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?