You’re A Termite In Their Eyes

wood in your foodOne of the key tenants of preparedness-minded individuals is independence.  Without it, you’re obviously dependent upon someone or something for a given task or item.  Food is one of those key items for which we want to be independent.

For me, producing as much of what I eat is more about knowing what’s inside it.  When our government “protects” us by ONLY allowing X number of rodent dropping and hair per hot dog, well, I feel the need to take charge of my food source.

I can tell you that I have not eaten ground beef from a supermarket in a decade or so.  I grind my own and freeze it.  While I still buy the occasional hot dog, I eat a whole lot more of my own homemade sausages instead.  I buy whole-muscle pork, grind it, season it as I want, and turn it into some of the best sausages you’ll ever eat.

Sure, neither of these things are time-savers, but when it comes to what I’m putting into my body, I’ll spend a bit more time so I’ll know what’s going inside.

Back to the independence angle, by knowing how to make my own sausage, if things ever do go “sideways”, I’ll be able to use every scrap of meat I’m able to acquire – or produce myself – and not need to worry about what some government agency thinks I need to eat today.

I’m not even close to my goal of, “farm to fork” for my family, but I’m getting there.

Do you need more reason to produce your own food?

How about this?  It seems that at least 15 of the largest food processors add, “organic cellulose” to their food products.

That’s “wood” in corporate-speak.

You read that right:  Food producers add wood to your processed food, and the government gives it a big fat, “A-OK!”

Here’s a little “taste” of who’s feeding you wood:

  • Pepsi – Aunt Jamima Frozen Blueberry Pancakes
  • Kellog – MorningStar Farms Chik’n Nuggets
  • Weight Watchers International – Giant Cookies & Cream Ice Cream Bar
  • General Mills – Betty Crocker whipped frostings (Strawberry Mist, Chocolate, Cream Cheese)
  • McDonalds – Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken
  • Yum Brands (Taco Bell) – Southwest Chicken

The only one that MAY have made sense was this one:

Kraft Foods – Wheat Thins Fiber Selects

Hmm.  Fiber Selects.  I was expecting say, oats, not wood chipper debris.

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Seriously, what’s with the wood?  What’s the deal?

Cellulose is virgin wood pulp that has been processed and manufactured to different lengths for functionality, though use of it and its variant forms (cellulose gum, powdered cellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, etc.) is deemed safe for human consumption, according to the FDA, which regulates most food industry products. The government agency sets no limit on the amount of cellulose that can be used in food products meant for human consumption. The USDA, which regulates meats, has set a limit of 3.5% on the use of cellulose, since fiber in meat products cannot be recognized nutritionally.

Well, isn’t that nice?  The USDA is looking out for us by allowing ONLY 3 1/2 percent of your hotdog or hamburger to be made of wood.

Manufacturers use cellulose in food as an extender, providing structure and reducing breakage, said Dan Inman, director of research and development at J. Rettenmaier USA, a company that supplies “organic” cellulose fibers for use in a variety of processed foods and meats meant for human and pet consumption, as well as for plastics, cleaning detergents, welding electrodes, pet litter, automotive brake pads, glue and reinforcing compounds, construction materials, roof coating, asphalt and even emulsion paints, among many other products.

So, the same stuff they’re putting in your burger also goes into pet litter.  Nice.

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If you’re like me – you’ve made some progress towards food independence and self-sufficiency – but you want to do more, it’s going to take some effort on your part.

Make a plan.  And a promise.  A promise to make a change.

In my current physical location (suburban), I’m doing well in the meat department.  I rarely eat processed meat.  I can’t realistically “grow” my own meat protein in this location, but I can make sure I do all of my own processing.  We also have a number of cattle ranches and chicken farms in the area, and I may look into using them to stock up.

I can make a BIG dent in my vegetable consumption.  I commit to starting at least 3 container gardens for vegetables. I’ve still got plenty of season left for some quick-growers, and I’ll be ahead of the game next spring.

I generally hit the pick-your-own farms in my area for fruits to make jams and the like.  I commit to doing the same with seasonal vegetables.  My area is famous for its corn, and I’m going to can up a couple of cases worth.

What will you do?  What can you grow on your own, or process yourself from raw materials?

Canning meats, fruits and vegetables.   Smoking meat and fish.  Making sausage and farmer cheese.

Show ’em you’re not a wood-eating insect!

 

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