Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Legacy of Lost Dreams

I grew up with teachers who could yell at you, throw you out of class, push you and punish you if  you misbehaved in class. Did I ever feel like I was abused? No. Did my mom ever feel like I was abused? No. You can argue that it was the way we were taught and we didn’t know better. It was how things were done back then. We weren’t so much aware of children’s rights. Or human rights in particular and how we can stand up to defend them. I could argue that parents will always be parents and knowledgeable or not in the human rights they would love and protect their children against any form of abuse, regardless.

I adored my class head master, my Romanian teacher. He was a tall man with a heavy hand. A walking and talking encyclopedia. It was amazing listening to him. He gave lots and expected just as much. There was little tolerance in not doing your homework, doing something else in class while he was teaching, committing serious grammar mistakes. He would grab your arm and throw you out of class and not let you come in till the end. I was one of his favorites because I was good with languages. It was my thing. I started going to competitions and did really good. Got second place in the National Contest by 13 of age. One time during the preliminary phase of the competition held in our town, he came in the classroom. I was in 6th grade. I will never forget. We had to comment on this piece of literature called “Ardealul”. I had a thing for skipping letters and not paying attention to punctuation which for him was the most awful thing you could to any language. I remember he walked in the back of the class then slowly walked back up coming behind me and looked at my paper. He always carried around this key chain, half leather, half metal (see picture below). He took that out and he knocked it on my head with the leather side. It didn’t hurt but the metal on top sort of clapped and it made a scary sound. I swear, the next second I saw all the mistakes I had made until then and corrected them immediately. He didn’t even have to say a word.

After I won second place at the nationals he gave me a 4 (I think that’s a -C in English grading) for messing up some verb analysis. I couldn’t believe it. I cried so much. One other time he took a whole point and gave me a 9 (B+) instead of a 10 (A+) because I missed one letter in a whole, otherwise very difficult poem I had memorized and written in my paper. He was a harsh man. And yes, had you asked me back then I would have said that I was “afraid” of him. But in fact, looking back at it and at the memories I hold of those times, I realize I actually respected him and admired him and if I ever did better and never gave up on learning, never really complained, it was because in fact I was drawn to him and the fact that his passion for teaching and wanting the best from his students meant more than his ass kicking and yelling when we fucked up. And we fucked up badly.

Same with the history teacher. Oh boy. She was this tiny skinny short red hair woman with harsh features who hardly ever smiled. Oh, she was goooood. She’d step in with this huge map of army front movements in different wars. Got on top of her chair to hang it above the black board and then opened the “catalog” - class book. You were praying not to hear your name being called. If you did, you’d stand up and start saying the lesson. Then she’d interrupt you and ask you questions. If you hesitated or looked like you didn’t know, she’d pin you down with this look going through your skull and said: “Come on, stop staling. Chew those words up faster!” And then one of two kids would say they don’t remember something and she’d go “If you need to remember, you didn’t understand what you read, you just memorized it like an animal learns tricks. That’s not what I want. Sit down. F.” Uh uh. One time I was wearing a skirt down to my knee. She said it was too short. I was 14. But you know what? I friggin’ loved her! The way she’d explain facts, so humanly as if we were there and we could see and understand for our self the tragedy or beauty of history made me go on studying history and choosing it as part of my high school graduation exam.

Same in high school. Best teacher was the history teacher. He’d come in with his slick longer black hair combed backwards. He’d check to see who had been missing classes and he’d make them say the lesson. One time a colleague said she was out on vacation with her parents in Germany. He asked where exactly and then he started asking specific questions about different statues and museums in that town. He was that good. She didn’t know what he was talking about. And then he said, "you’ve missed the best part of a vacation spent in town. Knowledge." Uhhhh, loved him! And somehow, he liked me. When I graduated and I A+ed my exam he came and gave me as a graduation gift 3 books about the World Wars and Hitler, because I was passionate about the subject.

I could name a number of other teachers that had a huge influence on me, who taught me how to think for myself, against the Romanian educational system that'd have you memorize entire pages. Who helped me trust myself, the knowledge I had accumulated and my vision over things. Who supported me in being different, in having initiative to create projects and follow my beliefs. 

In high school we had teachers patrolling the corridors to see if anyone is missing classes or trying to smoke in bathrooms. If you were really late you weren’t allowed in class. If you dressed inappropriately or had long hair as a boy you’d be presented to the entire staff and students during the weekly “careu” meeting as a NO row model. If you failed to change you’d be sent home for 3 days. Then home for good if you went on.

Two years after I graduated high school I came back from college to visit my teachers. I was astonished with how things had changed. Girls were dying their hair like rainbows and were half naked. Wore more makeup and had more cell phones and fancy hand bags than the teachers. They barely had backpacks or books on them anymore because they weren't "fashionable." They would afford joking around with teachers as if they were of the same age. It felt I came from light years away back into a future past.

In high school when they were hiring new teachers they would put up their names and the grade they got on a panel for students to see. And I remember we got a new geography guy who was admitted with a C+ and we all commented on how can a guy grading so low can come and teach us.

So most students had high expectations of their teachers. As our teachers had high expectations of us. Parents wouldn’t rush in charging at staff that they are “abusing” their children for yelling at them or punishing them. Instead they would ask us “what did you do that you ended up punished?” When I was 14 I wasn’t into boys haha. But somehow this one taller guy from a different class liked me. I didn’t even know he existed! One day I forgot my history book at home and I rushed to get it (luckily I lived across the street) and when I came back I ran past him so I’m not late. My class was at the other end of the corridor than his. Somehow he believed that was insulting towards him that I didn’t pay attention to him so he ran after me and jumped on my back hitting me with the knee in my lower back.

At the time I didn’t know my kidneys were both on the same side. So they both took the shock at the same time. I fainted. I woke up with my Romanian and History teacher standing above me talking to me and a bunch of my colleagues holding my book and staring. Mom and that boy’s parents were immediately called on scene. Mom arrived first and my head master took her to see that boy. I was really mad because mom had never – N E V E R!!!! – done anything to any kid who was abusive towards me because she believed reasoning with them instead of telling them to go to hell was the right approach. So somehow I always ended up undefended and felt stupid. So mom’s presence there felt useless to me. Well, I underestimated mom. She came in and again, as usual, she started telling this boy how it’s not nice to do something like this and that violence blah blah blah. And I was sitting in the door step thinking how I’m never going to be like mom when I will defend my kids because some people just don’t get nice as a peace language. Because obviously, they don’t practice it!

And of course, the muy mucho boy grinned at mom and turned his back at her. HA! Mom tapped him on the shoulder and when he turned around, she slapped him across the face so hard he lost balance. I was in awe! Let me say that again! I was cheer-fucking-leading for mom! You go mom! That’s how shit is done for fuck sake! She grabbed him back and said “if you ever in as much breathe her way, walk her way, look at her less peak to her, I’ll find you and step on you and you better believe it!” Ohhhhhhh!! Momma! YES! His parents came in and went all crazy that my mom slapped their 5”11’, 14 year old boy, that he is “a child and doesn’t know any better and you don’t beat my kid.” The father went saying “I work abroad, I have money don’t mess with me. And my wife is a cook at the military cantina (at the time that meant something in our society – you knew people).” Mom turned around and said “My girl was on the floor because of your 'child' who doesn’t know any better than to be violent and I can see why. I don’t care about your money and connections. You don’t mess with my child or I’ll bite the flesh off you!”  

Well back then stuff like that happened rarely. Now 14 year olds shoot 50 students with one machine gun because they are depressed. Bigger boys bully smaller kids. We have inside cultures of the most popular boy and girl and everyone else is either different, inadequate or geek. Or worse: unpopular. Such bullshit. Now a teacher can’t raise his voice because it’s emotionally abusing a child who treats him disrespectfully because he “know his rights” and can’t be “abused” anymore. My teachers would have gone to prison if it were for all the “children’s rights” to be named each time. Now teachers fear parents and children oppression in the name of too much “emotional” abuse. You can’t touch them anymore.

On the other side, you have teachers who cross the line big time. They are abusive, they hit children, they shout and make them feel guilty and puny faced with their aggressiveness. It happens from kinder garden to high school. Recently the owner of such a place was caught on camera literally dragging kids out of their beds, shaking them and slapping them across the face. And we’re talking kinder garden kids. When I was in college, one French teacher had a problem with left handed students. She would corner a 22 year old and oblige her to write with her right hand saying “we, myself and your colleagues, would like to see you write with your right hand. Left hand is not natural!” and she smiled. I was head of class and I remember one day I couldn’t take it anymore (even though the girl she was messing with was the least of my favorites). I told her it’s wrong to act that way and went on to discuss it with the head of the French Department. She was gone afterwards.

We’re not even going to talk about sexual harassment and so on.

A few years ago, a friend of mine who used to teach asked me to help her correct some tests (English grammar) because she was down with the flue. And then she’d grade them according to my corrections. The tests were a mess! And these were senior high school kids about to pass their English graduation exam. I said, about 80% of your class will not take anything beyond C. And this is like basic grammar rules, irregular verbs and stuff. What the hell are you teaching these kids? They’re gonna mess up big time in the exam! It’s your reputation at stake. They are your business card out there! She said, “Mela things are not what they used to be when we were in school. I have a kid who told me from day one that he doesn’t like English, he won’t use it, he doesn’t need it and I can’t make him learn it. So he never wrote anything, never did homework, never answered questions no matter what I did. Not even his parents could make him – or so they said. And when I refused to pass him, another teacher came in to plead with me that he’s her nephew and he’ll fail graduation all together if I don’t pass him. What do you do with that kind of pressure coming from your own peer? Then another girl was putting on makeup during class and I told her to stop. Instead she started brushing her desk mate’s hair. What the heck would you do? You can’t yell at them, you can’t take their stuff away, you can’t kick them out of class and parents don’t do squat. It’s us vs kids vs “rights”.

So where is the fault in all this? Who is to blame? I believe the educational system is going down. Teachers are less prepared or they simply have stopped caring to give their best faced with rebellious teenagers who “defend their rights” and parents who either stand by them or can’t manage the situation. In Romania we still practice the extravagant gifts propaganda for teachers in primary education (expensive handbags, jewelry etc). We still practice extensive private tutoring going by the mentality that kids “won’t make it” through an entry examination no matter the level of education they are registering for if they don’t have private tutoring.

This issue is so tangled at times that I don’t even know which angle to approach first. I will conclude by presenting one last case that’s on going now. One of my colleagues has her little 10 year old studying in a German speaking school. Kids are kids, they push each other and yell and play and get upset at each other. In her class there is this boy who has been transferred several times from one school to another because allegedly he is a bully. Parents have in fact come with proof and testimonials of the fact that the child has a problem with socializing and integrating in a community and has been attending regular counseling since the age of 5. Being in a group has helped him get better but it hasn’t solved the problem completely. Isolating him would just make it worse and would turn him into a lost case. His bullying can be anything from calling other kids names to pushing them around or somehow trying to get their attention.Nothing more violent.

One day he pushed (slightly) one of the girls. And her father went in and opened a criminal case against the parents for abuse. He had probably added all the other times that his daughter was “bullied” by the boy and came to the conclusion that a criminal case against the parents would solve the situation. The school called upon all the parents to listen (again) to what they have to say. Everyone agreed that the boy needs work in terms of behavior. At the same time, his parents brought in the boy’s councilor to testify as to the reality of his problem and how his acceptance in a community actually helps despite the still existing deficits. The father in question did not drop the charges and in fact he is asking for them to be prosecuted in court. This is education and rights and abuse in the year 2016.

I think that is too much, especially given the situation. But, he decided otherwise. What if that boy becomes totally unstable and really harms a child? It’s a true theory, it could happen for real. But on the other side how can the boy’s parents take away from him the last chance he has to a possible future normality? The truth is always relative. You can’t teach small kids not to fight. We fought. And we were 47 kids in that class!!! But I don’t think we were ever this bad. I don’t think our parents were ever faced (or rarely) with such situations where kids were completely out of hand.

I am worried about the time when my kids will enter school. And if my mom worried about me going into smoking and drugs, I feel that’s one of the smallest challenges I’d have to face as a parent. An altered personality, bad influence, emotional abuse from bad examples (eg: in another colleague’s class – 1st graders! – on Valentine's Day, a parent bought a huge teddy bear for his 7 year old boy to give to a girl he fancied who didn’t even liked him. And he gave it to her at school. Then my colleague’s little girl came home crying asking why she didn’t get one. Is it because she is not liked?) Parents’ ego and attempt to show off in class through their kids, teacher’s expectations to be “materialistically appreciated”, the liberty to say "abuse" too freely and with grave consequences as well as a system that still indoctrinates kids with tones of memorizing are my true worry at this point. And I’m sure I’m missing lots of other aspects that parents now can fill out.

Friday, March 4, 2016

GMOther Nature. Not.

GMO - Genetically Modified Organisms are a broad group of plants, animals, and bacteria that are engineered for a wide variety of applications ranging from agricultural production to scientific research. The types of potential hazards posed by GMOs vary according to the type of organism being modified and its intended application. Most of the concern surrounding GMOs relates to their potential for negative effects on the environment and human health.

As genetically modified (GM) foods are starting to intrude in our diet, concerns have been expressed regarding GM food safety. The results of most studies with GM foods indicate that they may cause some common toxic effects such as hepatic, pancreatic, renal, or reproductive effects and may alter the hematological, biochemical, and immunologic parameters. However, many years of research with animals and clinical trials are required for this assessment. The use of some chemicals such as the recombinant GH or its expression in animals should be re-examined since it has been shown that it increases IGF-1 which may promote cancer.

Here are a few reasons that I found on why GM products should be avoided. I wish I was that smart to come up with them myself but there is a lot of chemistry and genetic technicalities in here so I had to base my research on more well-educated people in the domain. Here is a summary of my findings:

1. GMOs are unhealthy.
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. They cite animal studies showing organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. Human studies show how genetically modified (GM) food can leave material behind inside us, possibly causing long-term problems. Genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and that the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.
Numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise. Although there is not sufficient research to confirm that GMOs are a contributing factor, doctors groups such as the AAEM tell us not to wait before we start protecting ourselves, and especially our children who are most at risk.

2. GNOs contaminate – forever.
GMOs cross pollinate and their seeds can travel. It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene pool. Self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is huge, threatening the health of future generations. GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure.

3. GMOs increase herbicide use.
Most GM crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant”―they deadly weed killer. Monsanto, for example, sells Roundup Ready crops, designed to survive applications of their Roundup herbicide.
Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. Overuse of Roundup results in “superweeds,” resistant to the herbicide. This is causing farmers to use even more toxic herbicides every year. Not only does this create environmental harm, GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. Roundup, for example, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.

4. Genetic engineering creates dangerous side effects.
By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.
5. Government oversight is dangerously lax.
Most of the health and environmental risks of GMOs are ignored by governments’ superficial regulations and safety assessments. The reason for this tragedy is largely political. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for example, doesn’t require a single safety study, does not mandate labeling of GMOs, and allows companies to put their GM foods onto the market without even notifying the agency. Their justification was the claim that they had no information showing that GM foods were substantially different. But this was a lie. Secret agency memos made public by a lawsuit show that the overwhelming consensus even among the FDA’s own scientists was that GMOs can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects. They urged long-term safety studies.
6. Independent research and reporting is attacked and suppressed.

Scientists who discover problems with GMOs have been attacked, gagged, fired, threatened, and denied funding. The journal Nature acknowledged that a “large block of scientists . . . denigrate research by other legitimate scientists in a knee-jerk, partisan, emotional way that is not helpful in advancing knowledge.” Attempts by media to expose problems are also often censored.

7. GMOs harm the environment.
GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose populations are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds.
8. GMOs do not increase yields, and work against feeding a hungry world.
Whereas sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have conclusively resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, GMOs do not, on average, increase yields at all. This was evident in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2009 report Failure to Yield―the definitive study to date on GM crops and yield. They determined that the current GMOs have nothing to offer the goals of reducing hunger and poverty, improving nutrition, health and rural livelihoods, and facilitating social and environmental sustainability. On the contrary, GMOs divert money and resources that would otherwise be spent on more safe, reliable, and appropriate technologies.

9. By avoiding GMOs, you contribute to the coming tipping point of consumer rejection, forcing them out of our food supply.
Because GMOs give no consumer benefits, if even a small percentage of us start rejecting brands that contain them, GM ingredients will become a marketing liability. Food companies will kick them out. In Europe, for example, the tipping point was achieved in 1999, just after a high profile GMO safety scandal hit the papers and alerted citizens to the potential dangers. In the US, a consumer rebellion against GM bovine growth hormone has also reached a tipping point, kicked the cow drug out of dairy products by Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Dannon, Yoplait, and most of America’s dairies.

10. GMOs and Food Allergy
Food Allergy affects approximately 5% of children and 2% of adults in the U.S. and is a significant public health threat. Allergic reactions in humans occur when a normally harmless protein enters the body and stimulates an immune response. If the novel protein in a GM food comes from a source that is known to cause allergies in humans or a source that has never been consumed as human food, the concern that the protein could elicit an immune response in humans increases. Although no allergic reactions to GM food by consumers have been confirmed, in vitro evidence suggesting that some GM products could cause an allergic reaction has motivated biotechnology companies to discontinue their development.

11. Increased Toxicity
Most plants produce substances that are toxic to humans. Most of the plants that humans consume produce toxins at levels low enough that they do not produce any adverse health effects. There is concern that inserting an exotic gene into a plant could cause it to produce toxins at higher levels that could be dangerous to humans. This could happen through the process of inserting the gene into the plant. If other genes in the plant become damaged during the insertion process it could cause the plant to alter its production of toxins. Alternatively, the new gene could interfere with a metabolic pathway causing a stressed plant to produce more toxins in response. Although these effects have not been observed in GM plants, they have been observed through conventional breeding methods creating a safety concern for GM plants. For example, potatoes conventionally bred for increased diseased resistance have produced higher levels of glycoalkaloids (GEO-PIE website).

12. Decreased Nutritional Value
A genetically modified plant could theoretically have lower nutritional quality than its traditional counterpart by making nutrients unavailable or indigestible to humans. For example, phytate is a compound common in seeds and grains that binds with minerals and makes them unavailable to humans. An inserted gene could cause a plant to produce higher levels of phytate decreasing the mineral nutritional value of the plant (GEO-PIE). Another example comes from a study showing that a strain of genetically modified soybean produced lower levels of phytoestrogen compounds, believed to protect against heart disease and cancer, than traditional soybeans.
12. Antibiotic resistance
In recent years health professionals have become alarmed by the increasing number of bacterial strains that are showing resistance to antibiotics. Bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics by creating antibiotic resistance genes through natural mutation. Biotechnologists use antibiotic resistance genes as selectable markers when inserting new genes into plants. In the early stages of the process scientists do not know if the target plant will incorporate the new gene into its genome. By attaching the desired gene to an antibiotic resistance gene the new GM plant can be tested by growing it in a solution containing the corresponding antibiotic. If the plant survives scientists know that it has taken up the antibiotic resistance gene along with the desired gene. There is concern that bacteria living in the guts of humans and animals could pick up an antibiotic resistance gene from a GM plant before the DNA becomes completely digested (GEO-PIE website).

NOTE: As an additional motivation to avoid GMOs, you may wish to take a lesson from the animals. Eyewitness reports from around the world describe several situations where animals, when given a choice, avoid genetically modified food. These include cows, pigs, geese, elk, deer, raccoons, mice, rats, squirrels, chicken, and buffalo. We’re pretty sure the animals didn’t read any of the above reasons.

How can we tell that our food is genetically modified?

As you can see, the statements and research I came up with is almost solely based on US facts. It seems to me that Europe is doing much better on protecting itself from genetically modified food than across the ocean. Nonetheless, people are increasingly aware of the risks hidden in the chemical “improvements” of these products and the need to know what they are eating has become more stringent.  

It may be also, because in the US (at least) they are not required to be labeled so it’s literally a game of chance. Most soy and corn crops have been genetically modified. Some substances in them can be recognized, probably if you’re a chemist. Most people can’t even pronounce half of that list. Some large shops in the US are increasingly refusing to serve products that show GMO labels and others accept to have such products only if properly labeled so their customers have a chance to know what they’re buying.

Of course, you can go in and buy 100% organic labeled foods, all grass fed meat etc. But with this industry rising so fast and with such a high level of obscurity surrounding its effects, I personally end up mistrusting even the 100% organic. I mean, how can I tell? If a GMO weed has spread uncontrollably and cows eat it and it cannot be detected in blood/meat tests – then how can it be organic anymore? A while ago I was watching a documentary about bio-farmers growing cattle. A cow got caught in barbwire and the wound was so deep she needed antibiotics to recover. She lived but the farmer had to declare her basically, “lost for the cause” as due to antibiotics she was no longer “chemicals” free. At the time I was wondering, who does that in Romania? Who even cares? In my country I believe we, as consumers, are not extremely aware of what antibiotics on animals or herbicides on crops actually do. Nor what type they are and what effects they have on us. Or what crops they are used on. The number of farmers (or simple peasants like my gradma) still growing their tomato and veggies using nothing but water and mixed chicken or cow “poop” it’s a dying tradition. Nothing tastes as incredible as those tomatoes or greens. But truly, I have felt the difference in the cultures she has been growing for the past decade. She used to always replant the seeds from her previous crop. In time that got lost and she started mixing them with seeds of the (reportedly) same species of plants and soon enough the tomatoes didn’t even have the shape they used to have, less the taste. Those of you who have grown in the country side for a while know that type of tomato called “tatza oii” (sheep udder”). Elongated shape, incredible rich taste.

Well, it’s gone now. She doesn’t grow that anymore. Now we have purple tomatoes made out of eggplant genes that last forever. We have mushrooms who never touch soil and grow only in pots filled with chemicals. We have chickens who never see daylight and are crowded by the thousands under ultra violet light and fed chemicals to make them grow three times the size a normal chicken could ever reach in a life time. We have cows who even though naturally bulkier have now had their gene pool polluted to become walking chunks of muscle to increase meat mass production (see the Belgian Blue Cattle).

There have been tests done on lab mice that have been fed all their lives with just GMO corn and they were shown to develop horrifying tumors throughout their life. Perhaps we are physically better equipped than a mouse but I’d say playing God with DNA cannot be good no matter the species. Plus our immunity, if I may say so myself has long been affected with the overall environmental pollution and stressful life we lead every day. Without adding the increase in disease gene mutation and how viruses have become stronger and more resilient to antibiotics and so forth. We don’t need to bring more harm to our bodies than we have done so, so far, through other means. Perhaps the excuse is that the world population has increased and food isn’t being produced as fast as we need it.

I’m sorry to say, but we are throwing out millions of tons of food in some of the developed countries while there are entire nations starving. Not necessarily because it went bad, but because we are “fancier” in our choices of food and dishes. Now we like cooking live fish and snakes for sports in China and submit them to unbearable cruelty. Now we like our one Thanksgiving Turkey to feed our entire family of 30 people. I am amazed how the Natives and Settlers back in the day ever managed to survive on wild skinny ass turkeys!

Leaving all joke aside, I say pay attention to labels. Read what’s inside. I hear all these horrible stories about how baloney and sausages and gummy warms are made. And yes, I’m going to say it because you need to be horrified as well, perhaps then you’ll stop buying them: they “melt” the guts, hooves and horns and leftovers of carcasses to make a molasses of some sort that they make it taste like meat and then they put it in a biodegradable wrapping and serve it to you as a delicious meal. That usually doesn’t go bad for at least 6 months. My grandma’s sausages never made it more than 2 weeks in the fridge, salted, spiced and smoked! And still didn’t make it. They would catch “mold” as we used to say.

Just be careful. Choose wisely, the best you can. I think we all have enough problems and are fighting enough adversities nowadays to struggle with another corporately induced problem. The world is not starving because we’re out of food. It’s starving because we’re killing the Earth (yes, natural resources are limited!) and our feeding culture has become more demanding. If we stuck to more basic, decent needs we could all make it just fine. And healthier.