I was a vegetarian for a number of years , though my diet was far from perfect (I relied a little too much on meat substitutes) it worked well for me from a health perspective. Hubbie has digestive issues and he can’t handle high fiber (try going 8 times a day plus!). I probably eat 45 grams of fiber everyday and that works for me. We are both open to new foods and have expansive palates but our bodies are not the same. My diet and exercise routine is not suitable for him and vice versa. So the first point I want to make, is no two bodies are exactly alike even if you take out taste preferences altogether.
My second point is climate! Where you live dictates how you eat to some degree or it should because you should be seeking out local/fresh ingredients as much as possible. While many grocery stores carry items all year round and items from all over the world they are not necessarily affordable and let’s face it some of that produce is hanging by a thread in the despair of winter. Now that I live in a cold climate my access to produce has diminished, particularly during the winter months (my body also has somewhat different nutritional requirements now). My access to specialty items has dropped significantly as well. I now have to hunt for tofu (tofu is a specialty item in Sweden) because it isn’t available in every store and not at all locally. If I want tofu I have to drive (ahem be driven) about 1 hour 20 minutes round trip. I am fairly certain that driving long distances isn’t great for the environment so tofu alone is not enough to warrant such a journey. I am too lazy to make tofu, though I did look into it. What about people living in remote areas of the arctic? How is a vegetarian or vegan diet suitable for that climate? Is it even possible? When I lived in Asheville I had access to everything I could possibly need to sustain a vegetarian lifestyle and a nice warm climate to boot. Location is an important consideration.
I agree that humans eat too much meat. By and large we make meat a main course and many have meat with every meal. Meat should be a side-dish at most and in warmer months the consumption of fruit and vegetables should go up substantially. Meat does not need to be consumed at every meal. I agree that a plant-based diet is better for the environment and that we can’t really go on as we are currently. So much produce is discarded simply because it does not meet aesthetic standards, good nutritious, life-sustaining food left to rot because it isn’t pretty enough! I think the biggest obstacle to sustainability is our own pickiness. Everyone has a diet/lifestyle they want to maintain whatever the cost. I can’t tell you how many adult tantrums I have witnessed at the sight of an unfamiliar or disliked food. We even fake allergies to lose weight! We want our brands. We want our exotic super foods. We want sugar! We even vilify whole food groups and ruin our health in the process. Rice, potatoes, pasta staples that apparently make you fat and shame on anyone who eats them. Rice kept me alive through poverty. I still eat rice and it has not made me fat and in fact I actually feel my best when eating rice regularly.
When Isadora was a baby she ate whatever we fed her, what choice did she have? There was no such thing as adult food or child food. Society did not agree, the media did not agree, relatives did not agree. They declared there is a difference and that kids need to eat processed junk, leave the veggies for the adults. Eventually she decided that there was a very clear difference between adult food and kid food. I can’t eat that because it isn’t for kids! Feeding her involves a lot more tears nowadays. We are spoiled and we are choosy and to me that is the main issue because we can’t even consider alternative protein sources like insects. Even I feel a bit squeamish about certain insects and the bigger and the squisher they are the more squeamish I feel! We decide we don’t like a food and we never try it again, we don’t try preparing it in different ways, it becomes taboo. Now I don’t like everything but I do revisit foods (if healthy) and I do eat what is on offer even when it isn’t in keeping with my personal tastes. Eat in a way the reflects the seasons, if you eat the same all year round (unless you live near the equator) that should ring a few alarm bells!
Humans are omnivores. I don’t see any reason why they can’t be vegan or vegetarian and in some climates and environments it is surely the way to go but I don’t think we should condemn humans for eating meat. Condemn our cruel farming practices, our waste by all means but not our biology. We don’t condemn lions for being predators (well some people do actually). I don’t think it is wrong to hunt for food if you honor the animal by making use of it as much as possible. Obviously we are no longer hunter/gathers but there are still hunters out there bringing us food, keeping the ecosystem balanced, and doing so in an respectful/sustainable way. I realize there are also people hunting for fun and for trophies and hunting endangered animals for their horns, furs, and genitals this is not okay.
We are always trying to fight against nature, most people are afraid of nature, they think she is cruel. They are afraid of human nature as well and it is this fear that make us cruel, it is that fear that makes us extreme, paranoid and hysterical, it is that fear that leaves each of us feeling empty and unlovable. It is that fear that makes us attempt to control and micromanage everything and prevents us from following our inner nature (which I btw believe to be good). We now have to have exercise schedules/plans and specific equipment/buildings for exercise because we don’t move enough daily! We don’t work with our bodies, we don’t play, we don’t walk. I am no different I am quite sedentary except when I am working out or cleaning.
Before I end my rant. I am sick of propaganda. I am sick of people with a good cause, employing vicious and sometimes violent methods to get their message heard. Don’t become the monster. Remember that no matter how mad you get at the system or society nothing will improve by raising another army of monsters and extremists. Let compassion dictate, not hatred.