Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Apr 20th 2010 5:46PM by Freelance Whales
New York's Freelance Whales just released their debut album, 'Weathervanes,' on April 13 and are hitting the road in support of their new French Kiss/Mom + Pop record, before joining Shout Out Louds on the road in May. The band has documented many of their jaunts, including Austin's SXSW festival and the Harvest of Hope Festival in Florida.
In their latest Road Report, drummer Jake Hyman talks about how he's changed his eating habits, on and off the road, after watching the documentary 'Food, Inc.' Find out what affected him so much and check out more exclusive photos from Freelance Whales after the jump.
Since I mention food in nearly every one of my blog entries, I think my subconscious is trying to tell me that I have a lot to say about eating on the road. And, upon further introspection, indeed I do.
Road trips in high school and college were stuffed to the gills with donuts and fast food and soda. I remember driving to Miami with my best friends for spring break during our freshman year, and eating an entire dozen donuts myself along the way. When considering what to eat on a five-week-long road trip, though, donuts simply won't cut it on a daily basis. Well, they could cut it, but not for me.
Fast food is certainly the most accessible and convenient way to eat, but there's no question about the quality (for those of you who don't know, the answer is "low"). I already have a philosophical aversion to massive chains that make life harder for small, local restaurants, but I was willing to suspend my harsh judgments in order to make life easier for the band. Well, I was until I saw 'Food, Inc.'
At Mer's urging, I spent a few transitory hours in the van learning a bit about where fast food -- and unfortunately much of the nation's food in general -- comes from. I'm not about to recap the movie, but suffice it to say that once I found out that our food industry tries to kill the E. coli in industrially produced meat by using a filler loaded with enough ammonia to do so, I decided that I'd have to be a bit more careful about what I was ingesting on a daily basis.*
It's not that vegetarianism is the answer for me. Rather, I just want to know where the food I eat comes from. I want to have a choice in the quality of what I'm eating, even if the choice I make ends up being unhealthy. I've started by thinking consciously about the food I ingest.
What this has translated into on the road is me painstakingly checking labels, avoiding snacks with high-fructose corn syrup (that seems like just about all of them, by the way), shopping at more local markets, and annoyingly and persistently asking the staff at restaurants we visit where they get their meat. Sometimes the response I get is great, sometimes not so much. Yesterday, for example, we ate at Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, Mich., where the staff enthusiastically and proudly answered all of my questions about their sustainably-farmed food. Ironically, but not surprisingly, the restaurants that do not carry locally and sustainably produced foods tend to be defensive when it comes to answering innocent questions about the origin of the food that they serve. Those that do use meats that are farmed sustainably answer much like the staff at Zingerman's -- with interest and gratification and pride in their conscientiousness.
In caring more about my general health via what I'm eating, I feel the same satisfaction as those small local establishments.
[*That's not to say that I want E. coli in my meat. But the documentary also pointed out that if you let a cow eat grass (which it is naturally meant to eat), instead of corn (which is what we feed cows because we have such a surplus of it thanks to government subsidies), for five days, they will shed 80 percent of the E. coli in their gut. Perhaps that would be a better solution than putting ammonia in our food.]