A plant based, whole food diet
On the road trip to Chicago, Benji and Louisa watched a Netflix video on Benji’s smartphone called Forks over Knives. It was a pretty compelling documentary linking processed foods and carnivorous diets to all kinds of health problems.
When i lived in eastern Europe i was a vegetarian. i was challenged by my friend Chuck Kane to do it with him. It turns out that the east European diet is much more meat centric than this country’s. Vegetarians are often asked if they eat fish or even chicken. However, it seemed like the right thing to do at the time and i ate this way, principally for sustainability reasons, for about 5 years.
After Hawina and i took the Polish steam ship across the Atlantic in 1997 and moved to Twin Oaks, i thought to myself, “if anyone is doing sustainable meat, it is this commune and i live it and i am going to return to it.” It turned out to be unworkable for me to not eat meat in the mainstream and then enjoy it on the commune. So i started eating meat again, more off the farm than on it.
A couple of years back i read an article on the effect on rainforests from the clear cutting and grazing practices in the Amazon as they related to beef production. And specifically, the article stated that cows were, overall, worse than cars in terms of their negative climate effects. I decided that i would mostly stop eating beef, both on the commune and in Babylon.
There have been exceptions. I want to encourage us to dumpster food, so when there’s dumpstered meat on the steam table (usually under Ezra’s close supervision), i will eat meat that was going to be thrown away. This also includes beef that my son is going to compost, which he is these days bringing to me along with other scraps. He drops his plate in front of me and refers to me as “bio bucket,” which i take as a term of endearment.
On this trip, since this Forks over Knives, i have decide to minimize the amount of processed and animal-based foods i consume. i think i will try to do this for a month or two to see how i feel.
One of the more interesting points from the Forks over Knives film was that agribusiness in the US influences the USDA’s recommendation around the food that people should eat, such as instructing kids and adults to consume meat and dairy products when these are clearly contraindicated for health. One solution would be for insurance companies to offer discounts to health and life insurance plans for people who switch to healthier diets, as they do with people who quit smoking. This would encourage corporations to change the quality of their vegetarian and vegan options in their cafeterias and other food dispensaries.
When i mentioned this on Facebook, an ex-member teased me that i should read the Omnivore’s Dilemma, a book Sapphyre has been reading. The author points out that most first world persons are living on corn, and that even folks eating principally organic and vegetarian foods are having a significant negative ecological impact if the food is produced in an industrialized fashion. Here again the Twin Oaks solution of highly tended, non-chemical food that we grew ourselves makes us both different from almost everyone and dramatically reduces our ecological impact.
Stay tuned for the results of this little personal experiment.