I had someone recently ask me why I am so obsessed with knowing what is in my food and where it comes from.
I had to think about it for a minute because it is not something I have always been concerned with. Like many people I just bought everything at the store, and I bought the same things my mom always bought. I did it without thinking, without wondering and without reading the ingredients on the back. I mean why bother reading the ingredients when I was not going to be able to pronounce 80% of them or know what the heck they are.
That should have been my first red flag, but it was not. It took meeting someone from New Zealand that came to my parents horseshoeing school. He was so concerned with what was in his food that he would go collect dandelions from the pasture and eat those. Also, he would not eat any meat that he did not know where it came from or how it was raised. One day he said I should look up what was used as a preservative in bread.
So, I did. Know what I found? I found out that they use human hair as a preservative. Human hair is part of the reason a loaf of store-bought bread can last for a month in a pantry. They have it in the ingredients as L-cysteine, that is an amino acid and is most commonly synthesized from human hair.
That was gross enough to me that I started making our own bread. It really was not as hard as I always feared it would be, and it only last 2-3 days in the pantry.
That was only the beginning though. I then started reading the back of the packages and bottles and tried to figure out what all those long hard to pronounce names were. To be honest it was more work than I wanted. Luckily, there are people who share their knowledge on social media. I found an awesome account @justingredents and she shares what products are good, better, and best. I am still learning, and it has mostly led to not buying very many things in a package.
I have found it very disturbing the amount of chemicals and preservatives that are allowed in our food. Simply because the chemical or preservative may not cause immediate sickness does not mean they do not have long term or unseen effects overtime. It does not mean they are safe for human consumption.
This was the start of what I call an upward spiral that has led to trying to find purer food, and finding it as close to the source as possible. We are fortunate enough to be able to raise meat for ourselves and for anyone else who cares to know where it comes from and how it was raised.