Food - Can't Believe We Eat That Stuff...

Updated on June 22, 2011
P.O. asks from Antioch, TN
23 answers

Have you guys ever watched Food Inc. - It's a documentary on food and how it is processed in America. I am now disgusted and not sure what to feed my kids anymore. Anxious to hear what alternatives there are.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the great responses. I've always eaten and provided healthy meals for the family, and not really a big meat lover, but can't say that for the rest of my family, so trying to get them to start a conservative meat diet is going to be a challenge. Thanks again for the alternative suggestions.

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answers from Honolulu on

I buy local grown foods.
Organic, hormone free.
Many stores have these.
It is common.
I also cook from scratch all the time.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I just limit the amount of meat in my dishes. Like if it calls for 2 cans of tuna, I use one. If its a pound of whatever, I use a half pound. My family hasn't even noticed!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

Buy local! There are farmers near every community in America who produce organic crops. Do they cost a bit more? Yes. Is it worth it? YES. I agree, the more you learn about where mass-produced food comes from, the more you REALLY stop to think about what's in the food you feed your family. Check out Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution for more ideas, too.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

we rarely eat overly processed foods, i make sure at least 50% of my kids plate is fresh fruit or veggies. Im not just saying this, i actually do it. Since i have been doing this this whole lives they dont know any difference. We still eat things that are processed, however its minimally processed and meat free, our bread is always 100% whole wheat, i do like my processed soy though.

I do what i can, if i push for all healthy im afraid they will rebel, and i try to make a lot of things from scratch, like their pancakes and waffles and muffins, their ketchup and mustard, their tomato sauce, pizza, etc.... this way i can add my own stuff to it, like a proper flour, a low glycemic sweetener, yogurt and flax seeds. Its harder work but i think it pays off. ive got one daughter obsessed with fresh fruit and one(my 2 year old) in love with anything green (especially avocados, peas and broccoli)

Ive noticed that when given the proper chance kids will develop a taste for things that have nutrients, it helps if you make a funny face with it (which is really easy to do with fruits and veggies) and if you steer clear of the middle of the grocery store, stay on the outskirts you are more likely to fill your basket with more nutritious food.

heres a list of some of my favorite kid friendly foods

nutella on english muffins
hummus with whole grain crackers
cottage cheese with fresh berries
greek yogurt with agave nectar
home made french toast
banana flax waffles or pancakes

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Fargo on

I was going to respond but decided to check out the other responses and Catherine C. posted exactly what I wanted to say! :)

And Amanda G. had a great point about shopping the perimeter of the store. We rarely buy any processed foods.

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Madison on

A guideline from Michael Pollan: Eat what your grandparents did. Do not eat what your grandmother would not recognize as "food".

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Cook more homemade foods. Buy local produce when you can because it supports local farmers. Even dairies and meat and eggs. If you shop at markets that support local farmers the food is typically going to be organic without having to have the spendy, pricey label of Certified Organic on it. Where I live, we go to grocers that patronize the local farmers first and it reflects in the cost of the produce and even milk. We have tons of dairies and other types of farms in Connecticut. A lot families just in my town sell eggs, beef, milk, cream, produce (fruits, veggies, etc) to the local grocery stores and farmers markets. The town I grew up in does the same thing. I'm so used to growing up around farms and getting fresh groceries that during the Winter I'm spoiled and hate having to pay extra for the imported out-of-season fruits and veggies.

Anyway, there's something to be said for homemade cooking and avoiding processed foods or food-like products. You don't have to be a chef or a fantastic cook to make good meals. I like to make dishes that have five ingredients or less to prepare. Anything that has more than that is too complicated and the dish becomes too much of a competition of flavors.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

Lots of GREAT documentaries on food out there. Food, Inc seems to hone in on Monsanto (as do a number of the food related documentaries). Another film you might enjoy is Food Matters, which discusses the Health-Care results of the standard american diet. (Also of interest The Future of Food, Forks Over Knives, Food Beware: The French Organic Revolution) You might also like a host of books on the same subject. One of my favorites is Eat To Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Also books by Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Rip Esselstyn. These books emphasize the importance of a Whole Foods diet, with the research behind them (The China Study - wow!), to boot.
How can you fight the food system as it is? Buy local, buy organic, focus on whole, unprocessed foods, especially grains (unrefined grains, like quinoa, rice...) in lieu of breads (even whole grain breads are processed or refined). Make everything at home, if you can. And make sensible choices, when you are unable to make everything at home. What would happen if suddenly we ALL made those choices, I wonder?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

it made my son and dil go vegan and organic. I'm being very mindful of what I eat now too, it's not easy to find "healthy" food. we are poisoning ourselves and our children with much of what we are ingesting. Most people turn a blind eye to it. I'm very proud of my dil for taking it so seriously, it's not easy to provide real nutrition to your family in this day and age, it's a real job to figure it out. If you care about yourself and your children, you will stop feeding them all the chemicals.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

I agree!!! Since we watched that movie I realized all the other code names for MSG. Great website Since I am MSG sensitive I had always avoided it when I saw it on labels only to find out about this website and realize that I was still consuming it. I cut out creamer in my morning coffee (sodium casinate-MSG!) and instantly headaches every day went away. So we as family cut out anything with MSG, artificial sweetners, and high fructose corn syrup. This can be challenging but I don't have the budget to do all organic so this at least gets rid of the worst offenders. (and cuts out most of the junk!) Also check into joining a CSA program. Use the site to find one in your area. Or start growing your own produce. Tomato's and potato's are super easy to grow in pots and it is an easy way for your kids to participate.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My alternatives are locally grown (when available), through local supermarkets, natural food stores, and farmer's markets. Friends of mine also subscribe to a local farm for fresh produce.

I had to go as natural, from-scratch, and organic as possible 25 years ago when I had a major health crash and found out I had become sensitive not only to virtually all modern chemicals, but also allergic to many foods I had thought were okay. I completely overhauled my diet, and since then only rarely purchase commercially prepared "food." It made a noticeable improvement in my health, and now it's just a way of life.

The movie helped remind me why I put so much effort into my diet. And I feel sick about the treatment farm animals receive on most commercial mega-farms. Animals living under constant stress can't possibly be good for the people who eventually consume them, whether on a physical or spiritual level.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I saw this and have done some serious thinking. The best for your body and the environment is to buy and eat local, organic, vegan, raw food. Buying straight from the source and asking the farmer questions about his/her practices is the best way to get to know your food. Either that or grow anything you ever put in your mouth yourself.

Some vegetarians eat eggs, cheese, and eggs, just nothing 'with a face.' Even if you eat eggs, you are helping support the chicken farms. If you eat anything cooked with eggs (bread, etc), then you are still helping support chicken farms. Think about milk and cheese the same comes from those poor cows.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Find a farm. Shop there.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Sorry to be so late with an answer but I wanted to share with you my website. I've recently partnered up with a company that will deliver hormone, antibiotic & steriod free all natural beef, chicken, pork, veal & seafood right to your door! Check it out

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

Splurge on organic and cut the budget in other areas of life. Keep meat to a minimum, it's bad for you even when it's not the contaminated kind and should be eaten very sparingly.
We eat lots of smoothies. You can put raw broccoli and spinach or any veggie into the plain organic yogurt (protein) and berries with bananas and it just tastes like a fruit smoothie for the kids.
There is tons of protein in non meat items, nuts, beans, hummus, avocados.... Shop from the produce aisle, and read all labels (cereal and canned goods) to make sure they don't have garbage in them. Invest in the organic whole grain breads. Steer clear of the normal dairy stuff, it's loaded with hormones and the same contaminates meat has. Shop local farmers markets and co-ops of you have them. We buy "expensive organic food" but not lots of things other families buy. It's worth it to us to sacrifice elsewhere. In the past 5 years we've lived here, our local store has started carrying more and more healthy food because people are "voting" with their purchases. They're even marking down organic stuff that used to never go on sale.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Good for you for educating yourself about food! Thete are lots of natural foods stores and even regular grocery stores that are offering natural and organic alternatives. I highly recommend searching for a CSA near you or local small farm that will sell free range, grass fed meat and poultry products to you. See what local farmer's markets are near you as well! You'll be amazed at how much better you'll feel! Does it mean my kids never eat a Mcnugget? No, but it's rare, and I tell them exactly how gross it is. They never want fast food beef (or any we can't ID as organic) any more. It will do you all good!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Yes, those poor chickens so big they can't even stand on their own legs. That movie changed the way I eat and here's another website I love

Good luck. It takes time to change your ways but once you do you won't look back!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I planted a garden this year, my first one. So I pray it does well.. My hubby wants corn next year. I think I'm doing good to get tomatoes and cucumbers to grow.
I also go to the Farmer's Market on Saturdays.

But there are plenty of processed foods in my house.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lancaster on

I cook from scratch. I order things in bulk from Frontier Co-op and from local CSAs, co-ops and big box stores that sell organic. There are a lot of foods I will NOT buy for my family if I can't get it organic, or at least from a local farmer that can tell me what he's doing to the food! These items include all animal products (of ANY form; meat, poultry, milk, yogurt, ice cream, whatever).

We have goats for milk and chickens for eggs. We have a garden we plant every year. I have 19 tomato plants (eight varieties), 6 zucchini plants, 4 watermelon vines, 4 rows of green beans, 5 rows of lima beans, I don't even know how many rows of peas...Among many other things. I put up a lot of food from our garden and from the farmer's market; freezing and canning. You DON'T have to do all this to provide clean food for your family, though!

Start by looking for a farmer's market in your area. Go through with your children and pick out fruits and vegetables they like the look of!

Don't buy anything with chemicals in it. If you can't pronounce it, don't buy it.

Only buy organic meat and dairy products. Ice cream is a big one; toxins are stored in fat, and ice cream is made from cream which is the fat!

You have some good answers here. Don't despair! There are plenty of alternatives out there.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My advice would be to start slowly or you will get overwhelmed and have a revolt from your kids. Pick the one thing that bothers you the most and change it. Are you most freaked out by the meat industry? Then start finding better alternatives. Bell & Evens Chicken (which is grown near where you are) is a more humane, safer alternative. Call your county extension agent and ask where you can buy lamb or beef "on the hoof." We buy our lamb from local 4-Hers so we're supporting youth and getting animals that were raised with a high quality of life. Once you've gotten that first change down, and you are comfortable with it, pick a second area to improve. Over the course of a couple of years, you will have transformed your diet, but, like losing weight, if you do it more slowly you are more likely to stick to it. Decide which areas are important to you, and which aren't as much. We subscribe to a CSA and try to buy local meat, but I don't bake my own bread-- for now. Little changes add up to big changes!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

We're vegetarians (for many reasons, ethical, health,environment), during the summer shop at Farmer's Markets, otherwise Trader Joe's (their ingredients are usually at least better than the typical grocery store), and for all the rest, we "just eat it"... there's no way to completely eliminate bad food, unless you grow it all yourself.
So I guess we subscribe to a "we do the best we can even though it's not perfect" philosophy.
Good luck. Glad others are watching the movie and care. It gives me hope that if enough people vote with their dollars, things will change in the future.


answers from Pittsburgh on

We've been lifelong organic eaters. My husband grew up on a farm and they ate what they grew. I was born with an auto-immune disease and had to avoid chemicals/preservatives. We've avoided dairy for a while, using coconut milk for regular use (for our son, for special treats), limiting dairy to once/month kind of stuff (like Dairy Queen the other night). We add TVP and beans (especially mongo and adzuki) to almost every dish. We add flax to our morning smoothies. We take highly absorbable (is that a word?) supplements in liquid and pill form. We drink Aloe juice. We eat meat maybe 2x/week (always lean), but mostly chicken/turkey/seafood. Every lunch/dinner has veggies.

Our battle has been the GMO's. We're highly opposed to them and its gotten to the point where even the seeds that we buy for our gardens are from GMO plants. So, we're having to search high and low, and pay much more for non-GMO seeds. Its been frustrating for us to see how political all of this has become.



answers from Philadelphia on

We do a verion of the paleo diet. We eat meats, veggies, fruits but no grains and miniml dairy. This is the best way to go imho as you are cooking with whole foods so you know what you are feeding your family. We don't do all organic or all grass fed meats but certain cuts I will spend the extra for such as dark meat poultry and fatty cuts of meat. There are some great blogs on feeding your family paleo. Also, check out the book Everyday Paleo. She has a lot of easy recipes and a 30 day shopping/cooking plan on making the transition.

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