Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Food problems.

My diet seems to be undergoing some kind of revision, and I can't yet tell where it's going to end up. What I do know is that for the past few months, I've been clicking away on vegan blogs. And then on raw food sites. Going vegan makes good sense to me; going raw is appealing for reasons I haven't quite parsed yet. I can tell you that it seems right to me because basically we are just fancy monkeys, and a raw diet is a monkey diet. Of course I capped off reading about the raw diet the other day by having a delicious toasted ciabatta roll with earth balance and apricot fruit spread, none of which bore any resemblance to the green smoothies and what have you.

One thing I haven't personally sorted out is what happens to farmers if we all stop eating dairy products etc, bearing in mind that I don't really give a shit about what happens to factory farmers. I also wonder what happens to the animals that have been domesticated for farm life and for use as food in one way or another. Obviously you want them to live out their sweet ruminant lives in a field somewhere, but they can't live in the wild anymore, can they? Does this mean cattle, goats, sheep, and all the rest of them are going to die out and/or go feral if they're not being raised for cheese? I'm not being flippant; I am actually wondering about this. I wonder about people like the Reads, profiled in this excellent article in City Pages not so long ago--people who tend their animals with great love and who make (apparently fabulous) cheeses, on a small scale.

I also wonder about how to reconcile the food choices you make for yourself with the ones you should rightly make for the health of your pets. This is especially potent at the moment, because we're switching Ace to wet food and the mass market stuff is repellent in terms of what it contains, and the alternative is expensive, but both contain meat because he is a carnivorous beastie.

Then of course there are leather goods, which are infinitely superior in every way to their vinyl counterparts.

Sigh, sigh, sigh.

It's boring to read about other people's food dilemmas if you don't share them yourself, I'm sure.

The thing is, I don't really see myself becoming rigid about any of these things. It's more likely that I'll just go ahead and exist inside a paradox or two for the rest of my life.

I'm turning off the computer for the evening, FYI.


  1. With regards to the leather vs. vinyl thing - I think it depends on how you frame your decision. Environmentally, leather is slightly better. Animal rights-wise, vinyl is better. I researched this back in the day when I was a practicing vegan and I ended up coming down on the side of the environment although it is still tricky. Both are not toxic free to produce, although it's my understanding that vinyl involves more ugly chemicals. Personally, I had decided that I would rather have, for example, a pair of leather shoes that will last years instead of a pair of canvas or pleather ones that are more likely to tear. I counted long-lastingness of material to be more environmental & then decided that I really needed to make sure that anything I bought to last needed to be a carefully made decision.

    For what it's worth, I love reading about food dilemmas. I struggle with this stuff all the time. My husband & I recently decided to cut out all fish b/c it's just too tricky to determine what's fished well and what's over-fished. I am not careful enough with my diet to eat vegan anymore, I needed to get really honest about that. You strike me as infinitely more responsible in that way. Also, as much as I enjoy cheese, I also love me a good egg. They're the best food for protein too and I just don't buy into the potential life element of eggs b/c they're not fertilized anyway.

    Lots of rambles here. I think about this stuff a lot. Actually, not that I've read it but it is on the list - have you read the Peter Singer book "The Ethics of What/How We Eat?" I think it could be worth your time.

  2. This diary of a raw foodist is FASCINATING.

  3. You figure any cattle (any animal, really) used for something, whether leather or dairy or meat, has been outrageously and sickeningly overbred, which I feel is the most detrimental thing about the meat and dairy industry. If we all gave up dairy, numbers would probably go back to a more manageable number, more how nature intended. The extra would die off of sickness caused from the way they are treated and from too many hormones. The life span of a factory animal is much shorter. Also, the biggest danger to the smaller farmer is the factory farm. If we could pare those down considerably, the small farmer would probably have a fighting chance. The meat and cheese industry will never go away, but at least small farmers tend to be more humane.

    Though more chemicals are used with synthetic materials, I'm not convinced they are worse environmentally. The cattle industry worldwide is the largest producer of methane gas, and the biggest contributor to global warming. Chemicals = bad. Global warming, inhumane treatment, overbredding, a product that gets lower and lower in quality because of these conditions = I think worse. I refuse to contribute (anymore) to it.

    I think we've talked about this before but what do you think of the Raw Til Dinner concept? Fruits, juice, veggies, seeds and nuts, etc for the day and then a cooked, whole meal in the evening. When I need some cleansing, this way feels great. More than great.

    You may get a lot out of this book (I know I have): The Way We Eat; Why Our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer and Jim Mason.

    In any event, I LOVE the spark of positive dietary change. The inspiration of it is charged, man.
    Love ya.

  4. Thank you peeps for the comments. This actually touched off a big discussion among my friends about all this stuff, some of which I may cut and paste into another entry. I love you weighing in. And Mymsie, yes! That WAS fascinating, though I really wanted to know what happened to her long-term.