In the book The World We Have, Thich Nhat Hanh tells a story of couple traveling with their small boy across a vast desert to seek asylum in another land. They ran out of food. “Realizing all three of them would them would die in the desert, the parents made a horrifying decision: they decided to kill and eat their child. Every day they ate a morsel of his flesh, just enough for the energy to walk a little further, all the while, crying ‘Where is our son?'”(p.17, The World We Have) and they are in terrible mourning. Was it easy for the couple to eat their son? Of course not. Thich Nhat Hanh wants us to think about the impact our choices have on the resources available on the planet. Each time we take something away and use it up, we can think about that.
Many people eat twice the calories they need a day; eating enough for two adults or one adult and a child. I remember seeing a great talk by a doctor giving a talk on google video about the value of being vegan and apparently the average american eats a very large number cows (15), chickens (900), hogs (24), sheep (12), etc. throughout the course of their lifetime.
Animal fat is solid at room temperature. It sticks to our blood vessels and clogs them. Whatever organ was at the other end of the clog is what is damaged when the blood can no longer get through the opening. In multiple ways, we actually increase human suffering and starvation by supporting the meat industry. The amount of land and soil and water being used to grow the mono-crops to feed these animals could feed exponentially more people if the land was devoted to growing crops edible for humans.
We were just watching an excellent movie called “Dirt” on Independent Lens. It is about the health of the life in dirt. Healthy dirt produces healthy vegetables. The movie says we are destroying our dirt. For example, when pests find a way to unlock the mechanism for by-passing a pesticide and eating a mono-crop like wheat or corn it then has an unlimited food supply. This problem is currently solved by creating new pesticides. The diversity of plant life is vital to the health of the soil. Also, when one type of plant can not handle one type of weather disaster another can survive and visa versa.
I just ate a couple dates and I thought of how many strong hands may have touched each one. You are eating the sun that shown on it and the water that fed it and the soil that became its body as well. If you go to the date company’s website you can see photos of some of the workers. The site says their dates are picked by hand.
Speaking of Thich Nhat Hanh, he has just written a book all about mindful eating and food choices, called Savor. I just ordered it, hopefully he will inspire another post here! Thank you Thich Nhat Hanh!