Why Do You Eat What You Eat?

Let me state right off that I truly wish to initiate conversation with this post.  I know that we humans tend to get our knickers in a twist if we feel our beliefs are being questioned.  But, really, I truly want to know your thoughts on food choices and lifestyle.

I think I have experience on both sides of the omnivore-vegetarian question.  I was vegetarian for nearly 20 years myself.  (I did give “vegan” a go, but that lasted about 20 minutes.)  Back in the late eighties/early nineties when I decided to change my diet, I had several reasons for going vegetarian.  I was competing in sports a lot and wanted to be lean-n-mean.  I had read Eat Right 4 Your Type by Dr. Peter D’Adamo, which recommended different nutrition for different blood types; according to the book, my blood type is better suited for a vegetarian diet.  And I didn’t particularly care for the way conventional farms and slaughterhouses treated livestock.

That food lifestyle served me well for a long time.  But as I began competing less, I found myself turning into a carbohydrate addict.  Every meal was either cereal or pasta.  So I knew it was time for change.  Now since I hadn’t chosen to be vegetarian because I think it’s wrong to eat animals, it was easy enough to adjust my diet to include more variety.  In addition, I’m lucky enough to live in an area where I can easily get organic/biodynamic/free range meats and dairy.

I wonder why people choose to eat (or not eat) what they do.  It seems to me that “vegan” is very fashionable now.  Now, I know that some people  adopt certain diets for religious or health reasons.  But I seem to be running into people who can’t quite articulate WHY they are eating vegan.  Personally, I do have a difficult time understanding it.  Vegans do not eat anything associated with an animal/bird/insect, including honey.  I am a big believer in the “circle of life” philosophy, so I don’t have a problem with the food chain theory.  I fully accept predator-prey as a part of life.  At the same time, I can understand and accept someone who might NOT believe in that.  But I do struggle with understanding why someone wouldn’t eat honey or milk or eggs; no harm comes to the animal if we eat those things, especially if you choose organic and free range.

I’d love it if you could chime in on this topic.  Are you vegan or vegetarian or omnivorous? Why?

Food Pyramid


How to Define Healthy Eating?

A September 2012 report from Packaged Facts (a market research company) suggests that we need to redefine what healthful foods are.  The New Healthful:  Culinary Trend Mapping Report begins by saying, “This notion of promoting good health also focuses on the presence of beneficial nutrients and the use of inherently nutritious foods, instead of just the absence of certain ingredients that may negatively affect health when over-consumed.”  It then goes on to highlights certain foods that go beyond the traditional meaning of healthful, including raw foods, plant-based foods, and foods that are created with sustainability in mind.

According to this report, we can expect to see the following trends in the near future:

  1. Superior tap water and customized beverages
  2. Heirloom whole-grain breads
  3. Beans and greens for breakfast
  4. Healthier vending machine options
  5. Vegan fare on restaurant menus, especially veggie burgers
  6. Healthy kid’s fare

Hmmmmm. . . . .  While I certainly like the idea of promoting healthy and nutritious foods, I also have a part of me that is hesitating.  The very notion of defining “healthy” opens up the proverbial can of worms, in my opinion.  For example, I am sure there is a whole mob of Paleo and Whole30 enthusiasts rebelling at the list above.  Where’s the beef, they no doubt cry.  Then the Celiac folks chime in, bristling at the inclusion of whole-grain breads.

I know that The New Healthful is just reporting the trends, and not trying to make the rules.  But it does make me wonder about the inherent trickiness of defining something.  Inevitably, someone will feel left out.  Someone else  will feel righteously vindicated.  Someone else will not care.  How do we make these kinds of broad decisions then?

Personally, I think dilemmas like this are exactly why we need to learn about and know ourselves.  Feel better eating meat?  Go for it!  Discovering that you are not built for speed but can go forever?  Awesome!  Educate yourself, try some different approaches, and then walk your own path.  I’m all for being the Wise Individual living within the Society.