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If We Are What We Eat, Then We Are Corn

Updated on May 26, 2013

Contemporary American agriculture is a highly intensified food production system, classified as such due to the nation’s overly dependent reliance upon a singular crop: corn. Contained within everything from whiskey to the Big Mac, corn is an incredibly dominant component of almost all foodstuffs ingested by the American populace. This crop is although not solely confined within the realm of edibles: the grocery store which houses the far and varied forms of this grain, is itself constructed by corn-inclusive materials such as wallboard, linoleum, and fiberglass.

Included within the ingredients of household staples such as beef or soda, corn has become the cornerstone of virtually every meal due to its high yields, simple production, and ability to provide a cheap, efficient source of energy and calories. Certainly, this monocrop seems indispensible when one considers the rapid rate at which the world’s population is increasing; yet the negative consequences of corn’s unyielding presence are beginning to drastically outweigh the apparent “good” it is achieving.

Consider health, for instance. Most Americans have fallen victim to the effects of stringent intensification, in which the production of limited dietary staples drastically diminishes an individual’s possibility of consuming proper amounts of both macro and micronutrients. What results is a population that is overweight, yet malnourished. Evidence of the steady degeneration of health extends as far back as the 1970s, when it was initially suggested that diseases such as cancer, tyoe II diabetes, depression, obesity, arthritis, and additional afflictions were exacerbated by the American grain-based diet[1]. With the progression of time, the truth of this assertion has only been compounded.

The same stands for the condition of the environment; not only are methods of corn production destroying arable farmland, but poisoning the surrounding landscape by toxic runoffs, the residues of harsh fertilizers and pesticides. Within feedlots, where the cattle consumed by the U.S. populace are raised and slaughtered, conditions are just as appalling. The cows, which are fed mainly by corn but also with the remains of previously butchered livestock, and furthermore, injected with a myriad of antibiotics, exist in putrid urbanized machines that pollute even the most rural countryside.

Economic ramifications are just as bleak. Although corn provides high yields and is fairly cost-efficient to manufacture, the general cheapness of the entire enterprise impacts the wages of farmers to a damaging extent. Encouraged by federal subsidies, cultivators are baited to continue the unprofitable process of corn-production, but with no hopes of improving their personal financial state.

To put the preeminence of corn into perspective, below are a number of links to articles on the role of this singular crop:



[1] Statement included, although not verbatim, in an article featured here:http://www.texasgrassfedbeef.com/corn__it_s_what_s_bad_for_you.htm

Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore's Dilemma. New York: Penguin Press, 2006.

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    • mattdigiulio profile image

      mattdigiulio 5 years ago

      Excellent write on a topic that's not talked about enough. Voting up, my friend.

      Best, Matt

    • Lilith Eden profile image
      Author

      Lilith Eden 5 years ago from Memphis, TN

      Matt,

      Thank you dear! If this behind-the-scenes approach to food interests you, give "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan a try. I had a great time reading it.

      -Lilith

    • mattdigiulio profile image

      mattdigiulio 5 years ago

      Yes. I will read it! Excellent choice... Have you seen the documentary "Food, Inc"?

      Matt

    • Lilith Eden profile image
      Author

      Lilith Eden 5 years ago from Memphis, TN

      Absolutely! What a good documentary. It makes one wonder in how many ways we are truly driving ourselves into the ground, doesn't it?

      -Lilith

    • Craig Suits profile image

      Craig Suits 5 years ago from Florida

      Hiya Lilith...

      That's about the "corniest" hub I've ever read. :>).

      Very very interesting, Never gave it a second thought. That's some profound information.

      Great hub kiddo......(And I could pronounce almost every word) (inside joke folks)...

    • Lilith Eden profile image
      Author

      Lilith Eden 5 years ago from Memphis, TN

      "Corniest" hub...you kill me.lol.

      You should consider exploring the sources that both Matt and I mentioned. You will be astounded at what neither you, nor anyone else really, knows about the food you ingest.

      And I took your advice and brought the diction down a notch. I had to break from my academic writing, and I believe that I am slowly succeeding!

      -Lilith

    • Alma Cabase profile image

      Alma Cabase 5 years ago from Philippines

      I am rice. hehe

      Cute hub btw.

    • profile image

      Dooahhh 5 years ago

      Geeze i guess that makes me mostly scotch & soda, a little popcorn, and a trace of Juicy Fruit gum...

      You may have started a national food awareness movement here kiddo.

      Later...Gotta go whoop me up some corn fritters...

    • Lilith Eden profile image
      Author

      Lilith Eden 5 years ago from Memphis, TN

      Glad you enjoyed it, Alma!

      -Lilith

    • Lilith Eden profile image
      Author

      Lilith Eden 5 years ago from Memphis, TN

      Nope, Dooahhh. If it is grain scotch, you're still corn. The soda has high fructose CORN syrup, and your popCORN, well...there you go. At the end of the day, you are still corn.

      lol

      How depressing, huh?

      -Lilith

    • Craig Suits profile image

      Craig Suits 5 years ago from Florida

      No, not at all, in my case, the more I consume, the better I like it.

      Actually I haven't had a scoth and soda in years but now that you mention it, I might just go out and buy me a jug or two. Gotta eat healthy ya know...A little "corn" juice shouldn't hurt right?

    • tchenruiz profile image

      tchenruiz 5 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      Lilith, thank you for the article. I just finished reading "Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer", and am a big fan of Michael Pollan's books. Highly recommend these books. Keep on writing. (p.s. I know a kid who is allergic to corn. Can you imagine what his diet is like?)

    • Lilith Eden profile image
      Author

      Lilith Eden 5 years ago from Memphis, TN

      Hi tchenruiz (I checked the spelling of your name more than ten times before submitting to make sure I didn't overlook a letter. lol),

      "Farm City" is definitely on my list of things-that-need-to-be-read.

      And that poor kid; I can't even imagine.

      Thanks for reading!

      -Lilith

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I have been turned off beef a lot lately, now I think I won't even look at it. It is a shame how hard our government makes it on some businesses but when it come to our health they turn a blind eye. Great write, thank you.

    • Lilith Eden profile image
      Author

      Lilith Eden 4 years ago from Memphis, TN

      Jackie:

      Yea, it was a sad reality for me too!

      Thanks for reading and appreciating.

      -Lilith

    • profile image

      Dooahhh 4 years ago

      Hell of a way to find out your still alive but at least I know your safe. Email me will ya?

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