Captain of My Ship

I ran across someone today who in casual conversation mentioned that he had been vegetarian for 35 years. As we got talking more, I learned that he did not go vegetarian for health reasons, although he has seen many health benefits from doing so. Rather, he went vegetarian because he wanted to be the captain of his ship.

I thought what a great argument to bring up to those who are not convinced about going whole foods, plant-based for health reasons or for environmental reasons or for cost reasons or for animal abuse reasons. Even negating all those, there's still another reason for going WFPB, and that is it puts us in control of our own lives as opposed to being controlled by the food industries and their vast marketing budgets.

I used to be a man who imagined that I was my own person (that is being manly) by grilling steaks or chickens and adding a big baked potato with lots of sour cream and butter. It made me feel manly as opposed to being a girly-man who ate "rabbit food." It was as if I lived back in the hunter-gatherer days of having to go out and hunt for my own food. But in reality, we haven't done anything manly simply because we turned the knob on our backyard grill and threw a thick piece of animal flesh on it.

Instead, we've succumbed to a food industry that has taught us to love foods that in nature are actually not all that natural for us to eat. And because of factory farming and desires for getting more profit out of each animal, meat has actually lost most of its taste over the last fifty years. So, what do we do? We load it up with sauces or toppings or we grill it with something else that has taste, like hickory or cedar. Because if we just had to eat a hunk of meat by itself, we wouldn't like it.

But when we say no to this vast industry, and strike out on our own to be in real control of what we eat, it's vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains and legumes that offer the most options and appeal to our senses. We become captains of our own ship. We are eating foods that aren't heavily advertised in their whole state. Of course, the food industry can adulterate them too and sell them as processed foods that have little to no nutritional value. But we avoid those by staying within the produce section of the store.

You might wonder why the food industry would sell food that has little to no nutritional value. And the answer is simple. When your body isn't getting the nutrients that it needs from the foods it is eating, it will tell you to keep eating. And when you keep eating, that's more profits to the food industry. Selling something that tastes good but has relatively little nutritional value is a very profitable business. You can tell because doing so consumes the most space in the grocery store.

As consumers, we are easily mislead by following the "bliss point" that is created for us in the foods we eat. The only way to stop is to stop eating processed foods and start buying whole foods. And to truly get away from this industrial campaign, it's necessary to also get away from meat and dairy products.

Doing so, makes us the captain of our own ship. It's a great way to go through life.