It is a healthy practice throughout the journey to occasionally stop and reconsider where you’ve been, how you reached your conclusions, reevaluate where you are going and ask yourself whether that direction continues to help you to reach your goals. If you haven’t already read it, I highly recommend the book Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. The book is well written and Pollan makes excellent points across the wide span of this particular spectrum. Pollan fully examines the familiarities surrounding food: cruelty to animals, the decline of human health, environmental destruction of factory farming etc. Pollan discusses the evolution of humans and the food species historically consumed by humankind. He takes readers through the modern industry and provides compelling pros and cons about various movements including organic. Pollan even expounds on possible reasons why the modern vegan ideal may not be feasible for everyone. This reminded me that people generally have entirely the wrong idea about veg folk. There is so much more to whole-foods plant-based diets than eating tofu. Some of us don’t even like it. Others eat it only rarely. We are diverse “people of character” -Dr. McDougall and we are continually evolving. It’s onto the next universe ( we know there are multiple ones btw,) so by the time you print up the labels to tack on our foreheads we’re already three universes yonder. There is room here for exploration, discovery, growth and expansion.
Still, on my own journey I have heard this book referred to as a classic and I have to say that I agree. Even though I may not agree on all the points he made, I like it because this book does just that; it stops and asks everyone wherever you are currently on the food spectrum to reconsider what’s on your plate. In addition, the author points out that movements such as small-scale farming, small businesses and local are worthy of everyone’s support all across the spectrum. As emphasized in my writings, (Life Is Conscious, Eyes on the Prize), it asks everyone to meet in the middle. But regardless of locale on the spectrum, even the polar opposites, it becomes clearer that factory farming is one of the biggest parts of the problem. Pollan points out that there is no going back; humanity cannot return to its hunter/gatherer lifestyle-for better or for worse. Pollan skillfully arrives at this conclusion. You will need to read the book to discover the details.
The point is made that dietary taboos are nearly as plentiful as sexual ones. The very word omnivore can imply that anything goes. It’s interesting that many world religions contain instructions, guides, even prohibitions, about eating meat, including Judeo-Christian, Islam and Buddhism (Lent, abstaining from pork, Kosher, LDS Word of Wisdom “eat meat sparingly,”(Doctrine and Covenants), etc, implying some form of restraint or omission there. As natural omnivores, perhaps saying no to some things is a sacred act. After all, maybe the anything, anytime anyone-always can lead to excess; perhaps there needs to be self-control at some point. Said another way, there is wisdom in the practice of self discipline, sobriety and temperance, or saying no or sparingly. Thebeauty of this is that you get to do this at your own pace and in your own way.
Pollan makes a strong case that is difficult to disregard about the multiple benefits of private, family owned farms with happy, free range animals while they are living, as opposed to the horrors committed on animals also while living, and the extreme environmental detriment of mass factory farming.
I understand that being a strict veg is not for everyone. Plus, animals that are happy in the sun, doing what they are designed by nature to do is a positive thing; being given the happiness and “respect they deserve” while living, with a reverence for life when they are killed for food is a step forward and I was glad to see that the author made this point. I certainly won’t argue there.
The part about shooting a wild pig admittedly was not my favorite part. As a veg who discontinued hunting in late childhood/early adolescence and having no plans to start again- pas pour moi (not for me), this stood out to me. It is interesting that the author skillfully illustrates a vivid description of reverence and intense gratitude in that moment, and something like mixed emotions later. It is noteworthy that I have felt this exact intensity of gratitude when harvesting Yukon Gold potatoes, green beans, peas, tomatoes and potatoes that I organically grew myself, except without the mixed emotions later on.
However, I can appreciate the skill in asking everyone on the broad spectrum of human omnivory to reconsider and stretch outside one’s comfort zone some. Whether this is for your own health, the animals or to benefit the environment, I suggest this thought provoking book as a starter for your renewal and your regular, healthy “reconsideration of everything”.
As for this veg, I don’t think the universe that we refer to is quite infinite. That one over there might be, however. See it?
Enjoy the exploration!
This book was eye opening to me. It was Pollan who showed me that eating is a political act. We vote with our food choices just as surely as we do when we go to the polls every two years in November.
I try to eat local and small. But it’s hard. Our economy is based on large and rewards those who love large with low prices. It’s sad but true that we pay a price, both in price and convenience, to eat consciously.
Exactly. Well said; I couldn’t have said it better myself. Yes, you make an excellent point; there is something to be said for voting with your wallet.
The word political may be distasteful these days, which is justified; it’s hard to know who to trust, but there must be an unbiased referree. The word infrastructure can also be used; infrastructure and its design on every level affects everything.
I agree that it is hard and takes a lot of time and energy to eat and live consciously, especially with the distractions about health and the environment, and that we are told something different every day. It doesn’t have to be this way. Few have time to actually sort through the hodge podge of facts as opposed to misinformation; this combined with an increasingly fast pace is problematic.
I’m so glad that you eat local and small. In terms of goodness, that is right up there.