Monday, August 25, 2008

Pass the tofu

I'm sure that many of you have heard about the listeria outbreak here in Ontario and in British Columbia related to contaminated meat products from the Canadian manufacturing plant Maple Leaf Foods. According to the latest report there are twelve confirmed deaths related to listeriosis and many others victims that have been reported ill.

I no longer eat red meat or poultry. I have not eaten beef in over 5 years. I became severely ill eating beef on 2 separate occasions and decided to remove it from my diet. A little over a year ago I also gave up on chicken for no other reason than the disgust I felt one day when I was handling raw chicken. Overnight, I erased all red meat from my diet. My protein sources are now derived from foods such as tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers, okara burgers, beans and legumes, some varieties of fish/seafood, eggs and cheese.

I am continually re-assessing my food choices. I no longer drink milk because of a whey intolerance I have developed. I have my cereal with almond milk or rice milk and occasionally soy milk. I'm not saying that my food choices are flawless. (I still store food leftovers in plastic containers in the fridge and freezer). The purpose of this post is NOT to insist that people stop eating meat. My point is that we need to examine what we eat and why we eat it. And in doing so, are there different (read: new) ways of approaching our food consumption? Will we still be eating the same kinds of foods in 15 years from now? Will we become a new generation of hunters and gatherers?

Why am I telling you about this? Because this is the end of food as we know it. Every so often we will hear a story in the news about E. coli found in spinach, and earlier this summer we heard about tomatoes contaminated with Salmonella. I know people that stopped eating tomatoes at that particular time only to start consuming them again a week later. How careful do we need to be?

Nobody knows when a contaminated food epidemic will strike. This is serious stuff. It is scary. Can you imagine what will happen if our drinking water became contaminated with a lethal contagion? Everybody drinks water. We need it to survive. Remember Walkerton?

Sorry to sound so morose and Armageddon about this but I happen to enjoy food. I want to be able to eat food without having to worry about Salmonella on my tomatoes.

For now, I will continue to be on guard and develop an obsessive approach to washing fruit and some veggies...with a natural soap and/or a vinegar and water mixture.

I read the book "The End of Food" about a year ago and I highly recommend it to those who are seriously concerned about their health and redefining their food choices. You will never see food the same way again. I didn't.

What are some of the things you are doing to protect yourself and your family from unsanitary/suspicious food products?


cserdan said...

Sounds like a good book! Have you read the Carnivore's Dilemma? It has been highly recommended and is on my "to read" list.

We eat lots of chicken over here (rarely red meat) and try to buy organic.

I can thankfully say I can't remember when the last time was that I bought a Maple Leaf Food product.

Bijoux said...

cserdan: Thanks for the suggestion. I've heard of the 'Carnivore's Dilemma' but I have not read it. I will try and reserve it at the library. I'll probably have to wait 5 months to get it, as is usually the case with popular reads *sigh* or I may just purchase a used copy of it it on-line through Amazon :D

kickpleat said...

I still eat chicken, beef and pork, but I make sure I buy my meats from small local, reputable organic sources. It's more expensive, but this way I don't eat it very oftn, and I can still enjoy eating meat.

Bijoux said...

kickpleat: I still crave pork (bacon, ham, ribs) from time to time but I never miss beef as it was never a favourite of mine. And chicken for some reason just makes me queasy when it's raw. Organic meats is definitely the best way to go. It's just so incredibly expensive here so by avoiding all meats, I get to also save mucho dinero :)

Tanya said...

I haven't eaten meat in about 8 years now. I spent an excruciating 14 hours in the ER after eating a hamburger (made at home)...the doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with me, but I wasn't taking any I had never really liked meat (well, besides bacon and bbq pork), so it wasn't difficult. I am sure to get my protein through veggie sources (nut butters, tofu, soy milk, kashi cereals, etc.), eggs, cheese, and some seafood. I gave up milk about the same time as meat and much prefer soy and almond milks -- no more tummy aches!
We grow our own veggies in the spring/summer/fall, we buy local organic fruits as often as we can, and only buy these items from traditional grocery stores that have a good reputation for quality foods.
Have you read Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle"? Really good read and inspires one to eat locally.

Bijoux said...

Tanya: Thanks for stopping by. I can definitely relate to your bad hamburger experience. And, I also miss pork meat the most. Not sure why but it must be the smoky flavour it acquires when its cooked.
I read a little bit of Barbara Kingsolver's book, but had to return the book to my library and wasn't able to read the entire thing. In the summer and fall seasons it is easy to eat locally and I try to as much as I can although I do like my watermelon in the summertime. And watermelons are certainly not local to Canada. However, things become a bit more challenging in the winter months where almost everything in the supermarkets is imported from the USA and Mexico.