The politics of food, nutrition, vegan, paleo, etc. etc.

food politics1I mindfully use diet and food and herbs to heal my body/mind/spirit. Natural healing depends on it, but the information out there is sometimes very difficult to navigate. Below are some tweets I wrote in response to my last research quest when trying to figure out how to address a nutritional imbalance I’m dealing with.

So these are the tweets I shared. I cleaned them up and clarified a little for this post:

Almost all nutrition information is ideologically skewed in one direction or another…it’s a jungle out there.

The only direction I give people at this point is whole real food that is grown as naturally as possible…and listen to your body.

it’s really maddening. I don’t really believe anything I read anymore. You really need to look at source information for yourself.

but even studies are really deeply muddied and biased…too many issues not controlled for at all nor considered once the analysis is made.

I do believe the feedback my body gives me.

So, yes, once I do all the research I can, in the end, my body lets me know what it needs. I’ve written the below about the veggie and meat-eating divide in the past…because, that, of course, is where the biggest ideological issues come up.

In our society today whether people eat animal products or not is a hot issue. I would prefer not to eat meat but have found that at times I must. I’ve also found that I’m intolerant of dairy and eggs, so that leaves only meat and fish to get those particular nutrients. I have found others like me in my community with similar physical ailments who have found that animal products are essential. I’ve experimented heavily with purely vegetarian methods of nourishing myself without meat since I deeply value the lives of animals and have failed. This choice does not come without pain. I’m always happy for those who find they can thrive without animal products and I certainly don’t begrudge those who can. I hope someday to regain enough health that I might be able to once again carefully tweak most if not all the meat out of my diet. I write explicitly about this issue because we are all different and people need to find what works for both their body and their spirit together. Sometimes the needs of the body and the needs of the spirit seem to conflict. Such is life. Never simple. I take comfort in the fact that all of nature eats itself and I’m blessed with a consciousness that can recognize that I am part of this web of life, complicated and lovely as it is.

I’ve considered the meat/veggie divide a whole lot. It’s a constant balancing act and I do minimize animal products as much as possible. I wrote this little blurb for friends recently.

As long as vegans run the risk of getting deficient in certain very important nutrients (B12 and Omega3s) for example (without supplementation) you will not convince me that we don’t need animal products at least some of the time. I, for example, don’t tolerate supplements…I also have a vegan sensibility for the most part but I won’t sacrifice my health. So I look for the best alternatives. Walking on the planet as lightly as possible is always my goal while understanding myself as an animal that is part of the life’s eco-system. I had a cricket flour bar for breakfast this morning…very high in b12!!

So, yeah. Not a very popular idea, but wow, the cricket power bar was darn good. And at least at our farmer’s market here in Asheville, NC there is lots of interest and people are happy to eat the tasty bar. Frankly it wouldn’t take much effort to get the next generation completely comfortable eating insects. All it takes is giving our toddlers these sorts of yummy treats and telling them “yum, cricket flour is awesome.” We are all highly programmable and the only reason we think insects are gross is because we didn’t grow up eating them. Many indigenous cultures eat insects.

Here’s a small excerpt from an article about how insects are smart food:

Compare the nutritional value of insects to beef and even fish and it’s pretty clear which one is the smart food. While having protein levels on par with caterpillars, lean ground beef and cod come up short in iron and vitamin levels. Crickets also contain a lot of calcium, which we know is good for bone development. Besides nutritional value, insects are also abundant and environmentally sustainable. Farming and harvesting insects takes very little water and transport fuel compared to livestock, grains and even vegetables. It’s also more efficient than raising cattle. One hundred pounds of feed produces 10 pounds of beef. The same amount of feed would produce more than four times that amount in crickets (source National Geographic). If America and Europe got on board, insects could help to provide a sustainable food source for the future. (read more)

I’m serious about supporting our planet and minimizing suffering. I’d like to see the end of factory farms NOW.  The abject cruelty that animals are subjected to is a hideous stain upon humanity. And everyone who eats factory farmed animals is complicit. (and yes, the fact that insects too are sentient beings is not lost on me. I am someone who captures and releases spiders and bugs in my home. I do not kill them with some exceptions when it becomes pretty impossible to do otherwise. Still I’d like to support the love and care of mammals and birds and the end of factory farms with the intent to walk as lightly as possible)

Eating wholesome whole real food is important for body/mind/spirit health and well-being. I’ve written a lot about my adventure with diet and healing here:  Nutrition and gut health, Mental health and diet

And you can find more Foodie posts and recipes here.

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About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters