What makes it okay for us to eat one species and love another?
From time to time, against my better judgment, I succumb to a twinge of cautious optimism. Recent news items have provoked another attack; before I go lie down with a cool towel on my forehead and wait for it to pass, I thought I’d share!
We all tell ourselves stories: as humans, it’s our birthright. We create narratives to explain the world, and to find meaning for our lives within it. As an advocate for conscious eating, I hear all kinds of arguments for widely divergent food habits — and find many of the stories we tell ourselves about food to be destructively bizarre. For example, the myth that ‘everything in moderation’ applies to food choices fails ethical consumers, and needs a sound debunking.
Last week I changed my definition of comfort food. I unwillingly starred in a small tragedy, and found comfort somewhere surprising: my food habits and philosophy impact my world in ways I hadn’t realized – in terms of coping skills, comfort, resilience, and hope.
A May 2012 study attempted to link ‘exposure to organic food’ with ‘harsher moral judgments,’ and the popular media gleefully ran with it. Proclaiming the allegedly proven immorality and selfish jerkishness of organic shoppers, the blogosphere blew up with ‘study proves organic shoppers are smug a-holes!’ articles. But guess what? It had nothing at all to do with organic shopping! There’s a huge amount of well-funded anti-organic backlash in US media right now, and this kind of foolishness is a perfect example of why an ounce of critical thinking is worth a pound of hyperbolic pseudoscientific nonsense.
Chick-fil-A’s conspicuous homophobia and anti-gay bigotry prompted protests and boycots all over the country this week, by LGBT and progressive activists. On Wednesday the fast food chain also saw record sales, as fellow bigots flocked in droves to support the chain’s anti-gay policies during ‘Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.’ By galvanizing both the progressive community and right-wing homophobes to ‘vote their dollar,’ has the controversy opened a Pandora’s box of conscious consumerism and corporate accountability? Here’s hoping!
I finally had an opportunity to watch Fresh, the real-food whole-food farm-revolution documentary. It follows Food, Inc.’s footsteps, clamoring poignantly for a better food system. Fresh is a great introduction to some of the core food revolution issues, especially for newcomers to the movement. It’s also an extremely omnivore-friendly film; indeed, in my veganist opinion, animal-food enthusiasts are perhaps overrepresented. However, if you’re new to the real food movement — or just starting to explore idea of ditching the standard American (factory farmed) diet — Fresh is well worth watching.
We’ve already addressed the misperception that humans need meat for protein; another fallacy commonly asserted as fact by non-vegetarians is that eating meat is ‘natural.’ This broad and unexamined opinion is often used to summarily (and conveniently) dismiss the whole topic. However, it’s a premise that can’t withstand any kind of reasonable scrutiny.
Like perennial weeds, I can’t help noticing that omnivores always seem to raise the same handful of poorly reasoned arguments against vegan and vegetarian diets. But each of the tried-and-true arguments against plant-based eating is so easily debunked, it’s just no fun! The first anti-veg weed we need to pull — because it’s the near-universal first remark when anyone hears ‘vegetarian’ or ‘vegan’ — is the myth that humans need meat for protein.
Like any revolution, dietary change depends on two things: knowledge and action. Use these books and documentaries to arm yourself with knowledge, if you’re ready to leave the standard American diet behind. A healthier, more sustainable, and more ethical table awaits!
Ask any vegan or vegetarian, and they’ll tell you: momentary pleasure makes a poor moral compass. If we are going to commit to conscious eating, and embrace a diet that rejects killing for no better reason than random human whim, we need to pedal that bike all the way into the garage and reconsider our willingness to support the palm oil industry. Palm oil causes tremendous death and destruction, and deserves no place at a compassionate table.
McDonald’s announced to pork suppliers Monday that it wants gestation crates phased out. Due to the fast food giant’s massive purchasing power, its new gestation crate policy might just be the tipping point that ends this inhumane practice in the US pork industry. This is a big deal! But the even-bigger deal is the reason for the change.
Slavery, pollution, pesticide poisoning, birth defects, salad… what do these things have in common? Yes! Your Florida-grown winter tomato! Ecovores and others who want their grocery dollars supporting sustainable, ethical food production: Tomatoland is an eye-opener, well worth reading.