during the most recent raw food dinner on Whidbey, I was intrigued by a guest describing his own long-term raw foodism, which he eventually gave up in favor of a diet modeled after the research of Weston Price. Briefly, Price researched and documented native or indigenous diets around the world, and compared the dental health and overall health to people of the same ethnicity who were eating a more modernized (processed) diet.  He created a striking collection of photographs of dental health and tooth decay in the 1930s and 40s.

Not surprisingly, most indigenous diets include animal products and are cooked.  Cooked food has more available calories, an important feature of diets in a place where food might not always be abundant.

This intrigues me as it relates to food cravings.

Generally, when one is eating a healthy diet, food desires are a sign of nutrients needed.  For instance, I frequently crave seaweed.  I don’t know what that craving means scientifically, but I know that seaweed is a healthful thing to eat, and it no doubt provides some fairly different nutrition to the rest of my diet.

however, I never, ever crave meat.  I became a vegetarian seventeen years ago, and not for ‘moral’ reasons; but rather because eating meat became distasteful (literally.) So, I call myself a ‘natural vegetarian’-  as opposed to a moral one. Some vegetarians I know do crave meat even after years of not eating it.  This seems indicative of a different body type and different nutritional needs.

I’ve met people who have disliked the taste of all animal products- including dairy and eggs- from their babyhood.  That’s what I’d call a natural vegan.

A quote got me thinking this morning:

In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, the main problem isn’t that animals are being killed and eaten. The major culprit here is the factory farming system and the Americans who fund it.

Steve Pavlina on Climate Change

I’m inclined to believe, that as humanity evolves on a planet with a changing climate, some self-preservation factors (instincts?) might develop, leading more and more people to be natural vegetarians.

Logically speaking, I don’t think raw foodism is the most eco-sensitive diet, in the manner which most people eat.  So many raw foodists in northern climates (myself included) like to eat coconuts, south american or tibetan superfoods, and tropical fruits. Being from Maine, a local raw diet for me might include root vegetables, fermented sauerkrauts, apples, berries, pine tree products, and seaweed.  In reality though, I shop at Whole Foods, and the seaweed comes from California, the apples from Washington, the berries from god-knows-where, and pine tree products don’t exist.  I also really like lemons, coconut oil and shreds, raisins, and chia seeds.

Raw food diets can be locally focused, they just typically aren’t.

Ironically, one of the macrobiotic tenets is local food sources, however, people who eat macro usually eat local to some region of Japan (regardless of their personal location.)  I see food products all the time that are labeled macrobiotic and really are prepared foods packaged in plastic including ingredients sourced from all over the world.

That said, probably the most brilliant approach to food is embodied through the story a friend told me about a wise young man he met:  the wise man said “if I bless the food before eating it, even burger king can be nourishing.”

when one considers it, any other perspective is rather materialistic. :)

Posted by:Brook DeLorme

3 replies on “choosing food

  1. This is so interesting, I had a conversation with someone on Friday that followed the exact flow of your post. First we talked about different kinds of vegetarians’ feelings about meat, then we talked about raw food and calories, and then about the raw vs. local conflict!

  2. how funny! gosh, it’s been a long time since we talked:) when are you coming back to maine? :)

  3. it’s so nice to hear your reflections and openness to multiple forms of committed eating. being aware of the various problems of these diets is part of making continuous, ethical food choices. i don’t feel like there is only one solution–we all have to fit the ethical demands with our own lifestyles…

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