Jun 25, 2012

Passing on stuff I've learned: Food

These last 18 months have led me down paths I wasn't expecting to travel. I'm basically challenging my own paradigms. Here are my thoughts about food:

I have come to realize that no one can live well and healthy without animals, not even vegans. According to everything I've been reading and hearing about nutrition since I went low-carb in August of 2010, we need agriculture to continue to feed ourselves, but what we don't need is industrialized or petroleum-based agriculture. That type of farming is destroying our soil (which adds to global warming) and our health (lack of omega-3 in meat, for example, and lack of nutrients in vegetables).

Organic agriculture preserves soil, plant and animal health, and in turn, our health. Humans are not in competition with animals for food. The logic that vegetarians (I used to be one) buy into is that it's better to give the grain directly to people, rather than feed it to cattle because it takes 6 (or 10 or 18 or even just 2, depending on your source) pounds of corn to produce 1 pound of meat. The problem with this "logic" is that cows shouldn't even be eating corn. They should be eating only grass, a food humans cannot eat at all. Cows are fed grains only because the US has a huge surplus of corn.

We should demand that all meat from herbivores be from grass-fed ones only. No exceptions. The vegans and vegetarians should fight for this, too. Without farm animals, there is no source of organic fertilizer for all those healthy, organic vegetables. Without grazing herds cutting and fertilizing grass, grass dies and we get land erosion.

What we really need to do is treat farm animals as well as we treat ourselves, whether or not you choose to eat them. That's how much we depend on them.

By the way, I've learned that cows aren't the only ones not able to digest grains: Humans can't, either. Once I experienced the remission of my IBS simply by eliminating grains in my diet, I threw out my old paradigm of "vegetarianism is the best option". There has never been any human society that evolved on a vegan diet and the only society to never have a medicine man lived exclusively on meat and fish (the Inuits). I followed all the IBS advice, eating more soluble fiber (from grains, naturally) and swearing by brown rice for health. Still I had troubled digestion. So I gave up my beloved müsli; I no longer hurt after a meal. I still have IBS; it comes back whenever I eat grains or too much sugar. And no, it's not about gluten. I wish I knew exactly what it was. Maybe there's something to the blood type diet after all; I'm a cave woman: Type 0.

In order to find inspiration for other breakfast than cold cereal, I got into low-carbing. That put me back in the healthy BMI range, without exercise. This is still a work in progress. I keep listening and reading and learning more stuff. One of the other claims I used to make, I can no longer make: That plain ol' sugar won't hurt you. I am learning that it will. In fact, if one applied the definition for addictive substances (like alcohol) to sugar, sugar too would be a controlled substance, to be kept away from children. I'm still in the process of addressing what's left of sugar in my diet. Dr. Robert Lustig's description of the damage fructose does is downright frightening. Still, I haven't given up chocolate, and I don't yet want to.

Footnotes:
  1. The book "Beyond Broccoli" sums up all the of the current knowledge/research about diet and nutrition that the government won't tell you.
  2. I heard about "Beyond Broccoli" on Jimmy Moore's Livin' La Vida Low-carb show.
  3. Sugar regulation and why, an interview with Dr. Robert Lustig, and a good introduction to our relationship with sweet stuffs.

4 comments:

alice said...

The teacher in a class I recently took on organic agriculture told me that the fastest way to turn organic material into fertilizer was to run it through the digestive tract of an animal. ;) The alternative is composting, and that can take many months, as compared to the day or two that the animal needs...

gekko said...

Thanks, Keera. I've just now bought a (Kindle) copy of Beyond Broccoli

Paula said...

I think how we treat them is key; that said, I don't get out there and fight for anything anymore, too tired and achy. I don't do well on low protein, so I try to pay attention to that, but some days I really can't be bothered. When I have a migraine I crave things like bread and potatoes. Weird.

Keera Ann Fox said...

Alice, that is so funny, but also true!

I hope you enjoy it, Gekko!

Paula, you're just not in enough pain. ;-) People ask me how I can keep saying no to bread and I tell them that pain avoidance is a great motivator.

New wrinkle since I wrote this post: Starch in general may bother some folks, not just grains. I find that this makes a lot of sense to me because it hasn't been enough just to cut out gluten grains. All grains and legumes must go. I'm definitely not done trying to figure out what works for my body.