Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Whoever thought we'd have to argue about what we should eat?

As someone who has bounced around the scale from Vegan to Carnivorous Beast and everything in between I find it really interesting how much evidence there is pointing to veganism as being a healthy, sustainable way of life. Well of course it is! What else COULD it be? Veganism is a sort of truncated way of saying "the foraging for nuts and berries diet." If you can do it though, you should. Here's why (courtesy Ezra Klein and The Washington Post).

Dont care to read the whole artice? Ok, well, it's great and you should, but I'll summarize. Eating less meat is good for the earth because its more efficient for farmers to grow grain and feed it to people than for the same grain to be fed to cows who are then eaten by people. Not to mention all those cow farts (burps are apparently a bigger problem, says the article) contribute mightily to greenhouse gasses.

What's that? You love bacon-wrapped chicken-fried steak too much to give up meat. I hear that argument. Personally I like the irony in the old addage "I'd love to be a vegetarian, but I'd like to keep my strength." I find this to be true to a point. If you aren't the kind of person who can eat sticks and berries (quite literally) and be satisfied with that as a meal, you tend to replace a lot of meat in meals with, well, processed crap. That's not good for the environment nor is it good for your waistline.

Right now you're thinking "wait, he's crossed his own tracks...what's going on here?" My point(s) is that all of these ideas have substantial validity and in order to get people (especially American people) to take their medicine, we might have to stick it inside a piece of ham (it always worked with the dogs.) Cookbook author, tv personality, and notorious gastronome Mark Bitman is actually advocating a sort of responsible eating called "Vegan before 6."

Ok, did you read that. Well, you have to. Go back. I'll wait.

Ok, so it's quite an interesting idea Bitty has. And it's totally workable for most people. The truth is that it's OK (for the environment, however ethically dubious) to eat meat, as long as it's in moderation. Moderation being something we do poorly in this country because most people feel that it's close to unconstitutional.

Of course, there are lots of solutions to this problem that no one is talking about. One simple thought is to support small family farms by buying locally. Better food, closer to you--seems like a no brainer. Of course, all of those cow factories have more or less pushed the little guy out of the market, but that's a whole other post.


Graber said...

wait, you lost me. that was an argument that bacon is delicious. right?!

J.E.B. said...

Yes, yes it is.