Monday, August 25, 2014
VEGAN, VEGETARIAN, LOCAVORE
I could easily go on a twelve page spew about how 21st century Americans have no reason at all to slit the throats of animals in order to survive. But that's not what I have chosen to say. For obvious reasons - I probably already lost some readers with that first sentence. The reason being that food is a highly emotional issue. It's psychological, and for some it's even religious. So in essence it's extremely hard to get people to change their ways.
I was inspired to write on this subject by a lecture at my gym recently which had the same title as this post : VEGETARIAN, VEGAN, LOCAVORE...
Being a vegetarian myself for most of my life I wasn't in need of too much info. ( I am also an information junkie). But I was very curious to know how this would be presented and who was showing up. Also, since the two presenters are dietitians I hoped for maybe one or two pieces of knowledge I hadn't previously absorbed from my incessant Internet research.
Needless to say, the whole thing was a waste of time (one precious hour). But the next day I realized I did learn something. No matter what you tell someone about their diet, they will have a very irrational fear of change and talk their way into years of procrastinating. Most of the people were there as a form of procrastination. They currently have no idea how much B12 they are getting from their meat source or how much iron they are assimilating or whether or not they are getting all the proper amino acids etc. But all these questions came up as a way to put off 'giving up' their favorite foods. One woman was totally perplexed as to how she was to incorporate coconut oil into her diet. She had bought some because she heard it was all the rage but had no idea what to do with it. So I am sure that was reason enough for her to go to the supermarket and buy some breakfast sausage.
It didn't seem to matter to anyone that the lecture started out with graphs and charts and quotes and facts stating that a plant based diet reduced your chances of death by cancer by 60%. They had more important issues like where would one even purchase hemp seed and can you still eat fish (the topics of mercury and radiation were never discussed). Somehow they got into a conversation about the benefits of eating liver until one man cited the potential problem of liver containing toxins and diseases being that it's function in the body is as a filter for those things. I started to wonder if these people were in the right room and if any of them ever used the gym... they seemed fairly unhealthy.
The speakers trudged along mentioning all the wonderful power foods like kale, chia seeds, nutritional yeast, Greek yogurt... but people still wanted more. 'What about eggs?' That got a big grin out of one of the dietitians. She was thrilled to report that eggs are a great source of nutrition and that the yolk was where all the good stuff was. So eating one egg a day is a good idea. People were skeptical...
Then it turned out, to my relief and sympathy, that there was a representative from the farmers market association there. Hands flew up. No one seemed to know how to type in the words 'nearest farmers market' into google. She was patient and adorable and aware of her obstacles. She came armed with handouts that she printed from her computer after typing in the afore mentioned google search.
The next day I thought about the whole trying experience of the day before and suddenly it became clear. No one wants to 'give up' anything. There is a reason some dishes are 'comfort foods' and why something that tastes like 'home cooking' has an appeal. Food is tightly connected with memories and emotions and for some is a psychological replacement for something missing in their lives. If the fact that changing your diet will lengthen and improve your life is not motivation enough than those people obviously have issues. So, the best solution is the one that the sweet and prepared farmers market rep offered. Buy your meat and produce from farmers. It will be massively better for everyone involved. If I can't influence anyone away from animal consumption then at least I can try to get people away from corporate food factories. I realize animals are lower on the evolutionary scale and that man has been hunting them forever. And I have always been ok with people raising and killing and butchering their own farm animals. I am not ok with the extremely uncivilized, brutish, inhumane treatment of animals in this country. It is absolutely not acceptable. I have only included pictures of animals living in their appropriate conditions in this post because I cannot bear to look at the pictures and videos showing what actually goes on in the industrial farms. I still have nightmares from some videos I watched on YouTube...
The oceans are a whole separate nightmare unto themselves... When they go, so do we.
Don't procrastinate, don't give up bacon or steak or whatever, just by it from farmers not from factories. Animals deserve better than that.