Search This Blog

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Are Veterinarians Real Doctors?

Hard at work improving animal lives
 As a veterinarian, the worst question that I get is not “How do you deal with euthanasia?” or “Don’t you ever get tired of blood and guts?” or “How about those student loans?”  Honestly, the worst question I get is far worse, and actually all too common.  I can’t tell you the number of times that people have asked me “Why didn’t you just become a real doctor?” 

That question really just makes my blood boil.  I will tell you, I automatically have a problem with any person who asks me that question.  Why?  Because by asking that question, “Why didn’t you just become a real doctor?” that person has automatically devalued my degree, my livelihood, and most importantly, my passion.  I want to be a medical doctor for animals—I do not want to be a medical doctor for humans.  I don’t really understand why someone would want to ask me that question.  Frankly, it gets me pretty riled up.  I get angry, I get defensive, and I shut that person out. 

 The SAME thing happens when people who have never been on a farm, have never experienced the rewards of growing their own food, and have never realized the value that they receive at the grocery store, ask farmers why they choose to raise their crops or their livestock the way that they do, using the technologies that they have available.  It happens when they accuse farmers of raising crops that are “tainted” with GMOs, or when they accuse cattle, pork, or poultry producers of raising animals “inhumanely.”  When people cry out about the “florid, inhumane” conditions that farm animals live in, or the “unnatural, corrupted” crops that are grown, it makes those farmers’ blood boil as well.  When farmers hear such falsities, and such questions, they tend to react like any other person whose livelihood and passion are being questioned and put down—they get angry, they get defensive, and they shut down.  Sound familiar?
Being a farmer’s daughter from Kansas, I’ve lived my whole life answering questions like “Do you actually have running water in your house?” or “Do you still go to church in a horse and buggy?”  My family gets it--most of the time those questions are in jest, but we do get a bit defensive about things like that.  But when we really get defensive is when people are angered about our use of some of the most innovative technologies in the world (ahem, GMOs), but are still asking whether we have some of the same technologies that the ancient Romans had!  It’s a bit mind-boggling, to tell you the truth.

Any good farmer will be the first to tell you that the crops and animals they raise are safe, nutritious, and produced in a responsible manner.  They will tell you that they feed those products to their own children, and would be happy if you fed them to yours, as well.  However, they will not tell you these things if they feel like their whole lives are being threatened.  And that’s how many farmers feel right now.

Again, with this anger and defensiveness comes that urge to shut people out.  I will be the first to tell you, farmers can be some of the most defensive people out there.  It’s hard not to be when you feel your livelihood is being threatened.  However, if I’ve learned anything from my experience in being asked the “real doctor” question, it’s how to be gracious and accepting of it, and provide an answer that gives the inquirer the reply that they’re looking for, but also gives me the chance to enlighten them on important aspects of my job and maybe, for the future, let them know that the question is not necessarily appropriate when asked in that way.  Believe me, it’s taken a while for me to become accepting and gracious, but I believe that farmers are much more graceful and accepting than I will ever be, so it doesn’t take them long to come around. 

What I ask of the majority of consumers is that you take a step back before making accusations and asking some possibly offensive questions, and ask yourself, “If someone had no idea what I did in my job, and asked me why I was doing it wrong, what would I say?”  I think you would find that you’d be a little put-out and defensive, too.  But I think you would want to help that person see that you ARE doing a good job, and that you are proud of what you do, just like farmers are.  Consumers have a right to ask all the questions they want—they’re part of the food production process as well—however, I think if we all took a step back and thought about our approach, these conversations just might become a whole lot easier.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day is Every Day for Farmers and Ranchers

Earth Day - a day that reminds us all to recycle more, use less and think about future generations when making decisions that can affect our environment for years to come.

But guess what? We should be cognizant of our choices more often than just once per year - as consumers we should be striving to lessen our environmental footprint every day in order to preserve our world for future generations.

Good thing that farmers and ranchers have been working towards sustainability and resource conservation for as long as they have been producing food. Here are some hard facts about food production and resource conservation:

  • Farmers who grow crops like corn, soybeans and wheat, will practice crop rotation which is the process of changing what is planted in a particular location on a farm from season to season. This helps with nutrient management of the soil and soil erosion.
  • Hog farmers use manure from their farm as a valuable organic fertilizer that is readily used by crop farmers to help build beneficial carbon content in soil.
  • Hog farmers have also streamlined their production practices which have led to a 35% decrease in carbon footprint from 1959-2009. That's quite an improvement!
  • The beef industry reduced its water use and greenhouse gas emissions by 3% and 2%, respectively
The beef industry works towards sustainable production every year.
What are you doing in your life to lessen your environmental footprint? How could you improve?

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Why the Food Babe is BAD for Food Education

We are all about learning and engaging here at Food For Thought. Learning about where your food comes from and speaking directly with the farmers and ranchers who grow crops and raise livestock. We believe it is fundamentally important to be confident in one’s food choices and know that our food supply is safe, wholesome and accessible.

The Food Babe is not a food educator
NOT a trusted source for farming/ranching/food production
Which is why the Food Babe is NOT helping consumers learn more about their food and, in turn, trust producers. She’s actually doing the exact opposite. She uses fear tactics to sell her books, promote her diet plans and force companies to stop using federally inspected and approved products that help our food be safer. The Food Babe is not thinking about consumers. She’s thinking about numero uno and how she can make more money scaring the living daylights of you, the consumer, while simultaneously disparaging companies that use ingredients that are FDA approved safe for consumption. And she won’t let facts stand in her way – just read this piece about airplanes for further proof (you may have to call on your sixth grade science knowledge).

Rancher feeding a baby calf
This rancher IS a trusted source for raising cattle and beef.
 Food For Thought is not a group of fear mongers, nor are we out to make the Food Babe look ridiculous. We don’t need to do that and it’s not our goal (quite frankly she is making herself seem ridiculous all on her own). Food For Thought’s main focus is to help consumers learn more about where their food comes and answer questions about food production. It’s even in our mission!
Food For Thought will provide consumers with answers about where their food comes from by empowering agriculturalists, informing consumers and confronting myths about modern agriculture through innovative and effective methods.

What this means, dear readers, is that we want to hear YOUR questions and concerns. How do you feel about your food and the people who produce? Ask us anything – we want to talk to you!

This pig farmer is responsibly caring for her animals and IS a
trusted source for animal care and pork production.
Please, we beg you, if you have a question about GMOs, corn, cattle, sweet potatoes, rice, pigs, lizards, marshmallows: ask! We are here to quench your thirst for knowledge!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Is High-Fructose Corn Syrup Worse Than Sugar?!

High fructose corn syrup is a major ingredient in soda
High fructose corn syrup. It’s pretty much everywhere – breakfast cereal, soda, Spaghettios. It’s become the go-to substitute for sugar and as such, gets a lot of criticism. But, what exactly is HFCS and is it really worse for our bodies than sugar?
A video by the American Chemical Society set out to explore that question in-depth and the results will surprise you.
The process by which HFCS is developed seems pretty straightforward, however there is chemistry involved so don’t try this at home! Corn, the starting product, is broken down into corn starch and then further broken down to corn syrup. This syrup is finally sweetened by tweaking the proportions of fructose and glucose to yield the end product of high-fructose corn syrup.  

Corn à Corn Starch à Corn Syrup + glucose + fructose = High Fructose Corn Syrup
In reality, real sugar is very similar in composition to HFCS because both are made up of fructose and glucose. The video explains, “High fructose corn syrup comes in different concentrations for different products, but it’s remarkably similar to sugar.” And, most importantly, “the scientific consensus is that there’s almost no nutritional difference between the two."

To be clear, I’m not saying that you should now go out and consume soda by the gallons and candy by the pound but only that you should be just as concerned about HFCS as you are about sugar. Basically, consume sweets in moderation and try to fill your diet with lean meats, veggies, fruits, whole grains and dairy. The big takeaway is to put a cap on your overall sweets intake and substitute healthier choices like fruit or yogurt for a bag of Twizzlers or a soda.

Happy Friday!


Related Posts with Thumbnails