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An entry in the How To Be Poor series

To better understand the distorted viewpoint of our culture that I wrote about in the last post, I want to talk about food and diet. As I tend to reference my own experiences in these posts, I want to write initially about my own changing diet over the years.

I have spent a good portion of my life attempting to eat in a moral and ethical manner. This has boiled down, as often as not, to a focus on eating certain foods and not eating yet other foods. For sixteen years of my life, this approach underpinned my vegetarianism. I ate dairy and eggs during that time, but didn’t eat meat of any kind. I came to that diet while living in Arizona as a teenager and it was greatly influenced by the New Age community I found myself interacting with there. I became vegetarian largely for moral reasons and partly for health reasons (ironically, considering how poorly I ate as a vegetarian.) I even believed at times that eating meat would lower my body’s vibration level. Looking back, I feel a bit ridiculous about that.

As parenthetically noted, I didn’t eat well during my vegetarian days. Having never learned to cook much and rarely having anyone to cook for me, my diet tended toward prepared, processed and packaged foods. Boxed pasta mixes and frozen pizzas were staples and spaghetti made with jarred sauce constituted my primary culinary adventures. Looking back, it seems ridiculous that I would think a diet of processed foods was a more ethical and healthy way of eating simply because it didn’t involve meat. That seems the very definition of blind reductionism, but it was a blindness I suffered.

Upon reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, I began to warm to the idea of resuming my meat eating ways, but with a focus on eating sustainable and well raised meat. I eventually made that change and, not long after, discovered Nourishing Traditions and the Weston A. Price school of dietary thought. I read Nina Planck’s Real Food. I found a source of raw milk and started consuming it with abandon. I experimented with fermenting veggies and soaking grains, though I never integrated those foods into my diet on a regular basis. Finally, a few years ago, I read The Vegetarian Myth and reached the peak of my infatuation with a diet focused on the eating of healthy animal fats and proteins. I found myself convinced by Lierre Keith’s book, which argued that the healthiest, most ethical and most sustainable dietary choice was eating a good amount of animal fat and protein from animals raised well, as well as a certain amount of fresh fruits and veggies and minimal grain.

In conjunction with my focus on well raised animal products, I also had started to farm. This lifestyle greatly improved my diet, significantly boosting my cooking skills and knowledge and providing me plenty of abundant, fresh vegetables with which to work. I became more familiar with making simple, sustaining meals--the sorts of meals I should have been eating during my vegetarian days. In tandem with the increased physical labor of farming, I felt healthier, dropped some unnecessary weight, and began to see the joys of a local and seasonal diet. Not that I ate such a diet exclusively, but I moved much closer. And that has continued up until this day. I probably ate better and more local and seasonal this last year than any other, with much help from the fantastic people I lived with and our communal meals.

With all these different changes in diet over the years, a common thread starting with my vegetarianism (and, really, before then--I remember calling McDonald’s as a child and asking them to stop using styrofoam for their packaging after watching a 20/20 report with my parents) was the idea that what I ate played a large role in my moral and ethical well being. I couldn’t help but feel that my diet was important--that I influenced the world, its health and happiness, through what I ate. Of course, that’s true. Our collective diet plays a massive role in how we live in this world. Yet, I couldn’t stop looking at this effect through the prism of what I ate rather than how I ate.

This perhaps shows itself most clearly through my vegetarianism. I boiled my moral decision down to meat and failed to look at any of the other implications of my diet. Later, when I became convinced by The Vegetarian Myth that eating animal protein and fruits and veggies was the way to go, I looked at it with something more of a holistic viewpoint--questioning what kind of an agriculture could truly be practiced sustainably and realizing the destructive aspects of monoculture grain production, even if done organically--but I still boiled it down to a set diet with rigid guidelines, creating an ideal and only then trying to figure out how I might meet that ideal locally.

Our society, furthermore, is filled with these ideals. There are thousands of books laying out rigid dietary guidelines that promise you the world: a healthy body, a better environment, long life, good sex, happiness, joy, moral satisfaction, so on and so forth. What these diets typically have in common is that they have all kinds of guidelines that they attempt to apply to everyone, with little to no regard for local circumstances, the climate you live in, your particular body, your childhood diet, your likes and dislikes, the kind of work you do, or what kind of agriculture exists locally. The assumption is that you can eat whatever you choose. And this is an assumption that can only exist in the context of massive luxury. It’s, in other words, one of the very distorted viewpoints of our society borne out of a globalized, industrial economy floating on the warm waters of cheap and abundant fossil fuel energy.

Most of human history has not seen such luxury and personal diets formed accordingly. Most people have been constricted by their local agriculture or local wild foods, with minimal or no trade providing non-local foods. Most people, furthermore, have been limited by their own means of acquisition. Plenty of people have been subsistence farmers, eating largely food they have produced themselves and whatever they can acquire in trade using that same self-grown food. Others have eaten on a strict budget, unable to purchase a wide variety of luxury foods even if those foods have been available. It’s a unique circumstance in the history of humanity that we find ourselves in today, in which a significant portion of the populations of industrialized nations have access to food from across the world, throughout the year, and have enough money to buy most any of that food and thus craft whatever particular diet they should want.

This is where we need to make a sharp distinction between necessity and luxury. Necessity is having something to eat--having enough to eat. Luxury is being able to eat whatever diet you decide you prefer, whether that be for matter of taste, health or ethical concern. In a world in which luxury is taken for granted, the morality of eating easily can be transformed from how you eat--by the care you take in eating the foods that are available to you--to what you eat, with little regard for your local circumstances. If you’re living by necessity and therefore feeding yourself within a very limited range of available foods, then moral concerns about your diet have to skew more toward the “how” side of things. What are the traditions of eating? How do you relate those traditions to your larger moral framework? How do you go about acquiring your food? How much do you eat? What kind of thanks do you give for it? What care do you take in the eating of it, the growing and raising of it if you have any control over that? If you’re living in luxury, then it’s much easier to skew your moral concerns toward the “what” side of things. Am I eating grass fed meat? Am I not eating meat? Am I eating grains that are destroying the prairies? Am I eating organic produce? Is my food locally produced? I’m not saying these questions are irrelevant or unimportant, but they are often borne of luxury.

If you find yourself in a famine, chances are you’re going to eat whatever food becomes available to you. If you’re starving, it’s unlikely that moral convictions about not eating meat are going to keep you from eating some goat meat stew if someone should offer it to you. Furthermore, if you’re someone who can’t seem to comprehend the idea of eating grains and vegetables as the core of your diet, then you better change your opinion real quick if you find yourself in the midst of a famine because you’re a lot more likely to get your hands on a meal in that dietary realm than you are a juicy hamburger. Do you think that grain production is inherently destructive of natural ecosystems and that a diet of grass fed meats, eggs from pastured poultry, raw dairy and a smattering of fruits and vegetables grown in rotation on farms incorporating animals is the most sustainable diet? Well, you might not find any such diet available to you a few decades from now, when constricted fossil fuel supplies and an overcrowded planet have greatly increased hunger rates and--in the rough and rocky crash following our current overshoot--grain staples are far easier to come by than pastured meat. The above diet may be one of the more sustainable ones available to human beings--and I don’t know if that’s true or not--but that’s going to support perhaps a tenth or less of our current population. If a few decades from now our governments and local economies are struggling to feed seven or eight billion people on a planet no longer sporting the sort of fossil fuel supply that can support such a population, you’re far more likely to gain access to a ration of grains or potatoes than a nice grass fed steak.

What this comes down to is the necessary imposition of limits and constraints. Much of the challenge facing us in terms of a transition to a more sustainable--and thus, much more poor--way of living is the fact that we have access to this luxury. It’s no surprise, then, that we take advantage of it. That’s pretty standard behavior for any species. If we can eat most anything we desire, it's not a shock that we’ll eat foods that otherwise wouldn’t be available to us and it’s not a surprise that in determining the moral ideals of our diet, we’ll tend more toward what we eat than how we eat it. That’s the foreseeable outcome of having access to this level of luxury and functioning within the context of the distorted viewpoint that luxury affords us. We make our choices by working from the context of having everything available to us and then trying to come up with an unconstrained perfection. If we were working outside of this odd level of luxury, we would instead be looking at what our limited resources were and then trying to make the best of what was available to us.

We can’t live outsized, overabundant lives if we don’t have an abundance of wealth available to us. In the future, we’re unlikely to have the sort of abundance available that we do today. This, as I’ve said many times, is one very good reason to attempt to start living on less, so that we adjust to this way of life and figure out some of the better ways to do it--how to make the best of what’s available to us--before we find ourselves thrust into that poorer way of life. But if we’re going to figure that out, we’re going to have to change our context. We’re going to have to try to see more clearly, to remove some of the distortion, and to reintroduce limits and constraints into our lives. We’re going to have to craft a different context for ourselves--one rooted more in poverty than wealth, in constrained resources rather than abundance. This idea, of crafting a new context, is going to be at the root of several of the forthcoming posts in this series. I’ll write more about it in the next entry.

(Cross-posted from my blog, Of The Hands)

5:58 PM PT: Update: As to the title, it's a play on "There are no atheists in a foxhole." I'm well aware--and I write it in the body of the diary--that in a famine you're a lot more likely to get some vegetarian fare than meat. You'll also note that I don't denigrate vegetarians at any point in the diary. I was one for 12 years. I'm not anymore, and I'm not convinced vegetarianism is the best diet, but then, I don't eat the best diet myself. I don't feel any need to condemn other people's dietary choices. I'm just trying to make the point that the ability to craft a very specific diet stems from the luxury we have in industrialized nations, and that it hasn't been a common reality throughout much of human history.

Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 8:59 AM PT: Further update: No, really, please read the diary and note that I'm not making an argument against vegetarianism or for eating meat before you post a comment telling me I'm an idiot for being against vegetarianism. Also, I gave my own dietary history as examples to come to my point, not as an argument for a particular diet. Also! Please note that I specifically say in the diary that you're a lot more likely to get vegetarian fare in a famine than meat.

Originally posted to aimlessmind on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 03:30 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Long but very very good (11+ / 0-)

    I'm about 4 paragraphs from the end and though it has been long so far, the writing is very good making it a fairly easy read.  Headed back up to finish.

    "Slip now and you'll fall the rest of your life" Derek Hersey 1957-1993

    by ban nock on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 03:39:32 PM PST

  •  I've lived in places where people had very little (30+ / 0-)

    cash. Those who didn't have an actual rice field at least had chickens, and often a garden. Lucky them there were a lot of edible plants in the forest also, not enough to sustain one but enough to stretch out the rice. I don't know any guys older than twenty who didn't grow up fishing in most of their spare time. I mean any fish, minnows, insect larvae.

    Just last night while I was eating a shrimp soup and talking about how  shrimp are farmed in Tland, a woman remarked on netting tiny fresh water shrimp by flashlight under the bridge. She remembers wishing someday to eat the huge (2") shrimp they catch from the ocean that have meat instead of shells.

    I wonder if anyone else will read this post and find it as thought ful as I did?

    But back to where I was,,,, we could all grow some of what we need, and I'd think that would include a fair amount of the meat. Pigs and chickens.

    "Slip now and you'll fall the rest of your life" Derek Hersey 1957-1993

    by ban nock on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 03:50:54 PM PST

    •  And rabbits (14+ / 0-)

      I agree that most all of us could grow some of what we need, and we'd be a much more resilient society if we did. Food's obviously one of the core concerns when it comes to such resiliency.

      Pigs and chickens, from my understanding, produce a good return on feed. I've also heard good things about rabbits, and that might be something I get into some day, though the thought of slaughtering a rabbit seems hard.

      Thanks for all your information. Fascinating! When push comes to shove, there are a lot of options out there for humans to avail themselves of.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 03:58:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was a holier than thou vegetarian until... (10+ / 0-)

      I was a vegetarian for 5 years, for ethical reasons. I still think that factory farming is bad for animals, and bad for the environment. But I ceased to be a vegetarian was the day I visited a Zen Buddhist AIDS hospice in San Francisco. I was visiting a friend of a friend. He cooked chicken for us, which surprised me because I thought (incorrectly) that Buddhists were all vegetarian. I asked why he ate meat. He told me that monks used to live on whatever was given them, and that it was his practice to accept whatever food was offered. All the food in the hospice had been donated, and he was in turn offering me a meal. I accepted it, and it was delicious.

      Accepting (or not) food from others is not just about drawing moral lines in the sand. It is about accepting their hospitality. Since that time I have spent 3 years doing research in India among people of the lowest castes (those formerly called "untouchables" who today prefer to be called Dalits). In a previous age they were agrarian slaves (or something close to it) who performed the hardest labor with very little compensation. They were always the first to die whenever famine hit. They were smaller than others because their diet was so limited (because they were poor and didn't own the land they worked). They are reviled by high caste people because, not only do they eat meat when it is available to them, but because they eat cow meat.

      This is not because they are insensitive to animal suffering, but because they need whatever nutrition they can get to survive. They regard vegetarianism (which in India is confined almost entirely to very high caste people) as the luxury of those who do not perform bodily toil.

      Another feature of caste is that high caste people did not traditionally accept food touched by those lower than them, and especially not from Dalits. If I had arrived in the urban slum where I conducted ethnographic research a vegetarian, my refusal to accept their food would have been taken as a complete rejection of their humanity. This is how they experience caste. This would have not only prevented me from ever being able to get close with these people, but would also have been a slap in the face of all those Dalits who reached out to me with the offer of friendship and trust.

      •  Thank you, Nate (3+ / 0-)

        Great information. Food and diet is an incredibly complicated subject--in most all ways--and even more so because it often gets tied up with identity, as you illustrated so well. These days, I'm mostly of the mind that the most important aspect of food and diet is that you put thought into it and be honest about it, whether you're able to choose what you eat or you have to eat what's available.

        That's a big task, but it's an important one.

        Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

        by aimlessmind on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 10:21:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  "Sustainable" meat (24+ / 0-)

    There's not enough space for everyone in the US, much less the rest of the world, to eat "sustainable" meat in the quantities folks do now.  The only way that would be possible is if folks cut way, way, way back on their meat consumption.

    I left my heart in NAZ.

    by Scott in NAZ on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 04:19:51 PM PST

    •  I agree, Scott (10+ / 0-)

      There are some compelling arguments that trying to put the world on a vegetarian diet wouldn't be sustainable, either, and you do need a place for animals on a farm if you're trying to create a closed loop system. (Of course, humanure might be able to fill a good part of that need.)

      Yet, at the end of the day, it takes much more energy to raise meat than to eat a plant directly. I imagine the most sustainable diet would be a nice mix of meat, other animal proteins, and plants, with plants playing the dominant role. I also don't think I have the answer on that very thorny question, though I've felt at times in the past I did.

      No matter how you cut it, though, there's no sustainable way of feeding seven billion people on this planet, whatever they eat. That's one of the tricky realities of the future we face.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 04:28:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Having animals doesn't mean eating them (15+ / 0-)

        There are plenty of ways to keep animals and use them as a food source that don't include eating them.  That said, I agree that I don't know that any diet would make it possible to sustainably support the number of humans we have living on the earth right now, not to mention the ones that are coming.

        Another important point that often gets overlooked is that sustainable is not the same as good for the environment.  We can cut down all the forests to do "sustainable" farming and it's still bad.  This is also true in the case of the "sustainable" raising of animals.  Most of the time it requires the use of "natural" area that is not really natural.  Large scale exploitation of any resource is going to have a negative impact.

        There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

        by AoT on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 05:34:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  All good points (10+ / 0-)

          And yes, I should have mentioned that animals can play their role on the farm, provide milk or eggs, and not be eaten directly. That often makes for a good farm ecosystem.

          Here where I live, on the Oregon coast, we have lots of pasture land around that has historically been--and still is--in milk production. It's Tillamook County, home of Tillamook cheese. I'm sure many of these pastures once were in forest, but what they are now is what they are. And they can be maintained raising livestock for milk, eggs and meat in a pretty holistic manner. In fact, taking the animals off them and trying to grow grain instead would be ridiculous, as we have a terrible climate for growing most grains.

          On the other hand, you could put them in cultivation growing mixed veggies and then potatoes as the base of your diet. Potatoes grow fine here. That's an option, but you still are mining the soil if you're engaging in agriculture. You need to replace that fertility, and animals are very good at that. Also, in a future with limited fossil fuels, it's a lot easier to let an animal go out, graze the grass, and grow all on its own without a massive amount of management, then it is to grow crops by hand. So there are trade offs.

          When I talk about sustainable, I'm trying to talk about it in a truly holistic manner--which, as you note, isn't always done. Massive grain production provides more efficient calories for humans, but it also has destroyed the midwest prairies, which were incredible ecosystems on par with rain forests. It's released massive amounts of carbon out of the soil and into the air and it's destroyed a good deal of that region's fertility. Take away fossil fuel-based fertilizers and there's a good amount of farm land on which you would have a very hard time growing food because the soil is dead, and much of it's gone, eroded away due to terrible farming practices. So is eating grain a more sustainable choice than eating meat, milk or eggs from animals eating grass? Not always. But in some situations, probably. In other words, it's complicated, and it does us a disservice to look at such a complex issue in a shallow manner.

          I haven't seen anything to suggest that a truly sustainable agriculture--or the best we've figured out how to do--doesn't involve animals to some degree or another. But anyway, I've gotten way off onto a tangent now. Thanks for your comment!

          Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

          by aimlessmind on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 05:45:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agriculture always involves animals (8+ / 0-)

            People are animals too!

            One of the things that has been pointed out to me is that a lot of "cruelty free" products are not really.  Those organic tomatoes have to be picked by someone.

            There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

            by AoT on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 05:56:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Very true (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT, kyril, susie dow

              Yes! People are animals, and I'm a big proponent of humanure. It's a horrible waste to be flushing those nutrients down the toilet. Also, wild animals play their part in agriculture.

              Of course, wild animals also are killed in grain production. "Cage free" eggs are a total scam. Many humans are exploited in industrial agriculture. It's a terribly tricky reality, and so trying to boil it down to a simple answer or a label is generally going to fail, if we're being honest with ourselves.

              Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

              by aimlessmind on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 06:01:02 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  How are cage free eggs a scam nt (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kyril

                "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

                by eXtina on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 06:04:30 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Typically, with cage free eggs (15+ / 0-)

                  The chickens are in as tight a space as they were when they were in cages. They're just not in cages anymore. It is a bit better, but most all the cage free or free range eggs you see at the store are still from chickens raised in terrible conditions. They're terrible eggs, the chickens are miserable, and there's nothing natural about it.

                  For the most part, I only trust eggs from a truly small farm--like, where I know the farmer (think farmer's market or as an add-on to a CSA.) Or from a backyard. I've done enough farming in my life at this point to know the difference.

                  It's hard to find real pastured eggs in a store, but you do sometimes. Co-ops often will carry them, though even they will many times have eggs from a big operation in which the chickens basically are just in shed, and stuffed in amongst hundreds or thousands of their brethren. The color of the yolk helps you to determine, as does the strength of the taste. A well-raised egg should have a dark colored yolk, and it shouldn't taste bland. The yolk also should stand up, not be spread out and flatter. The less runny the whites, the better.

                  Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

                  by aimlessmind on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 06:13:49 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I don't get your comment (5+ / 0-)
              a lot of "cruelty free" products are not really.  Those organic tomatoes have to be picked by someone.
              Do you mean that picking tomatoes is cruelty?

              I beg to differ, if that's your thought. I think productive work like that on a small farm scale is something we ought to get back to. When you are working in a productive way, such as producing food, you gain greater respect for the cycles o earth, for the value of the food you produce, not to mention the benefit of physical labor, which has positive psychological benefit, not just the benefit of "exercise."

              I grew up on a small farm. I know both the drudgery and the benefit. And I think that hard work on the farm as a teenager is benefiting my fight with cancer now.

              Democrats promote the Common good. Republicans promote Corporate greed.

              by murasaki on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 09:21:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Farm lands are also less sustainable (12+ / 0-)

      without animals.  

      The quantity of meat consumed in the US is way too much for health and environmental reasons.  But we're not very good at combining the foods necessary to supply enough the complete protein that meat does.

      •  It's also is (3+ / 0-)

        takes a lot of work and time to get complete proteins in a vegetarian diet. Most processed food is not nutrious. I was a vegetarian for about ten years. I studied food combinations and nutrition for ways to create complete amino acids and it involved a lot of planning and cooking.

        I wasn't vegan so I used cheese and eggs in combinations with whole grains and legumes. We still eat low on the food chain, with some organic chicken and line caught fish, but the bulk of our diet is vegetables, legumes and whole grains. With both of us working it is hard to come up with the time to prepare meals that provide non meat protein.

        I recommend two books for healthy food combining The Tassajara Cookbook and Laurels Kitchen, which even has tables of how much protein there is in grains and legumes. Processes sugar, while rice and flour all are hard to avoid.  

    •  we eat too much meat (10+ / 0-)

      in this country. It would not hurt for us to trim back. I could definitely feed a hog or two with the food I throw away every week.

      I think we need to live more frugally. I do not think that means we have to live in mediocrity, and certainly not in poverty.

      Rabbits & Chickens are great 'sustainable' meat choices.

      People need to plant more fruit trees, too. Many were cut down in the 70's during a 'fruit-fly' scare.  'But they're messy'. That's not 'mess' that's food.

      lol

      “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway” ~ Henry Boye~

      by Terranova0 on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 08:41:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think poverty is going to be much more present (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, ozsea1, Terranova0, susie dow, melo

        in the future, just due to certain ecological realities. But I could be wrong--I often have been.

        Otherwise, heck yes we could eat less meat in this country, and heck yes we need more fruit trees. Nut trees, too, though not many of them grow well in my area. A massive increase in the number of fruit trees in this country would do quite a bit to increase our resiliency and further insulate us from potential shocks, whether or not we face a future of poverty.

        Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

        by aimlessmind on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:03:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  3-6 oz a day of protein (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smokeymonkey

      That's all a human really needs, and it doesn't quite matter whether it's an animal or vegetable source.  

      Most Americans eat 2-3 times that amount.

      Keep your religion out of my government.

      by catwho on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 09:18:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In a famine a lot more goes out the window than (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aimlessmind, kyril

    clinging to vegetarianism

    http://faminegenocide.com/...

    also:

    Definition
    veg·e·ta·ble[ véjjətəb'l ]NOUN
    veg·e·ta·bles  plural

    1. edible plant: a plant with edible parts, especially leafy or fleshy parts that are used mainly for soups or salads, or to accompany main courses
    2. plants plant: a member of the plant kingdom
    3. having reduced mental functions: used to describe somebody in whom the usual mental and physical functions are severely reduced or absent, often as a result of injury to the brain ( offensive )
    "in a vegetative state"
    4. somebody inactive: somebody regarded as lacking in vitality, alertness, or drive ( insult )

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 05:05:45 PM PST

  •  There's a lot that goes into necessity (14+ / 0-)

    beyond a famine situation.  In the U.S. the cheapest way to eat is to have a diet that is vegetarian, and mostly vegan.  I can say this with conviction because almost every time I've been super poor, poor enough that I could be on food stamps but wasn't for some reason, I essentially ate vegan.  Rice and beans my friend, rice and beans.  The complication comes when you have to take into account the time and ability that people have to prepare food, and the access people have to food.

    I can eat kale or some other yummy veg with my rice and beans because I live in a place where I have access to nutritious veggies.  That isn't true for everyone, especially people who live in the inner city or other places that are nutrition dry.  They have to make do with a corner store or at best a small food market that has a lot of frozen food.

    There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

    by AoT on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 05:43:16 PM PST

    •  Rice and beans do indeed go a long way (5+ / 0-)

      Though I've never been a huge bean fan. Another oddity, I suppose, for a twelve year vegetarian.

      And yes, eating a diet focused on grains and veggies is probably about the cheapest way to eat. Grow your own veggies in a garden and supplement that with bulk grain and you're now eating dirt cheap. You'll eat plenty of delicious meals, as well, if you know what you're doing.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 05:50:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I *hate* tofu (4+ / 0-)

        I have since before I was vegetarian.  I do love beans though.

        Growing a garden is good, but rarely do people have enough space or time to grow a garden that can actually supply enough to eat for more than a few nights a month.  I suppose that depends where you are though.

        There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

        by AoT on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 05:59:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ironically, I kind of like tofu (4+ / 0-)

          Even though I'm skeptical as to its health properties. But frying some up and throwing it in a coconut milk curry is pretty tasty.

          And yeah, you need a lot of space if you're going to garden all your food. It can be a great supplement, though, and help ease the cost of pricey organic veggies--assuming you have some space to do the gardening.

          Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

          by aimlessmind on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 06:02:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  fresh vegetables and fruit OTOH are very (8+ / 0-)

      expensive for the amount you have to eat

      "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

      by eXtina on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 06:05:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's why gardens and fruit trees are great (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, Debby, middleagedhousewife

        If you have a yard to put them in, or can get a community garden plot, or can figure out a deal with a neighbor.

        Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

        by aimlessmind on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 06:15:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Depends on where you live (7+ / 0-)

        This diary makes me think a lot about traveling through the South Pacific, where there is limited food -- no mammals are raised at all for food there -- just fish, chickens, prawns, spam (lol, it's everywhere), and huge trees dropping fruit everywhere, including coconuts and giant avocados. There's no fresh dairy, generally. I ate tinned cheese though. Most of the people are ridiculously poor too. Lots of resourcefulness. That's what I think ultimately differentiates a lot of people: what they are willing to eat.

        People eat bugs in many parts of the world. In Alaska, the Inuits used to take roots stored by mice and eat these mixed with snow. Native Americans ate heavily processed and foraged acorn meal which is very bitter. Hungry folks will eat weird stuff. We have trouble realizing how covered in food where we live is (cue wide eyed lib's foraging diaries!)

        You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

        by mahakali overdrive on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:38:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'd think there would be more. (12+ / 0-)

    First, in a famine, everybody and their brother is going to go after the animals first off, so they'll go quickly, and probably not sustainably.  If you're still starving, you're not going to take the extra step of raising animals who are actually in competition with you for food and water.  You're going to turn vegetarian, and simply learn to forage.  Despite our cultural ignorance, there's a heck of a lot of vegetation out there that is edible, that we simply call 'weeds' or 'groundcover' or otherwise ignore.  Check out wide eyed lib's diaries for a mind-numbing array of vegetation that's common to our public spaces and back yards that is edible.

    Hmmm, although, admittedly... you might turn to 'long pig' if things got desperate enough...

  •  Most of our societal food taboos (5+ / 0-)

    will be forgotten quickly in the event of a famine.

    The best current example i can think of is seeing a dainty southern woman stalking and killing rats on Survivor.
    That woman, a month earlier, would never have considered such a 'monstrous' act.

    Rats, and other rodents, are quite tasty and plentiful.
    May we all have an abundant supply, when/if the need arises.

    'Nourishing Traditions' is a fabulous resource, bringing us back to virtually lost methods of preservation.
    A crock of sauerkraut bubbling in the cellar is a bounty.

    I enjoyed visiting your blog and will continue to check in.

    •  Thanks! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DamselleFly, flowerfarmer, susie dow

      I love Nourishing Traditions, as well, though I don't find it the easiest cookbook. I never did get into all the grain soaking. The information on raw milk and uses of whey from raw milk and much of the stuff on fermentation is utterly priceless, though, and its contrarian viewpoints did much to open up my thinking. I'd recommend checking out the book to anyone who's not completely opposed to consuming animal products.

      Glad you liked the blog. Please do check back, and I always love feedback over there.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 06:08:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nobody mentioned eating insects. (8+ / 0-)

    They have lots of protein and are easy to raise. To a biologist there isn't much difference between a grasshopper and a shrimp except one lives on land and the other in the water. I tried ants in Australia, and some species are quite tasty. It is hard to get a meal, though.

    Worms would be even better, but I would have to be very hungry. I couldn't face beetle larva.

    •  I've never tried insects (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Debby, Andrew F Cockburn, ban nock

      But I would be open to it, and I don't imagine I'd have much hesitation if I were starving.

      Your comment also reminded me of the book How to Eat Fried Worms from my childhood. Loved that book.

      Now, if I could bring myself to down some slugs, I'd have no shortage of food where I live. I'd be living large no matter what. That's the benefit of 100 inches of rain a year.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 07:25:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've eaten eight or nine types of insects (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aimlessmind, Debby, Andrew F Cockburn

      but only a few with any regularity. They have different tastes just as chicken is different from beef.

      It does take practice and knowledge as with all strange foods. Which insects, how to collect them easily, how they taste best.

      "Slip now and you'll fall the rest of your life" Derek Hersey 1957-1993

      by ban nock on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 07:55:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You'll be on another kick in five years or so. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto

    If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

    by Bush Bites on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 07:24:37 PM PST

  •  Excellent Diary! T&R'd (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aimlessmind, mrkvica, susie dow

    I never got on a vegetarian kick, but I have started becoming more aware of what I eat. I joined a CSA in December, and living in Florida, I plan to plant some citrus trees and other fruits and vegetables (I'm especially keen to do blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and pineapples).

    I commented on a diary the other day in which I touted my CSA's selection of sustainable meat and seafood, only to be told in a very dismissive way that it is "impossible" to provide meat and seafood in a sustainable way. I beg to differ, and am working on a diary to make my case. Your diary is encouraging me to explore this topic further.

    I vote we run Rick Scott out of Florida on a high-speed rail.

    by ObamOcala on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 08:04:33 PM PST

    •  Definitely explore it further (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1, flowerfarmer, susie dow

      As I've mentioned in other comments, it's a very complex subject and it's too often boiled down to simple answers. Meat and seafood can be sustainable, but it typically isn't in our society. At the same time, many of the grains that people fall back on in vegetarianism are terribly unsustainable also--but also don't have to be. It all depends on the situation. If I'm looking at eating some pasture-raised beef grown around the corner from me or a heaping helping of grain grown via industrial agriculture in the Midwest, there's a decent chance the beef is more sustainable. And that's even before getting into questions of local economies and scale.

      And there's no question that if you're trying to create truly sustainable farms, then you're most likely going to have to include animals in some capacity or another. Which means meat (and even more so milk and eggs) can be sustainable, but not in massive quantities.

      Yet it's undeniably true that most meat in this country is industrially produced, like most grains and veggies are, and that industrially produced meat is far less sustainable than industrially produced grain and veggies. But really, none of that is sustainable. It's that sort of fundamental paradigm shift we need to engage.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:08:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  After breast-cancer surgery I was advised to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, aimlessmind

    stop eating all animal fat. When my cholesterol went up a little, again I was advised to avoid all animal fat. Are these specialists all wrong?

    http://www.cancerproject.org/...

    Since avoiding meat, I have become unable to digest it. When I tried to have an occasional smoked meat sandwich or chicken dinner, I would get sick afterwards. If I were extremely hungry and someone offered me a steak or a hamburger I am sure I would refuse it, it makes me nauseous just thinking about it.

    I think your title statement is unsupported and just wrong.

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 08:18:25 PM PST

  •  Recently reading about animal rights protestors (9+ / 0-)

    being classified as terrorists. I saw in the article some of the evidence the animal rights people had gathered by illegal entry into slaughter houses. There was a vid of a worker torturing a cow with a forklift. I did not click on the vid but the top photo of the downer cow looking at the worker in the forklift has stayed with me.

    It's no wonder the thought of eating beef makes me nauseous.

    People should be aware of where their food comes from, that's the only statement I have about food.

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 08:30:00 PM PST

    •  Don't forget that it was teh publication (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, mrkvica, Agathena

      of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair that led to agricultural reforms at the turn of the last century and to federal inspection of our meat industry through pressure on Teddy Roosevelt. We can't have any more of that.

      "But much to my surprise when I opened my eyes I was the victim of the great compromise." John Prine

      by high uintas on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 09:17:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, people should absolutely be aware where their (5+ / 0-)

      food comes from. Industrial slaughter houses are horrid places, as are industrial feedlots.

      But also, not all animals are raised that way. To be clear, the vast majority are in this country. But not all. I work on a couple farms that don't raise them this way. They raise them outside, on grass, in a natural manner.

      Not all meat's the same. Not all veggies are the same. The best thing you can do when considering what food to eat is learn where it came from.

      Of course, a good number of people don't have that ability. Their food access is extremely limited. This is another reality.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:16:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've never eaten beef before, or pork either (5+ / 0-)

      or any mammal. Not in my entire life. I can't imagine, to be honest. I watch people eat meat, and it's very odd to me. So I don't know if that's interesting to anyone, but some people are lifelong vegetarians and find it bizarre to think of meat eating at all. I don't plan to start anytime soon... the smell is AWFUL to me.

      You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

      by mahakali overdrive on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:45:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've been a vegan for for five years now... (4+ / 0-)

        I know what you mean about not wanting meat anymore. I really don't consider it food when I look at it. I can't really explain it, but it just doesn't register.

         I still miss eating pizza when I see it, and sometimes I'll crave McDonalds out of the blue - that stuff really must have some sort of crack like addictive substance added to it that they hide from the public.

      •  During my vegetarianism (0+ / 0-)

        I often was a bit disgusted by meat. Every once in awhile, I'd have a huge craving for it.

        I don't think your experience is that odd. In addition to my own experiences, I've heard the same from other vegetarians.

        Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

        by aimlessmind on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 08:26:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  agreed so much it hurts. (3+ / 0-)
      People should be aware of where their food comes from, that's the only statement I have about food.
      I can't comment in this diary. This topic is raw and painful to me. I'm can no longer take the flip "I don't wanna know " comments people throw around, many times followed by some disparaging remark about vegans or vegetarians.

      Any progressive or liberal who goes "don't wanna  know" or "outta sight outta mind" should be ashamed.  They should know. It's what we do. What we are made of. We don't turn away from pain or horror or suffering.  And pretending it does not exist so one can enjoy a damn hot dog is so deplorable I'm completely fed up with the utter hypocrisy.

      That's way more what I should have said, and why this will be my last comment.   But just like I think the atheist in the foxhole crap is crap, I think a diary on vegetarians, who compose 99 percent of the population, like atheists, is a strange way to to justify eating meat again.

      You are not an Environmentalist if you support the brutal, cruel, inhuman life and slaughter of animals in Factory Farms which produce 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

      by Christin on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 05:42:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have to agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lost and Found

        I am not an evangelist when it comes to being a vegetarian.  I make my own choice, and that's that.  

        However, when I read this diary, it really has the aura of the self help book.  

        There is the weird thing that happens with otherwise intelligent people.  Some of them seem to swing back and forth on the pendulum of self help literature.  These include all the books that try to get one to make a certain life choice that conforms with the author's ideal in one way or another.  I include the vegetarian books in this, too.  

        I've got some friends who go from one 6 step thing to another that is just 7 easy steps.  

        I want my pajamas to be covered in words from Bartlett's. That way I'll always be sleeping in quotes.

        by otto on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 07:41:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Christin, this diary is in no way about justifying (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fidel

        eating meat. You entirely missed the point. It's a question of how we view our diet and what it says about the extreme amounts of fossil fuel energies we have available to us as a society.

        Also, at no point in the diary do I disparage vegetarians. It's not an argument against vegetarianism.

        Further, I agree completely that people need to know where their food is and its pretty terrible to just duck your head and say you don't want to know. I've been farming for over three years now. I raise a good amount of the vegetables and meat that I eat.

        Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

        by aimlessmind on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 08:29:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Speaking of the carbon footprint, shrimp has now (3+ / 0-)

          surpassed beef in leaving a larger carbon footprint. Shrimp fishing involves dredging which is harmful to ecosystem and also for every 1 lb of shrimp that is caught, 4-5 lbs. of sea creatures are killed and discarded.

          People need to know that too.

          ❧To thine ownself be true

          by Agathena on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 09:37:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Shrimp farming tends to be massively damaging (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Agathena

            to ecosystems. Mangrove estuaries are often cleared to make way for the farms, and those are really incredible and abundant ecosystems. Their loss has a huge impact.

            Industrial fishing of all kinds is also quite destructive. We've devastated fish stocks and are emptying the oceans, reducing an important source of biodiversity and food for the future. But that's our tendency in general. We're drawing down all the resources, and it's going to lead to some harsh realities in the future when we stop being able to kick the can down the road.

            Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

            by aimlessmind on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 09:48:17 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  The land of the free, and the home of the (5+ / 0-)

    picky eaters.

    Seriously, people in this country take pride in eating an extremely limited diet of mostly processed foods, turning up their noses at all sorts of healthy food. I think it makes people feel special when they eat bizarre, limited diets that are mostly fast food or junk food.

  •  so can I steal food if I am poor (4+ / 0-)

    obviously because once i am poor I will lose all my morals.

    If someone is poor wouldn't eating cheaper food like bread rather than meat be more likely to occur?

    What else can I do when I am poor that I wouldn't normally do because of all the morals I gain once I get money?

     

    •  Well, that's silly (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrkvica, ozsea1, middleagedhousewife

      It's not about losing your morals. I just don't think many people would choose to starve to death rather than eat meat. And I don't think making that decision would be immoral. You may feel differently. More power to you--and I mean that honestly.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:19:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Love your diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    melo

    I could relate to many of your experiences. I was a 'Loma-Linda' vegan for a while.  And a strict carnivore for a while. I've since embraced my higher omnivore.

    I've also been dirt poor and hella grateful for stale pastry.

    I will be following this series.

    Am I eating organic produce? Is my food locally produced? I’m not saying these questions are irrelevant or unimportant, but they are often borne of luxury.
    totally borne of luxury. But also responsible consumerism, I hope... could  be buying imported cheeses, caviar or abalone- well I couldn't afford much, lol, but ...

    I really do think the greatest gifts we could give the future are more fruit and nut trees. Birds kinda like 'em, too.

    “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway” ~ Henry Boye~

    by Terranova0 on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 09:01:00 PM PST

    •  Yes, yes, yes (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1, Terranova0

      Fruit and nut trees should be much more common, even in places where they're common.

      And as for that part you quoted, the next entry will have some more to say about that. I think it needs elaboration, because it is important to consider those things. Very important.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:20:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Perhaps the next time you become a vegetarian (7+ / 0-)

    you should also try to eat healthy instead of that processed crap you mentioned. Your diet didn't suck because you were a vegetarian it sucked because you ate like shit.

    Furthermore, a true atheist wouldn't chicken out at the last minute while in a fox hole.

    •  Yep, I ate terribly as a vegetarian (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrkvica, ozsea1, flowerfarmer

      And I certainly didn't suggest my diet sucked just because I was a vegetarian. I was commenting on the ridiculousness of my narrowing it down to one variable, as you mention.

      I also have no problem with atheists, much as I have no problem with vegetarians. Never been much of a religious person, myself.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:22:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It''s not one variable (0+ / 0-)

        You're talking about one component of your diet that should be like... 6-8 ounces of your daily food intake?  

        That's not a narrowed choice.  

        That's exchanging that 6-8 ounces of animal product for whatever that's going to equal in vegetable matter.

        I think you've chosen a path because you liked a book.  

        I want my pajamas to be covered in words from Bartlett's. That way I'll always be sleeping in quotes.

        by otto on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 07:44:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, otto, you don't really know me (0+ / 0-)

          My diet changes often and these days it has a lot to do with what's available and what I'm growing and raising myself. I've read many interesting books on diet and many of them have influenced my diet. My decisions aren't based entirely on any one book, though, and these days they're based a good deal on my experience working on a variety of farms.

          Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

          by aimlessmind on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 08:32:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The topic of famine and sustainable food sources (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aimlessmind, Debby

    contrasts sharply with the Republicans' #1 priority concerning the future of mankind: birth control. They have figured it out that family planning is the most serious threat to the future of the planet. And as an added benefit, banning birth control would reduce sin by a full 98%.

    •  We need to be serious about population (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6ZONite, ozsea1, susie dow

      This planet is way overpopulated and has been for some time. Our inability to deal with that reality is not going to help us out in the future. It's not helping us out in the present, for that matter, or helped us in the past.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:23:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I remember reading somewhere about (15+ / 0-)

    a vegetarian doing humanitarian work in the highlands of Peru.  When she visited families there, they would serve her meat, specifically, guinea pig.

    She concluded that despite her commitment to vegetarianism, that the ethical thing to do was to eat what they gave her with gratitude.  These were very poor people, sharing the best of what they had; and they did not have access to the vegetarian (or vegan) sources of protein that people with monetary resources in the U.S. do.

    Like you said, context and constraints.

    I also agree that our constraints will become more stringent in the coming decades, but I'm not sure the correct way to think about it is adjusting to poverty.  Will our collective material standard of living go down?  Yes.  And we may well end up eating very limited diets, if we continue to rely on Big Ag.

    On the other hand, I think it's too soon to concede that must be our path.  More human-labor-intensive methods of farming such as inter-planting can result in higher per acre yields, as well as more resilience in the face of storms and droughts.  And methods such as permaculture are actually less human-labor-intensive.  

    Transition Towns are starting on this work of resilience; our context and our constraints are not entirely within our control, but neither are they entirely out of our control.

    •  Permaculture, better agriculture and Transition (6+ / 0-)

      Towns will make a world of difference for our resiliency, but I don't see them saving us from some fairly harsh ecological realities in the future. As I wrote in a comment above, though, I may be wrong.

      Either way, those are great things to pursue. The more resiliency we build, the easier the transition. If we build enough to make it a fairly easy transition, then that's truly fantastic. I'm not too optimistic in that regard--I think poverty is going to be an unfortunate reality--but would be happy to be proven wrong. Also, if we do face poverty, that doesn't necessarily mean we face misery. Plenty of people throughout history have lived in a state we would consider poverty and have led plenty happy lives.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:26:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Do you know "Keep the River on Your Right"? (0+ / 0-)

      It's both a book and a novel. I'm not kidding, but it's also set in Peru, and is a true story. This guy from New York goes to Peru and lives in the Amazon, gets taken in by a cannibal tribe, and they kill one of the neighboring tribes people and eat him. He eats a little bit along with them, basically for the same reasons as the humanitarian, well, so as to not culturally offend, in essence. He's then haunted for forty years by the decision to eat this bit of a human being. He thought it might be part of his heart.

      In the movie, they take him back to Peru forty years later to confront his long-term guilt. He runs back into the cannibals and comes to partial terms with the act.

      It's a fabulous movie! The novel was a bit more dry though.

      You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

      by mahakali overdrive on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:52:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sounds interesting. However cannibalism (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mahakali overdrive

        to me seems like a different level of taboo, even for a committed vegetarian.

        I suppose that tribe considered the other tribes enough not-"real people" that it broke the cannibalism taboo.  Or perhaps the survival necessity came first (generations ago) and the mindset later.

        •  Ah, no! There are different forms of (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cai, aimlessmind

          cannibalism, endo- and exo- and neither ARE considered "taboo." One is considered a sign of great respect toward the person being eaten, who is usually a spouse or child (the Fore people in Papau New Guinea, for example). Interestingly, the guy who became a "Western cannibal" later went on to live in Papau New Guinea, though I cannot recall with which tribe. In any event, there are few things many Western people understand less than cannibalism. Presumably, it arose from two mechanisms, both of which directly relate to this diary, and you're right on the money about, in part:

          1. overpopulation
          2. lack of food

          Each, in turn, is hypothesized to have then become social normalized through ritual means, therefore in areas where it was (is) performed regularly, there is neither taboo nor dehumanization. It's hard to fathom how different our mindsets and perspectives can be across cultures. I regret, at times, not having studied more Cultural Anthropology; it's intensely fascinating to see the breadth of human diversity.

          You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

          by mahakali overdrive on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 03:49:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'd eat meat in that situation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lost and Found, cai

      I've been vegetarian for a couple decades, and I would certainly eat meat if that's the situation.  

      I want my pajamas to be covered in words from Bartlett's. That way I'll always be sleeping in quotes.

      by otto on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 07:45:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting, but (4+ / 0-)

    1. Most of the population of the Indian subcontinent were vegetarian until the British arrived;

    2. Weston A. Price was a dentist. He based his ideas solely on the dentition of the people he observed, ignoring things like longevity and quality of life. Price's conclusions are mostly crap.

  •  Lierre Keith is a quack (0+ / 0-)

    One of these days I'll get around to reading the Omnivore's Dilemma though.

    •  I thought the book had a lot of good information (0+ / 0-)

      But it was also pretty clear that she hated her former vegan self. I thought she took that aspect way over the top.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 08:55:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As far as health your diet never changed! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pwn3rship society, otto

    I hate to break it to you but the primary negative of a meat based diet is Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. Both Sat Fat and Cholesterol are heavily abundant in eggs and dairy. You may have changed the delivery vessel back forth and back again, but you are still stuffing the same artery clogging ingredients in your hole that you always have.

     Whether it's egg, cheese, milk, factory cow, organic cow, factory chicken, free range chicken, shoot a deer in the woods it don't matter.  This raw milk you just had an epiphany about has more Saturated Fat and more Cholesterol than processed milk. Seems to me you have spent your whole life making distinctions that don't make a difference.

     To keep it simple just think of it like this. If you cook bacon in a skillet when you are done you will have oil from the meat in a liquid form. At room temperature that oil will harden into a white film that clogs anything and every thing. If you pour it down your kitchen drain it will clog your plumbing and if you put it in your mouth it will clog that plumbing as well. If you put it in a can and sell it at the store it's called lard. Every place you have been in your diet has always included a unhealthy dose of this white film.

     Just to contrast, we have all seen the various vegetable fats in the form of oil like olive oil, canola oil, corn oil. Go to your pantry now and check and you will notice it remains in a liquid form. If you pour it down your drain it won't clog anything. If you put it in your mouth it won't clog anything.

     In other words go Vegan or eat all the meat you want and quit fooling yourself into believing you're doing anything at all.
     

    •  You are misinformed (6+ / 0-)

      Much of the meat we eat is unhealthy because of the way it's raised. Meat from factory farms is full of saturated fat & cholesterol because the animals it comes from are fed crap to prepare them for slaughter as quickly as possible.

      In a 2009 joint study between the USDA and Clemson University, researchers found that grass-fed beef (not finished on feed lots) is healthier than grain-fed beef in 10 different ways:

      1)  Lower in total fat 

      2)  Higher in beta-carotene 

      3)  Higher in vitamin E  

      4)  Higher in the B–vitamins, thiamin, and riboflavin 

      5)  Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium and potassium 

      6)  Higher in total omega-3’s 

      7)  A healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids  

      8)  Higher in CLA, a potential cancer fighter 

      9)  Higher in vaccenic acid (which can be transformed into CLA) 

      10) Lower in saturated fat linked with heart disease

      As for bacon, yep, it's high in saturated fat. If you eat three or four strips of it every day, and wash it down with a can or two of high-fructose corn syrup-laden soda, maybe have a Cinnabon or two on the side, you will die young.

      But if you eat two strips of bacon only once or twice a week (and drain it well so that the bulk of that saturated fat stays in the pan, not in the bacon), and your diet is balanced overall with beneficial nutrients, inluding those which prevent the accumulation of bad cholesterol and saturated fats in your bloodstream, you can live a healthy life.

      Bacon, beef, eggs, cheese - all have been included in some measure in my diet for my entire life. I am by no means the picture of health, but on the other hand, neither am I terribly unhealthy - my blood sugar, cholesterol levels, etc. are all well within safe limits. It's all about balance and moderation.

      BTW, the aforementioned high-fructose corn syrup, a major contributor to obesity and diabetes, is a vegetable product. Vegetable does not always equal healthy.

      I vote we run Rick Scott out of Florida on a high-speed rail.

      by ObamOcala on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 04:09:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Can you show me the nutritional facts? (0+ / 0-)

        Can we look at exactly what you say is better? Show us this healthy beef?

        •  The actual published version of the study... (5+ / 0-)

          ...which is cited extensively by grass-fed beef producers because it backs up their claims that grass-fed beef is better for you (I first read the list I included above on the web site of the CSA I am a member of) is available on-line here.

          Here's the way I look at it - humans have been eating meat since the beginning of human history. Only recently have there been the kind of chronic health problems we're seeing today. What's changed?

          In my mind, two things:

          (1) We've become more sedentary.

          (2) Our food has become more highly processed

          The bottom line for me is this - I've eaten meat, dairy products, eggs, bacon, cheese, etc. all my life, and every time I have lab work done, everything is well within safe limits. I know lots of people much healthier than I am who also eat all those things. I've known lots of people who lived to ripe old ages while eating all those things. My conclusion? Eating meat, dairy, eggs, bacon and cheese does not automatically condemn one to dropping dead at a young age.

          I have no problem with anyone who chooses to be vegetarian. If it works for you, go for it. Where I have a problem is when Vegans brand those who choose a different path as foolish, or evil, or self-destructive, or heretical, or whatever. Fundamentalists of any stripe - whether their fundamentalism revolves around a religion or a lifestyle - bother the hell out of me.

          The simple facts are these: While some foods are certainly healthier than others, and beef and bacon are certainly not the healthiest foods in the world, neither are they inherently un-healthy, and as long as they are consumed as part of a balanced diet, there's nothing inherently wrong with eating them. Like it or not, human beings evolved as omnivores.

          I vote we run Rick Scott out of Florida on a high-speed rail.

          by ObamOcala on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 05:05:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  People have always eaten meat, true enough! (0+ / 0-)

            I don't think they have always eaten as much meat as we eat today. I think it probably takes about 50 some years of over eating meat to kill you. If you aren't a pig about it you'll probably be fine.

             However some of us aren't fine. My mother had Type 2 diabetes and was disabled most of her later life. My father started having strokes in his mid 50s. My brother is dead from heart failure, his first attack at 46 and dead at 50. I was overweight with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and could just feel how unhealthy I was.

             For those of us who don't do so well the culprit is saturated fat and cholesterol. Those two ingredients come from all animal products. Not just meat, poultry or fish, but eggs and dairy as well. My point was it doesn't help to eliminate meat from my diet if I continue to consume saturated fat and cholesterol with egg and dairy. There is no point!

             I'll grant you some forms of animal food may contain less saturated fat or cholesterol than others. But from my perspective it's just less of a bad thing not a good thing.

    •  I agree with ObamOcala (0+ / 0-)

      so I won't reproduce that information. More importantly, though, you seem to think the diary is advocating against vegetarianism or for eating meat. It's not doing either. I suggest you read it more closely.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 08:38:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I understood it, what I'm trying to say is... (0+ / 0-)

        If the purpose of a vegetarian diet is your health you aren't really doing anything by eliminating meat because you are still ingesting the same ingredients only in a different form. Instead of taking in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol through meat you are taking it in through eating egg and dairy.

         I wasn't disagreeing with your diary so much as just saying your time as  a vegetarian was a waste of time. You may as well have eaten meat for all the difference it made to your health.  

         Where you lose me even further is your belief that  saturated fat and cholesterol have no negative affect on your health. If that is your belief why be a vegetarian at all other than purely ethical reasons? Or maybe just explain what health benefits you think there are because you have me confused as to what your reasons were?

        •  I don't worry about saturated fat and cholesterol (0+ / 0-)

          I worry about what kind of food I eat. In terms of my time as a vegetarian, you're right, it was "wasted" in the sense of health, but that wasn't due to eggs and cheese so much as due to processed foods, as well as that much of the animal products I ate came out of the industrial system.

          Animal products derived from a grass based system, outside of the industrial system, I think are perfectly healthy. That includes saturated fats and cholesterol. Processed food and industrially produced food I think tends to not be so healthy. Also, your health is highly dependent on how much you move, and how much you eat is dependent on that, as well (or should be, from a health stand point.) That way too often gets overlooked. I farm. I do a lot of physical labor. Sometimes I spend hours shoveling animal shit into a wheelbarrow, running it up a metal ramp and dumping it into a manure spreader. Over and over, for hours. I like the work, honestly, but it's exhausting after hours of doing it. So I tend to eat more calories on those days. A day like today where I'm spending more time on the computer, less calories.

          When I was vegetarian, I thought I was healthier, but mostly I was doing it for ethical reasons. The health was a side benefit (and looking back, I don't think I was much healthier.)

          Oh, I also think trying to figure out the healthiness of different types of food by looking at single components in isolation is not very helpful. Real, whole foods and their nutritional make up are something of an ecosystem. They function in tandem. Separating their component parts out doesn't give you a full picture. As a simple example, many of the nutrients in milk are fat soluble. So if you drink skim milk, your body is going to absorb far less nutrition from that milk than if you drank whole milk.

          Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

          by aimlessmind on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 10:49:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Title is WRONG (4+ / 0-)

    Has the diarist ever been to a famine zone or gone with relief missions to places torn apart by war or a natural disaster?  Farm animals if you are lucky enough to have them sometimes are the first to go because of famine.  Usually, if relief is provided it doesn't consist of much meat if any at all.  

    As a vegetarian since the early 80's when people stigmatized us, most of the world's people consumed legumes, beans and very little actual meat.  Farm animals provide eggs and milk for the most part.   In China, meat was just a flavoring not the main.  The fact is that people in the USA are waking up to obesity, Type II diabetes and heart disease at younger ages. It isn's just the high fructose corn syrup, it is the way too much animal protein and meat consumption in our diets.  

    Maybe the title should more appropriately be: "There are no carnivores in a Famine",  just starving people around the world who are dying because of our over consumption of animals and ourselves, dying of heart disease and other illnesses that western medicine continues to deny the link between what we eat and our health.

    •  i read the whole diary. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mahakali overdrive

      meh.
      this whole concept of "there are no...". what a waste.
      next up, "there are no gay people when you have to make  lots of babies because there are no more babies being made  in the world. "
      that's how much sense this makes. zero.

      You are not an Environmentalist if you support the brutal, cruel, inhuman life and slaughter of animals in Factory Farms which produce 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

      by Christin on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 05:49:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  and (2+ / 0-)

        I'm an atheist, and I certainly hope that I wouldn't change if I were going to die.  

        Title makes a bad comparison,  because the two are not equal.  

        I would eat meat if I were going to die.  I wouldn't convert to a believer if I were going to die.

        I want my pajamas to be covered in words from Bartlett's. That way I'll always be sleeping in quotes.

        by otto on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 07:49:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Did you read the diary? (0+ / 0-)

      "If a few decades from now our governments and local economies are struggling to feed seven or eight billion people on a planet no longer sporting the sort of fossil fuel supply that can support such a population, you’re far more likely to gain access to a ration of grains or potatoes than a nice grass fed steak."

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 08:53:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Broccoli Linguinie (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, moira977

    Ingredients:
    1 whole yellow onion
    5-6 garlic cloves
    1 cup olive oil(not an exact science)
    2 full produce bags of broccoli crowns
    2 lb linguinie

    This is a very simple and delicious recipe, great for when you don't have a lot of time.

    1. Wash and cut up broccoli into bite size pieces. Put in your biggest stock pot, fill with water to top and boil until broccoli is cooked.

    2. Mince onion and garlic and saute in small sauce pot until nice and golden brown.

    3. Cook and drain pasta then place in big pasta bowl. I usually need two pasta bowls.

    4. Scoop broccoli out of water with ladle and place on top of pasta. Do not discard the broccoli water as it is added to pasta bowl. When done the pasta will be submerged in broccoli water.

    5. Ladle oil/garlic/onion mixture evenly over Broccoli and it's ready to serve.

    Put salt shakers at the table and each person can salt to taste. Tastes great with salt.

     As I mentioned the amount of oil used is really to taste and it may take a few tries before you have it to your own taste.

  •  Cannibal ! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mahakali overdrive, aimlessmind

    snark

    What'd the devil give you for your soul, Tommy? He taught me to play this here guitar REAL good. Oh son, for that you traded your everlastin' soul? Well, I wuddn' usin' it.

    by ZedMont on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 07:17:01 AM PST

  •  it's true (3+ / 0-)

    I'm a vegetarian, and I don't need a book to tell me to make that choice.  I made the choice because I can.  I

    Perhaps the problem isn't with choosing a vegetarian diet, it's with the notion that one could possibly be rigidly ideological in a crisis, especially when a solution is in front of you.  

    I want my pajamas to be covered in words from Bartlett's. That way I'll always be sleeping in quotes.

    by otto on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 07:24:52 AM PST

    •  Agreed. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ban nock, denise b

      I'd go further and say that rigid ideology is more destructive than any particular diet regardless of whether there's a crisis or not.

      Two additional things regarding diet I don't see directly addressed by diarist or in thread so far, separate from any moral or ethical issues:

      1. For strict medical reasons, different people may require different diets because their genetic makeup may contain or lack something. Lactose intolerance and iron deficiency anemia come to mind.
      2. From a scientific standpoint (IANAS but have seen enough separate studies over many years to convince me) how much you eat is at least as or even more important for health than what you eat. Beyond the matter of Americans' well-document obesity health issues, there is plenty of unambiguous research that caloric restriction by itself prolongs life and health. This is not something that ever seems to get much traction; I think mostly because medicine and business don't care about something they can't profit from, and possibly because saying "eat less" is easy to paint as Puritanical.

      •  Hi CJnyc (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CJnyc

        As to your first point, let me quote the diary:

        "What these diets typically have in common is that they have all kinds of guidelines that they attempt to apply to everyone, with little to no regard for local circumstances, the climate you live in, your particular body, your childhood diet, your likes and dislikes, the kind of work you do, or what kind of agriculture exists locally." That includes genetics in my mind, though I wasn't explicit about that.

        As to your second point, it's a good one. I agree with it, but no, I didn't bring it up explicitly in this diary. I kind of link that to the "the kind of work you do" statement up there. If you sit at a desk at a computer all day, you don't need so many calories as if you spend the day shoveling out a pig stall.

        Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

        by aimlessmind on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 08:48:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I never said choosing a vegetarian diet (0+ / 0-)

      was a problem. In fact, I was noting how rigid dietary ideology is a symptom of the luxury we've normalized in this country and the massive amount of cheap energy we have available to us from fossil fuels. Cheap energy that's going to be going away.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 08:50:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  back this morning for a look at comments (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aimlessmind

    the post got some reading though I'd of wished for a lot more. The title is good  in that it pulled some in. Rescued which is good, maybe some more eyeballs.

    Great post.

    "Slip now and you'll fall the rest of your life" Derek Hersey 1957-1993

    by ban nock on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 08:19:44 AM PST

    •  Thanks again, ban nock (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ban nock

      A lot of people just seem to be reacting to the title rather than what the diary says. I realized that was a bit of a danger, but I really do like the title. Oh well.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 08:39:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wonderful Diary! (3+ / 0-)

    I have made very similar food journey as you.  25 years ago becoming an unhealthy lacto-ovo Veg.  Generally substituting dairy for meat.  Then a few years started eating meat.  Then moving away from meat to eating a "flex-vegan" diet.  I eat mostly a whole plant foods (much I grow myself) vegan diet (no refined products---sugar, white flour, oils), but if I am hungry I will eat whatever is available, meat or dairy.  My diet now is quite similar to rural poor Chinese.  My health indicators have also started trending to those of rural Chinese--- very low cholesterol, lower weight, etc.

    But the main point of your diary is spot on, as resources become constrained and population continues to increase to even more unsustainable numbers, we all will eat whatever is available.

    The most important take away from your diary for me is that the mode of food production is less important than the unfortunate fact that the most unsustainable thing is the population. This inconvenient truth is rarely discussed and I have been flamed even at this progressive site for even bringing the idea up.  We will struggle to be sustainable in energy or food production until we accept the fact that the world we live in has a limit on how many humans it can sustainably support.

    •  Thank you, ashowboat! (3+ / 0-)

      No really, thank you for actually noting the argument of the diary, rather than thinking I'm arguing for a particular diet. We've way overshot carrying capacity on this planet and dealing with that as the fossil fuels that have made it possible become much less available is going to be the defining challenge of our future.

      Have you read William Catton's Overshoot? I'm in the midst of it now and it's great--though quite sobering.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 09:02:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aimlessmind, susie dow

        Thanks for the reference to Overshoot.  Sounds very interesting!!!  I will search it out.

        When I was young, 35 years ago there was much discussion about the need to deal with our growing population.  Now it is rarely discussed, even by environmentalists who are so concerned with our planet.  I am so puzzled what happened.  Do you have any insight?

        Again, Great Diary!!!

        BTW, good on you for getting closer to the earth by farming etc.  I am on a similar path and it has been one of the best changes in direction I have made....

        •  I wasn't around in the 70s (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ashowboat, susie dow

          But it sounds like there was a moment, spurred by some sudden imposition of resource limits--a preview of things to come, essentially--during which a good number of people really started to get it and there was a movement to start scaling back and transitioning to more renewable energy.

          Then Reagan got elected and we just decided to go full bore into drawdown. We lived it up and convinced ourselves that it could be a permanent state. But it's not a permanent state, we're seeing that now, and we're going to see it much more clearly in the not too distant future.

          Catton does some reevaluation of American and world history through the lens of ecological understanding and it's proven really fascinating so far. It sheds a lot of light on how things have played out.

          I also recommend The Archdruid Report as a great resource that has really influenced my thinking. John Michael Greer has done a massive amount of reading and historical study and he does a good job of bringing that knowledge to discussion of peak oil and environmental issues. He writes one post a week and will follow a subject for many weeks, so you can jump around but it's also good to go back and read the posts in sequence if you find him interesting. He just started a series on the fall of the American empire. I'm pretty excited for it.

          Anyway, I wish I had a better answer for you. It seems we had a moment when we were being a bit more honest about ourselves, then we decided to forego the hard work and just burn oil like there was no tomorrow. It was a pretty terrible decision that has since closed off a lot of our options and is probably going to lead to a much more harsh future than was necessary.

          Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

          by aimlessmind on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 09:43:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I got my answer (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aimlessmind, susie dow

            I think you did answer my question.  As simple as it sounds, we just decided to burn oil like it was unlimited and had no impact and stick our heads in the sand.

            Thanks also for the reference to The Archdruid Report, heading over there now to check out...

            Peace to you...

        •  Another perspective, this one ecological (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ashowboat

          A quote I just read in Overshoot (it uses some jargon that might not be familiar to you until you read the book, but the last line is the killer and fully understandable):

          "No compact group of leaders ever decided knowingly to take incautious advantage of enlargement of the scope of applicability of Liebig's law, or subsequently to reduce that scope and leave a swollen load inadequately supported. No one decided deliberately to terminate the Age of Exuberance. No group of leaders conspired knowingly to turn us into detritovores. Using the ecological paradigm to think about human history, we can see instead that the end of exuberance was the summary result of all our separate and innocent decision to have a baby, to trade a horse for a tractor, to avoid illness by getting vaccinated, to move from a farm to a city, to live in a heated home, to buy a family automobile and not depend on public transit, to specialize, exchange, and thereby prosper."

          Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

          by aimlessmind on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 02:41:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I read the whole diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aimlessmind, susie dow, melo

    and found it very thought provoking and well written. And I totally understood your title and the general intent of your diary (I think!).  Excellent points on the luxury of eating specific diets based on having both the financial means and the trade power to do so.

    I appreciate the time and effort you put into this and believe you've pointed out some critical issues that we ought to be considering, considering it doesn't look like we have the political will to change direction on sustainability and climate change at this critical time in our evolution.

    •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      susie dow, melo

      I'm glad you liked the diary. I don't have any faith in the political establishment to honestly address our predicament. I think they'll play games and take advantage of the chaos of increasing population pressures. I have a real concern for where that will all lead.

      I think we thus need a lot of individual response to our problems. The politicians aren't going to guide the way for us.

      Of The Hands - Thoughts on voluntary poverty, homesteading, farming, reconnecting to the land, doing good work, and muddling through the new no-growth economy.

      by aimlessmind on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 11:51:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In emergencies, lots of rules get dropped (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aimlessmind

    During World War II, in Warsaw Jews ate pork because it was the only meat available. They were given dispensation because staying alive was more important than observing dietary restrictions.

    The Tea Party: They're so far right, they're wrong.

    by lynneinfla on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 12:15:18 PM PST

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