What a controversial topic. Trolls, Here I come !
For 7 years I used to be a vegan. Not really an activist type, more likely a health geek version of it.
For positive health and performance reasons, I switched to mindful eating. I value the benefits of food, I regard the source of it and I do not place limitations on myself. My diet is not me, but in the meantime my diet is me. This means that we should not judge people by their eating habits, but by their acts, what is actually triggered by their food choices. When you see a parent shouting at his kid and slapping them in the face, or a serial killer going on a rampage, there is a special reaction happening in the brain triggered by chemicals gained from food and other sources ! So at the very end, you are what you eat ! To continue this line of thinking, I said I switched to mindful eating due to positive health reasons. I mean by this, that I felt great as a vegan, but I wanted to feel like a superhuman. I started adding in some meat, but most likely organ meats, some fish and when we roasted a chicken, we really used up all the carcasse and made bone broth from it. We stil do ! This is when we arrive to our first line of dispute, sustainability.
(I don’t feel the need of eating meat as a general caloric source, like a steak, chicken breast, drumsticks, sausages or any regular animal parts. However, in organ meats, sardines, mussels and sea “veggies”, crabs and scorpions, insects – I find tremendous benefits ! It feels like you are really adding something extra and assimilable to your body, what brings you forward. In a futuristic world industrial animal production would be completely over, and only wild food would be available. Food exchange markets, hunting and fishing, fruit and vegetable plantations, wild-food gathering. If somebody would not have anything to give, or would be too sick and obese to even go to these special market-places, natural selection would do it’s work ! Not enough food on the planet ? In my opinion too many lazy humans are consuming this earth instead of working towards a better future. For themselves first and then they can contribute to a bigger cause ! Insect farms and vertical aquaponic organic plantations are coming in and making huge progress as an example.)
Vegans often imagine ancestral eaters, as somebody eating animal produce 3 to 4 times a day throughout a lifespan. That is the reason we see those films like “Forks over knifes” or the Food Inc. In reality, we consume like 2 sticks of butter, 2 servings of fish and 2 servings of meat for a 3 person family weekly and we focus the rest of our nutrition on vegetables, fruits, low amounts of cereals, grains, nuts and seeds.
Meat is bad for the environment. The industry uses up and also damages the water supply, mis-handles the animals, destroys the air with factory smoke and truck fumes. This was not the lifestyle of fishermen, hunters and butchers. Everybody understands and completely against this.
I ask you to look at the isles in a supermarket and think deeply about it. How much the real fresh meat and fish isle, the fruit and vegetable sections take up from an average supermarket surface ? 5 to 10% TOP! Fake food isles cover around 50% and the rest are chemicals, bad quality clothing, unnecessary consumer electronics, newspaper stands, alcohol and all kinds of crap. This exactly mirrors how the industry is set up and how bad our relationship to real food is. This argument is exactly true to the negative environmental effect of bottled water consumption. It does not even take up 0.5% of all the plastic materials used in the completely unnecessary detergents, special bleaches, personal hygiene items, biscuit wrappings, coke, energy drink and fruit juice bottles. The alcohol isle is bigger than either the fish and meat counter or the unflavoured quality bottled water shelves. Did you see the personal hygiene isle ? Maybe there are even 3 or 4 of them, filling up the space with shower gels, deodorants, shampoos, skin care products ! Made nearly from fruits, vegetables, animal piss and jelly and petrochemical ingredients ! Our household has never ever bought any of these, neither your grandmother’s ! (Client’s ask me, so how do you wash your clothes ? This would be a different subject, but you can use washing nuts, baking soda and vinegar ! How do you deodorise yourself ? I just eat well, so I don’t stink !)
When I hear that meat is bad for the earth and it does not even take up 5% of the whole supermarket surface, I say fake news ! Yes processed meat is bad, but as bad as processed vegetables ! 90% of meat goes to processing factories and no, not to refrigerate goat loin chops. More likely to provide filling for hamburger puffs and triangle sandwiches, sausages, creams, patés and canned foods or to cook up pink ham. Obesity is on the rise ! Of course it is, people cannot even stay upright to wait two minutes at a counter, nor to cook ! They rush home to watch their TV series, while they serve their children from a plastic box, stay on their cell phone before bedtime, wake up late and again, put cheap milk with cereals or a ham and cheese sando’ front of their kids early morning. I have never ever seen an obese family providing steak and eggs for breakfast to their children, neither a banana-spinach smoothie ! Ever !
I think before we blame anything and take a stance, we should drink a bottle of water, have nap, bite into a quality avocado, then open up our eyes and see the real red flags ! When mindset is changed, more people will change, the industry will change. However until we keep on voting with our coin to the cheap milk filled cereal biscuits, processed meat, da’ non-yoghurts, coke, washing detergents, parfums, body lotions, hair dyers and sprays, tooth pastes and tooth brushes, golf courses, jewellery and tattoos, the latest cars, clothes, TVs and tv-shows, microwave ovens, the newest phone, nothing will change. Until your employer shouts at you, cause you are late, being the only person commute to work on a bicycle, nothing will change. Until you do not educate yourself and educate others, by showing a good example, nothing will change. Until the ministers of education, health, nutrition and sport, are all obese nothing will change. Until corruption is allowed and industry leaders can influence politics, nothing will change.
Did you listen to the Tim Ferris interview with Art De Vany ? He says the same thing like a normal logic would. Eat well, mostly whole foods, do not over-consume any one type of nutrients. Read Wired to Eat from Rob Wolf – you can learn about individuality and choosing the right foods for you, but at the end there is no magic pill, just real whole food ! Even the 80/10/10 from Douglas Graham could be a great guide. It focuses on raw whole food what might be not for everybody, but emphasizes the importance and equality of fresh air, quality water, sunshine, exercise, emotional poise and socialising, being in contact with nature, what are as crucial as nutrition. We cannot live without sunshine and cannot reproduce without a woman. The Wild Diet of the Fat Burning Man is just another example of whole foods lifestyle.
Hungry for a change ?
Get your family and yourself eating and living well first. Do not follow the dogma or get into the viscous habit of arguing and forcing your opinion on others. Change can start with a salad a day for a year, before the brain is completely rewired and oreos, icecream and morning cereals would not be appealing anymore. I can clearly see in all of my workplaces I stayed before. When you eat day in, day out, year after year, only quality food, regardless it is from home or from a shop, people start changing. They see how easy is to have a bottle of dark-glassed olive oil and aztec sea-salt in your office, buy some tomatoes, an avocado, a can of sardines, 3-4 celery sticks and off you go. If you did not have time, you can cook some rice with peas, lentils, but if you wanted, you just can boil some vegetables in spicy water. Eat them and use the left over liquid for your night stew.
Being a sporty and healthy example, who can explain what he is doing, is the most important. Nobody cares if you were a vegan or a paleo. Are you sick when everybody is sick ? Can you get to the top of the hill first ? Are you healthy and still doing what you love, after 5 / 10 / 15 years ? Do you still have quality relationships and advancing forward with your life ? Are you still learning new stuff ? These are the questions you have to ask ! Are you progressing all the time, every single minute of the day. Are you social enough, that your very positive human-example can trigger motivation in others !
Of course food choices are important, but the chemical balance in the human body is what triggers the actions needed for the even more important human attitudes ! Miss out on the first chain-link, and you’ll be missing out on life.
At the end as you can see, I don’t even write about special radical-lifestyles and exclusion diets, as it doesn’t matter. Some of the families might be vegan, the others would butcher a goat and a pig every winter and would eat some wild caught fish every second Sunday. Both can be sporty, healthy and living a long purposeful life, making earth a better place.