Read the following little diddy and ask yourself if you think it’s true. Even better, leave a comment and tell me what it made you feel…
Better to eat beer and franks
with cheer and thanks
than sprouts and bread
with doubts and dread.
It’s sometimes recited a little differently and is often credited to a “wise old man once said…” But to me it’s simple and powerful.
Raw Food Diet
Eating only raw foods is something I think everybody should experience. Not eating animals or their “product” is another important thing for people to experience. Both open some kind of awareness portal that can have long-term affects on how you see the planet, it’s food, and yourself.
Perhaps it will cause a sudden flash and with moral certitude you will disavow flesh consumption until the day you yourself perish. Or maybe your connectedness with flora and fauna will instead manifest itself in greater reverence for whatever passes your lips. Either way you are going to get closer to understanding what food really is, and how much of it you actually need.
If you are a vegan, and you’ve never spent a few weeks or months eating only raw vegan foods I would really encourage you to do so.
Years ago (many many) I read “Diet for a New America” and it influenced me enough as an 18 year old that I became “a” vegan. For a little over one year the only qualifier I used when deciding what to eat was whether or not it contained anything from an animal.
It was one of the least healthy periods of my life. I got fat. I felt shitty. I was eating mass quantities of stuff that is downright bad for you; processed soy products, low quality wheat gluten, and other “proteins” whose SOLE “value” are derived from the fact that they aren’t from animals. Sugar in all it’s many forms is also vegan…
Some vegans I have met eat very healthy, feel great, and wouldn’t feel right eating any other way. They eat their greens and they do agave instead of table sugar and corn syrup. They get protein from quinoa, spinach, and raw nuts. They limit the amount of “vegetarian” fried foods they eat (like McDonald’s french fries). And they are not stuffing themselves with soy protein isolates, seitan, and tofu.
But many others aren’t eating any more veggies than the meat & potatoes crowd, and from a health standpoint have just substituted one “bad” thing (industrial toxic meat & dairy) for another (industrial toxic soy & other bullshit–potentially carcinogenic fake foods).
If you’re a conscious healthy vegan eater, more power to you for making a decision that’s congruent with your point of view. And congrats on choosing a lifestyle that causes less harm to sentient beings and obviously makes a substantial positive environmental impact as well.
But…if you’re the second type of vegan, please don’t try to take any credit for lessening your negative impact on the planet. Do some research into the environmental havoc of your industrial vegan food. You may be very surprised.
Meat-less versus Less-meat
Once, while waiting tables in San Francisco, I encountered a man who knew exactly what he didn’t want to eat. He was originally from India, and was ordering food for his large family. The soft spoken patriarch looked me in the eye and asked me to please listen closely. He wanted to make sure I was paying attention and understood fully his one request. I’ll never forget the way he put it…
“My family doesn’t eat anything with a family.”
Fair enough! I thought it was a simple eloquent way to express it, and a nice take on life. So they eat cheese and eggs and butter and don’t mind if there is milk in the pizza dough. But under NO circumstances would they ever consider eating even a tiny bite of pepperoni…
Interestingly though, it doesn’t have anything to do with health. It’s another ethics based dietary choice. And while a nice sentiment, it also doesn’t necessarily ensure that animals haven’t been harmed in the process of preparing his families dinner.
The issue we all face with food is that there is so much “information” being thrown around (my blog included) that it’s become nearly impossible to compare mangoes to mangoes. Think about it. How could someone compare the ethical, environmental, and personal health impact of any two people?
Could you honestly argue that someone eating countless chemically processed, cleared rain forest grown, soy patties, whose ingredients have been shipped from the other side of the planet, is eating better than a family who mindfully includes some hormone and antibiotic free, free range, organically fed meat from a local source they know and trust?
What I propose
What if the individual goal is simply more conscious eating and less judgment in general?
That question/statement brings us full-circle back to having periods in ones life where regardless of whether we are a Jain Monk or a Tyrannosaurus…we eat mostly raw, and mostly vegan.
Not necessarily as an end in itself, or permanently; but because it may be the easiest way to learn exactly what works for us, and how to be the healthiest, happiest, ascetics or flesh-eating dinosaurs that we can be.
If you are curious…today I ate: a blueberry smoothie, a nectarine, some raw pistachios, and a weird green/cacao smoothie.
It’s 5 am and I never went to bed. In a few minutes my girlfriend will wake up and go to yoga and in a couple hours I’ll be filling up reusable cloth hippy bags with loads of fresh organic produce from the Palm Springs Farmer’s Market!