Thursday, 16 July 2015

Become a Weekday Vegetarian

A few weeks ago I went to a massive bookstore near Piccadilly Circus looking for titles on green business and environmentalism. Most of my healing work so far has entered on energy and emotions and it's time I turned my attention to physical matters like food, or our relationship with the planet. The book that grabbed my attention was called Farmaggedon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat. I flipped to a random page and came across the story of a town in India that has high incidence of cancer, thanks to the pesticides used in nearby cattle farms. This struck a chord as my first published book is on energy healing and cancer, including risk factors to watch out for. Diet and exercise may be the easiest to change, and the World Health Organization tells us that lifestyle factors are responsible for a 1/3rd of cancer cases so it's a great place to start. A part of me realised this book could mean the end of my meat-eating days and I wasn't ready to go there, so I put it back on the shelf. There are so many reasons to give up meat: animal cruelty, health, the environmental impact, and one very human reason not to, taste. Ironically, my favourite foods are salads and cheeseburgers. I will often go for the veggie option, but  I'm not ready to say goodbye to meat, chicken or fish. 



Then last week I stumbled upon a TedTalk by Graham Hill, founder of of TreeHugger, called Why I'm a Weekday Vegetarian. The message just clicked. There are quite a few reasons to consider cutting back on meat, chicken and fish even if like me, you don't want or need to give it up forever. Here are a few:

  • We like to think pigs and chickens were happily raised on farms, but if we are buying our milk, eggs or animal products in a supermarket that may not be the case. The factory conditions animals are raised in can be deplorable. Free range and organic can be pricier but it's also more humane. 

  • The environmental impact is massive, whether its fish or meat. I was surprised to learn that huge amounts of water are consumed by meat production. Professor Tim Benton from the University of Leeds was quoted in this article from The Guardian saying that: "The biggest intervention people could make towards reducing their carbon footprints would not be to abandon cars, but to eat significantly less red meat." In a funny twist, the Showers for Beef movement encourages us to skip twenty-six showers for every hamburger patty we eat, just to balance out the cost.  

  • Do it for your health. Industrial production of food has given us too much of a good thing, whether its processed sugar, salt, dairy products or red meat. Obesity is a public health problem, but its also possible to be thin and have high cholesterol, putting ourselves at risk for heart disease. I'm not an expert in this area but I would like to learn more, so I'm just putting it out there. 

So what is the solution? Graham Hill's suggestion was to become a part-time vegetarian, eating meat, chicken or fish only on weekends. It's a quick and easy way to reduce your environmental footprint by 70% without saying goodbye to animal products forever. Its better for your health, for the environment and if you care about how these factory animals are treated, the fact that you're spending less will also make organic, sustainable and farm raised option more accessible. It's been two weeks since I watched the video and I'm giving it a try. A big part is enjoying the food you eat on weekdays and good recipes can help. Follow this link for more on the Weekday Vegetarian option, including a book by Graham Hill. 


Watch Graham's Ted Talk Here





That said, there has been a positive side to the industrial production of food the past century, as Louise Fresco demonstrates in her Ted Talk on Feeding the Whole World. While  developed nations may suffer from the too much food phenomenon, there are plenty of people in developing nations who would struggle to eat without it. Any tentative solution would have to take them into account as well ... 



Watch Louise Here =)




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Reiki hugs, Regina

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