A growing trend in the food world continues to amaze me. People involved in the “organic,” local, slow or whatever “food movement” they define themselves as a part of (myself included) are either for eating as much animal protein as possible, or for eating zero animal product at all (paleo vs vegan). Those in favor of eating animals believe that it sets the world on a more “sustainable” course and improves everyone’s health. Those against eating animals believe, well, the same thing. Both argue the same outcomes with diametrically opposed means and there substantial evidence backing both claims (see: The China Study or Why We Get Fat) .
Essentially, both parties are two sides of the same coin, bordering on Food Extremists. Food Extremist: Those believing their ideology on food and nutrition is the be all, end all for all modern disease, world problems, and that by doing so, set the world on a “sustainable” course.
There must be a middle ground in order to create lasting societal change. Is it not ok to eat both sustainably, humanely produced meat some days, and opt for vegan lifestyle on other days? At the end of the day, we all want:
- Improved transprancy in the food system
- Improved farming and livestock practices that improve our own health and the welfare of the planet
- Profitable business practices that also create positive health outcomes for the population
- Solutions for the modern-day chronic diseases that burden society
I recently engaged John Durant, perhaps the preeminent caveman/blogger from hunter-gatherer.com, and advocate of the paleo diet and “living wild in the modern world” (see: Paleo Kick for 21 days) in a twitter talkback with Mark Bittman, NYT writer, cookbook author, and advocate for sustainable food and [occasional] veganism. I was surprised by the vitriol involved in the talk-back relating to which ideology was superior.
Let’s not be elitists about this! Afterall, we are all fighting the same fight against the SAD (Standard American Diet) and the current problems that task society. Can’t we all just hold hands and shop at the farmers market together?
I’ll leave you with a quote from the man himself, Michael Pollan:
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.”
Now that’s something we should all agree on.
Always going for glory!
Craig E. Steinfeld