Modern Farming Techniques

Video

Last month, I subbed for a Spanish teacher while he gave a presentation for an assembly at his school. During one of his breaks, he showed me this “cute” video. Yes, it is a commercial for Chipotle. I was skeptical when he told me this, too, but I gave it a try.

He was right. The short story starts out cute with animated pigs frolicking on a pasture. However, halfway through, another teacher in the staff lounge and I couldn’t help but avert our eyes as the commercial progressed.

Now, I’m no PETA activist or die-hard vegan. However, I do care that the little meat that I do eat comes from a relatively happy animal and doesn’t have antibiotics infused in it.

Marketing implications aside, I have to commend Chipotle for creating such an accurate depiction of modern livestock production that can be used in the classroom as an educational tool.

America is one of the leading countries in meat and dairy consumption. We are also the leaders in cancer, diabetes and obesity rates. Some longitudinal and cross-sectional studies attribute our Western diet as a cause or at least a major contributor for these two correlations.  (For more information, watch the documentary Forks Over Knives).

“Meat is a good source of protein. It makes you strong,” people say.  Current production practices for meat is not only inhumane, but it also requires much energy, contributes to global warming, struggles to meet the demands, and is not sustainable.   Whether you see it as a new fad or a step towards a more vegetation-based diet, soy, almonds, and even coconut entering the new market as an alternative source for milk and protein.  Perhaps we need to look elsewhere for meat products to offset the emphasis placed on quantity rather than quality.

An overlooked abundant source of protein is insects!!!  Now, I know what you’re thinking. Gross.  I honestly cannot fathom putting legs that stick to my tongue or grubs that squirt….bleh…..  However, the West is behind in adopting what is considered a delicacy in other countries.  Plus, the advantages of farming bugs is inarguable: they don’t require much space and supply a high net energy yield (the amount of energy needed to produce it verses the amount of energy it provides nutritiously).

So how can I be disgusted if I haven’t actually tried it?  I have a personal motto that I will try everything at least once, so with more thought on the subject as I write about it, I’m actually excited at the thought of eating chocolate covered ants for a snack if it were available.   Now, this doesn’t mean you will see me on the sidewalk pouring chocolate  from a fondue fountain machine!!

(Watch this TED video for more information on the unrecognized resource of insects)

I went on a few unplanned tangents with this silly pig video… I guess my point through this all is to urge everyone to think about the future, be open-minded to change, and return to simpler values.  Food should be produced with work and love, and taste good! With no high fructose corn syrup!

Bread!

Image

Ever since I made the zucchini bread, I’ve been kind of on a baking rampage!

This is a great recipe for basic bread and you can manipulate it as you please! I have used this recipe and added oregano to it. Delicious with some olive oil!!!

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/simple-whole-wheat-bread/detail.aspx

Bread via cell phone camera

My birthday is just around the corner. I am considering asking people to get me packets of yeast…

Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline!!!

http://action.biologicaldiversity.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=9502

Oil has been a topic in the news for years.  With the nonrenewable resource being monopolized by corporate giants and the procurement dependent on unstable international relations, the pressure to find new and more local sources has been a focus to ensure the operations of our country as developments are made to convert the nation’s reliance to more sustainable and environmentally friendly sources of energy.

The Keystone Pipeline project was originally proposed by the TransCanada Corporation in 2005 with portions of the pipeline approved and constructed in Canada.  Since then, 4 phases of the project have been proposed.  Currently, phase 1 and 2 have already been completed with pipelines running from Alberta through Kansas and Nebraska.  The 3rd and 4th phases (the Keystone XL expansion project)   require 757 miles of  pipeline to be built connecting the portions already constructed from the first two phases – Alberta to Nebraska and Oklahoma to Texas.

Even though Obama rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline on January 18th, groups of senators are trying to resurrect it – disregarding the environmental implications and focusing on supporting the existing oil monopoly. Regardless of your personal political party affiliation, sign the petition to prevent the oil giants from gaining even more power and wealth, encourage our country (and the world) to look beyond oil for energy, and to protect wildlife and the environment.

For more information on this and other environmental issues: http://www.350.org/

Zucchini Bread!!!

I love letter writing and have been trying to do that in addition to e-mail. However, I am especially slow at getting mail out after writing them. For instance, I had asked several people to serve as my reference for graduate school applications in Fall 2011…I still have the thank you card for one of them.  To make up for my delay, I decided that I would mail her some bread with her card!

Instead of following the original recipe exactly, I made one loaf with blueberries and one without.  I also reduced the sugar to a little less than 2 cups.  The blueberries add sweetness to the bread that I could have reduced the sugar even more.

Hopefully, she won’t mind writing a letter of recommendation for me again.