This week I am going to ask you to step away from Google for a minute.
No doubt, thanks to Google, we live in a time of instant access to endless information at our fingertips.
But I work in healthcare, and a statement I often make, and often hear, is “whatever you do, don’t Google your symptoms because the answer will be cancer every time.” Even if the ACTUAL answer is a simple head cold, or dry skin, or any other number of completely benign, common conditions, Google will tell you that you have cancer.
So whom do I think you should turn to instead of the often over-dramatic, usually way off-base Google?
Well, let me give you a few scenarios:
- When I was pregnant and had gum sensitivity, I wanted to know what I could do to help prevent it, so I asked my friend who is a dental hygienist.
- Since the time is nearing for us to choose a kindergarten teacher who most closely matches our daughter’s style of learning, we asked my sister-in-law for advice. She is an elementary school teacher.
- When I am pregnant and need advice on natural coping mechanisms for pain during labor and delivery, I ask my friend who is a doula.
- When we have a vehicle with a mechanical problem we ask my husband’s brother—he is an experienced mechanic.
- I am a runner and when I have an ache or a pain and I’m looking for a stretch or an exercise to try to remedy it—I ask my friend who is a Physical Therapist.
- When one of my kids is sick and I need to know if it warrants a trip to the pediatrician, I ask my friend who is a nurse. And then I take my child to said pediatrician if needed.
- When I need a training plan for an upcoming 1/2 marathon, I turn to my friend who has ran more than ten 1/2 marathons.
- When I have a parenting question, I turn to any number of my friends who have children older than mine and therefore I know have likely been through what I am going through.
- When I need breastfeeding advice, I turn to experienced moms whom I know have been through every scenario or know someone who has that they can put me in touch with.
- When I have questions about a Catholic tradition, I ask my friend who has taught Sunday school at the church for years.
- When I have a question about military life, of which I have no experience, I ask my best friend whose husband is in the Air Force. (God Bless you both!)
- If I need to know what kind of things I should be prepared for when traveling to a new area, or state, or country, I ask someone who lives there or has traveled there frequently.
I hope you are seeing the trend. I cannot for the life of me understand why—other than perhaps simple convenience and people’s impatience—anyone would rely on Google to find the truthful facts about how crops in America are grown, or how cattle (or sheep, chickens, hogs, etc) are raised.
Accurate answers are out there but it can be hard to know which websites are trustworthy. Why not go directly to the source?
Why not ask a farmer what methods he/she uses to increase sustainability? Why not ask the farmer what the purpose is of a certain pesticide used on a specific crop? Why not ask a farmer why he/she is so confident about the safety of the food that he grows?
Why not ask a rancher about animal health? Why not ask a rancher what the purpose is of feeding a cow grain after 6 months or so of milk and grass only? Why not ask a rancher why he/she is so confident about the safety of the beef that he produces?
You see, all the farmers and ranchers I have ever met—and I live in Nebraska so that number is HUGE—are open books. Open books filled with so much knowledge, I should add! Many of them have been farming or ranching for their entire lives! They love to have conversations about our way of life. They even love to have visitors to their farms or ranches or feedlots. They have nothing to hide and we all love to share this way of life with you and help you to see why we are so passionate about it.
So please, next time you have a question about the food you eat, step away from Google and ask a farmer or rancher.
But, if you are still tempted, or don’t have access to a farmer or rancher face-to-face, here are some websites run by real farmers and ranchers that I trust:
Wow you guys! What a list! Now there is no excuse for not having a great source to turn to when you have a food question!
As always, I would love to help answer your questions too! Knowledge is power!