What do you think the number one reason is to stop buying food at Wal-Mart and start eating local?
Some would say it’s because Huckleberry’s Farm right down the road will go out of business if we don’t support them. Others might tell you it’s because shipping food around the world is terrible for the environment, coughing up unnecessary emissions from one port to the next.
Those are good reasons. But the truth is, there’s a lot of reasons. Really important reasons that aren’t a big topic around the dinner table, or even in political campaigns. Here’s five impressive facts that might shed some light on the importance of eating local and responsibly raised food.
1. 40% of the food supply in the U.S. goes to waste every year.
It’s an environmental & economic disaster with an enormous price tag. Food waste has a cost of roughly $218 billion dollars per year, uses an enormous amount of natural resources to produce food that never gets used, and creates 23% of U.S. methane emissions as wasted food decomposes in landfills. On top of that, world hunger is a huge problem that some say could be solved by as easily as being a little less picky at the grocery store.
What can you do? Buy food that was produced nearby, plan your meals before shopping, only prepare what you think you’ll eat, and eat leftovers.
2. Food contamination causes more than 100,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths each year.
Most food-related illnesses are caused by bacteria and viruses like Salmonella & E. coli. These deadly foodborne illnesses should not be this common, and are really just a result of the surge of meat from factory farms.
Pasture raised cattle have significantly lower chance of developing the potentially deadly E. coli bacteria as a result of their natural diet. And, ree-range chickens are much safer from disease when raised in a clean, spacious, and humane living environment.
3. Fillers lower the cost of meats by 10-30%.
And if a big meat company can lower the cost so you’ll buy more, why not? But what the heck are these fillers? Are they safe to eat, and what’s the real cost of cheaper store-bought meats?
Common fillers & additives found in meats include:
- Cellulose (a non-digestible ingredient derived from wood pulp commonly used to make paper).
- Soy is found in almost 60% of food sold in supermarkets. Soy has been linked to malnutrition, breast cancer, brain damage, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, and thyroid dysfunction. It contains high levels of anti-nutrients that steal and eliminate important nutrients from the body.
- Potassium Bromate is an ingredient that’s been banned by many countries because of a study that linked it to thyroid and kidney cancer in mice. The likelihood of consuming potassium bromate is increased in fast food.
Gross. Take a pass on these harmful fillers and get the real thing from local producers you trust.
4. 2016 reached record high levels of obesity in the U.S.
38% of U.S. adults are obese and over 60% of Americans now classified as overweight. Obesity rates are higher for women than men. People who are obese have much higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression.
What’s causing this epidemic? Excess food intake and not enough exercise is the main contributing factor. But what foods are eaten is just as important as how much. Processed foods high in sugar and carbohydrates like pizza, soda, fast food, and frozen dinners are likely one of the main culprits of drastically increasing rates of obesity over the past 35 years.
5. Industrially produced foods are actually raised to be less nutritious.
It’s much more profitable to raise food that grows faster and transport easier. Sadly, most mass-produced foods just aren’t raised with your health in mind. Hence the massive amount of pesticides and antibiotics plaguing the food system and low-quality grains, corn, and soy that have replaced the naturally nutritious diet of animals raised on pasture.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). 2011 estimates of foodborne illness in the United States. Retrieved Dec. 11, 2012.2. http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/america-s-obesity-epidemic-hits-new-high-n587251