Soap boxin' and kale chip rave!

If you are yet to see or read Food, Inc. I strongly suggest you get a move on! Husband and I watched Food, Inc. tonight and I really enjoyed it…in a wow-our-food-supply-is-scary-and-sucks kinda way.

Did you know…

  • …tomatoes are picked when green and ripened with ethylene gas?
  • …most meals consumed in the US travel 1500 miles from their origin to be consumed?
  • …it takes approximately 39 days to raise a hormone-injected chicken versus the approximated 90 days it takes to raise an organic chicken for slaughter?
  • …some fish are being fed grain to increase mass more “efficiently”?
  • …WalMart’s “Great Value” milk is free of rBGH?
  • …1 in 2 minorities born after 2000 are expected to develop type 2 diabetes?

Things I loved about the movie…

People and Interviews

This farmer interviewed fabulously. He showed how to gut a chicken (…is that a correct term?) and the practices on his farm where he raises chickens, hogs, and cattle. I do, however, wish that he was wearing gloves during the process!

My husband strongly identified with this family — a family of 4 on a very tight budget. The father has diabetes and his 2 oral medications run nearly $200 a month. After prescriptions are purchased, along with their busy schedules, $1 menu items are a way of life. A viscous cycle of chronic disease and low economic status, if you will.

Nutrition Information

Food, Inc. did a good job of pointing out major food products containing GMO’s — mayonnaise, Reeses Pieces, etc…

This leads me to my 2 major “critiques” of the film (as if they’d ask a dietitian’s opinion!) 😉

::stepping on soapbox::

1. Health impact. The film did a great job of covering the farming and agricultural side of the story, however, that’s not tangible to most consumers. What is meaningful enough to “hit home” to consumers, forcing a desired change, is the cost of chronic disease secondary to poor food selection/availability. Perfect example is the above scenario with the diabetic gentleman, whose medications are running the family over $2k annually. How much can one save by PRESERVING health and PREVENTING chronic disease, taking into account work absenteeism, performance ratings, hospital and health provider visits, prescriptions, equipment (c-pap machines for sleep apnea, glucometers for diabetes, etc.), and so on? Until the emphasis in health care switches from reactive to proactive, we won’t get ahead. This, in my opinion, would have been an IDEAL media to disperse such and important and valuable message.

::stepping off soapbox::

2. Labels. It was shocking to ME how many foods contain GMO’s. Why did Food, Inc. not allot a few minutes to discuss label-reading and the vast INCLUSION of these suckers in our foods?

This is a list of foods that likely contain GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), unless otherwise specified on the label (labeled non-GMO or organic):

Aspartame, baking soda, baking powder, canola oil (rapeseed oil), caramel color, cellulose, citric acid, cobalamin (Vitamin B12), colorose, condensed milk, confectioners sugar, corn flour, corn gluten, corn masa, corn meal, corn oil, corn sugar, corn syrup, cornmeal, cornstarch, cottonseed oil, cyclodextrin, cystein, dextrin, dextrose, diacetyl, diglyceride, Equal, food starch, fructose (any form), glucose, glutamate, glutamic acid, gluten, glycerides, glycerin, glycerol, glycerol monooleate, glycine, hemicellulose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), hydrogenated starch, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, inositol, inverse syrup, inversol, invert sugar, isoflavones, lactic acid, lecithin, leucine, lysine, malitol, malt, malt syrup, malt extract, maltodextrin, maltose, mannitol, methylcellulose, milk powder, milo starch, modified food starch, modified starch, mono and diglycerides, monosodium glutamate (MSG), Nutrasweet, oleic acid, Phenylalanine, phytic acid, protein isolate, shoyu, sorbitol, soy flour, soy isolates, soy lecithin, soy milk, soy oil, soy protein, soy protein isolate, soy sauce, starch, stearic acid, sugar (unless specified as cane sugar), tamari, tempeh, teriyaki marinades, textured vegetable protein, threonine, tocopherols (vitamin E), tofu, trehalose, triglyceride, vegetable fat, vegetable oil, vitamin B12, vitamin E, whey, whey powder, xanthan gum, and Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) unless made outside the US.

….so basically, everything. 🙁 Eating “cleanly” basically means 100% organic and 100% homemade. I am printing this list off and carrying it in my purse for shopping. While I can point out most of these additives, some of these were news to me. Sadly.

I’ve read a lot of reviews from consumers across the nation claiming they’re going meat-free after watching Food, Inc. Not me, because I can DO something to protect my body against growth hormones, rBGH, E. coli, etc. I told husband tonight that I do wish to purchase organic meat and eggs and to make an ardent effort to support our local ranchers and farmers.

What  can YOU do to make a difference?

  1. COOK! Seems basic, but we don’t do enough cooking. Making meals  eliminates the excess sodium and trans fat from commercially-prepared meals, and they tend to be lower in calories and fat. Plus, home-cooked meals are, 9 times out of 10, cheaper when shopped for and prepared wisely
  2. Buy organic when you can — look for labels stating “USDA Organic” or “100% organic”
  3. Support your local farmers and ranchers by buying local meat, eggs, and produce when possible. Go here to find local, sustainably grown foods near YOU!
  4. Scope out your community for farmer’s markets and attend each week. To find market near YOU, go here!
  5. Buy produce in-season and always wash your fruits and vegetables to remove any dirt, organisms, or pesticides

On a WAY less serious note, kale chips ROCK!

kale chips

I admit to being slightly apprehensive about these blogger-beloved kale chips (kale and I have a disagreement in palatable texture). These babies are DELICIOUS, however. And, once again, a thumbs up from the hubby! 😉

Kale Chips a la Nicole

Ingredients:
fresh kale
canola oil spray
seasoning salt (such as Adobo)
Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast*

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut kale into bite-sized pieces. Line a cooking sheet with tin foil and arrange kale chips in a single layer on the foil. Spray lightly with canola oil. Lightly sprinkle with seasoning salt and Parmesan cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes, until edges begin to brown. Enjoy!

* Jessica suggested nutritional yeast in place of Parmesan cheese — trying this next time!

Questions:

  1. If you made one change surrounding our food supply, in reference to Food, Inc., what change would you make?
  2. Has anyone tried kale chips and NOT liked them?

Have a wonderful Saturday, everyone! 🙂 Thanks for reading!

Share With Your Friends!

37 Comments

  1. January 9, 2010 / 10:01 am

    Love Food Inc! I did a review on my blog right after I watched it because I thought it was so well done. It’s so surprising the amount of GMO foods…I really wish that labeling would be mandated! I also found it surprising the amount of foods that contain corn…cheap gov. subsidized junk. If only the gov. would subsidize something like broccoli.

  2. January 9, 2010 / 10:53 am

    I really like your list to make a difference. Yes, I think it’s so important to cook and to start with whole, unprocessed ingredients whenever possible. We eat a lot less meat than a year ago and have switched to only organic meat and chicken. We also eat mostly organic fruits & veggies and buy them from the farmers’ market, and we just joined a CSA.

    I agree that a lot of fast food is cheap, but I would still argue that if you make food from scratch and keep things simple, you can actually make your dollar go pretty far. Most people order numerous items from the dollar menu, and for a few dollars you can make a nutritious meal at home.

    Great post!

    Have a great weekend!

  3. January 9, 2010 / 11:00 am

    very interesting post! who knew that all that stuff contained GMOs? Thanks for listing everything. I’m also going to print it off and take it with me grocery shopping.

    I’d love to also eat all organic meat dairy and eggs, but what about those of us who can’t afford to spend all that $$ on groceries? I think very few Americans can afford those huge grocery bills that come when you purchase everything organic.

    • Nicole
      Author
      January 10, 2010 / 9:00 pm

      Morgan, I think your point is 100% valid. Most people don’t have the money to spend on organic. I think looking into local farmers and ranchers near you is the best way to buy organic, sustainably grown, affordable meat, eggs, dairy, and produce. In researching my surrounding community, I have found that going directly to the supplier can save booku bucks.

      I also try and off-set the cost of food by making other small changes. For example, I love to get coffee in the morning — a $3 a day habit. I have quit that and am saving nearly $20 a week. I put that money towards organic meats. I try and balance vegetarian meals made with cheap, nutrient-dense foods like beans and eggs with expensive, organic meat meals. Just a few ideas. While it is not feasible for a lot of people, it’s also not a priority for a lot of people, and that’s okay. I think someone can be perfectly healthy not consuming anything organic at all.

      Thanks for your comment, and for reading!

  4. January 9, 2010 / 11:01 am

    Thanks for the shout out! 🙂

    The one thing that I got from that movie is “every time you go through the check out you are voting for what you would like to see more of in your grocery store” I always check to see what is in other peoples baskets, and am surprised. On top of that I almost ALWAYS get comments on what I buy. Probably 3/4 of the time… as it is “so healthy for such a young girl” bahahaha…

    IT was a great movie, but I felt like it was really just the icing on the cake, so to speak, they really didn’t get into the nitty gritty of anything, left a lot out… but all in all, pretty basic!

    Ok, now I’m just blabbing, have a great day!!

    Jess

  5. Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce
    January 9, 2010 / 11:13 am

    i haven’t seen the movie yet, but i feel like i have b/c i’ve read so many articles about it. i absolutely loved the omnivore’s dilemma, and i know there is some overlap between the 2 films. i actually have the food inc book chillin in my car right now, my reading list is so backed up! haha. LOVE your 5 tips, those are so accessible to most people and they are small changs that make hugeeee differences. I LOVE kale chips! i still thiink you should try sprinkling them with apple cider vinegar :). my roommate is on my shit list. and by that, i mean she is not a fan of kale chips. pshhh! whatever, more for me.

  6. January 9, 2010 / 12:01 pm

    I have made changes, but only because we live overseas and it is a way of life here, not because of the movie, which I had some issues with, some of which you mention here. I think somewhere between unhealthy and super healthy eco friendly we are missing the average or middle of the road changes that people can easily adopt. These movies make it seem all or nothing and I think for many people with that mind send it ends up being nothing. I hate when patients think if they can’t afford organic why eat healthy at all and would rather them get some fruits and veggies versus stick with drive thru. Personally, I am getting spoiled here and I love the fresh things I have access too. My eggs literally come out of the chicken and over to my house from my neighbor, not all the time, but on occasion, otherwise they are fresh from the island, but store bought. European living is great and I love that things are local.

  7. January 9, 2010 / 12:02 pm

    I saw Food Inc. I wish they had talked more about organic labeling because from my understanding there isn’t really any strict regulation on organic labeling, but I guess this wouldn’t really “sell” organic as they were trying to do.

    Also, as for GMOs, I think pretty much everything contains GMOs. I read somewhere that about 80% of the corn in the US is genetically modified. I’m not sure how I feel about this to be honest. I want to eat as naturally as possible, but I’ve also heard of GMOs as a way to help solve problems of malnutrition in developing countries (i.e. “Golden Rice”) so that sort of makes me apprehensive about labeling them as “bad” right off the bat. I don’t know enough about them but I’m interested to learn more!

    I think the other big issue that hit home for me was the latino family you mentioned. They couldn’t afford to buy organic fruits and veggies (or really any). I would love to buy organic all the time but I simply can’t right now. I buy certain things when I can but then it goes back to the labeling question I have. Am I really getting organic produce or am I just paying more?

    Sorry to babble on about this! I had a lot of questions after watching this movie! Also, I’m apprehensive about most things in the world haha!

    • Nicole
      Author
      January 10, 2010 / 9:03 pm

      Karla, this is such an excellent point! While GMO’s get a bad rep, they also play a valuable role in many instances, making our job as consumers, deciphering labels, even more of a challenge! Ahhh! : )

  8. January 9, 2010 / 12:39 pm

    Great review of Food, Inc!! I agree with you all the way. I really sympathized with that family of 4. Had health been treated preventatively and not in retrospect they may not be in such a difficult situation.. and 2 parents working 12 hour days, how do you find time to cook? All I know is that would be a tough situation to manage as a dietitian.
    The farmer and his ‘happy animals’ totally made me want to eat only local, free range, and organic. Infact, I’ve been buying free range eggs and chicken ever since.
    Very good film for bringing awareness to Americans. I just wonder how many non-healthcare people have seen it?

    • Nicole
      Author
      January 10, 2010 / 9:04 pm

      Carissa, I wonder also how many persons outside “the biz” have seen Food, Inc. It would certainly be beneficial for all to see! Thanks for your comment, and for reading!

  9. January 9, 2010 / 12:57 pm

    Great info!

    If I could make one change it would be supporting local farmers so much MORE and sustainable agriculture! If we did these things, our food would be “cleaner.”

    I have yet to try kale chips, but can’t wait!!! Great post!

  10. eaternotarunner
    January 9, 2010 / 1:09 pm

    I really want to see that movie. I’m just nervous that I might never eat regular meat again!

    Next time I am making Kale chips, I’m definitely going to put some parm on top, thanks for the great idea!

  11. January 9, 2010 / 1:46 pm

    Did you make it so your comment are all centered?? hehe, it’s funny, different!

    Great post Nicole, as always. Your take on the movie was very similar to my own. I especially agreed with your first point, about how the movie should have taken advantage of the opportunity to explain all of the extra costs that come with obesity. It’s not just medications, it’s time off of work, medicines for sore backs, and not being able to heal from a cold or injury fast, yadda yadda. Our society, in general, is so focused on fixing the problem fast, using “fad diets” and “fad foods”. They never make it known to people that it takes time to lose weight, and that being healthy is a lifestyle, not a one month membership or diet plan. UGH, it’s annoying. I saw this commercial today for Sketcher’s shoes, which were being marketed as a good way to “get the sexy butt you have always wanted”. I alughed because people will wear these shoes, and then try to walk more in them so they “Work”. They will see results because they are walking more, NOT because of the darn shoes!

    Ok, I just went off on a tangent up there. Great post. I am stepping off my own soapbox now….

  12. January 9, 2010 / 3:19 pm

    Great informative post! Haven’t seen it – and won’t go meat-free at all…but I would and am more conscious of trying to buy locally-grown and if possible organic meats…but expenses are low…and haven’t tried these kale chips !! …too busy eating crackers ;)…

  13. January 9, 2010 / 3:46 pm

    I want to see that movie! Is it out for rent? I need motivation to run another race…Just moved to Indy with the husband and need running buddies out here!

  14. January 9, 2010 / 4:31 pm

    Wow!!! Thanks for that list of GMO foods. I’m hoping to be able to show Food Inc. as a social for the dietetics students this semester.

  15. January 9, 2010 / 5:43 pm

    I saw Food Inc. this past summer for the first time, and it really changed my eating tremendously. I only eat meat that is local (and preferably organic). SLU, where I’m doing my internship, has a huge focus on sustainability, and it’s really neat to see the public attention that’s growing in favor of local and sustainable agriculture.

  16. January 9, 2010 / 5:51 pm

    wow…amazing information. Seriously I loved reading this post! I havent seen the movie yet but I really want to run out and watch it right now. Im am with you 100% that we need to get more proactive about our health!! As a country once we start taking better care of ourselves before something happens the better off we will be! I could go on and on about this topic!=) I do try and buy organic as much as possible and I try to buy from local farmers markets too. Cooking is a huge part of my life. I do it not only for health but for fun too! Thank you so much for all the awesome info. Have a great weekend!

  17. January 9, 2010 / 6:58 pm

    I really need to this movie…I feel like I am the only bloggie who has not seen it lol

    Kale Chips ROCK! I love them too…I am going to try it with he parm cheese! thanks for the tip

  18. January 9, 2010 / 7:15 pm

    I have not seen this movie but plan to as I have heard so many good things about it. I try to go as clean as I can but I now need to use your list and avoid the foods you have that have GMO’s. That is crazy!

    I rarely buy anything processed or in a box anymore. I am actually going to attempt to make my own “raw” balls this week and stick to my “clean” eating meal plan.

  19. January 9, 2010 / 7:19 pm

    okay..thats it.. im watching food inc asap!

  20. January 9, 2010 / 7:50 pm

    Nicole, I would love these kale chips, I need to make them. Next time I am at Whole Foods, i’ll buy us some kale.
    Makes me kinda nuts that I have yet to see Food Inc. I read about this stuff all the time. This summer they had an outdoor presentation of that movie in Telluride. I couldn’t attend ’cause I had to get my little kids to bed 🙁 Another time.
    That GMO list is daunting, huh! The vast majority of our meals here are homemade. My kids have never been to a FF (is it fat food or fast food!) restaurant. I absolutely agree that people need to be proactive, NOT reactive.
    Pro’s over here an proud of it!

  21. January 9, 2010 / 9:43 pm

    I have not seen the movie or read the book and don’t really plan to. I come from a farming background, and not organic farming, so I have my own point of view. Do they mention that the current state of our food supply is based on our demands? Americans want things faster, bigger, cheaper, etc. etc. Well everything comes at a cost, no? This might be the hard part for people to admit/see (although I think the post and some of the comments allude to this). If you want fruit in the winter and you live in the midwest…you should have froze it during the summer or accept some unnatural consequences.

    Clearly people growing their own foods, without chemicals, growth hormones, etc. is healthier. But the fact is we want foods that aren’t grown locally; we see time as a commodity and not everyone wants to spend it in the kitchen, garden or local market; health can be treated – so why prevent?; and we are always looking for a cheaper option. I’m guilty of all these things myself. I’m not necessarily supporting them, but it’s true.

    So to me, this all comes back to ourselves and our own choices. It is going to take a significant shift to get more of the population considering diet and health like most of the bloggers who comment here. Someone mentioned living in Europe and that was a great point to make. The way of life is completely different – how do you start to change a culture??

    Okay 🙂 I’m off my soapbox now. Thanks for indulging me.

    I will also leave you with a link to the River Cottage, http://www.rivercottage.net/Page~59/Hugh.aspx. I’m just seeing television episodes now, but it started as an experiment where a guy in the UK moved to a small town and decided to basically only consume what he could create – a sort of self-sufficient farm with animals, veggies, etc. I thoroughly enjoy the show because it shows what you can do – but it is a lot of work. I imagine this was what it was like in the “old days”. There is also a second experiment (http://www.channel4.com/food/on-tv/river-cottage/hughs-chicken-run/index.html) I’ve seen where he raises chickens to three standards: 1) normal mass production, 2) certified free range and 3) in your own backyard. He tries to get the whole town to switch to free range. It’s very interesting and based on the Food Inc. comments, I think many of the bloggers here would enjoy. He’s shown on the local food channel for me – so possibly he’s made an appearance on the food networks in the U.S.

    • Nicole
      Author
      January 10, 2010 / 9:12 pm

      Lena, thanks for your $0.02…I was hoping you would comment. 🙂 The movie says something along the same lines — if consumers want pineapple in January, there’s gotta be some way to get it. And that way, is probably not “natural” or “sustaining”. I completely agree. We are rather babied in our system, not having to worry about availability, or price for that matter.

      I do have to disagree with the health issue — if it can be fixed, why prevent? I fight this belief every day with every fiber in my being. This mentality, while common, has gotten our nation’s health in the state that it’s in. If there’s a pill for a problem, why address the cause? I find this, the American way, neglectful and the cause of a vicious cycle resulting in the collapse of our health care. For example, tax dollars going to Medicare are going to continue to rise as health declines in these individuals who require more drugs, hospital stays, length in long-term care facilities, etc.

      Ah, must stop 🙂

      There’s 2 sides to every store, and I do understand yours!

      • January 15, 2010 / 9:36 am

        Completely agree we need to prevent – thanks for your work to reach one person at a time.

        Yep, couldn’t resist commenting on this one. 🙂 LOL

  22. January 9, 2010 / 11:09 pm

    Kale chips definitely rock! If I baked them in front of my parents, though, they would definitely think I’ve gone crazy, and attribute it to my eating disorder. Le sigh.

    I have not seen Food Inc yet. I think Netflix tonight! 😀

  23. January 10, 2010 / 12:56 am

    I LOVED that farmer!! He was so great I just wanted to hug him! I never noticed that he wasnt wearing gloves though. I was probaby too busy thinking how sweet he was.
    I was also super disturbed by the tomato fact. Im a big tomato fan, and the idea of them being picked while green and ripened with gas is just scary.

    I do agree that the movie could have had SO much more though.

    As for the kale chips, Im a BIG fan of kale, and yet Ive never tried kale chips. I really have to get on that I guess. They get so many raves, and your recipe sounds really, really good!

  24. January 10, 2010 / 7:20 am

    I saw this movie a few weeks ago and loved it even though I did find it kind of depressing. But that’s just because I find the state of our country depressing.

    I totally agree with your criticisms. My favorite parts were those that directly related the goings on to the impact on the consumer but these were few and far between!

    If I could change anything about the food industry, it would be to ban high fructose corn syrup. Worst thing ever.

  25. January 10, 2010 / 9:08 am

    I try to make as much of our food from scratch as I can. That being said though – I was shocked by your list of the foods that have GMO’s in it. Wow. That’s hard to avoid.

  26. January 10, 2010 / 10:55 am

    I wish we could have watched it while you were visiting, but I’ll have to check it out when I get back! I used one the Hello Kitty bandaids last night…it made me smile!

  27. January 10, 2010 / 11:48 am

    I just realized that Food, Inc. is on my OnDemand – its on my list of things to watch.

    I cook almost all my meals, and last year decided to join a local CSA to try to eat local. While I understand the cost was to help sustain the farm, I found that it was over priced for what I got – and because we had a very cool summer, the first three weeks all I got was a kohlrabi (which I tried to make several different ways and never liked and carrot bites – check it out! http://biz319.wordpress.com/2009/07/25/saturday-csa/

    I also made the kale chips twice – and couldn’t stand them – glad you liked them though! 😀

  28. January 10, 2010 / 2:20 pm

    Thanks for sharing those stats — they are HUGELY eye opening. And you’re so right about that story about the fam of 4…it’s such a vicious cycle…hopefully education and raising awareness will help end that cycle.

    Kale chips are super yummy, aren’t they? I love mine with parm cheese, but I’ll have to try it with nutritional yeast next time I make them!

  29. January 10, 2010 / 7:13 pm

    I want to thank you. I have been reading here and there is so much important information. I am learning.

    Just to clarify, you know me from my other blog.

    http://sweetsav.blogspot.com Chow and Chatter’s friend.

    Keep up the great work.

  30. January 10, 2010 / 9:40 pm

    awesome post Nicole well summerized and sound advice love that you so down to earth

    so maybe you are thinking of babies he he love it

    hugs Rebecca

    (are u are on facebook by the way feel free to add me)

  31. January 11, 2010 / 1:18 am

    Havent tried it before but would love to have it now…looks very nice

  32. January 18, 2010 / 12:43 pm

    I loved Food Inc. My husband and I bought it for Christmas so we could watch it again!

    After watching the movie, I have drastically cut down my meat intake.

    PS I also love Kale Chips but I haven’t made them in a long time.

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