Paralyzed Chicken Feet

I am disturbed.



I just watched Food, Inc.

I’m obviously grossly behind the times, since the movie came out in 2008, but still.  It’s awakening.  It’s upsetting.  I’m itching to get to a grocery store just so I can buy organic even though my freezer is already full of food.

And I’m no naturalist.  I’ve always felt that the organic movement was just a ploy by grocers to make me spend $3.99 on spinach when I only wanted to spend $1.99.  Don’t act surprised; you already read this; is my behavior really a shock?

Anyway, it’s pretty hard to get excited about a sale on frozen chicken after seeing chemically-altered chicks hobble around on their enfeebled legs from the “enhancements” farmers give them.  How’s that for too long of a sentence?

I’m literally the last person on Earth to care about where my meat comes from.  But something clicked when my sister-in-law Rachel, who was watching this for the first time with me, turned to me and said, “Yes, God gave us dominion over the animals.  But this is not how He designed them, and we’re abusing them.”

How can I argue with that?

The hard part is when I’m standing in the poultry section of the grocery store, and I’m looking at one price versus another much higher price.  I’m thinking about my wallet, but I’m also thinking about that chicken: that chicken who can’t walk because his butt-head farmer feeds him hormones that make his muscles grow beyond what he can bear.

So I guess I’m going to start paying more for chicken.

Here’s the thing: I tend to find heated political documentaries (read: Michael Moore) to be nothing more than a slanted agenda.  But this seems to affect everyone.  Who among us doesn’t eat corn?  Oh, you don’t?  I bet you eat hundreds of things made with corn syrup, considering virtually everything is made with it.

Ugh, I sound like one of the documentary directors.

Mike and I have always been very on-the-fence about locally grown and organic food, because we weren’t sure that paying more for something meant that we were causing change in a corrupt system.

Now I know that’s because we didn’t realize just how corrupt that system is.

It would be wrong to say that this movie is the ultimate authority on meat and corn; it certainly isn’t.  But at least they’ve done more research than I have, and have spoken with some experts on the matter.

I don’t know if they’ve utterly convinced me never to buy regular meat again; what I do know is that they’ve sold me on doing my own research.  They’ve shown me that ignorance is anything but bliss.

My mom once asked me if I’d like to buy a portion of her cow.  Mike and I laughed.  What?  Your own cow?  What are you, a farmer?  She looked at us like she was speaking to 5-year-olds and explained that you can buy an entire cow from local farmers and the meat will last you a year.  I was grossed out at the thought of all that meat sitting in a freezer for months on end.

Now I’m shuffling my feet around as I sheepishly admit to my conservative mother that her liberal idea was actually…brilliant.

So our brother and sister-in-law may join us in buying a cow.  We think it’s the best approach for an enormous problem that seems beyond repair.

Well, maybe half a cow.  It’s not like we eat beef five nights a week.

But I do eat beef.  Here’s a secret I share with very few people: when no one is around, and I’m out to lunch by myself, I like to visit Taco del Mar.  Or Taco Time.  But never Taco Bell…I do have some dignity.

I love the Mexi-fries and the crispy beef tacos, the shredded lettuce and the diced tomatoes.  I especially love the anonymity of the drive-thru.

But then I had to go and watch Food, Inc., and ruin all of that.  They essentially convinced me that I’m eating dog food, beef fit only for dogs, and I’m sickened…but slightly sad.  Is that weird?  Is it OK to mourn the loss of food that is repulsive but delicious?

I’m not likely to tell people how to eat better or more organically.  I think everyone is entitled to their own choice — all I can do is inform people to watch Food, Inc., and see what they find.

When your conscience won’t let you order a burger after watching this film, I would not be the least bit offended if you wanted to punch me in the face.  In fact, I cry the same crocodile tears about my loss of Taco Time.  The pain is real.

But then, so is the cost.


Filed under One WORD (Current Events)

18 responses to “Paralyzed Chicken Feet

  1. Amy

    Thanks a lot. Since we don’t have fancy Taco fast food like you Left-Cheekers do, I DO settle for Taco Bell. And I will miss my indulgences…and probably just have to cave eventually. That’s why I don’t watch those movies.

  2. Meredith Williams

    LOVE this post! I’ve never seen the movie, but I was birthed from reformed hippy parents that have always (when I say always, I mean always! ie: since before I was born)had a garden with fresh veggies and shopped at the local farmers market. I would also like to note that these people who birthed me have never been filthy rich, but have struggled through life just like anyone else. I have always respected and valued their choice to buy locally and grow their own food, and you have further solidified my own goals in this realm with your post!

    Fortunately, you live in an area that is abundant with accessible, local choices for produce, meat, and a myriad of other products! Here’s to you getting out of the supermarket box!

  3. Mamma R

    Mike’s grandparents and greatgrandparents had freezers full of beef for as long as there have been electric freezers. It’s in the genes…just temporarily derailed by culture…and apartment sized freezers. Or perhaps Rachel got his share of that gene!

  4. The Wannabe Naturalist Sister-in-law

    Love love love it!!!!!! Abby, I’m actually gitty that you are writing about this! Seriously!!! I hope people are inspired to watch that film and make more informed choice about the way they live and the things they consume. We are impacting our earth, society and health with each purchase.

    Thanks for your candid stories Abby!!

    • abbyreph

      You know this was my love letter to you, right? 🙂

      • The Wannabe Naturalist Sister-in-law

        Awwwwww. 🙂 thanks Hun!! Haha. Hey- remember our favorite farmer from the film?? Check out his website: So cool!!!! Love that guy!!!!

  5. Sam

    Kate Gosselin buys half a cow every year for their family….and watching Super Size Me made me want McDonalds….will this do the same?!

    • abbyreph

      I doubt it…but I haven’t see SSM so I can’t say for sure. This won’t make you a vegetarian, it will just make you choosy on which meat you will eat.

  6. Dylan

    Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules is an awesome pocket guide on how and what to eat.

    Too bad our government let it get to this point. Food is big business, and money talks.

  7. WBO Biggest Fan

    Babe are we still planning on that bucket of Extra Crispy KFC tonight??

  8. always the last to know

    mom wants to buy a cow??! I have a ton of friends who do that – I totally want in on your meat!!!

  9. Greg

    Sure wish I’d seen this post earlier. I saw part of it. Nina saw all and was floored. Take everything with a grain of salt. Editing is powerfully mind-altering. I’m sure there are some great ideas and revelations. But remember two things. (1) They never told you how these changes could feed 6 billion people. (2) These are the same folks that made “An Inconvenient Truth.”

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