The World We Create by the Food We Eat

I started the year out (or ended last year) by saying that I wanted to broaden my scope and to address the interconnections of our eating habits. I think there are three major dimensions to the world we create based on what we put at the end of our forks. One of course is our health. I believe there is a direct connection between the foods we eat and the health we enjoy. Now I know there are exceptions. It seems every decade or so, there's some 117 year old guy claiming to have gotten that old by drinking a pint of whiskey every day and eating a pound of bacon. But we have to admit that those cases are at the extreme end of the bell curve, and statistically speaking I don't want to live my life around risk-taking that far out on the curve.

The second way what we eat affects the world we create is through the environment. It's becoming clearer and clearer to me that our environment is affected by the foods we eat. Water usage is one area for example, and Governor Jerry Brown has talked about that relative to California's drought this past year. Such conditions are likely to get worse in the west, I think, going forward unless people do in fact change how they eat. Climate change is of course also a big one. There are some pretty substantive claims from the World Health Organization and as talked about in the documentary Cowspiracy that find animal agriculture to be the leading cause of climate change today. And yet, few are talking about that.

And the third way we affect the world we create is in the raising and slaughtering of animals. That is an area that most people have chosen not to think about, and most people don't want to hear about. I know that I didn't want to hear about it for a long time. Once I quit eating animal products, it of course became easier for me to start understanding that dimension as well. I think that we maybe don't like to hear about that part of it because the cruelty of it strikes at our very beliefs and core values. So, to hear about it is to acknowledge that it exists which is to acknowledge that its wrong which is to acknowledge that we need to do something about it. For most people, doing something about it would mean at the very least to stop being consumers of animal products. And very few are willing to do that right now. And that's what makes it such a dichotomy for us. We can't face the extreme affront to our value systems that exists because of our own actions. So, we choose not to listen.

There is another way that consuming animal products affects the world we create and that's the economy. But I don't include that as one of the three because it is really wrapped up in each of those three, and I believe that improving on those three will also improve on the economy. Some worry that it will put cattle ranchers and doctors and pharmacists out of business. And I suppose the same worries existed back a hundred years ago for buggy makers and lantern makers. Somehow, the economy has continued to thrive for the past hundred years or so without the buggy makes and the lantern makers being so prevalent anymore though. I suspect our economy would continue to survive as well with a reduced number of cattle ranchers, pharmacists and doctors. For one thing, people would be healthier and live longer and that would increase jobs in the travel industry and other industries where active, healthy people congregate.

If you want to learn more about the three dimensions to  the world we create through the food we eat, check out this talk recently given at our Eat Smart Live Longer Club meeting. It was given by Carla Golden, Gordon Stamler and Benedicte Gadron, all of Hilton Head Island, and it was excellent in my humble opinion.