April 12, 2011

Eating Healthy in Our Nation: A serious topic for this fun and frilly blog

Jaime Oliver is among the handful of celebrities and chefs that are determined to change the relationship most Americans have with food. Tonight I watched the Season 2 premier of his show Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution. It comes on every Tuesday night at 8:00 (eastern time) on ABC. He is determined to change the food that is served in schools all over the nation. This season he focuses on Los Angeles. Another celebrity who is trying to make a difference, and whom I admire for her efforts, is Alicia Silverstone. Her blog about eating kind can be found here: http://www.thekindlife.com/

For 8 years now I have eliminated all poultry and beef from my diet. I am what they (complicatedly) call a pesco-ovo vegetarian. I do eat eggs and I occasionally eat fish (sushi is a huge weakness). However, I have every desire to eventually go vegan, eliminating all animal products from my diet.

While a number of articles, reports and studies tell us obesity rates in America are sky high, that is not my main reason for trying to improve my relationship with food on a daily basis.Compassion towards animals is what initially drove me towards being a vegetarian. Once I adopted that lifestyle, numerous health related reasons for being a vegetarian surfaced in articles, books and other media. Every day I try to understand why so many people still eat processed meat when the literature available tells us how bad it is for us. Of course, in my ideal world, no one would inappropriately use any animal, but I know that a meatless America is never going to happen in my lifetime.

So that leads me to numerous questions...Is it lack of knowledge? Lack of money? Or, more simply, is it just a general disagreement. Often I hear that my diet is "wacky", "strange", "weird" or some other adjective that implies I am somehow not normal. If being normal means eating foods packed with preservatives and empty calories, or food that is brought to my table with the cost of suffering on the part of a defenseless animal, then I am proud to not be normal.

Another misconception/criticism I hear is that if I don't eat meat then I must eat only lettuce. That, of course, is not true. There are many delicious recipes that do not contain any meat. PETA is a great source for guidance on finding meat-free recipes. Also, Alicia Silverstone's book, The Kind Diet, looks to be filled with great recipes. I confess, I have not purchased her book yet. I've only known about the book for a week.

It is hopeful to see on prime time television, a wake-up call regarding our nation's food consumption. I only hope that the people who needed to see the show, did in fact see it. Although, preaching to the choir can be good to empower a larger movement. I am not so much an activist as I am a person who chooses to live her life in the kindest way possible. I can only hope that others share my outlook.


1 comment:

  1. It is hard to be vegetarian in this country. I was ovo-lacto for years but I have gone back to my original omnivore status since then. I make no moral judgements on either side. But I hear your feelings about the "not normal" aspect. Lunch with co-workers, Thanksgiving with family, and the dreaded dinner parties were all one big, awkward social situation.