Americans eat for convenience over consciousness. But there is a cost to ourselves and to the environment when we tune out of what goes into our bodies. Does the food we eat give us the energy that truly sustains us, or does it have the opposite effect and pollute?
In eating for energy consider this: in the food chain cycle, it is the producers/plants who take their primary energy from the sun. Those that consume the plants–say insects–only receive 1/10th of the energy from their food source. The bird that consumes the insect will only receive 1/100 of the energy from that food source, etc. When eating meat, you are receiving the least amount of energy maybe only 1/1000th, from your meal. Therefore, in order to maximize energy, eat plants as much as possible.
The biggest thing we can do to fight climate change is to stop eating beef and pork. The amount of land, resources, and pollution it causes to factory farm these animals in filthy and cruel conditions is alarming. To fight infection, they are pumped with unsafe amounts of growth hormones and antibiotics. Run-off from their waste is known to adversely affect our water supply. If we are what we eat, meat-eaters consume a lot of trauma, suffering, and chemicals. While we may not register this on a conscious level, our bodies register this on a “gut” level.
Recently, I have found myself shifting from a vegetarian diet to vegan-curious diet. In conversations with people, the three biggest roadblocks to switching are unanimous: love of cheese, eggs for protein, and the fact that we cook almost everything with butter. The switch from dairy milk to almond and coconut milk was an easy first-step. Peppering vegan choices like delicious coconut-butter spread into my diet has been the key to shifting from a vegetarian to vegan mindset- not all at once, but a little at a time.
What matters most is consciousness around consumer choices. My goals are to eliminate as much cruelty out of my diet and to eat foods that will give the maximum energy. The results have been quick to reflect: weight loss, feeling less sluggish, more energized and alert. But most importantly, it feels good to be ethically connected to my place in the food web. Eating with compassion brings a surprising amount of deep gratitude.