The saying goes…”you are what you eat”. When studies are done on the carbon makeup of hair in most US citizens, it’s likely it will turn up as carbon from corn. Typically, that would be about 69 percent corn. Are you surprised? Where is it coming from? Sure, we like the occasional corn on the cob and maybe a slab of cornbread with beans but 69 percent???
Where does all this corn come from? Well, one major place is in high fructose corn syrup. Most things sweet on store shelves are going to contain this ingredient. It is a cheap sweetener used in many things you might not even think about like catsup, drinks, salad dressings, crackers and bread, the list goes on. Do your kids like “Lunchables” meals? Every part of that meal has corn in it. Even the chicken nuggets your kids love is going to show a corn base. Here’s why:
We have been feeding our animals corn and soy beans but mostly corn. It has become the base of the industrial food system. The biggest legal cash crop growing on 80 million acres, an area twice the size of New York state. Corn is overproduced, subsidized, a cheap grain. Since the mid 1970’s, American farms have grown more corn. Back then, they were growing 400 billion bushels and now it is 10 billion, producing 500 more calories a day per American and we are eating it up. And what we don’t eat, we can always burn in our car. Yes, there are problems with that, too. Ethanol is not as “green” as many people think, and it takes more energy to produce Ethanol than cars can get from it.
And since we have so much cheap corn, let’s just start feeding it to the chickens, pigs, cows, even salmon are being taught to eat up that corn! Liberty is the corn that is most grown these days. Liberty Link hybrid corn is genetically modified to be immune to glufosinate-ammonium, (the active ingredient in the product named Liberty Herbicide). In 1994, no farm acreage in the U.S. had been planted with genetically modified corn plants, but today more than 70% have. The writer has less problem with genetically engineered corn as she has with cows being taken off their pasture and fed that corn. And this is why…
Cows are amazing creatures. They can take grass, something we don’t digest well, and turn it into body fuel. They have an highly evolved digestive organ, called the rumen. The rumen can digest grass. It takes grass, cellulose in grass, and turns it into protein, very nutritious protein. And wouldn’t it be nice if I could say that’s how we get beef. I can’t say that because our industrialized farming these days is to get that cow off the grass and onto corn as soon as possible. By the time a calf is 6 months old, it has seen it’s last blade of grass!
Why are they putting cows on corn-based feed? It makes them grow quickly and makes them fat and allows them to go to slaughter at 14 months. The problem with this, is that cows were created to eat grass. That’s why they have the rumen and corn is too rich and starchy. It tends to make the cows sick, they stop ruminating and you know what that means….drugs, antibiotics. The cows are stressed and tend to grow faster with antibiotics. And what happens is our meat is a product of these drugs, antibiotics. We are using so many antibiotics in livestock — over half of the antibiotics in this country go to livestock — that these drugs no longer work for us. Cows on corn are apt to get liver disease and that means another type of antibiotics. Since cow’s liver is not a commodity, farmers allow their liver to be ruined so they can eat corn and grow up quickly, a financial decision. Many people in the cattle field feel that raising cattle on corn indefinitely, would not survive. They are brought to slaughter before their systems break down. This is an article about corn so I won’t even go into the horrors of the feedlots.
There is another reason that corn is used. It takes up less space. The space for the amount of hay needed, is much more than the space for corn. Corn is also less expensive. But there is a cost. Corn-fed beef produces lots of saturated fats which leads to heart disease. Yes, eating meat is really a problem with corn-fed meat. If you eat grass-fed beef, it has much more of the nutritional profile of the wild meat. Hunter-gatherers subsisted on lots of meat, and they never had heart disease. We are what we eat, and what that food we eat, eats. Everything is connected.
So we have become men made of corn. Corn isn’t bad. It’s the sweetener from corn that goes into so much of the store bought foods that Americans eat too much of. Americans eat 200 more calories a day, on average, then they did when I was a child. And we exercise less. During his research for King Corn, filmmaker Curt Ellis wrote, “We’ve made the least healthy foods cheap, so low-income people find themselves eating processed corn products and wealthy people get fresh fruits and vegetables,” he says. “There’s a reason in our culture—unlike in any other time in history—poverty doesn’t go hand-in-hand with hunger, but with obesity.” Please keep these thoughts in mind as you go about your one year storage.