Selling Melons for Money

February 13, 2008

photo_4528_20071220.jpgBeing frugal by nature, I struggle with the price i’m paying to be faithful to my newfound love of raw living. As I incorporate more nutrient dense foods such a bee pollen, my grocery bill skyrockets. Not only that, but since the US requires pasteurization of many raw items, i’m forced to acknowledge the oil used to bring my raw cashews from who-knows-where – presumably Canada where pasteurization is not mandatory.

I don’t live in a climate where I can wander down the street eating fresh oranges that are hanging onto the sidewalk or avocados that have rolled in to my yard as I did when I lived on Maui. I live in Colorado where the trees that I planted last fall are buried under 10 feet of snow.

It’s easy to rationalize my purchases, arguing that I do not spend money on alcohol since I don’t drink (maybe worth $20/week) and have weened myself from my daily nonfat latte habit (at least another $20/week not to mention additional savings for eliminating tortured cow’s milk from my diet) – but still, I paid $8 for a honeydew melon at Safeway yesterday, and it wasn’t even organic.

Suddenly buying a piece of dirt in a warm climate and growing my own food sounds sort of nice. That way, when the peak oil is upon is (I know, it already is upon us), I can sell my own melons for $8 and have yummy living food for my family. Somehow that came out sounding illegal, but really, it’s worth thinking about.

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Choices

February 11, 2008

ocean-garbage.jpgFollowing a college trip to Taiwan, a friend of mine decided on a vegetarian lifestyle after seeing the way animals, even sea creatures were brutally handled and killed by locals to sell. Upon returning to America, she promptly bought a copy of Diet for a New America and was maniacal about the food purchased and consumed. Fast forward 15 years and you will see my friend now jokingly refer to herself as an opportunivore, meaning, if she gets the opportunity to eat meat that smells good, she does it.

While I also strayed for a while from my college vegetarian days, I have returned to that lifestyle, and now work at incorporating a raw vegan diet into my world. It saddens me that with age, my friend has forgotten the reasons for embracing vegetarianism that were so important to us long ago, especially now that we all have children, now that the secret regarding global warming is out, now that the decisions we make each and every day may have disastrous effects on the world we will leave our children.

Being vegetarian is not easy, not to mention being vegan, or god forbid, raw vegan. But I cannot pretend my choices don’t mean that down the road, someone else will pay. Are we so selfish that eating a piece of bacon is worth the suffering of the pig in the contained feedlot, the methane rising into the atmosphere, the energy required to slaughter and process the pork, the fossil fuels used to truck the meat to market, the paper purchased to wrap the food in a neat little take away bag. All because the bacon smelled good.

I’m not a perfect vegan. I eat cheddar cheese goldfish with hummus when i’m ravenous and am laboriously chopping veggies for a raw salad. But i’m not laughing about allowing myself the spontaneity to choose what to eat as it strikes me. Just because I can choose to eat animal flesh doesn’t mean I should. There are a million things available to me that I would not think of consuming, why is it so hard for people to do the same with meat?

At the end of all this global warming, trash heaps mounting, fossil fuels dwindling state is just one person, making a decision many times each day, each hour, each minute, that will forever leave a mark on this planet. What choices will you make today that aren’t the easiest, fastest or yummiest, but will give our children a chance at a world of green lush forests and fresh air. A place where were animals are reverred, not beaten.

Whatever you choose, let’s not pretend it is no big deal. This is a huge deal, and may be the last deal whose ending we get to choose.

In the Raw

February 8, 2008

Of all the things we have done as a family to lessen our impact on the environment, the most important and dramatic has been changing our diet. Initially, I switched our home to a vegetarian diet after watching the meet you meat video and started to incorporate more organic and locally grown produce whenever possible (not entirely easy in the Colorado Rocky Mountains). The change was seemless and while it did not reduce our grocery bill, I felt good about our efforts.

Recently, following a NY Times article reiterating some of the things I knew about the effects of cattle rearing on our planet, I began looking deeper into my food consumption habits. Christmas, of course, was a time of indulgence and I awoke in January feeling as if Santa had actually run me over with his sleigh. Poking around the internet let me to the raw food movement.

The theory behind raw or living foods is that the cooking process destroys the beneficial enzymes that live in the food, and since our bodies have a limited supply of these essential enzymes, we must obtain them from living food. There is a wealth of knowledge about the living food world available but I have found Raw Reform to be inspirational, educational and actually humorous.

Currently I make breakfast and lunch my raw meals, and chose a healthy, whole grain dinner that I am able to fix for the whole family. So far it is working out, however, I have struggled with feeling cold and hungry more than I am accustomed to. I do attribute this to the 30 feet of snow that has fallen in my town this season though, and know that my mind is adjusting to eating less just as much as my body.

It’s a fascinating journey and I hope the way my daughter will look at food as she grows into her own decision making years will be forever changed by the lessons she is learning in our home.