Tag: environmental concerns
Last week, I opened the discussion of whether or not the whole world could go Primal. As you may recall, I noted that given the realities of our infrastructure, our policies, and the entrenched interests who wield considerable amounts of power and influence, practically speaking such a dramatic shift simply isn’t likely anytime soon. While it may be true that much of the world can’t access or afford grass-fed beef or other examples of privileged dietary staples it shouldn’t keep those that can from enjoying it. In fact, pulling out wallets can go a long way toward changing the state of things as they are now. That was last week, though. Today, I’m going to address some of the logistical concerns many of you raised regarding a transition to a world of Primal eaters. This is a huge topic beyond the scope of any one blog post, and there’s no magic bullet, but I’ll give it an honest go.
Every couple weeks, I get an email that asks about the global sustainability of the Primal Blueprint diet. It’s a common question, one that probably deserves a comprehensive answer – or as close to one as I can muster. See, the problem is that the world is really, really big. And the problems that affect the world have many layers. Each of those problems is made up of dozens of smaller problems, localized issues whose solutions – if they even exist – don’t necessarily apply to the others.
Indeed, the question posed in the title of today’s post isn’t just one question. It is many. Next week, I’ll attempt to answer the question(s) as best I can.
But for now, I just have to ask: is it even a valid question?
Is there a sight more idyllic, peaceful, and touching than that of a fish farmer tending to his flock? In case you aren’t aware of how fish farming works, here’s a sample day in the life of a fish farmer:
Just before dawn each day, he rises from his water bed, dons his denim board shorts, enjoys a mugful of the fermented fish liver brew he keeps stewing in a bucket beside the front door, leaves his rickety old farmhouse boat, and sets out for a day’s labor. Wherever his paddleboat passes, carp, salmon, tilapia, phytoplankton, algae, and shrimp cease predating each other and crest to greet him. The fish farmer knows each by name and has a wink, chin scratch, and fish flake for every little shy fry cowering behind its mother. At slaughtering time, the old farmer sheds a single, solitary tear – every single time, whether it’s the ornery old catfish with greying whiskers or the months-old tiger prawn just hitting his prime (which, unfortunately for the prawn, is when flavor and texture are at their peak). It’s a simple life, but, all-in-all, an honorable one steeped in tradition, stewardship, and respect for the natural flow of aquatic life.
Okay, okay… how does fish farming really work? Well, it encompasses more than just fish, for one. A more accurate term to use is actually aquaculture, which includes multiple varieties of fish farms, shrimp (and other crustacean) farms, shellfish (oyster, clam, mussel, abalone, etc) farms, and sea ranches (this is the coolest). Let’s dig in.
Yesterday, I debunked a few of the common, “evolution-based” arguments leveled against meat-eaters that might have the potential to stump anyone with only cursory knowledge of evolutionary science. By and large, these are arguments that appeal to our emotions. They invoke a peaceful, gentle pre-history of slender, humane early humans co-existing in perfect meatless harmony with the animal kingdom, an image that sounds great and makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Those sharp spears found at various dig sites, you ask? Why, those were just used to skewer hard-to-reach apples, or perhaps to gently separate two squirrels battling over an acorn. But the fossil record shows distinct markings on large ruminant bones that seem to indicate cuts, tools, and butchering – how do you explain those? Oh, those? See, early humans were so grossed out by animal carcasses that they couldn’t bear to actually touch them with bare hands. They developed tools so that they could move the offending meat out of their line of sight without actually putting hands to flesh. Pretty ingenious!
Grok had a lean physique, pearly whites, sturdy bones, and generally fantastic health (aside from trauma and warfare-induced injury) because he was surrounded by the food his body was designed to eat. A new study by Johns Hopkins University has concluded that environment still plays an enormous role in people’s health and wellness.
Poorer people, they found, tend to live in areas with less access to healthy food, while wealthier people have far more access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole, real foods (note that although the researchers’ idea of “healthy” included “skim milk and whole wheat bread,” the foods used to determine whether a neighborhood had access to health food were generally superior to the processed carb-laden fast food fare available in poorer areas). Unsurprisingly, access to healthy food corresponds to quality of diet, so the lower-income kid who walks past ten fast food joints on his way home is more likely to eat fast food (and get fat, along with the laundry list of ailments that accompany poor diet: diabetes, heart disease, etc). “You are what you eat” still holds true, but to that we can add, “You eat what you can access.”
Thanks for the great topic suggestion, Son of Grok. It is interesting that as we rid our body of waste, we seem to do the same for the planet. Funny how that works out. The reduction of artificial wastes and packaging materials is probably the most tangible benefit to the environment, but following the Primal Blueprint to a tee can be incredibly green-conscious in many other ways.
With the increasing cost of oil – and, as a result, the increasing cost of just about everything else – these days it is both environmentally and economically friendly to “eat green.”
Read on to discover how you can reduce your carbon footprint without compromising on food quality or choice…
95% of San Francisco area wastewater contains chemicals known to disrupt hormones. Marine scientists have already found male fish developing eggs in their reproductive organs. If this is happening to fish, what’s happening to humans?
The chemicals are common ingredients in household cleaners, personal care products, and cosmetics. Researchers from the Environmental Working Group postulate that fertility problems, birth defects and sexual dysfunction may be related to the frequent exposure to chemicals in our household products – and I think they’re right.
Locavores. The 100-Mile Diet. The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Local is the new organic, and with good reason. Most food travels thousands of miles, at a tremendous cost to our precious resources, just to land on your plate. Eating locally is better for the environment. But it may also be better for your health (what? better than organic?).
Cookthinker blog tried out the 100-mile diet recently. This is their photo.
From the 100-Mile Diet authors’ page:
“When the average North American sits down to eat, each ingredient has typically travelled at least 1,500 miles—call it ‘the SUV diet.’ On the first day of spring, 2005, Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon (bios) chose to confront this unsettling statistic with a simple experiment. For one year, they would buy or gather their food and drink from within 100 miles of their apartment in Vancouver, British Columbia.” – The 100-Mile Diet
Eating locally – which necessarily means seasonally – is certainly what our ancestors did. These days, Americans wolf down upwards of 4,000 calories a day from refined grain, factory-raised meat and heavily-treated dairy – with little regard for how the food was grown, how it will affect your health, and what it’s doing to the planet. We have Food Processing magazine. Ridiculous processed and refined food “products”. And let’s not forget about Cheese Food. What we don’t have is sustainable agriculture, a humane food production system, or a healthy population. You know, the little things.
The locavore movement is spreading beyond its Berkeley bubble. (Even Google has gotten with the program and serves its employees free lunches comprised of local delicacies and garden vegetables.)
Some questions for the Apples:
– Is “organic” more marketing than meaningful?
– What’s better: organic produce or organic animal products?
– Do you eat locally, organically, both, or neither?
Primal Health Posts
Interesting Flavor Combinations for Bored Taste Buds
The Fuming Fuji Rants Against Processed Food Marketed to Kids
Weird Processed Food Ingredients (Mold! It Tastes Like Chicken!)
If You Have to Brag About Your “All-White Meat Chicken”…
[tags] 100 mile diet, locavores, local food movement [/tags]
Grocery stores are strange places full of even stranger food packaging concepts. Here’s some food for thought edible substance for cerebration (pitifully-unsuccessful-avoidance-of-pun alert):
Have you noticed how plastic continues to pop up in all sorts of food packaging? We all know that plastic comes from a limited resource; producing, trashing and even recycling plastic all have unpleasant consequences. And when it comes to health, it’s questionable if we want things like thalates in the same hemisphere as our food, let alone the same room.
Still, plastic persists: convenience remains the crowning virtue. (Although, in my opinion, the “convenience” of plastic packaging is still up for debate. This excessive layering is responsible for at least one post-gym “I need to eat!” meltdown per month by yours truly. Layering in fashion is one thing, but in food packaging? We don’t take food snowboarding with us, nor does food need to brave the indoor-outdoor urban trotting of a winter trip to the East Coast. Is this really necessary?)
But, truthfully, I hadn’t given much thought to things like these little plastic cap switcheroos…
Until I learned that there’s a permanent Texas-sized carpet of debris lolly-gagging around the Pacific Ocean’s northern gyre. Just call it Patchwork Pacific.
(These images are not to scale.)
This really bugs me. In light of our current health and environmental concerns, things like this new Kraft product are totally ridiculous!
I know we’re all working hard and we’re busy, but do we need to be throwing away millions of plastic shredders that come attached to our cheese? I actually liked shredding my parmesan with my own shredder – you know, one that you don’t throw away with each block of cheese. I’m not saying I counted it as a workout or anything, but is it that inconvenient to retain ownership of a shredder that’s not physically attached to my Manchego? Is the extra arm movement required to open the drawer really so exhausting that Kraft feels they’re doing us a favor? Was this a gaping void in the marketplace of which I was unaware?
What do you all think? Perhaps your editor is being too critical of “food” marketers (using-term-generously alert). Perhaps the days I skipped macroeconomics as a slacker college student are coming back to bite me after all these years. (Darn that Professor Carter!) Enlighten me, Kraft!
Until the next shopping adventure, friends…
(Psst: just before hitting “Publish” I ran a quick Google search and found this very sensible review from the Accidental Hedonist, so I’m relieved to find I’m not the only one who thinks this product is both asinine and wasteful.)