Monday, March 11, 2013

Vegan, Vegetarian, Organics, and Food

  • A vegan is someone who refrains from consuming animals and their excretions, and some vegans refrain from using any animal products in anything or wearing clothing made from animals. 
  • Vegetarians consume dairy, but don't eat meat. 
  • Organic food is food in its more natural state. 
  • Food is defined by the individual, and what one person calls food isn't what another may call food. 

Whenever the topic of food quality and food choices comes up in my daily life I always remember how privileged I am that I can entertain such choosiness when it comes to food. The vast majority of the world doesn't have enough to eat, or has meager choices of food readily available to them. The latter is also true for the society I live in.

One time while standing behind a lady at the grocery store checkout I noticed the difference between her food choices, and what I had on my side of the divider. My side had mostly produce, and her side had mostly boxes and packages. I felt slightly sad for her, and I felt slightly at-a-loss, for myself. I felt sad because she's probably never considered the massive amounts of marketing that caused her to buy this food enough. I felt at-a-loss (and borderline pompous) because I think my vegetables are better than her boxed food, yet I don't know how to spread the word to her, individually, and to others about "critical thinking" when it comes to food.

Now, "Spreading the word" about something. Getting others "on board" with you has a simultaneous positive and negative effect, because of the way our modern societies success model works (i.e. dominate the world!). Things tend to grow and spread. And, if they catch on beyond a certain growth point, they can become a bad thing.
Take something non-edible for example. Gasoline. Most of us are expected to have a car in our society, this notion turned reality is causing us to pay a high price at the pump due to the increasing scarcity of oil as we pillage the earth for the Black Gold.
So, I can't help but wonder... Pretend at one point in the near future the majority of people in the U.S. become vegan. Would that have a similar detrimental effect, the way it has a detrimental effect in the dominating oil industry, but in this case it's vegetation? Similar to the way that gasoline use has given rise to pillaging the earth, pollution, wars, and exploitation of Third World nations?

One of the reasons life exists on earth is due to the diversity of life and environment. Which counters the idea that we should all be one way.

Organic Food

So there's this "latest craze" called Organic food. But, my grandparents are laughing at this. Because, when they ate and grew food, all food was just food, there was no distinguishing between the Organic section and the non-organic. And, all animals were grass fed and more-or-less "free roaming".

So, what happened? It's a logical question. I have an answer that may address an aspect of how we got here.

Sixty years ago, back in 1953, you could ride a horse over a hillside in parts of California and see empty land for miles and miles. It was the 1950's, WWII was over, and there was plenty for everybody. Everyone gets a house, and everyone gets a car, etc. And, it worked, and people were happy (except minorities). But, this mentality became the norm, and as the population grew this mentality of "everyone gets/can have one of everything"  was heading for a disaster that few to none foresaw.

So, everyone wanted to achieve getting some "meat on the table" at every dinner possible, and companies wanted to give the masses meat. But, automation increased in workplaces, and it put people/consumers out of work, gasoline prices gradually rose due to depletion of oil reserves, and the population boomed to boot.
So, car companies decided to make more cars that used less fuel, and food companies decided to make food in more economical and profitable ways. Meat companies began housing their animals differently, feeding them cheaper stuff, and pumping them up with hormones so they'll grow faster, or so the animals would produce more dairy (Albeit, at one point the dairy industry was producing so much cheese that they had to store the surplus in caves. I kid you not).

And, throughout all this time... The 50's, 60's, 70's, 80, 90's, and we're now in the 21st century. The mentality that everyone can and should have (if they want it) one of everything. - A TV, a car, a kid, a microwave, phone, each person living in the same building and paying for their own individual internet connection (evil laugh from the Internet Service Providers)...

... So, this (mentality) has continued, and it's still going. And, it's had some interesting effects. For example, we have Communism via Capitalism, because everyone (at one point) wanted a house with a lawn. They made housing developments cheaply in-which all the houses look alike.

And, car designs increasingly look the same (probably due to learning of aerodynamics though). Also, coffee shops were once individually owned and unique, but all Starbucks look basically the same inside as all other Starbucks. McDonald's has these qualities, and all "Jiffy" stores sell the same items no matter which one you walk into.
Examples of Communism via Capitalism are many. One last one in the form of a question... Where did you buy your broom from? Walmart or Target? Because, I don't even know where else to buy a broom. We must all have the same brooms.

The Contraction

Now we're witnessing a contraction from this way of living I briefly described as an "Everyone can have one of everything" mentality. And, I'm participating in this contraction. I gave up driving a few years ago. I still have a car, but I drive an average of one hour per week. I ride my bicycle instead. I had mostly given up eating meat already for some time, but now I'm largely giving up eating dairy as I find ways to make delicious alternatives for my "cheese" enchilada's. - Food is partly cultural too, we can't forget that it has deep sentimental value.
Now I jump to the selling of "Organic" food...

Organic: A New Way To Separate You From Your Money

So, you see an avocado that's 75cents at the Mexican Grocery store, but then you go to the "Organic" Food store and the Avocado is $2. I'm not putting up with that sh*t! I don't care if it says Organic all over it.

I went to a local Natural Food store and saw this Cinnamon pictured below. It was like four or five cinnamon sticks for $4.


Then I saw this bunch of cinnamon at a Mexican Grocery store for less than $4.

I'm just lookin' out for you