We’ve just celebrated our annual Thanksgiving feast in the U.S.; the Christmas and New Year season with many gatherings and parties is ahead. So we don’t balloon up in size, it’s a time to be particularly conscious of our eating choices. But making conscious choices can be more than just looking at the calories we consume.
At the Bali Vegan Festival in October, in the presentation, “Why Veganism is the Best Choice,” Judit Németh-Pach, the Hungarian Ambassador to Indonesia, provided many compelling facts and reasons to become vegan.
One source she sited was EatingOurFuture.com with its compilation of many convincing articles and scientific studies.
Given our anatomy, what foods are best for humans?
“As a group, vegetarians/vegans live longer than meat-eaters. Furthermore, vegetarians/vegans generally enjoy better health:
- having less of the serious chronic diseases than the meat-eaters suffer;
- with less of the associated disability and pain than the meat-eaters suffer; and
- being less of a financial & social burden on their family and friends than are the meat-eaters with their higher rates of chronic degenerative disease.
Being healthier overall, vegetarians have more potential for the freedom & ability to live life to the full and independently for a longer time.”
What food choices are sustainable?Go to: https://eatingourfuture.wordpress.com/
How do food choices affect greenhouse gas emissions?
Yikes! Nooooooo. Low fat, organic cheese is worse than pork in creating greenhouse gases!! (I love good cheeses)!
What about eating fish and seafood? Aren’t they good protein options?
“1/. The United Nations reports: “According to a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimate, over 70% of the world’s fish species are either fully exploited or depleted. The dramatic increase of destructive fishing techniques worldwide destroys marine mammals and entire ecosystems… oceans are cleared at twice the rate of forests…”
2/. “Global marine populations slashed by half since 1970: WWF… Populations of marine mammals, birds, reptiles and fish have dropped by about half in the past four decades, with fish critical to human food suffering some of the greatest declines… “Overfishing, destruction of marine habitats and climate change have dire consequences for the entire human population… The pace of change in the ocean tells us there’s no time to waste,” Lambertini [head of WWF International] said. “These changes are happening in our lifetime. We can and we must correct course now.”…”
3/. “Seafood hit by climate change, Australian study finds… “There will be a species collapse from the top of the food chain down.”… Around 61 per cent of wild fish stocks are “fully fished” and 29 per cent “over-fished”, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Just 10 per cent are under-fished, the organization’s 2014 World Fisheries report said…”
4/. “Rich countries pay zombie fishing boats $5 billion a year to plunder the seas…” – http://qz.com/225432/rich-countries-pay-zombie-fishing-boats-5-billion-a-year-to-plunder-the-seas/
And there is more –
The United Nations “urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet.”
So, what can we eat to be healthy — and have sustainable food sources?
If you give up meat, seafood, and dairy to eat french fries, you will not be healthy. Vegans need to be conscious of their choices too.
So what about me? Have I become a vegan? I’ve been vegetarian since 2003 and that isn’t hard. In fact, it is getting easier all the time with almost all restaurants and even gatherings in homes offering tasty vegetarian options. However, giving up eggs and really good cheeses is a challenge for me. Right now, I’m an aspiring vegan – for my own health and for that of our planet.
What about you? What conscious choices about your food are you or could you be making?
Banner image is of a healthy vegan choice at Paradiso – The World’s First Organic Vegan Cinema – and major sponsor of the Bali Vegan Festival. When you go to Ubud, Bali, be sure to go to Paradiso for daily movie screenings, family afternoons, workshops, thematic festivals, live music shows, art exhibitions, private events, and excellent food. http://www.paradisoubud.com/
Especially when traveling, you see how other people do things differently. One wonderful aspect of Bali is there are no homeless people. I know that is a sweeping generalization, but I haven’t seen one person sleeping on the street! I wish I could say the same for Maui, the U.S., many other places in the world. Everyone has a home here mainly because they live in family compounds and take care of each other. Much of Bali land is government owned or controlled by the villages, so those who live in a family compound can’t sell the land. Even when they were colonized by the Dutch for 350 years, the Balinese kept control of their land, so they had their family home and family fields for shelter and food – for everyone.
In about 1930, Balinese began importing tin roofs (instead of using the grasses and having their neighbors help them thatch it – thus creating roof that would last 15-20 years – for free). Then they started importing cars – and needing money. Until that time, Bali could be considered one of the richest places on Earth. Because this traditional society was controlled by the village and temple laws, there was not much difference between the richest and poorest people in a village. Everyone got water for their family fields (a real “trickle-down” theory in practice). The system was so efficient that most people needed to work only four months a year to sustain themselves and their families; the rest of the year was dedicated to their art, temple, and family!
How’s that for a terrific idea that we could use?
(Source Hickman Powell’s The Last Paradise: An American’s Discovery of Bali in the 1920’s). <https://www.amazon.com/LAST-PARADISE-AMERICANS-DISCOVERY-1920s/dp/B01LMJYTBI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1476854387&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Last+Paradise%3A+An+American%27s+Discovery+of+Bali+in+the+1920%27s&refinements=p_72%3A1250224011>
Even now that they have to work year round, most Balinese are artists: dancers, musicians, painters, carvers, mask makers, weavers . . . . We could learn much from the Balinese.
But since an outsider can often see what a local does not, I’ve noticed since I was last here in 2014, the trend in Bali to keep caged birds. Bali is tropical; birds are everywhere. Just look out your window. Farmers in the rice fields are chasing birds away from the ripe grain. If you want more birds, you can just put out some bird seed. On Jalan Bisma, sometimes a van of tourists come to bird watch.
Why would you cage them?
While I’ve been here in Bali, I’ve read that although Balinese don’t eat dog meat, other people do. “Dog theft here is rampant, be it by agents of the dreaded . . . dog meat restaurants, or by thieves looking to sell a breed dog . . . at the famous ‘pasar burung’ in Denpasar where many breed dogs are sold on. . . In desperation to retrieve their beloved stolen pet, owners offer a considerable financial reward on posters and flyers which sadly can encourage further theft (though the owner is left no choice really but to go down this route). Even if dog meat thieves are caught, they are seldom punished with any severity – and as long as they keep getting away with it, they will keep doing it ” (Pet Care” Bali Advertiser, 12-26 Oct. 2016 p. 50).
Also while I’ve been here, I’ve seen the New York Times, “Big Food Photo Essay”:
Newborn females arrive from local dairies and spend their first 180 days at Calf Source — first in one of 4,896 hutches, like the ones seen here, and then in larger group pens. Trucks pass down each of 72 rows, dispensing water and milk. After a transfer to Heifer Source, another facility owned by the Milk Source company, the cows are inseminated and then returned — seven months pregnant, and just under 2 years old — to the dairies they came from.
During its busiest season, Gary’s Gobblers might have up to 60,000 turkeys living on five acres of its 160-acre facility. The worker seen here is spraying an antibacterial solution into the turkey pens to prevent disease.
Calf and turkey photos and text from: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/10/09/magazine/big-food-photo-essay.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0
During the Bali Vegan Festival, I attended the talk, “The Plight of the Bali Dog.” The facts about the dogs were bad – but also hopeful with information about what organizations such as BARC are doing to meet the challenges. What surprised me the most was what a young woman from India attending the talk said in response to my question about the Balinese Hindus offering animal sacrifices to their gods.
I know India is a complex country, the world’s most populous democracy, the land of Gandhi, and ahimsa (seeing the spark of the divine within each person). India is a country where you are confronted with big questions about glittering wealth and abject poverty – and where the Hindu majority religion respects the lives of animals. Indians make up two thirds of the world’s population of vegetarians – and Indian food is healthy and delicious.
What the Indian woman told me was very surprising to me:
1) Today – vegetarian, respect for animal life – India is one of the biggest exporter of beef cattle in the world!!! According to a 2015 CNN news report, “India was the world’s top beef exporter last year. That’s because India exports large quantities of meat from water buffalo — a member of the bovine family classified as beef by the USDA. . . . Meat now earns India more export dollars than basmati rice. . .
India’s buffalo meat — a chewier and cheaper alternative to beef — mostly ends up on plates in Asia and the Middle East, where rising wealth is spurring demand among diners for animal protein. . . .
The cow is revered in Hindu culture, the religion observed by roughly 80% of India’s 1.3 billion people, and restrictions on cattle slaughter apply in most states. . .
Still, the $4.8 billion annual export trade has almost developed by accident — the animals are needed to keep India’s huge domestic dairy industry going, said Rabobank analyst Pawan Kumar.
This is unique among countries with large bovine exports, Kumar said. It also means buffalo meat from India is cheaper. That helped the country generate record export earnings from the beef last year, although growth is moderating from the 30% annual rate seen between 2010 to 2013.
Here’s where it all goes: Vietnam is the top importer, with Malaysia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia other key markets.
Then there’s China, which may actually be the largest consumer of the meat, according to Rabobank’s Kumar. Some 40% of Indian buffalo is sent to Vietnam, before large quantities make their way across the Chinese border.
The Indian woman told me a second fact shocked me even more than the first:
2) Some Hindus offer animal sacrifice to their gods – as a gift of the best food.
According to the November 2014 Daily Mail article, “Animals are being lined up for slaughter as Nepal embarks on a two-day religious festival where buffalo, birds and goats are sacrificed to appease a Hindu goddess.
Millions of Hindus flock to the ceremony, which is held every five years at the temple of Gadhimai, the goddess of power, in Bariyarpur, Nepal, near the Indian border. . .
In 2009, more than 250,000 animals were killed, according to animal rights organization PETA, who is campaigning to put a stop to the practice.”
You can read more, but warning – the source includes gruesome photos : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2852739/Nepal-devotees-sacrifice-thousands-animals-Hindu-ritual.html#ixzz4NK8sQSJs