How I become a plant-based consumer.

My plant-based eating journey originated from my workout routines.  Ever since I started incorporating my exercises into my life, I’ve gradually become more conscious about my food intakes.  I’ve tried several diet methods (paleo, ketogenic, raw food, vegan, vegetarian, the list goes on).  None of the diets alone works best for me…  Things aren’t rigidly black and white…  

But I do feel a whole lot different in my body and mind when I cut my meat consumption and was strict with meatless diets.  I was always hungry during the transition… but I had no longer feel extremely sleepy during the day and experienced better mood.  Then I started to be interested with the plant-based diets and read madly about it.  What made me become a plant-based eater is having learned about how the food industries have turned animals into food…

As cruelty-free and vegan communities get stronger, many animal farms feel the urge to discard the unethical living conditions and mistreatment of animals and shift their businesses into sustainable, free-range, free-run, cage-free, antibiotic-free, or hormone-free farms. 

Though the story ends with killing animals, they seem to live well and happy before getting slaughtered…  Still, it doesn’t alter the fact about killing.  There is no pleasure in the death, especially by unnatural means.  I wonder how many free-range farms allow their chickens to roam freely in outdoors?  By the time they are exposed to an open space, they are already used to living indoor and no longer desire to go out.  Seeing that, I try my best to reject my consumption of all land meats whenever I have a chance.  I do not want to be part of the crew that supports animal slaughterhouses.  

Then what’s left for me to eat?  Does every vegetable or fruit farm adopt ethical practices?  In a world where the industrial food chains make it so convenient for us to consume processed food, people don’t have to sort out ingredients in the wild or cook from scratch anymore.  Michael Pollan has broken down the modern food journey from mass production farming to the meals on our plates in the Omnivore’s Dilemma.

The corn industry is huge in north america.  Corn production is hidden in many forms of food and non-food products, especially in processed food.  The large producers seek ways to include corn in products such as maltodextrins, fructose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, corn oil, cornmeal, corn flour, animal feeds, antibiotics, soaps, paints, fuels, alcohols, automobiles, etc.  

A modern production of corn, including vegetables and fruits, is dramatically different from traditional farming methods which had no chemicals or machines involved.  Instead, the traditional farm raised animals and turned their manure into the plant’s fertilizers.  Plants, animals, and humans used to live in a symbiotic relationship in nature.  

Organic producers have changed their ways to grow as consumers are increasingly concerned about additives, artificial and toxic ingredients.  The organic food are often misunderstood that they must have gone through non-chemical processes.  But they actually just have to meet USDA organic standards: protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, (if needed) adding only approved substances (which may or may not contain unnatural ingredients).  

There are also levels of certified organic products which tell us how much organic ingredients are included from 70% to 100%.  Though USDA does not say that organic foods are chemical- or pesticide-free, they seem to represent higher levels of ethical practices than their counterpart farms with highly toxic contents.  Consuming organic foods may sound healthy, yet they often lose their nutritious quality as they travel from producers to consumers.

Isn’t it better to buy locally organic produces and eat real food (mostly plants) in moderation…

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