If the fuel is clean, the engine will run well. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

I tried to eat “healthy food” for years and thought I did a pretty good job of it. Over the years I did eat a bit too much of this good food. Maybe that contributed to the coronary artery disease. After my bypass surgery, I was flummoxed about what to eat. The early approaches had obviously not worked.

The American Heart Association had their view and some more radical approaches presented themselves. I tried them all.

My wonderful son, Dan, is a vegetarian and has been since he was thirteen (he will soon be 33!). He would come home from college and regale us with stories of how bad the conditions were for the animals we ate. I got it; but was still a carnivore. Organic food, that was the answer.

In my quest for organic food, I uncovered a lot about the dangers lurking behind the organic, free range, and other labels.

In one instance, I discovered that the “government” decreed that all a chicken needed to be called free range was access to the world outside that disgusting, crowded, filthy barn in which they were being raised. A small, chicken sized hole met the requirement. The terrified chickens would NEVER go through that hole. Even if they did venture outside, they might find nothing more than a concrete slab.

Then along came local food. I discovered it after I moved to New Hampshire.

This summer I met some chickens who were truly free range. They had actually been pasture raised. No antibiotics were used on them. No growth hormones. They had no genetic modifications. They were just, well, chickens. Nature had done a number on them, however.

It seems that the extensive, early spring rains had produced lots of little bugs in the pasture. The chickens loved them. This gave these little, local, creatures very high protein levels and boy did they taste great! Of course, their ingestion transferred all of that great protein into me!

In deference to my heart, I had not eaten an egg yoke in so long I could not remember the last one. A nutritionist that I am collaborating with, said that I needed to eat the whole egg to gain all its nutritional value. The catch, the eggs had to be from local chickens that were treated just as nicely as the ones mentioned above.

Some will remember Dwight Eisenhower’s reference to the “military-industrial complex”. In a similar way that the military buys from a few vendors, we now eat food from just a few huge companies. We now have the industrial food chain.

Sixty years or so ago, forty percent of us lived on a farm. Today it is less than one percent. Huge, industrial farms located all over the world now feed us. In 1930 the average American family spent over twenty-four percent of their income on food. Today it’s more like nine percent. Add in population growth and you have huge increases in productivity on these “industrial” farms.

Some things to think about: one calorie landing on your plate today used around eleven calories of fossil fuel as it was created and delivered to you, it traveled around 1,500 miles to get to you, and it has about forty percent of the nourishment that a similar calorie had sixty years ago.

That calorie was grown in a field drowned in polluting fertilizer. That pollution is washing through our rivers and streams and ground water. The richness of the soil on that field is increasingly being destroyed with each crop. Oil production in the US peaked sometime in the sixties.

Something has to give.

Make friends with a local farmer, one who knows how to use horses and oxen.

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