High Throughput Food – Bad Kharma

February 10, 2008 in Humble Garden, Local Food


A funny thing happens when you grow your own food (at least part of the year like we have to, not many plants live in the snow) and you watch your own chickens grow from little chicklings .. it is almost imperceptible for me but I have grown to feel much more personally identified with my food.

When I take a bite of meat at lunch at work I get a flash of factory farmed cows, pigs, chickens. I mourn the degradation of life, wasted by it’s use in high throughput food.

Mind you, I am really not the squeamish type. Its not the death but its the life that I am thinking about when I get that flash, when my heart burns with sadness.


I don’t think I am developing an incipient form of a food disorder, overly sensitive about food, just to feel and be precious.

I think that growing my own food and chickens has led me to an unexpected place – hope, raised self-esteem, and a greater love for all beings. All these words over-articulate a simple experience of simply yearning to eat honest food, food I have raised and cared for myself.


Our chickens will start laying soon. Protein. Good, got that covered. Spring will bring our garden and early lettuces. Slowly we will be able to eat the main portion of our food from our own soils, picked by our own hands.


We will be getting our first dairy goat(s) soon so we will be able to unhook from the factory-farmed teat that is pumping me and my family full of excessive growth hormones (artificial or not, the cows today have been bred to be overproducing over-hormoned breeds that, by definition, are putting out an undernourished, depleted milk that very likely is contaminated with an excess of naturally produced growth hormones.)

Remember, I am a scientist with a background in reproductive cell biology. I am not the maudlin sort. I understand on the molecular level how growth hormones effect our bodies and I am learning how our high throughput food is impacting my health negatively, forced my young daughter into an early puberty, and may be impacting my other even younger daughter and my baby boy.

Our high throughput food is feminizing, its packed with mammalian estrogens and phytoestrogens that make us look more and more like the very over-hormoned over-producing cows that give us our “wholesome” milk products.

I can’t say with certainty where it will all end but I think I am trending toward a sort of conditional vegetariansm. Mindful eating, mindful consuming of wholesome homegrown veggies, eggs, and goat milk products (chevre, yummm). We could very easily grow up a whole mess of hogs but I am in a phase right now where I am not interested in more killing than what we really need. We also need to lose some weight so a lower protein input is not that much of a bad thing.

organic tamworth - heritage breed

What are YOUR thoughts on food these days?

Are you checked out and just eating to feed the tummy? Are you reveling in a diverse but not particularly healthy diet? Are you full on into a meat-stravaganza? Or are you pretty much even-keel, eating the same as you ever do, not giving much thought to any of it?

I guess I would have to say I am aversive to high throughput food and needing slow food, not because someone told me it was fashionable or shamed me into it, but rather, because I have tasted how good honest authentic food can be and somehow that has seeped deeper than I knew, until recently.