Whatcha Lookin' For?


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Chipotle: Where Guac and Hypocrisy Cost You Extra

Maybe it’s the crushing heat we’re experiencing here in Kansas that has me so easily annoyed but upon reading the latest stupidity-driven marketing decision from Chipotle, I felt I needed to bring the blog out of dormancy and share my two dollars (two cents won’t cut it this time).

Chipotle restaurant storefront
Evil-looking, no?
Photo courtesy: Chance Hunley
A lot of my close friends and family will joke with me occasionally and say, "Hey let's go to Chipotle for lunch!" They do this because a) they know Chipotle’s marketing and business practices make my blood boil b) they like to see me get riled up c) they know very few people who despise Chipotle as much as I do and d) they are in agreement that the burrito giant is off its rocker when it comes to marketing and how it sources product.

If you need further reminding of why I despise this restaurant, you can add “hypocrisy runs rampant” to the long list of reasons I haven't eaten there since 2007.

If I were an American pig producer, I’d be ticked – I mean, I’m ticked already and I don’t even have a stake in this game. You may remember way back in January of this year, Chipotle said that carnitas would not be offered in all stores because one of their suppliers wasn’t adhering to the company’s holier-than-thou animal welfare standards. They made it out to be a pork “shortage.”

Do you know what those standards actually say? Let me tell you. Chipotle wanted a farmer, who had been raising pigs for 30 years, to cut a hole in the side of his barn so that the pigs inside could go outside in the snow and single digit temperatures. There are several reasons that pigs are raised indoors, which I’ve discussed before. They don’t have fur coats, they aren’t very hardy – they will get sick and die, or get eaten by a coyote. Raising pigs inside is safer and better for their wellbeing. Additionally, Chipotle has a “never-ever” policy on antibiotic use which gives a farmer two options, essentially. If a pig is sick the farmer can give the animal antibiotics and wait for the proper withdrawal time before sending the animal to slaughter, which ensures that no antibiotics enter the food supply (thousands upon thousands of responsible pig farmers do this to ensure safe pork products every day). In doing so and raising their animals humanely by providing health care, they are removing their animals from Chipotle’s supply chain. However, they can choose not to treat the animal and sell a sick pig (if it lives through the disease) to Chipotle for a supposed premium. You don’t need an advanced degree in animal science to realize that it’s whacko to deny health treatment to a sick animal. I wouldn’t do that to my dog or horses and I damn sure wouldn’t do it to an animal that I hope to be selling or would be using to feed my family.
A weanling piglet raised indoors
This pig, like so many others, is raised indoors to protect it from the elements and predators.
The thing with antibiotics is that they are a necessary tool that farmers need to help their animals in fighting off nasty bacteria. There are many times throughout a pig’s life that they are more susceptible to disease such as when a few groups of pigs that have never been around each other start buddying up. Think of it as kindergarten for piglets – all those little piggies hanging out on the monkey bars, sharing each other’s boogers and coughing on their hooves. Another example is if the weather turns nasty or chilly and some pigs get the swine equivalent of a sinus infection. These ailments call for treatment and it’s downright cruel to deny treatment to a sick animal.

Chipotle doesn’t care. Use antibiotics and those pigs can’t be marketed through their supply chain. To hell with animal welfare, they have to keep those $10/1000 calorie burritos pumping out the door.

So now that you have an idea of the bizarre thought process behind Chipotle’s animal welfare standards, let me get back to the hypocrite part.

Because there was a “shortage” of pork here in the U.S. (Lie. No shortage of responsibly raised pork or beef in the U.S.) good ole Chip jumped the pond and started sourcing pork from Karro Food, a U.K. based company. And guess what?

Karro Food is allowed to use antibiotics in the event of illness in the swine herd.

When asked why the restaurant tyrant decided to let Karro Food, a foreign company, use antibiotics on sick animals but refused to extend that same standard to American producers, this is what Chipotle replied with:

“Our decision to source pork from this new supplier does not mean that Chipotle’s animal welfare protocols are changing at this time. While we prefer to buy pork raised entirely without antibiotics, we are proud to be serving pork from Karro because the responsible way Karro uses antibiotics is consistent with their extremely high animal welfare standards.”
Chipotle also did a nice job of explaining how antibiotics are used responsibly by farmers, but apparently only on U.K. pork farms. Too bad they couldn’t just allow all farmers this necessary technology instead of continually weaving a web of consumer misinformation. They stated:

“This does not mean that antibiotics are present in the meat. All animals treated with antibiotics (both in Europe and the U.S.) must undergo a withdrawal period before they are slaughtered, which means that meat from a pig treated with antibiotics will not contain antibiotic residue, just like meat from an animal that was never given antibiotics.”
This befuddles me. I have no idea why they would actually move to use reasonable science messages to defend antibiotics use in one country but not in another, when both are comparable in their animal welfare protocols. Hey Chipotle, here’s a #TruthBomb, pull your nose down out of the air long enough to take a look around fly-over country and you’ll find that American farmers use antibiotics responsibly too.

I honestly don’t even know how to explain how I feel about this. Even more so, I cannot fathom what it must be like to be so unabashedly hypocritical. My best guess is that Chipotle needs a large supplier and Karro can accommodate their needs; however, Karro isn’t willing to back down from responsible antibiotic use because they have a good handle on common sense.

So there you go – another slap to the American farmer’s face from an unhealthy burrito kingpin. The good news is that people are starting to wake up to the vicious scheming of Chipotle. If you have spare time, read a few of these recent links.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to be a loyal patron of Qdoba. It’s more fun to pronounce and the food isn’t soured with the taste of guilt and farmer’s tears.

Until next time,

**Point of clarification: This post is not me saying that organic or natural pork production is wrong, cruel or unnecessary. This post is about Chipotle's BLATANT hypocrisy regarding their double standards for pork production between U.S. and U.K. producers. Agriculture needs all kinds of people and all kinds of production; there is room for everyone. I have mentioned in comments below that instead of convention aland organic getting up in arms against each other, we need to link arms and fight against these animal rights extremists and anti-technology advocates. If you have further comments regarding organic/natural and conventional, feel free to contact me (email is on About Me page). As always, civil discourse is appropriate and I appreciate your comments and feedback.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Protein Challenge - Let Me Eat Steak...and Pork and Chicken

The past few weeks of the Protein Challenge have sort of gone by in a blur. Actually, April in general went by in a flash! How is tomorrow the first day of May?!

So over the past two weeks, I've really tried to step up my protein game. Here are some of the awesome protein-rich meals I've had in the past 1-2 weeks.

Medium rare steak with gravy
Medium rare top sirloin at Medium Rare in Washington DC
Did you know that 3 oz of lean beef has an average of 154 calories? I have been able to eat 6-8 oz of beef at many meals and not have to worry about going over my caloric max for the day. I have eaten a lot of pork and chicken as well, but the photos in my kitchen don't look near as great as the plated restaurant meals!

Breakfast sandwich full of protein
Bacon, egg and cheese on whole wheat English muffin
 In addition to these delicious meals, I had a lot of string cheese, eggs and yogurt for breakfast and utilized beef jerky as my snack for the afternoon. For dinner, I focused on subbing out a dinner roll and instead eating cottage cheese as a side.

Sirloin steak with green beans and rice
8 oz sirloin for my birthday - medium rare of course!
The results of this challenge have been phenomenal for me - I have noticed a significant decline in my desire for afternoon snacks, I have increased energy (not as tired at night) and I my average mile time improved by 4-8 seconds overall.
I will most definitely keep the increased protein intake going in my life - I have no reason to go back! Why would I stop a dietary pattern that has given me more energy, improved quality of life while helping me stay fit? I would be insane to stop!
All the more reason to keep chowing down on pork chops, steaks and chicken wings!
So now I hope with all my heart that you will sign up for the Protein Challenge yourself and start down the path to a healthier, more energetic lifestyle. You have absolutely nothing to lose (except a few pounds if you do it right)!
Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Thursday, April 23, 2015

HSUS Whistleblower Sheds Light on Shady Tactics

It's no secret that I'm not a HSUS super-fan. For evidence, look no further. Their gross interpretation of animal welfare and the haughty assumption that all farmers and ranchers are animal abusers is enough to make me gag.

Photo credit: National Hog Farmer
Well, apparently I'm not the only person who is tired of HSUS' bullcrap tactics - a former undercover videographer for the animal rights group is coming forward to speak the truth and share what really happens at HSUS.

According to an interview with HumaneWatch, directors at HSUS were guilty of lying, encouraging undercover videographers to ignore animal welfare and even accusing all farmers/ranchers of being animal abusers.

Here is an excerpt of the interview, courtesy of Drovers CattleNetwork:
  • Guilty of something: “Day one of training, I was basically told every single farm is doing something illegal.”
  • Twisting words, splitting hairs and downright lying: “Let’s say that I went to a livestock auction and there’s a small calf running around. And let’s say this calf falls over.  If I’m filming this and send this in a report, I would say, “Calf fell over due to its own momentum.”  Mary Beth [Sweetland, HSUS Director of Investigations,] would correct that and say, “Could be malnourished or kept in hobbles the whole time.” I wouldn’t be allowed to draw something that I could see plain as day in context.”
  • Recording more important than reporting: “I was never told to contact law enforcement. If you see a crime, stop that crime. Don’t wait. How many other animals must be abused down the line to accomplish this? That seems like basic, common sense.”
I'm not really surprised by any of this - are you?!

If you want to see the full video click here. You can also read more of the interview where this whistleblower explains how his eyes were truly opened to HSUS' tactics and motives and how he has changed his mind on gestation stalls.

No bones about it folks, HSUS doesn't care about animal welfare. The massive lobbyist organization cares about $$ and abolishing animal agriculture.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Friday, April 17, 2015

PETA Uses Kids as Pawns

I think we can all agree that exploiting children to get ahead is pretty low-down and dirty. I figure only the most conniving, manipulative organizations would be willing to target children with propaganda in an effort to create a whole generation of like-minded individuals. 

Would you be surprised to find out that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has been targeting children with animal rights propaganda for more than a decade? I didn't think so.

A graphic image usedby PETA to target children
PETA is targeting their kids and they don't care if you like it or not
Source: Center for Consumer Freedom
The second edition of the Center for Consumer Freedom's (CCF) report, "Your Kids, PETA's Pawns," explores the tactics that extreme animal rights groups use to indoctrinate children using violent and sexualized animal-rights propaganda and protests outside of elementary schools.

Additionally, and this is probably the most sickening, is the blatant use of children as props for their shocking campaigns. The runny icing on this burnt cake is that psychologists and school officials have denounced PETA's actions as "despicable," "traumatizing," "beyond insensitive," and "an absolute atrocity." Does that stop PETA from exploiting children? Not at all. You may recall, I have blogged about their atrocious actions in the past and they appear to have no remorse.

Picture this - you're an average height adult viewing an ad on the side of a bus. All appears normal until your five-year old starts crying saying that the images on the bus are scary. You can't imagine why your child is upset, until you lean down to his/her point of view and find that the imaging on the bus at a child's height level is violent, graphic images of animal abuse. Not cool, PETA. Not freaking cool.

I'm not a parent and I'm furious that PETA is doing this to kids. I can't imagine how parents of children who have encountered this propaganda may feel.

If you want to read the whole report, feel free to check it out here. Thanks to the Center for Consumer Freedom for investigating the shady dealings of manipulative animal rights organizations.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Friday, April 10, 2015

Protein Challenge: Week 1 Update

Flank steak
There's a lot more of this in my future. #eatbeef
So for the past 7+ days I have been journaling my food intake to keep track of how much protein I consume on a daily basis. I thought as a meatatarian, I would have absolutely no problem eating 30 grams of protein at every meal, for a total of 90 grams daily.

Boy, was I wrong.

Turns out, breakfast is difficult. Like, really difficult. Even on a protein-heavy day I may only be getting about 20 grams at breakfast, another 15-20 at lunch and then I am trying to amp it up at dinner to meet the 90 (and I'm falling short, often). But I have come to some cool conclusions, thus far:

1 - I am not craving snacks in the middle of the afternoon like I used to before starting the #proteinchallenge. I chalk this up to my increased protein keeping me feeling fuller, longer.
2 - I have gone running seven times since I started the challenge and I can honestly say that I'm running faster than normal. To be clear, I'm not cutting 30 seconds off of my average mile pace but I am noticing that my usual average of 8:45 per mile is now a lot closer to 8:37. I know, you're saying "whoopty do - 8 seconds/mile no big deal." But if you stretch that 8 seconds out over 13 miles it comes out to almost two minutes off of a half marathon! And I even ran at that faster pace while I was in Denver this week, where it was MUCH hillier and the air is a lot thinner (i.e. less oxygen) than in Kansas.
3 - We are running out of yogurt, string cheese and eggs a LOT more quickly than normal.

So, I'm really looking forward to the next 20 days of the challenge and I hope to be able to keep this lifestyle and diet change going long after the challenge is over.

If you want to sign up, you can EASILY do so by clicking here. The challenge is 30 days, starting from the day you sign up. So you could start today, next Thursday or even in mid-May and it would run for the following 30 days.

Who out there is also doing the Protein Challenge? How are you feeling?

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Taking Control with the Protein Challenge!

Today I take control of my race-training and overall health by starting the Protein Challenge. The 30-Day Protein Challenge is a fun, step-by-step way to help you get an optimal amount of protein throughout your day. Significant research shows that some people can lose and/or maintain a healthy weight, support a healthy metabolism, and age more vibrantly when they consume more high-quality protein, within calorie goals.

Since I am extremely interested in maintaining a healthy weight and fueling my active lifestyle, I am stoked to be participating. This may surprise you, but even a meatatarian like myself sometimes has a hard time getting enough protein. Which is why I will be utilizing the awesome tools for the Protein Challenge like the food journal, cheat sheet and on-the-go protein snack idea.

For example, I've already got a start on today by having two scrambled eggs with shredded cheese and a yogurt for breakfast. While delicious, that meal only had 23.2 grams of protein and the goal is to get 30 grams of protein at every meal. This is going to be challenging but fun!
Scrambled eggs and yogurt for a protein filled breakfast
Breakfast full o' protein
I will be blogging about my experiences here weekly (maybe twice weekly, who knows) and how I feel, what I'm eating, etc. I fully expect to feel more energized and, hopefully, improve my performance in some upcoming races!
Medaling at a 5K near my hometown
I have full confidence that my increased protein intake
will have me smiling like this a lot more often!
I encourage you to explore the 30-Day Protein Challenge, and if so inclined, sign up and do it yourself!

What do you have to lose? Nothing.

What do you have to gain? Energy. A healthier lifestyle.

Take control!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Pounding the Pavement and Inhaling Protein

 10K PR in Manhattan

My feet and legs hurt - I think it's from kicking so much butt by breaking my 10K PR a week and a half ago. Or it could be because I need new running shoes. Either or.

Whatever the reason, I better get them quick, fast and in a hurry since I'm less than a month out from the race Kelly and I are running in Kansas City on April 18. Boy howdy, it's coming up fast!

From last Saturday to this coming Saturday, I'm scheduled to run roughly 35h miles but I'm a horrible traveling runner, meaning I don't do a good job of sticking to my training when I'm out-of-state, so I'll probably be relegated to about 25ish miles. Not bad, but not great.

I'm having trouble deciding/noticing if I'm getting any faster or more resilient during this round of training. I live in a holler among the Flint Hills, so GPS reception is sketchy and at any given time my Nike+ running app could be telling me I've run 1/2 mile farther than I actually have, which [falsely] leads me to believe I'm running 8:15 minute miles for 10 miles straight. Impossible? Absolutely not. Probably inaccurate? Yes.

So while I'm not sure if I'm going to break my PR next month, one thing that I'm certain about is that this girl is getting hangry quite often. Generally after a long run.
Smoked beef brisket
One of my favorite beef meals - smoked beef brisket.
After a long run, which I personally quantify as anything over six miles, I have a noticeable desire for protein, specifically meat. When I say “noticeable,” I mean that I must eat some sort of meat within a half hour or I may chew my arm off to suffice. Sometimes I will eat a few slices of lunch meat to hold me over until I can prepare a full meal or sometimes I will schedule my long runs so that I arrive back at my house roundabout the time my husband has finished grilling lunch or supper, which allows me to dive into a burger, steak or chop almost immediately after my workout. If I don’t get some sort of meat or protein in my system pronto, I feel very sluggish and have a hard time functioning the rest of the day.
Flank steak
Give me all of the flank steak. All. of. it.
Why am I craving protein? Well, that's easy: protein helps support a strong, lean body which is obviously important to me. Furthermore, a high-protein diet helps build and replenish muscles while at the same time providing the "full" feeling meaning if I'm full from steak I'm not chowing down on Cheetos or cupcakes. I get most of my protein from beef and pork but I am also a huge fan of scrambled eggs with ham and cheese and a big glass of milk. I personally believe that breakfast for supper is one of life's underappreciated treats. Actually, I think breakfast food anytime is pretty much the bees knees.

Anyhow, since I have no desire to stop running due to my fondness of my current pant size, I've got to devise a way to get more protein into my system in order to keep the Cheetos and cupcakes out of my system. Those items tend to mysteriously disappear shortly after they are purchased. Weird.

Next week, I'll have a protein update that I'm excited to share, a new meaty recipe and hopefully, some new kicks!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~