I’m a fan of the band Coldplay. If you are familiar with this band, you may remember the popular song The Scientist from a couple of years ago.
The lyrics of this song are nostalgic in nature – about a person wanting to go back to the start of a particular situation so he can relive something over again and “get it right”.
Now, the restaurant chain Chipotle has sponsored a remake of this sentimental song featuring Willie Nelson. The music video is awesome, touching on the theme of needing to go back to the start with regard to the horribly destructive, “down the rabbit hole” Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in order to make things right with animals, man, and the environment.
Chipotle’s motto is “Food with Integrity”. The recent decision to replace GMO soy oil with rice bran oil indicates they mean business. While I’ve never eaten at a Chipotle to tell you whether this motto is actually incorporated into the realities of running a restaurant chain, I can say that I seem to remember that their Virginia restaurants buy from Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm, known to be an example to the world of sustainable, biodynamic, beyond organic farming.
I saw Joel speak at a seminar here in Florida a few years back and I am almost certain he mentioned that Chipotle was one of the local businesses that his farm served.
Whether or not this is still true, I don’t know. I did call Polyface to confirm, but didn’t hear back yet. I know those folks are super busy this time of year.
Music to Change The Way the World Thinks About Food
So it seems Chipotle is trying to support local sustainable farms. Its website says as much and with their sponsorship of this new music video, they are putting their money where their mouth is.
Music has a strange and wonderful way of communicating what plain words cannot.
The scary truth is that 330 farmers are leaving their homes EACH WEEK in America. This trend must be reversed with more small farms being created than being lost if we are ever to send the CAFOs the way of the dinosaur.
My hope is that this music video will help to bring the message of the need for more sustainable farms as well as the need for consumers and other businesses to support them so that no more small farms are lost.
Listen, enjoy and pass it on!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Source: Willie Nelson Covers Coldplay, Assists Chipotle’s Quest to End Factory Farms
Yes, we need more small farms, but it sure seems that the government is doing its level best to put those selfsame farmers out of business. (Reference the persecution of those that would sell raw milk to people who make the effort to seek it out, Michigan regulations regarding pig farms, making it illegal for children to work on farms, healthcare reform, etc…) Matter of fact, since Obama has become president, the government seems to have doubled down in its efforts in the waging war on the American small farm.
Small farms require hard work, long hours, and little pay. It helps to have mentors, too. How many people urge their children to become farmers anymore? Most people push their kids to get a college education and a comfy desk job somewhere. Small farmers are almost as sneered at in today’s society as stay-at-home moms.
Chipotle uses “refined soybean oil.”
That’s a deal breaker for me.
I have never been to Chipotle, so I cannot give my opinion of it, but I think that asking them (or any restaurant) to switch to lard over soy is futile. There are two reasons for this: Cost and customer appeal. First of all I think waging an anti-Vegetarian / Vegan war is futile – ironically such restaurants and healthfood stores that cater to the Veg crowd are generally the safest options out there, even for WAPF followers. So, when it comes to restaurants, I think the goal should be convincing them NOT to cook with SOY oil and opt for Canola instead. Personally I do not eat any fake “vegetable” oils, but if forced to choose between corn, soy and canola, I’ll go with canola any day (although the GMO thing is still a huge problem), simply because the canola (rapeseed) actually IS an oil seed vs. soy or corn that requires serious toxic processing to get “oil” out of it.
As for the cost, back in the day real fats like lard and tallow were a common by-product that was a cheap and efficient cooking fat. Nowadays, however, “vegetable oils” are much cheaper. Though, I do wonder what the meat processors do with all the lard? I know they are trying to engineer “eco-friendly” Franken-animals that have less fat and don’t produce methane, but as far as I know this hasn’t happened yet. The funny thing is that I was in Poland back in 2003 and we asked for butter for our bread, and he brought out a bowl of something that I had never seen before. My mother picked it up and started laughing, and handed it back to him and said (in broken Polish) “We want BUTTER, NOT LARD!” Apparently, in Poland they still eat lard on bread, and real butter is much more expensive (and very rare in many European countries, especially Italy). Then she told us how when she was a kid they would always spread warm bacon grease or lard on their black bread (in New Jersey – where my grandfather actually smoked his own pig in the basement!).
SOY is the problem here. This past summer I walked behind the restaurant near my job where we often eat breakfast, and I freaked out – I saw a few empty oil containers, picked one up and read the ingredients: Soy oil and 3-5 extremely TOXIC-sounding chemicals. Honestly, the names of the chemicals were SO TOXIC sounding that I had never actually read any ingredient labels that sounded that bad before. These were large restaurant-size containers, not the normal stuff you buy in the grocery store. For a few weeks I refused to eat there. Then one day the owner was there and my friend asked him if they use that soy oil on the griddle they fry my eggs on – no – they use Pam spray for that. The Soy oil is used for deep-frying fish and stuff. Why do they use soy oil? Because too many kids have PEANUT ALLERGIES! So restaurants are not allowed to deep-fry in peanut oil, so they switched to SOY instead!
Here’s the irony: Today SOY ALLERGIES are skyrocketing! So, in my opinion restaurants should get rid of the soy and use Canola for regular cooking and Coconut or Palm oil for deep frying. I assume this is cheaper than sourcing lard or tallow, and it would not be offensive to the Veg community. Nevermind Big Brother – if I was a restaurant owner I’d be afraid to cook with REAL animals fats because the government would probably shut me down!
If you google Soy-free gluten-free vegan there is actually a website devoted to such a diet – run by a Vegan who is allergic to both soy and gluten! Not that I advocate Veganism, but it just goes to show that even the Veg community is negatively affected by soy! Soy is actually one of the allergens that food labels are required to list, so I don’t understand why it is so ubiquitous in restaurants. I just wish Big Brother would recognize CORN as an ALLERGEN too – that would make my life so much easier (if I don’t recognize an ingredient I assume it is made from GMO corn – including artificial and “natural” flavors)!
Thanks to our real food diet, my husband and I increasingly feel awful after eating out at mainstream restaurants! I am happy to report that Chipotle does NOT make us feel this way! So we love to eat there often. AND it’s delicious 🙂
My husband is super allergic to MSG and almost every restaurant includes it in some form of seasoning or another (on ingredient lists it can called many, many different things), but Chipotle is safe! He can eat anything on the menu without a reaction. Chipotle and In-N-Out are the only two fast food type restaurants we can eat at. So, we like Chipotle, and I really do believe that they use good, “real” ingredients.
I hadn’t seen that video, but I liked it. Thanks for sharing.
I am also really sensitive to MSG and chemicals in food. It is nearly impossible for me to eat out. Chipotle is fantastic. I can eat anything…..with no reactions at all. I love their guacamome, so good! Thanks for the post Sarah!
McDonald’s sold its interest in Chipotle Grill in 2006. Soon after Chipotle made an IPO, and is not part of a conglomerate. Its stock, by the way, closed at about 310 today. I wish we had one up this way.