Pork Problems

Remember the Bacon and Apple Stuffed Pork Chops from my recipe list last week?  (See pictures here.)  Well, after making those, I still have a bunch of pork chops left.  I also just bought a whopping 8.5 pound pork shoulder to make carnitas.

I was eating my Pineapple Pork Chops when I came across this over at Hunter Gatherer.  Apparently, pork is not the meat you want to be eating.  I was actually thinking about my large consumption of pork lately while grocery shopping today.  I haven’t been able to find a good source of pork, so I’ve been eating the “regular” pork sold at the grocery store. Reading that post at Hunter Gatherer and then the articles that were linked to in that article, I have to say that I’m a bit worried (maybe freaked out is more accurate).

I am very careful about how well my pork is cooked.  You could say that learning about trichinosis in science class back in the 7th grade scared me enough to only eat well done pork.  I’m pretty careful about the meat that I eat and when I can, it’s all grass-fed and local, but still, I’m worried.

What I got out of reading the material is that eliminating sausages from my diet would be extremely prudent.  I do wash all my meats and fishes (unless they are ground) before cooking, which the articles recommended doing, so I guess I’m doing okay in that respect.

I guess I should have made the connection between eating pork and potential bad things when I learned how the “swine flu” or H1N1 came to be a few years ago.  Or even when I read an article way back when (sorry no link…I read it out of a newspaper or magazine eons ago) about a leading researcher at St. Jude’s hospital and his theory that ultimately animal flus would affect humans via pigs because of our genetic similarities.  It makes sense since we use porcine valves in heart valve replacement surgeries.

So, yes, I’m freaked out after reading about the dangers of eating pork.  I really do urge you to go over to Hunter Gatherer and read about it.  Don’t forget to click over and read the links that are there, too.

The question for me now is whether I haul that pork shoulder back to the supermarket and ask for a refund because I’m freaked out.  Or, whether I take a less alarmist approach and just cook as planned and change tactics after I’m done with this round of eating pork.

My guess is that I’m going to still cook up the pork shoulder into carnitas and finish the pork that’s in my freezer, but after that, I’ll be a lot more careful about eating pork.  In fact, given how difficult it is to get pork that isn’t the “regular” kind, I’ll probably stop eating it altogether.  At the very least, I will definitely be cutting out all types of sausage out of my diet.  (Almost all sausages including chicken and turkey sausages are cased in pork.)

Mindful consumption of food can sometimes end up being a tricky thing.  You have to balance what’s healthy, what’s morally and ethically right, and financial considerations all into the picture.  Well, you don’t have to, but I do.  Since adopting paleo eating patterns, I’m a lot more aware of what I eat, what’s going into my body, and how all of that correlates to how I feel and how healthy I am.  I’m not perfect, but I’m trying to do the best that I can with all of this.

I realize that eating paleo and being able to purchase and source foods that are better for me than the conventionally raised meat and vegetables is a real privilege.  Not everyone is so lucky to be able to do so.  Some people don’t even have clean water.  So, yes, this is a very academic and somewhat arbitrary argument when you consider the fact that there are people who just want water to drink and food to eat so they can stay alive.  However, perhaps by changing my relationship with food, the practices that we choose to use to provide food to our communities will change so that we don’t have to have these discussions and worries in our lives.  Just maybe.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.



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