There’s a lot of talk, well, mainly hype and marketing, about what to feed one’s family. Being a mom as well as the primary procurer of all things edible, I find myself wondering if my family is getting enough leafy greens, colorful fruits, all while not having too much sugar. Did my girls drink enough water? Did they eat the crusts of their bread? Did I remember that Josie likes peanut butter and jelly minus the jelly…or is it Anna?
Anyway, as much as I seem to focus on the details of my family’s likes and dislikes, I hardly ever seem to worry about the actual foodstuffs that my family is consuming. Why is that? Why am I more concerned about eating the colors rather than eating organic? Why am I not following the free-range, grass fed, hormone-free trend?
Because I trust my farmers. Whether they are livestock men or women, produce growers, or grain farmers, I have a trust in my food source. We as Americans are so fortunate to have the safest food supply in the world. We have had a scare or two with spinach and sprouts, but I can count those on one hand. However, I have lost track of how many times I have stopped at the grocery store this year so far. The good works of our food supply and those who grow it far outweigh the scary stuff.
Americans have become more and more spoiled with this abundant and safe food supply, and thus, have less to worry about. Consequently, many Americans have become increasingly crazy about the picky details and over-marketed, over-hyped food trends, because it seems to be our culture’s nature to worry when there’s nothing to worry about! So-called experts on television, on the Internet, and in parenting magazines have created such a monster of basically scaring the pants off of moms and dads all around our country, when, in reality, we shouldn’t be. Farmers such as my husband care deeply for their animals, keeping them healthy and safe until their time comes to be the hamburger you may have just enjoyed for lunch. Morbid in a way, I know, but true. The television ads and movies that have been produced that lump all livestock farmers as money-grubbing, bottom-line loving, and animal hating group are not the norm. I realize that there are livestock yards that are cruel. There are livestock farmers who should get out of the business, but then there are those like my husband who give their livestock the care they need.
As any good herdsman would do during calving season, he is out there in all the elements (you have to love February and March in Illinois) checking everything from the most experienced cow to the inexperienced heifer during this busy time. To answer a trendy question, yes, we administer antibiotics to our cattle, only when necessary, as a parent would do for a child. But, unlike a lot of anti-livestock press would lead one to believe, I do not lose sleep at night knowing that my kids ate beef from animals who were given an antibiotic when they were ill. Rather, because I trust my beef source (and happen to spend my life with him!), I know that the administering of antibiotics to this animal will have no effect on me or my kids, other than to make the animal better and in the end result, better tasting! Most livestock farmers are ones who went into the business because of their love of animals, and this fact alone should give the American public something to trust.
In celebration of National Nutrition Month, I challenge you all to find out more about your food source and celebrate it. Be thankful for the good farmers out there who are slogging through mud covered snows to ensure your food is not only tasty, but safe. I challenge all of you to share what you know with anyone who asks a question, or quotes a random fact gleaned from a recent Oprah show. I encourage you all to continue to trust farmers, as I know most of you do. Maybe we can start our own trend! Happy National Nutrition Month!