Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Learning from Other Peoples' Resolutions

One of the fun things about Web is that you get to see other people experimenting. Wisdom is learning from others' mistakes or successes.

So, Steve is going to eat raw food for the next 30 days and so far it seems to be going well. I say good for him.

Some of the things seem obvious to me. Feeling like you are on an emotional high all the time makes sense because you are eating huge quantities of sugar from the fruit.

The thing I was surprised about was the time commitment, lots of time for prep and lots for eating as well.

We like to cook and make fun meals so watching someone go all raw in interesting. We have learned quite a bit about nutrition and who the body handles food and what cooking does to food.

But humans are not herbivores. Cows with 4 stomachs and some exotic gut bacteria and the ability to chew the cud can do it. We don't have the gut systems to break down the nutrients locked behind the walls of cellulose. But we have a tool (fire) to break down cellulose for us so we can get to the good stuff.

Some cooking techniques are better then others. That is no great surprise. Boiling vegetables until they are dead again is obviously not going to deliver maximum nutrition to you. We really like broccoli steamed in the microwave with a couple of teaspoons of water or chicken broth and some crushed garlic topped with sea salt.

In any case, I like to combine ingredients and heat to make food.

I've also come to realize just how amazing globalization has become. Virtually all the food that Steve is eating had to come from outside the country, because none of it is in season on this side of the globe. It is wintertime and there just aren't a lot of fresh foods available naturally.

This makes for an interesting dilemma: On the one hand many vegetarians I know are very big on the environment, but the only way to support their lifestyle is to fly in large quantities of food from around the world to allow them to eat. And all that transportation is a heavy burden on the environment, as we saw with that global warming summit in Bali.

Out diets are far more diverse now then ever before. If you went back 100 years there were plenty of canned and boxed foods and most of us would even recognize many of the brand names, though the selection would be much smaller.

Go back 200 years from today and there was no canned food. It wasn't until 1809 that the process of canning food was invented. Before that you had drying, smoking, pickling, curing and salting. Go enough to get you through the winter but tiresome all the same.

I am pretty sure that just 50 years ago doing a raw vegan diet would have been impossible for most regions of the planet. But then the Eskimos have survived on whale blubber for a long time. Humans can survive and thrive on an amazing variety of foods. From hunter/gatherers to herder/farmers it didn't change all that much, each region of the planet got good at different local foods. Now we can ship them pretty much anywhere. Amzing.

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