The MEAT of it, or Why is there no Chicken in Ethereal? AOLAB Cleanse question#1

Well, there ARE eggs. Organic ones… so technically~

But yeah.

Not gonna do it.

Let me quantify that.

I’m almost at a point where i’m like I gotta Know the chicken or something. There is chicken out there called “Pasture raised chicken”  which I THINK is just a relabeling of Free range chicken. I MAY try it. But it’s not that much of a curiosity for me.

But  again…THIS…is my thing. Said bluntly I am wary of our country’s chicken.

Some people are as wary of fish as I am of chicken these days. Mercury and whatnot. Some people don’t eat red meat for similar reasons. Others wont touch pork. Which once again factors the whole “Don’t be a food-trend zombie” thing into it. Twerk Ethereal however you need to for you to get the full benefits of it. Only you know the health issues that run in your family and what you need to be diligent about, or maybe this will be your time TO learn those things. Take care of yourself in 2014 has to make sense for the very real person each of you are.

There are an assortment of urban and farmers markets in New Orleans that I need to explore in regards to meat in general since organic in grocery stores is hard to come by,looks sad and still is priced at a premium. Frankly, if I am going to pay that premium, i’d rather give up that part of my budget to the guys actually raising the animals that will becoming one with me than  to cover the cost for light fixtures and magnetic price tags that are often on the blitz at Whole Foods. Much love for WF, but still. I need to SEE the meat-before I can believe in eating it these days. Too much snarky stuff has gone down with our food supply.

80% of our country’s farmland goes to feeding these animals that are then badly kept, drugged out and then chem-altered to look like all is cool-akin to rouge-ing great-aunt Emma in the box for the viewing, IMO. She looks beautiful~ so life-like, but is full of sawdust and formaldehyde.

Now…I’m on an artists budget. I get creative with it. But what’s the point if you’re cutting your legs out from under you by the quality of what you’re using to sustain you?  Decently priced Grass-fed local beef, lamb & veal at Rouses has become a  tentative godsend in a meat aisle peppered with suspicious labels on the “regular” cuts.

I picked up something a few weeks ago & the label said something Styled so & so– & it messed with me so much that after walking away from it twice, I went back, grabbed it, took it to the butcher counter and said “What the heck part of the cow IS this?”

When the butcher is chuckling nervously then admits “Actually, I don’t even know~” THAT is a bad sign, food supply-wise. needless to say, I left that with her.

There’s something else called “meat glue.” Say they cut a tenderloin and have scraps. there is something approved by the food industry where they sprinkle this “enzymatic glue powder” on the scraps, wrap it in plastic wrap and stick it in the refrigerator.  When they pull it out & take off the saran wrap, all those scraps have sealed to-frickin- gether into a New chunk of Technical “meat.” Utterly legal. but they can fashion whatever “cuts” they want out of scraps & still charge you the “price” for the “cut.” And they don’t have to say what the glue is made of, they don’t even have to tell you in any way shape or form that the meat you’re eating has had this done to it.

The fake meat food industry is just as  two steps shy of nefarious about the whole thing. There’s stuff on tap at Whole Foods right now where they’ve taken the technology that was used in growing artificial organs and flipped it towards meatless meat and growing burgers in petrie dishes.

I’m not saying all this to trigger fear-actually the “This is sci-fi”/ Soylent green is made out of people!!” aspects of it appeal to the utopic/dystopic bent in my work. I’m saying all this to say in 2014, part of taking care of yourself is typified by doing your best to know what you’re putting into your body.

We’re all aware of the push for tofu, even though its been known for at least 10 years that what they do factory-wise is messing with the soybeans chemically in ways that lead to cancer. That’s why the hardcore push on Soymilk and the cartons of tofu have eased up. They aren’t yanking it from the shelves yet. This is the “oh shit-let’s silently make our money until all hell breaks out” phase of that.

You’re going to watch the same thing happen with Almond milk as more and more of the people guzzling insane amounts of factory versions of that to satiate themselves are having insane thyroid problems jump off. Something as simple as labels that say “too much almond milk can have adverse effects on your endocrine system” would stop the zombie march…but the money the zombies are paying is still green, so it may be a long time coming.

But THIS…is supposed to be about meat. Why do you even have it IN the cleanse with all this bad news?

Because the flip side is that with all this processed mess, people are weaker now due to the absence of real bone broth stews and meats that used to give us what we needed the old-fashioned way. I believe good meat is good & I believe it is good for you. I believe the nutrients in gelatin help us. And so I factored a day of it into the plan. Simple.

Well, what about chicken, or the absence of it in the Ethereal Cleanse?

Well, that’s a different story.Now you’ve heard me rhapsodize over duck, get goofy for quail, Cornish game hens, even roasting a whole chicken before, when not in cleanse mode. But even then, I try to stay local and I am so specific ABOUT the state of that whole bird when I get it that its borderline aggravating. But 9 times out of 10 I will not DO chicken because of an experience in nyc 2007 that quietly made such an impression on me that I cant’ ignore the wariness it engendered to this day.

in 2007 nyc, Whole Foods were popping up all over the city, Trader Joes was trying to go hard or go home, and the old stand-by specialty markets were hanging on for dear life in the food-boom. It was like the wild, wild west for any hands-on food-lover in Manhattan. If you craved it, you could find it, fresh, wholesome and ready for you to have your way with it.

THAT… was downtown. Below 110th street, to be exact. I was living in Harlem. Of the 10+ years i’d been in NYC since college I hadn’t lived there until 2006. All my neophyte city foodie teeth got cut downtown, but i’d grown up in Cleveland supplementing our meals with stuff from the West side market- a Full-on European open-air Mercado. I’d come of age backpacking across Europe on like fumes but eating like a KING[not a misprint] due to the traditional open air markets and economical fresh goods available there, and in Tokyo, where even the sweets, street food and the fast food is good for you in comparison to here.

Anyway, this odd palette pedigree was having a FIELD DAY in nyc in 06-07, based in Harlem. There were days that I’d Walk through the park all the way down to Kalustyans for the joy of it all, nights acquaints & I would be like “Let’s go to Whole foods~” and meander through, grocery shopping instead of sitting in cafes.

I had it made. I worked at the sister restaurant of Per Se- Mr. Thomas Keller of French Laundry fame himself- & the two restaurants shared kitchens. All the sous chefs turned out to be ex-Art Boys who picked up food as their medium-It was…a wonderful time to be in love with food. To Love food and be in a kitchen like that-& mind you, I was the Hostess, so that I spent ALL my breaks peeking over the Art boyz shoulders watching them make beet soup from scratch and stuff…and this was Ok…tells you all who’ve only known me as of late the kind of fire that was kindling in me. I’d always loved food, but i’d never realized I was absently approaching it as an art medium until I was at the coat-tails of big brother art guys who were doing it Consciously.

And then…I lost that job that I loved due to stuff not worth mentioning. But lets just say that job continued to bless me five years after the fact, after being let go for my own good. It even helped make the jaunt that is AOLAB possible. So God works things out. Anyway, part of that working things out was my ending up on Unemployment for the first time in my life, and having my weekly food budget shrink to THIRTY DOLLARS  a week in light of other expenses I had to cover to stay afloat while pursuing dreams of my first art show in years and a 2nd novel while looking for work.

Which meant…”Hullo, Grocery stores in Harlem! Nice to meet you~ Let’s DO this!”

And I did.  I treated it like I was abroad again & made it work. The bodegas uptown got treated like I was in Barcelona or Madrid all over again. Those walks became down to the cheese mart on Lexington & 9th because they had the same bread as a spot i’d nurtured an addiction to due to an old friend managing a lifetime ago, but they were walks to save the subway fare for blue cheese and baguettes like you wouldn’t Believe for pennies on the dollar.  I’d go to kalustyans like before, eye-fucking the baklava, stroking the various bags of rice& grains from all over the world, daydreaming of getting black Forbidden rice before I’d head to Japanese Sunrise Mart in the  East village & grab a 5lb bag of Red rice-as exotic- not as forbidden- for the same price as like 8ounces of black.

But when it came to meat I was in Harlem for the long haul, no matter how much strolling  with friends over in-house lattes kept going on down the aisles of Whole Foods like it was the river Seine, left to my own devices. But those devices kept quietly noting that something was off-key in all the meat.

It was slight. Beef too red to be ” right” long before they admitted to dyeing the cuts, things like that. Maybe it was the resurgence of the visual art thing. My eye was amped & pointing out the surreal and stylized all around like it was doing push-ups. But where I got ALARMED was with the Chicken.

Chicken. Over the course of ONE year I saw the size of the Chicken Breasts for sale in Harlem skyrocket as the price plummeted. Chicken breasts that’d suddenly make a stripper jealous because they could sit on a plate & get tips. For $4.79. For two.

It may have been the  cross-reflection between WF & Harlem. But back then at WF they sold Organic and “Natural” too. & the size difference, though not as drastic was still very noticeable. But I’d go into the grocery stores uptown & it’d just be obscene. I’d just get sick. Because I didn’t want to put words to what I was seeing, but I knew what it registered as: silent planes flying over the projects emitting trails.

And it wasn’t just in the stores. It was also looking around at the nine year olds in the neighborhood…suddenly looking 15 physically due to what they were eating. & I’m telling you, it wasn’t ALL McDonalds. 2 out of 3 people seen were overweight & not in slow & steadily accumulated ways. It was like watching humans being fattened up by aliens to be treated the way we treat cows. And it was just too much for me. So I stopped.

I didn’t Need to see the films and exposes of what they were doing to get the breasts that big that eventually came out. I was done on my own. I didn’t become a vegetarian. But I was thoroughly shaken and my respect for the lifestyle grew leaps and bounds, even if I knew it wasn’t the answer for me. I looked at folks like Russell Simmons  in a whole new light going yogic the way they did and all these other folks talking about getting off meat and what it meant.

I didn’t eat chicken again until I hit New Orleans in late 2008. And only sporadically then. Until this day. I will have a moment where that Love that chicken from Popeyes woman will just GET me and I’ll go do it. And there are a few spots in this city that lay claim to the best fried chicken in the country. But it tells you something that for all those props and all my known love of food, in and out of New Orleans since 2008, i hadn’t tried even one of them until October of last year. I wont even order it in restaurants. I don’t know what they’re working with back there. & its the case across the board, but with Chicken there’s no suspension of disbelief. & If I do roast one, it’s because I have found a whole one that is the size of the chickens I Know out at Hollygrove Urban farm-it’s the size of non-drugged up chicken. The whole chicken is the size of the chicken breasts I left behind in Harlem.And even then, it’s still usually a no.

….But once again…that’s my story.

The point of Ethereal is to encourage you to suss out yours the way you want it to be. I May try this pasture raised chicken. I’m going to have to see it first. And then some. We’ll see.

DO I believe they’re trying to kill us with our food?

Well, for one, it doesn’t matter what they’re trying to do as long as you are treating your food as sacred to your ecosystem yourself and walking that out. But real talk?

I feel…like its classic utopia/dystopia stuff. I don’t think the initial thought was lets poison everyone. Ok- in some new world order ish, yeah they were, are and forever will be trying it. But look at the “sell.”

“we can do ALL this stuff-minimal stuff, really– to the chickens-& everyone loves chicken- and they’ll be able to honor that love five days a week with out breaking the bank! Isn’t it beautiful?”

I truly believe that was an initial step in this. Then perhaps it just got crazy but the money was pouring in, and the love of money f’s up everything. Which brings us back to what?

Regardless of the initial intent or the current outcome…

Take care…to take care of Yourself.

Hope this helps.


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