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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dog Food Leads Me to Puzzle over Human Food

Last week, a news article about dog food contents brought some disturbing things to light for my husband and I. Some consumers are suing dog food companies (basically all of them) for falsely marketing the products they sell (this comes on the heels of the well-publicized food-poisoning of many pets due to contaminated products); now, I'm not foolish enough to believe that dog food truly contains what it has long advertised -- like "real chunks of steak" or the like -- however, I was disturbed to find that dog food may contain many of the following: ground beaks, feathers, and bones, euthanized animals (like from shelters), and animals that have been deemed unfit for consumption (like diseased animals).

Ick. I don't want Scooter to be eating fellow dog! Over the weekend, my husband and I dug deeper and found the practices of almost all major dog food brands (including "premium" brands like what we feed Scooter -- Science Diet) fill their food with questionable "animal by-products" and unneccesary filler (like corn meal -- something that is a common allergen for dogs and is almost completely indigestible). So, after some careful consideration, we decided to switch Scooter's food, but it got both my husband and I to thinking...

...about our own food.

At one point, over the weekend, we found ourselves sorting through web page documents on dog food and we were deep in discussion about Scooter's nutrition when it seemed to dawn on us both at the same time: We were spending more time, thought and energy on thinking about our dog's food than either of us ever had thinking about our own food. Granted, our food probably does not contain euthanized dogs, but we certainly eat our share of processed, hormone-injected, artificially-flavored foods.

I'm not saying that we suddenly turned into Birkenstock-shod granola-eating hippies, but we suddenly found ourselves wandering through the aisles at Whole Foods marveling at how good the apples looked. For my husband, price is always a central concern (he has long nagged me about the cost of buying organic eggs -- but ever since I saw a chicken fly off a chicken-truck on the highway, I have been very chicken-sympathetic, and I like to think that the eggs I eat came from a chicken who got to run around in a yard), but as we discussed it, paying a higher price for higher quality food will probably save us money in the long run (maybe it's an intangible price, but you get what I'm sayin'). We haven't completely re-shaped our grocery shopping, or our eating, but it was a step towards re-thinking what we eat and where it comes from.

I don't know if I'm capable of giving up my yellow dye #5 found in my precious cake mixes, and I doubt I will say goodbye to Diet Pepsi and the lovely phosphoric acid it contains, but I certainly could ingest a few more apples that haven't been soaked in pesticide. Who knows? Maybe I could go "hippie" after all.


Marcy said...

I hear ya!! We buy a lot of organic foods (more so for the kids then us) it's crazy how expensive that stuff can be. $10 for 2 small cartons of raspberries. EEeeekkkkkkk! My husband just about pooped his pants when my 1 year old downed them in 2 minutes HAHAHAA We're slowly integrating the organic stuff in our lives, but I don't think I could ever fully commit.

ws said...

In that case, you'd probably consider me a hippie. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop when you realized that maybe investigating your own food could be as frightening as researching dog food.

From what I've read (and I do a lot of that when I'm not running in circles) the human food supply isn't much better, the saddest part is that a lot of the meat product not taken for the general public is converted into school lunches. That's an awful pattern.

Suffice it to say, I've read enough to give up meat entirely, which for me was just red meat because chicken and seafood never had much appeal for me. I can get past periodic cravings for a rare hunk of beef. Organic eggs definitely taste better in my opinion, too.

J~Mom said...

Have you seen that movie Soylent Green? Your post totally brought that movie to mind. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070723/

That is so disgusting about the dog food. You know when you have kiddos sometimes they try to eat that stuff. Ewww....I would die if one of my kids ate a poor euthanized puppy.

We are also slowly converting to organic and whole foods. I am seriously scared of the chemicals and hormones that they put in our food today. I hope that as more and more of us eat it the prices will start to drop.

Running Jayhawk said...

EUTHANIZED DOGS??????????? I am officially upset. We feed Phog science diet, too.

We have a whole foods a block away and have been doing a much better job about purchasing our meats and fruits from there. The biggest downfall is how pricey it gets.

miss petite america said...

i don't have the resource on hand but there are certain foods that are more important to eat organic than others. based on the amount of pesticides and hormones etc. that might be a good place to start.

farmer's markets are also a good resource. and they're cheap, even if they are organic!

JustJunebug said...

i hope there isnt anything in vodka that i should give up because i am going out for martini's tonight!!


Erin said...

Alrighty, I don't even want to think about what I eat but...you did mention Whole Foods and I felt compelled to spout a little knowledge. I am running low on time so I may be off on these percentages but American's spend approximately 7-8% of their total income on food where as European and Asian countries spend upward of 15+%. American's wonder why they are so unhealthy but one of the reasons is we fill ourselves up with fake food. After I learned that fact, I wanted to run to Whole Foods but since I never buy groceries, that would have been too much of a change for me and the hubby. :)