Biologically, humans are animals. We need to eat, nourish ourselves, or else we cannot live. Nowadays, for everyone who isn’t in a situation where food deprivation is an issue, eating is not only a need: everything evolves around food, and food always brings people together. But do we ask ourselves enough about what we eat, where our food comes from, how do our bodies take it and where it will go? I don’t think so.
Since the industrial revolution, people can eat almost anything out of bags and cans. With globalization and the increasing international trade, even perishable foods can be transported almost anywhere. That means food can be kept for a longer period of time and can be shipped from almost any corner of the world right to our tables.
As a meat-and-everything-else-except-tomatoes-eater and a food-lover, I had never asked myself about why do we eat or not certain things until October 2013, when I entered a philosophy course about animal ethics. Each week, after the teacher had presented many philosophers who touched the subject of animal rights, we had to sum up their opinion and conclude by telling our own. As I did the last part, I realized more and more every week that what I wrote contradicted itself. Once, I even wrote that I agreed with Peter Singer (an utilitarian who is against making animals suffer and killing them for our own gustatory pleasure), followed by “but I could never be a vegetarian”, as if it was an obvious statement which couldn’t be questioned. I remember that when the teacher handed me the correction, it was written near this in a red pen “Why? Explain”. That’s when I realized I couldn’t explain it. It was totally irrational. I then started thinking about what I eat.
Most people don’t want to know where the beef they’ll eat for dinner comes from, how that animal lived and how it was killed. Ironically, they treat their dog pet like a family member, and they cry in movies when a horse suffers or a kitten dies. The thing is, when it comes to real life, when it comes to actually questioning family traditions and daily habits, suddenly others don’t matter that much.
It is needless to say that after that 7-weeks class, I decided to become a vegetarian. It had changed so much my relationship with food in such a short period of time, and even though almost every other student made fun of that “nonsense and hippie” course, it had truly changed my life.
However, this decision was too radical and it took me an iron deficiency, a lactose intolerance, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms to understand the relativity of things. Since I radically changed my diet in an very short period of time and without proper research, my digestive system couldn’t adapt and so I became sensitive to foods I had eaten my entire life. It took me more than a year of struggling with all this and lots of visits to multiple doctors, a naturopath and an acupuncturist to finally understand what was happening, and most importantly, how to learn to live a healthy lifestyle adapted to my ethical conscience as well as my new eating habits.
I also started asking myself about other animal products such as dairy, eggs, leather, etc. since even though animals don’t necessarily get killed to produce them, they’re still used by an industry and most of the time, not in a very gentle way. The bigger the industry is, the bigger is the probability that animals suffer and live a short and unhealthy life. I started researching more and more about the food industry as well as vegetarianism and veganism. I came to find out my personal opinion, and most important of all, by trying to explain my new way of life to my friends and family I became aware that everyone has their own perception of the world and as long as we can rationally understand our actions and feel good about it, we shouldn’t create a problem with others. It isn’t worth it to criticize those around us, or try to impose our own points of view to others. The reflection has to come from each and every one of us, but what I can and attempt to do is to make people rethink the way they eat and live.
Moreover, all that made me realize that people in general don’t think either about where their fruit or bread comes from; lots of men and women eat without thinking, and raise the future generations that way. Of course, fruits and bread don’t have a nervous system, therefore they don’t feel pain and they aren’t conscious at all, therefore they can’t realize what happens around them and to them. However, our own health and our planets’ health are very important factors as well!
So what about humans? We are animals too, we feel pain, we have a highly developed consciousness compared to other animals, yet many human rights aren’t respected around the world. There are many of us, some of which are children, being forced to be soldiers, or working under horrible conditions to produce the products their fellow humans use, such as the minerals used to make technology goods and most of the clothes we wear.
Yep, I have a lot of questions. And you must too. But despite the fact that all that cruelty among living beings is part of a huge complex system which seems completely out of our individual control, I deeply believe that each and every one of us can make a difference. Because “if we only think of our own interests, we are headed for collective disaster” (Peter Singer).
Therefore, I am constantly questioning my way of doing things and I am always learning so much. I started to think about all those humans and animals but also about myself as a person; what is healthy and good for our bodies and my own body in particular, as well as the societies we live in, and of course, the environment of this planet we all share.
I am finding my own philosophy to eat and live better and I would like to share some of it here, as well as some tasty recipes, health tips and cultural travelling experiences.
Most importantly, I think very strongly that it is crucial to take things slow, since transforming our ways of life is a long and not always easy process, but keep in mind that it is for the best.
Let’s start by saying: no more bacon!