Saturday, February 4, 2012

Food for thought?

I have a confession of sorts to make, dear friends. And, as is typical of me, I'll take the long way around to do it. You see, I have been debating about switching to conventional feed for quite some time, as the cost of the organic feed I have been purchasing for my poultry has been climbing steadily. When I went to the feed store a couple of months ago, I asked about the cost of conventional feed versus the organic. I was informed that organic was double the cost of conventional, even when purchased by the ton. The store manager and I discussed this at length, and I almost caved right then. A month later (just before the incident I'm about to share with you happened), I stopped by the feed store again, and we hashed over a few more things. Again I almost switched to conventional, but heeded my inner voice. Mind you, I measure in decades the years I have given my critters organic grain.
Something came about last month that solidified my decision to stick with organic feed. I debated sharing it, as I am not one to "tell" people where they should stand. Please know that is not my intention... it is just to offer my story and perhaps give us all something to consider...
Last month after I posted about clipping wing feathers, I awoke with a very itchy sensation on my face. It started out as a tingling feeling... almost as if I had gotten my forehead and one side of my face into a patch of stinging nettles. There were no marks or red spots, just a painful, itchy feel to my face. After a few days, there appeared to be a few tiny bite marks in my eyebrow area, then another appeared on my forehead and another on the bridge of my nose, and another near my hairline. This was all very perplexing, but I assumed I had gotten bit by a spider whilst at the barn. After a few days more, I developed a mild fever, the "bites" had swollen and turned an angry red, my right eye had almost swollen shut, and the lymph gland on the right side of my neck became very swollen and tender. When my oldest son came to pick up the grandchildren that evening, he made no bones about telling me what I looked like, and I called the doctors and headed in at 8 pm. The doctor on call said it had not been a spider bite, and thought it was impetigo along with a Staph infection. After a short lecture about not coming in sooner, he prescribed an antibiotic. As we were talking about what could have caused this, he made an off-the-cuff comment about giving me a stronger antibiotic due to the fact that I may have been scratched while in the barn. I asked him why that would cause me to need a stronger antibiotic. He said that unless I did everything organic, it was a better precaution. Well, it took me off-guard for a minute, but I asked him to repeat what he had said, and then I told him I DID do everything organic. Needless to say, I got the less-powerful antibiotic, and he got another question from me. I asked him what the difference was, and he said that conventional feed is so often full of antibiotics that merely coming in contact with it over all these years would have made me more resistant to the effects of the antibiotic. I shouldn't have been stunned... but I was.
So, that tipped the scale for me, and got me thinking about so many other things. And I can't help but wonder about them on a daily basis. I mean, if just so many years worth of handling the feed or mucking out the barn can do that, what about... well, never mind. I'll leave those questions for you to formulate if you're so inclined. But I will reiterate what my heart has felt all along... we are what we eat, and it is necessary to really think about what we eat and how it is really grown. Perhaps that is the true meaning of the phrase "food for thought".