Food = Power

29 Jan
While I am a vegan, my husband and son are not – but I try to cook 2 vegan or vegetarian meals  for them out of 3 each day.  I make sure we enjoy green smoothies each morning and a delicious vegetable dish at each meal.  Most of our meals are cooked fresh from scratch and while I work in the kitchen – sometimes happily, sometimes hurriedly – my only wish for all my trouble is for my family’s health.  But as I read more about changing diets in our world today, I realise that there are other bonuses: a more vegetarian diet does a lot of good for the health of the earth and for the health of others.

Our Son’s Favourite Salad (click here for recipe)
We love that our son has a favourite salad!  
We use grapeseed oil, maple syrup and no added salt or pepper in this simple and quick Japanese dressing.
Others Use Food To Control Us
We were on a long haul plane trip and a stewardess stops by our row, smiles at my 3 year old son, looks at the banana and grapes on his table and whispers secretively to him but loud enough for me to hear:  “Don’t tell your mum, but I’m bringing you 2 bags of crisps and a big fat cheese roll.  It will be our little secret, ok?”
In my mind I was shouting: “Excuse me!”  (It almost reminded me of the time my grandmother served us cake for breakfast because CAKE IS HEALTHY!)  There were 4 big problems with this stewardess and this scenario: 1. her underhanded manner, 2. this is exactly why so many children are unhealthy these days, 3. she was assuming it was OK by my son, and 4. she was assuming it was OK by his parents.  But instead of reacting to her, in a rare Zen moment I just let it go.  
The stewardess returned and playfully displayed the 2 bags of crisps and 2 cheese rolls in front of my son’s face: “Which one would you like, sweetie?  Mmmmm… yummy!”.  I grit my teeth.  My young son looked at the junk food and then looked at her in the eye and shook his head. He firmly said, “No.  Do you have some grapes?”  The stewardess was taken aback and really looked quite hurt.  She left with the crisps but placed the cheese rolls on the table.  My son continued to eat all the bananas and grapes on his table and left the cheese rolls untouched.  Needless to say, I was ecstatic! This ‘food challenge’ experience made me realise that our son can hold his own.  It also affirmed the importance of education at home.
We All Can Control Our Own Food Intake To Help Others and The Earth in A Big Way
I usually sift through Forbes magazine quickly, but last November an article called Drop That Burger caught my eye.  The article gave reasons why Patrick O. Brown, a Stanford University Biochemist, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a vegan, wants to eliminate animal farming on planet earth.  He “notes that while livestock accounts for only 9% of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions, it accounts for 37% of human-caused methane (most of it emanating from the animals’ digestive systems) and 65% of human-caused nitrous oxide, according to the Food  and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Both are far better at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, meaning that cows, chickens and their ilk have a larger greenhouse effect than all the cars, trucks and planes in the world.”   In addition, a well-known economist and professor at London School Economics, Lord Stern, suggests we could fight global warming by changing our diet into a more vegetarian one.
A few months later, I picked up The Futurist magazine (click here for subscription) and was engrossed by the article called How To Feed 8 Billion People. It discusses record global grain shortages and how we can all manage these now limited resources: “Shifting to less grain-intensive forms of animal protein such as poultry or certain types of fish can also reduce pressure on the earth’s land and water resources… When considering how much animal protein to consume, it is useful to distinguish between grass-fed and grain-fed products… If we cannot quickly cut carbon emissions, the world will face crop-shrinking heat waves that can massively and unpredictably reduce harvests. A hotter world will mean melting ice sheets, rising sea levels, and the inundation of the highly productive rice-growing river deltas of Asia. The loss of glaciers in the Himalayas and on the Tibetan Plateau will shrink wheat and rice harvests in both India and China, the world’s most populous countries. Both are already facing water shortages driven by aquifer depletion and melting glaciers…Since hunger is almost always the result of poverty, eradicating hunger depends on eradicating poverty… If we are living high on the food-consumption chain, we can move down, improving our health while helping to stabilize climate.  Food security is something in which we all have a stake — and a responsibility.”

I hope in my small way I am really improving my family’s health and thereby helping others too.

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One Response to “Food = Power”

  1. Dana December 27, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    What an inspiration . . . truly. A testament to practicing great habits at home for the children to be a part of and educating them. Go Mama!

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