Foods with Conscience
Recently, I went to a Food Forum at Westport Food Festival in Ireland. I was inspired be a presentation by Georgina Campbell, an Irish hospitality guide and cookbook publisher . Her talk was titled “ Food with a Conscience”. She said that “Food with Conscience is food when mindfully farmed, harvested, manufactured and consumed with respect for the environment and effects on world population, human and otherwise”
This triggered deeper reflection on what I eat .I realised that it is a political, wellness and ecological decision when choosing what to prepare in the kitchen, for family and friends. .Working with whole person Personal Development and Wellness coaching , I also observe that the food consumed is a statement of how clients think about themselves, their connection to the earth and their bodies.
I will cover 3 areas to consider when choosing food for consumption . I will deal particularly in this article with meat and dairy production.
Since Facebook I am bestowed daily with images to the desktop from inspirational quotes to the injustice and cruelty in this world. What brings tears to my eyes are the images that come in on some of the acts taken on rearing of animals. for food production. I know that in the wild, killings happen. However the caging, abattoir killing and lack of sensitivity in animal care deeply affects me.
Industrial farms require maximum production from the animals regardless of the stress this places them under and the resultant shortening of their lifespan. Confining as many animals indoors as possible might maximize efficiency and profits, but it also exposes the animals to high levels of toxins from decomposing manure and can create ideal conditions for diseases to spread. Feeding animals an unnatural diet rather than letting them graze and forage on open land simply adds to their health problems. To counteract these unhealthy conditions, factory farmed animals are given constant antibiotics they are also routinely treated with pesticide and can be given hormones implants to increase weight gain.
I worked on a family dairy farm for 7 years and even though we treated animals well, we bred them to produce 3 and 4 time more than their natural milk lactation. As well, we removed their calves the day after birth. This meant that they were not suckled continually which is more natural. We milked them twice a day with many hours between milkings. I have vivid memories to this day of arriving to the field to collect the cows for milking and they would all be waiting at the gate to come in , some leaking, others almost unable to walk with the pressure of full udders and I know now in pain with such unnatural weight.
We currently have 7 billion people living on earth .We keep consuming more and more meat. According to World Watch Institute, “Per-capita meat consumption has more than doubled in the past half-century, even as global population has continued to increase. As a result, the overall demand for meat has increased five-fold.” World meat consumption is expected to double by 2050. Already, according to the New York Time, “an estimated 30 percent of the earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, which also estimates that livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — more than transportation.”
With meat consumption rising, those who produce beef, chicken, pork and other meats have to be as efficient as possible—and that is a not free-range animal living on a countryside farm. There is only so much space that’s suitable for raising livestock in a lower-impact, healthier-for-the-environment (and the animal) way. Packing them into feedlots, feeding them grains (instead of grasses for cows and bugs and worms for chickens) is cheaper, faster and easier.
For every 100 calories of grains and feed we give to a beef cow, we only get 20% back in edible calories. What this means is that there is competition between feeding people and animals to feed people. I And that grain production doesn’t just use calories that could go to feed people instead of animals. In fact it takes 6 kilos grain to produce half kilo of animal protein. It is just unsustainable and inefficient .
Cardiologist William C. Roberts cites the carnivore’s short intestinal tract, which reaches about three times its body length. An herbivore’s intestines are 12 times its body length, and humans are closer to herbivores, he says. Roberts rattles off other similarities between human beings and herbivores. Both get vitamin C from their diets (carnivores make it internally). Both sip water, not lap it up with their tongues. Both cool their bodies by perspiring (carnivores pant)
Meat requires a short intestinal tract to move through. As humans have a longer tract meat if not properly chewed putrefies in the gut and causes gas and many other degenerative diseases . According to the Book by Colin Campbell The China StudyMore than 8,000 statistically significant associations found in the China Study, Campbell was able to draw a single unifying principle:
“People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease . . .. People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease.”
Michio Kushi whom I studied under in Switzerland in the 80’s , wrote a book called “Crime and Diet” stated that what one eats influences mood and behavior.
There is so much more research showing that over consumption of animal protein and refined foods causes many of the degenerative diseases that are prevalent in our world today . Heart disease is one of the majoe premature killers Movie Forks over Knives which is based on research by Dr Colin Cambell and Dr Caldwell Esselstyn shows examples of and the changes needed to maintain optimum health
* Eat less meat … have meatless days and include tasty alternatives such as nuts and seeds, lentil and chickpea dishes .
* When eating meat eat local and organic if possible and do not mix it with starches and sweet dishes .Instead consume with salad as this aids easier digestion
* Eat more green leafy foods and start sprouting foods such as mung beans or growing some vegetables in your garden. It is amazing what a small area can produce.