It is certain if there is a topic that get’s people talking besides politics, it’s about food. And why not, it brings so much pleasure to our lives. However, the unfortunate reality of it all, is that we enjoy it so much, but appreciate it so little. Not in the pleasure aspect, but to consider how far we have come in the access to food, that we take it so much for granted. Our bodies are actually designed to release certain hormones and slow down our body processing systems in order to prevent starvation. You understand that the only reason our bodies do this was the evolution of our existence having to ward off starvation? And the saddest of it all, is that when we have such an abundance, there are still people in this world starving. To show how detached we’ve become to our food, just look at the example that we as a country, nation, world (if the shoe fits..), have actual contests on how much of a food item we can eat in a specific duration of time. Sorry folks, but that to me is just plain disgusting in all forms.
When I made the decision to go Vegan for a year, it truly opened my eyes to the wonders of food. It brought me a oneness with the food system, in that, I mean it helped me truly understand the beauty in food, and appreciation of it. It motivated me to begin my own garden (which has grown to 3 now) and take pleasure in the cultivating and nurturing (yes, I said nurturing) of your own food. As part of my Vegan diet, I eliminated all processed and refined food which made me realize how desensitized we have become to the natural tastes of food. I was amazed how growing up, I had always disliked the taste of peppers, tomatoes, spinach to name a few, and the reinvention of my taste buds allowed me to grab a orange or yellow pepper and just eat it like an apple. I can remember how shocked I was that it tasted so good!
The purpose of this post is not to convert anyone, however if you truly care about your body and the earth we live on, it is time to wake up and take accountability for what you put into your body. I am speaking to myself as well here. That being said, I will call our society out and say that why in the hell do we feel that our bodies require to have meat all meals of the day? Most people will answer we need protein. True, but let’s look at our society more closely. According to the CDC, 2/3 of our population is overweight. Do we really need that much protein to sit at a desk all day, and maybe, on a good week, we walk a few miles? Protein is an essential part of existence, it rebuilds the cells that have been destroyed or damaged and allows your body to keep repairing itself. But animal protein also has dietary cholesterol, which is fact that as humans, we need cholesterol for hormone regulation, but do your realize that humans produce their own, and even without dietary cholesterol, we produce enough to maintain homeostasis. Practically all dietary cholesterol just simply gets stored along our arterial walls, or our body is able to dispose of some. Wonder why the leading cause of death in our country is Cardiovascular disease? It’s not a lack of animal protein that is for sure. What’s even better, vegetables have protein too! ( I discuss the amino acid profile in my book)
Animal protein does however, provide some essential nutrients that are abundant to help with body processes: Vitamin B12 is found in animal protein (dairy, eggs too) and B12 has been shown to help cognitive development and brain activity. This ongoing conflict I developed during my Vegan days, led me to how I viewed the human was designed to eat. This lead to “Veg-Aleo” which I describe about in my eBook. I truly believe that if we are to become healthier as humans, we must learn and adopt a diet that is consistent with how our bodies are designed to eat. 100 years ago, there was no fast food, there were no bags of potato chips. Especially, there was no Genetically Modified Food, no chemical preservatives, no artificial flavors or colors. You realize that these are chemicals right? Even if you decide to eat less, they are being fed to the animals that you then consume. So either way, you may not grab that bag of processed food, but that burger you consume ate the chemicals you are attempting to stay away from.
Here is the thing as I try to wrap up my thoughts(this is why food and nutrition is about 70% of my book!), we as humans have destroyed the food system. Big business has made us believe that we need pork for breakfast, processed meat for lunch, and a cow slab for dinner. As I was stating earlier about be removed from our food, if people actually gave thought and researched how the food got to your table, I believe our society would do an about face. You may be saying, “I don’t care, I just want to eat it!” And that’s your prerogative, it will be your health you have to deal with later on in life. So let’s look at that typical day of eating. That breakfast sausage or bacon is part of 23 billion pounds produced annually (according to World Health Organization). You don’t have to look far on the internet to see that pigs are not out tramping around in the mud and running through field, but raised in metal cages, along sick and diseased ridden pigs, lying in their own feces, until time to be slaughtered. Pigs produce 10x the amount of waste that humans produce and if you ever see the waste pools outside of pig farms, you might not want to eat pork again. Lunch time and its a ham sandwich or turkey lunch meat. Well, according to the WHO again, a serving of lunch meat is ranked as the same level of a carcinogen as a cigarette. And that is 5.8 billion pounds of it our country produces annually. At least there is that juicy steak at the end of the day to reward us for a job well done to provide for our family. Much like those pigs, they don’t walk around in fields and eat grass! Our system is feeding them tons of steroids to make them grow really fast, feed them all sorts of chemicals and unhealthy feed, and get them to your plate as fast as possible. Not too mention, most of the time people are getting 1 or 2 meals from fast food chains, which are the largest buyers of beef in our country. Adds up to 33 million cattle per year to supply us. Maybe this is a little rant on my part, it just frustrates me on how detached we as a society have become from the food we eat and the result is a unhealthy country and it comes back to us all in medical costs and insurance premiums. I am not saying somebody should become Vegan and not consume meat products, but I bet if we learned how to minimize our meat consumption, meat packing industries would probably be able to have cleaner facilities, healthier animals, and as a result, the meat on our table would do what it was intended to do thousands and thousands (keep going) of years ago.
To the Native Americans who still practice the sacrificial component of killing their animal for food, I respect and admire you. You give thanks to the animal, you understand it had a purpose and to feed your family is a blessing. You don’t discard anything that is not prime meat, you utilize the animal in all aspects to show your appreciation for giving its life. We has US citizens don’t have to go to this extreme (unless we keep destroying our land) but watching a few documentaries on the food industry or researching about health and disease might open your eyes to the direction we as a society are heading very fast!
Be well my friends!