Food. Some eat to live, others live to eat. Either way, it’s the source of life.
The Chinese believe in the Chi of food. Eat food from the place you’re from, and you get Earth-drawn energy to live upon the place you’re in. It’s a circle-of-life thing.
Me, I clearly live to eat. Lately, too indulgently and without balance. Sproing goes the waistline this summer, I’m afraid. And that’s no good.
Living to eat and doing it badly is an ironic way to embrace death. I’m certainly better than I’ve likely ever been as an eater, but it’s a constant act of re-education, and the more I learn and deprogram myself on the white-food-rules upbringing I had, the further I’ve yet to go.
I had a bit of a Twitter spanking as I tongue-in-cheek suggested I get great pleasure from seeing former Vegan/Vegetarian people going back to meat. I explained that it vindicates my belief that vegetarianism and veganism are somewhat unnatural.
Then again, entire cultures, like the Hindu, go their whole lives without food that comes of taking a life.
I get that. But I’m Irish and French. It’s just never gonna happen chez Steff. I mean, really. If we weren’t supposed to eat meat, it wouldn’t be so tasty.
It’s that simple.
But it’s good meat that’s tasty. Meat raised under ethical conditions, raised eating real food, not stuffed with commercial feed, who have access to pastures, live naturally, and are slaughtered compassionately, then processed with care by people who value the product and the life given to provide it.
Give me a steak by a grow-factory, slaughtered en masse without empathy, processed on a conveyor belt, versus a local farm-raised product, slaughtered the old-school way, and hand-trimmed, with both prepared and cooked the same, and I’ll tell you on the first bite which is which. Easy. Done. It’s right there. That je ne sais quoi of having been raised ethically and killed compassionately.
There are lamb in Spain who get walked — WALKED! — on a 650+ kilometre trek across the mountains, feeding on grass as they go, birthing, mating, living like they should, being sight-seers for many weeks before they meet their end. That’s something you taste. Real grass grown from valley to valley, by river and stream, under olive trees and by grapevines. It’s all there in that lamb.
The French believe in terroir and how it applies to not just wine like most people think, but to everything from meat through to oysters. You taste the land that the food comes from. Like where you’re born imprints you, so too does it to the meat and seafood and everything else we consume. Like those Spanish lamb I think would surpass any I’ve ever had.
It’s a beautiful thought, that this interconnectivity runs through everything around us, and that we can choose to focus on more seasonal, local produce and it’ll not only be of better quality, but also of better Chi, of better terroir, and even just better for the environment, and ultimately more fulfilling for our soul.
As I reflect on food and what it means to me this week, I know where I’m going wrong with my diet is simply too many carbs and too much meat. I won’t go paleo or Zone or Atkins or any of those faddish diets. I just want to find a balance that works for me — ethically, tastefully, healthily, and financially.
I will never eat what I don’t enjoy, and I’ll never omit things like juicy steaks, cheeses, or other great food-of-love things that transport me when I eat them. Life’s meant to be lived, not survived.
There’s a perfect balance of finding flavour yet eating a diet that makes your body happy, and that’s the balance I’ve lost.
I’ll be eating less meat, less cheese, but when I have them, having far better quality. At the same time, I want to explore vegetarian dishes from around the world, particularly from places where they manage to go entire lives without meat, because clearly they’re doing it properly.
I’ve known people who’ve been extreme vegetarians, who did it balanced as best as one can, but who ultimately returned to the Meat Side when they ran into energy problems when being more active (like a boxer I knew, and a hardcore mountain cyclist). I don’t believe one needs to omit anything completely (except when allergic, obviously) to live an “ethical food” life.
Yet we as a society in the West eat meat to excess and a compromise would be good. I’ll attempt a 50% vegetarian week. I’m sure there’ll be weeks I fail, but I’m probably meat-eatin’ 6 days a week now, if not 7. That ain’t no good.
There’s one thing I can’t argue. That’s the issue that raising meat, farm or factory, creates a lot of methane, which is hugely responsible for global warming. If the world went vegetarian tomorrow and commercial meat production ended, we’d probably see a drastic difference in climate change quickly. This is true. Irrefutable.
So, mandate methane capture and conversion. Let’s solve that problem. Let’s have our
Because, to me, every cow is sacred, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want it salted and grilled.
After living several years in Spain, I have to tell you, you CAN taste that those lambs have lived a happy life. We were fortunate enough to live in an area where all of the meat was grass-fed and natural. My health greatly improved, other factors of diet not changed, and I’m convinced that that’s a big reason why.
I wish we could all have access to this type of quality meat and that animals were all raised as kindly and respectfully. Til then, I’ll keep hoping I can make enough money to purchase grass-fed meat all the time instead of part of the time.
I get that you’re not down with a specific plan. I tried out paleo a little over a year ago. Read a book that laid down a 30 day challenge. Did it all hardcore for those 30 days. But I am a huge dairy fan. That was the hardest thing for me. The author of the book admitted that after the 30 days, most folks would not stick to it 100%. So I can have some cheese or yogurt occasionally. This said while I scarf down some paleo-friendly foods. But what I loved about paleo is that I actually consumed more in calories each day than I had in some time. I was really eating. And the pounds and inches melted off.