Lifestyle and Diet for Yours and the World's Sustainability

Lifestyle and Diet for Yours and the World’s Sustainability

A short look at environmentalism, corporations, and the effects of our diet on the planet.

I recently read Diet For A Small Planet, and I have to be honest. I didn’t particularly enjoy this book. I was expecting it to blow my mind, but it just didn’t. It could be due to its age, considering a lot of the science in it is not up to date, and the concepts talked about in the book are old news at this point.

The author would probably be happy to hear that the points argued in her book are now commonly accepted by (almost) everyone in society.

Frances Moore Lappé claimed at the beginning that when she first started getting into “food-activism” as she called it, pretty much no one had her back. It was her and a select group of people who gave a shit.

This was in the 1950’s and the 1960’s when people were practically eating cigarette and beef sandwiches. It wasn’t until the late 1950’s that doctors finally discovered the undeniable link between cancer and smoking, and it took the public another ten years to figure it out for themselves.

In addition to the widely accepted idea that smoking and cancer are linked, Now, everyone’s talking about the effects of a meat-focused diet. The way I grew up for example, what was for dinner revolved around the main course, the meat. If I was to ask my mom what was for supper, she would say, “we’re having chicken.”

I’d never hear, “Oh, we’re having potatoes and broccoli.” Either way, these issues are picking up steam, and for good reason. It seems like the more I read about agricultural and livestock practices, as well as their respective effects on the world around us, the more I feel guilty about eating beef, which is hands down, the worst for the environment.

However, sometimes I think these words are meaningless. “The Environment.” What does that even mean? It means a lot, but as a word –  without knowing everything it categorizes and identifies – it’s completely without meaning.

Explained differently: if you’ve never been taught this information before, it’s likely that you’ll roll your eyes when hearing something is bad for the “environment.” I’ll get into this later, but for now, I’ll give a quick summary of what characterizes the environment.

The environment is our water supply, the soil, other animals, insects, bugs, and forests, or lack thereof. It’s everything that we live in. It’s basically the habitat for human beings, it’s our home. It’s the oceans, lakes, rivers, mountains, the climate, the weather, the acidity of the rain, and so on and so forth.

It’s a lot. It’s not just a dumb word. 

And the way we act; what we buy; what we eat; and how we live has a massive effect on it. Whether you think we do or not, is completely irrelevant at this point. It’s fact.

When the cashier at your grocery store gives you a shitty plastic bag made out of oil at the grocery store, a person has to understand that it didn’t just appear out of thin air. Someone had to mine the materials made for it, drive them to the manufacturing plant, and then water, oil, and other natural resources were used to power the machines which press it into the bag which you’re now using. And to top it all off, they had to drive that shit back to the store.

All of this isn’t said in an attempt to make you feel bad. I’m pointing that what we do has an effect on the world. It really does. The products you buy can determine what happens in the world. I would argue that you can make more of a difference with your wallet, than with your vote. 

However, people who are arguing the points that I’m laying out are wrong about somethings. A point that vegetarians make which bothers me is when they claim vegetables and other grains have a comparable amount of protein to meat.

Well, that’s just wrong. It’s mental gymnastics at its finest. I’ve also heard the same argument in Vegan documentaries.

Through mental gymnastics, they argue that rice has more protein than meat in relation its total amount of calories. It’s true, a third of a cup of cooked white rice is 110 calories and has three grams of protein.

100 grams of Chicken Breast, on the other hand, skinless, boneless, cooked chicken breast, has 165 calories and 26 grams of protein.

So yeah, meat has more calories than rice, but the amount of protein in that piece of chicken is nearly ten times the rice.

There’s no question that if you’re looking to eat a lot of protein without a ton of fat and carbohydrates, chicken and fish are the way to go, as well as eggs.

There’s no way to beat it.

If you wanted to get 26 grams of protein from eating rice and broccoli, you’d have to eat 1500 calories worth of rice and broccoli. It would be A TON of food, and you’d also be ingesting around 500g of carbohydrates which is far above what’s needed for the day (by the way these numbers are just approximate).

You’d be a fat motherfucker if you ate that much rice every day, legit.

Despite my criticism of Frances Moore Lappe’s nutritional advice, it’s an undisputed fact that daily meat-eating, or rather, the “All-American Diet” as they call it, wreaks havoc on the world.

It affects the soil, the land-water, the topsoil, developing nations, and farmers out there in the world who are vulnerable to the price fluctuations caused by the corporations in the United States.

I still eat meat. I’m not the type of person to lecture others on what their choice in life should be. If you don’t want to adopt a plant-based diet, I don’t care.

I’m explaining why it is, that being a vegan and a vegetarian is becoming so popular, and why I support it, despite how annoying and preachy those people are.

When I was growing up in a small town in Canada, I saw with my own eyes the way fields are used for crops. They’re not all filled with broccoli and kale like people think. It’s mostly just corn, corn and soybeans.

Livestock such as cattle, chicken, and pigs are typically fed things like soybean meal, corn, and random grains that are grown using a lot of farmland, water, fuel, and pesticides.

According to Scientific American, if all of the farmland used for corn, soybeans, and grains were converted to vegetables and plants meant for human beings, that land, and those products could feed around 800 million people.

But instead, all of the product is used to feed animals, whom we butcher and eat. The ecologist, David Pimentel at Cornell University said this: “If all the grain currently fed to livestock in the United States were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million.”

David said that the feed used for cattle and other animals is five times as much needed to feed every American in the United States. It’s tremendously wasteful.

It’s useful to explain what the planet is by comparing it to a large ecosystem or a farm. It’s thousands of thousands of small communities made up of organisms separated by oceans, lakes, towns, cities, rivers, deserts, mountains, and tropical rain forests.

Supposedly, according to Time Magazine, 40% of the land is used to raise livestock, including cattle, chickens, pigs, etc., and one-third of our freshwater resources are used to feed those animals.

That’s right, 33% of our freshwater is used for animals whom we raise, butcher, and eat, and I’m not even getting into all of the chemicals and shit that they inject into the animals which then go into us.

Moreover, the vast majority of farmland is not used to create crops for humans to eat. Most of it is corn, soybeans, and wheat, which are used for high-glucose corn syrup and as it was noted before in detail, feed for livestock.

Where I grew up, there’s a farmer’s field on literally every corner, and people typically grow corn, soybeans, and wheat.

A lot of people think that farmers are out here growing things like broccoli, but the truth is that they’re mostly farming crops for cattle, chickens, and pigs.

It’s for this reason that meat-production is so taxing on our resources as well as on our wallets. If we were to use the same cropland to grow food for human consumption, we would increase the amount of food on the earth many, many, many times over.

The problem of world poverty and hunger isn’t that there isn’t enough food. It doesn’t take a mathematician to take a look at a restaurant or a store to realize how much food they’re throwing out at the end of the day.

The problem is the way we distribute food. Giant multi-national corporations need farmers to grow thousands of acres of corn so they can create high-glucose corn syrup, which is in almost all of our food, making us fat and on the brink of death.

This syrup is one of the worst things a person can put into their body. Next time you go into a grocery store, take a look at the back of most processed foods’ packaging, somewhere on the label it will say either glucose, sucrose, or high-glucose corn syrup.

It’s all the same shit; it’s sugar. That’s why you hear every day nowadays that people should avoid processed foods and only eat “whole foods,” meaning, things that aren’t prepared to death such as peanut butter and TV dinners.

Rather than having a glass of orange juice, eat an orange instead.

One of the things that I think about a lot is my fear of what is going to happen to our water supply in the future. It’s already happening in South Africa, where water shortages are becoming the norm, on top of the government pulling away white-owned land, which is one step closer to the horrors that went down in the former Soviet USSR.

The water pollution caused by factory farms – concentrated animal feeding operations – where animals are held in captivity for the sake of future butchering, those environments typically create as much waste as a small city.

Think about it, all of that shit and piss has to be used for something, and they usually use it as fertilizer for the soil, but there’s so damn much of it, that a lot of ends up polluting our water.

This is why I’m careful how much meat I’m eating every single day. I try to cut back to around 2-3 times a week, rather than every day. I used to be a straight-up vegetarian but found it too difficult to eat a high-protein, moderate-fat, and low-carb diet without meat and animals products.

For me, whenever I buy meat now, I get the organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed animals, just because I’m trying to drop my impact on the world.

Even when I buy random things for my place, it’s such a damn shame when I have to throw out a product made of hard plastic, something that I know is going to sit in a landfill for 50 million years, or possibly even wind up in the ocean. I’ve mitigated that by trying to buy stuff in as little packaging as possible, as well as products packaged in recyclable material.

So anyway, if you’re a vegetarian (or vegan) or whatever, I’m on your side (technically), but I’m not on your side at the same time because you guys are such assholes. Stop lecturing people and pulling stunts like this. 

If you want to tell people the things that you’ve learned, do it respectfully, and in a manner that’s helpful for all of us.