less frequently will take some vitamin C or other supplements I have but don’t take all the time.

My point is, I DON’T trust those supplements to give me as good of a source of vitamins and minerals as real food. In fact, sometimes I worry about fillers or how the product was made. I do as much research as I can, but like I said, beware of greed and corner cutting for profits. But, just because I take supplements doesn’t mean I want a food that’s made only with supplements. I may as well drink protein powder (I don’t do protein powder, by the way, I used to, but then worked on improving my protein intake with food), or eat fortified grains or dairy products. No thanks.

But the argument this woman was making was that people take vitamin supplements, and amino acids and whatever else she was saying. So we should be open to eating this “stuff” because it’ll cut down on killing animals for food. But what if I’d rather use animals for food than take fake supplements? She was very closed minded, and very bullying. And was copying and pasting her same responses over and over and over. I HATE Internet bullies. Saying something ten times doesn’t make it more valid. And it only makes me believe and respect you less. Do I like factory farms? No, but they’re around because the majority of people want cheaper sources of meat. Great, those people can eat those sources of meat. I have no problem with that. But I choose to avoid them as much as I can. The same goes for this. One selling point is a cheaper source of protein. Great, if price is your only concern. I am lucky enough and have built my lifestyle and budget that food is a priority for me. I don’t have a fancy car. And I don’t live in a house that’s above my means. I don’t go on vacations I can’t pay for with cash I’ve saved. Or spend money on top of the line electronics. I purposely keep part of my expendable income for excellent sources of food. My health is my number one priority. And I am very skeptical of putting something that’s manufactured, with the intent of making a profit, using chemicals (that’s the word they used) that probably haven’t been vetted as well as they will be AFTER this product is mass-released to willing mouths. I’d rather wait. And if I never get a true feeling of comfort, I may never be on board. Even in fifty years, if I’m still alive.

The thing is, I only get one body. And I’ve learned the hard way that what you put in it affects you far beyond the time it’s in your mouth, or even the time it’s in your digestive system. If I’m going to splurge on “stuff” I’d rather splurge on the foods I truly crave and miss. Things like pizza and cheese dip and beer. Things I have maybe once a month. I don’t want to be semi-regularly assaulting my insides with fake food because it’s saving a cow or other environmental things I’m not AS passionate about as my body. I am most passionate about my body. I don’t want to destroy the environment in an attempt to eat well. But since I’m buying meats and veggies from farmers who are still selling them at an affordable price, and without running out of supplies, I don’t think I’m over-stepping my footprint in this world. My body’s more important than factory farms, which are far more unsanitary and poorly maintained than a farm with pastured animals.

And beyond that, I’ve never thought you could take a food apart and get the same benefits when putting it back together. It would be like me saying, “Yeah, a house is wood, nails, bricks, siding and shingles.” So if you just take all of those things, you have a house. Only, that’s not all there is to it. You can’t say a food is protein, fat and carbs. Yes, it is that, but there’s more to it. You also can’t say it’s x, y and z vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Because it might contain those things. But just like vitamin C of the past being a miracle drug, you can’t just pull that out and get the same benefits you get from oranges. There’s more to an orange than the individual parts. You can’t piece together food. Food comes from nature. And the stuff we know about nature barely scratches the surface. In a hundred years, we’ll be mocking what we didn’t know now, but were parading around like we knew everything.

I feel like instead of creating fake food, we should be working on how nutrient-deplete our food has become over the past fifty, hundred or thousand years. Instead of figuring out how to make more food, cheaper, we should be working on how to grow healthier, more nutrient-dense foods. For example, they say most fruit, on average, has less than half the nutrients (that’s a broad statement, but I’m only using it for an example of my suggestion for research) it had fifty years ago. Same calories, less nutrients. In fact, MORE calories, because apples are much bigger now. So the larger fruit already makes it less nutrient-dense. But our stripped soils make the fruit even less nutrient-dense.

Let’s figure out the best way to have the healthiest natural foods. (Not bioidentical foods. That’s NOT food.) Let’s figure out better ways to test people for food allergies that might be making us not absorb nutrients or are making us less healthy. And make those tests the center of doctor’s visits. Do you know how hard it is to find a doctor who will include an IgG as necessary when you aren’t going into anaphylactic shock from eating? Let’s stop taking foods apart and trying to dose out the pieces we think are important. And, rather, point out the specific foods that seem to improve health and suggest we eat them. The whole food. Even if you identify what causes it, promote the food. The whole food, with all of its synergistic parts we don’t understand, yet. Let’s prescribe sunshine and fun activities. Not vitamin D, getting up every hour to walk around, and an hour a day of “exercise.” Suggest people get out and play sports they enjoy, work in the garden and get their hands dirty, and EAT REAL FOOD. Encourage spending less on housing and flashy cars and cable packages, over-priced meals out, and fancy cell phones with a full data plan. Instead, spend it on pastured meats, grown with care and attention, on organic, local fruits and vegetables that are grown in season, and lots of water. Rather than working two jobs to keep up with the “stuff.” Work less, sleep more, enjoy more experiences, and focus on your health. It’s “backwards progress” for most Americans who think “the dream” is stuff.

And I know there are people who are earnestly struggling to survive. I’m not painting a pink lense over them. But I know people who complain about money, who make far more than I do, who have things I don’t have, like brand new, $40,000 cars. Or houses with gigantic payments “because the bank approved me for it.” Or cable. Cable is over-priced! I haven’t had cable in six years .And I miss it sometimes, but it’s really a splurge I can’t afford at this point because I have higher priorities. There’s no reason to have a $100 cell phone bill for one phone, even if that means “the family plan makes it a lot less for the five phones we have.” Don’t go out and throw your money at others trying to impress them. Everyone can buy their own dinner and drinks. If your friends come over and are more impressed with the stuff you have than the love you put into your house, they’re not your friends, they’re your competition. Find balance, find peace, find a place you can live comfortably, and accept it.

I think women are worse about competing with each other. But, overall, everyone’s always trying to impress each other. This past weekend I spent Friday night sitting outside with three of my great friends. I couldn’t tell you what anyone was wearing, or how expensive their cars are. But I can tell you stories we told. It was relaxing, and there was never a moment of competition. Just the simple pleasure of company of good friends. The following evening I went to a bachelorette party. These women were insecure, unhappy, competitive, and attention-seeking. They were loud, judgmental, and way too drunk. I’m sure they spent hours and lots of money on their outfits, makeup, hair products and other beauty regimens I don’t realize people have. And I don’t think a single one of them enjoyed the night as much as my friends and I did simply sitting around in our mostly-comfortable clothes. It’s not about flash. It’s about substance. And that’s how I feel about fake food. It’s not about flash and flare. It’s about substance of the food. Real food. Not something grown in a lab. Or in a feedlot.

I have to keep repeating to myself, food is more than the pleasure when it’s in your mouth. It affects your body long after it passes through your digestive system. Make your body your most important asset. Not to show it off as sexy, but to feel the best you can, be the healthiest you can, and have the energy, stamina and health to live life! Don’t assume you can be fixed with medicine. And don’t assume food can be broken apart into pieces and served ala carte.

So I’m sorry if your flippant responses about saving the rainforests don’t influence me to put fake food in my body. I’m sorry if your near-vegetarianism (or overboard vegetarianism) doesn’t intimidate me. If you don’t eat meat, don’t eat it! I don’t try to get vegetarians or vegans to eat meat or animal products. I don’t try to get Muslims to eat pork. I don’t try to get intermittent fasters to eat breakfast (or whatever meal they fast through). I don’t try to get someone who’s lactose intolerant to eat milk products. The thing is, we need to worry only about our bodies. And if you want to push your pro-fake meat propaganda, fine. But don’t expect people who actually have a brain they can use and instincts they can respect to fall prey to your pushy agenda.

End of rant. Now, please, people. Stop bullying others. Worry first and foremost about yourself. Open up discussions if you truly want to have those discussions. If you don’t, then simply say, “This is what I think” and be done with it. Don’t lure people in by pretending you want to hear their side, when you just want to sway them. And don’t assume you know what’s best for someone else’s body. You don’t. You probably don’t even know what’s best for yours. Clean your own hen house before worrying about what the chickens next door are doing.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Cargill Pink Slime, GMO-Fed Pigs, Arsenic In Chicken Feed, Systemic Inflammation and Cancer, Oh My! | Stumbling Toward Health

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