My Unpopular Opinion (a long rant)

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.

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22 responses to “My Unpopular Opinion (a long rant)

  1. That is a lovely message and I appreciate your opinion. It is not every culture that has the capacity to be picky. Pickiness helps some economies and hurts others. Most importantly, we have to think about how our preferences affect the environment. Good points. Thank you for sharing your views.

    • That is so true but those countries that are picky tend to waste quite a bit. Obviously it is more than pickiness but I do think that, that plays a significant role. The media and advertising have a much stronger influence than we admit on our purchasing.

      • They do have a strong influence. And yes, I did mean to say that waste is going to happen in wealthier countries where food choice is a foregone conclusion. I feel tense every time I read a new report contradicting an earlier report, contradicting an earlier report and so on about what we should or shouldn’t eat. Once people realise that advertisers are paying to keep these publications in business we might start getting sceptical. When in doubt, I always trust the advice of my nutritionist.

      • I went to school for Nutrition there really are a lot of contradictions in the media, it is all about making money. The Sugar Industry makes a lot of money. There is just so much corruption it blows my mind.

  2. I have been vegan and vegetarian at different stages of my life. Now I eat some meat. I was thinking about this subject all last week. Climate does have a huge impact on people’s diet. Big business is not really interested in the ethics of food production. A few years ago I had a lovely dog. This was during one of my vegetarian stages. One night I was feeding the dog a juicy piece of meat and I got tears in my eyes. My dog stopped chewing on the meaty bone and looked up at me with a sad face. It’s not his fault that he needs to eat the flesh of another animal to survive. I also like eating fish, but now there is a worldwide outcry about the sustainability of the seafood industry. I get frowned upon when I tell my vegan friends that I eat meat and wear leather shoes. But I don’t like wearing synthetic substitutes 😦

    • There is a lot wrong with The Food Industry. Awww Marc that makes me a bit teary. I struggle with eating meat myself on an emotional level because I know that I couldn’t hunt myself and I think if I can’t face the reality of it should I be going out and shopping meat? Buying meat in the grocery store as it comes (so anonymous and indistinct) gives us distance to the whole process of how it gets on the table. I really wrestled with this for a very long time. I can see my own hypocrisy. I can fish and I can prepare a fish but I can’t imagine killing and preparing a deer. I think it is a personal choice though. I do believe humans are omnivorous by nature and is it right to condemn them for it? No. No matter how we live we can’t get around the fact that we impact the environment but we also give life in a variety of ways.

  3. Living in the USA spoiled me when it comes to food. I did give up most sugars and junk food and because I live in a year round warm place I can afford the luxury of vegetables and fruits year round. I grew up in Puerto Rico and was considered poor so I do understand meat as a side item but not with every meal. Rice and beans was always (daily) main dish and was lucky to have a slice of Spam or can of Tuna on the side. Goats and Pigs were reserved for special celebrations. I eat meat but attempt to stick with fish and chicken unless I go out to eat. I don’t think I can ever become a Vegan but greens and fruits will always be a part of my diet. This was a very informative post, thank you 🙂

    • You sound balanced to me Hector! I grew up in the USA too, I started out in poverty eating whatever was put before me (that or go hungry). Later when the situation improved and my health was going down I changed to a yoga diet but that was tough because my family didn’t really understand what vegetarian meant and they didn’t support my change and my mom was only willing to buy me a very small portion of fresh veg so it was a struggle but I did get my health back. I am not a vegetarian now the climate is totally different here and I try to make use of local stuff

  4. I would love to go vegan totally. But I live with two women who if meat isn’t included in their meal they haven’t eaten. I will make a vegan meal and smell the meat and I’m unable to refuse tempataion..

    • I don’t think I could be vegan myself not in Sweden if I lived somewhere warmer where the items were more readily available perhaps I would give it a go. Hubbie and I were both vegetarian in NC but neither of us are now and he isn’t interested in going back. I mean he loves vegetarian food and we still eat it particularly in warmer months but the long dark, very cold winters it doesn’t work so well for us.

      • That’s great Kim that you are limiting the red meat. I know it can be hard to make the switch, especially when faced with temptation. I became a vegetarian at 12 and no one else in my house was one (not to mention my diet up to that point had been very meat heavy). I actually ate my meals separately for a while till I could use to the change

  5. Wonderful post and I agree with everything you’ve written here. I try to eat as seasonably as I can and don’t have access to specialty foods either in my small town. I make due with whatever I can get organic, cage-free, and humanely raised and slaughtered, but it is very limited. I do eat meat, but limit my intake because of diabetic issues. I have to limit carbs too for the same reason, but I load up on non-starchy vegetables and healthy fats. I really hate how much food is wasted to be “pretty” in the grocery stores. Anyway, I am rambling, but I did enjoy your rant!

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