Grazing animals are called ruminants. They’re known for their unhurried perusal of a landscape, slowly munching their way along, and I imagine all that chewing gives them a lot of time to think. I feel like that’s what I’ve been doing lately — taking a lot in, taking my time, processing.
So I read The End of Food, and then I read In Defense of Food, and now I just finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and I just feel like I’ve reached that tipping point where the arguments in favor of certain lifestyle changes are just so strong, the evidence so persuasive, that I can no longer continue along in my same passive vein. Something has gradually changed inside me, and things I took for granted as harmless before, are things I can no longer quite bring myself to do.
For one, I am done with feedlot beef. Just freakin’ DONE. I can’t get my head around it, I just cannot justify it, not one more purchase, no more “oh they don’t have any organic ground beef today, oh well, won’t kill me…” nope. Can’t do it. It may be months before anyone in my family even notices this conscious choice, however. I buy beef maybe… once every two weeks? Three? And thankfully now there ARE organic, grass-fed options. So this may not change my diet all that much, it just makes restaurant, and especially fast-food, eating a little trickier. No more Whoppers for me, I’m afraid. I’ll miss them, actually, in a way… but then again, I won’t. Because with the knowledge in my head right now, I don’t think I could eat one and have it taste the way they used to when I could eat them in blissful ignorance. So, maybe it’s all for the best.
For two, high-fructose corn syrup is just about gone from my diet. I say “just about” because we are still using up a few ingredients in the house that contain it (crackers and whatnot), and I did have a drizzle of “fake” maple syrup the other day when natural was not available. But no more soda. None at all, actually, because I’m off aspartame completely as well. When we go to Chipotle (a place I can still eat, hallelujah!), I’ve been getting unsweetened iced tea. It’s pretty good, actually.
Part of this is health reasons (I’m trying to follow an “anti-inflammation diet” to combat several auto-immune issues I have), part of it is ethical. And part of it is simply aesthetic… once you start eating real, whole foods, you just kind of lose your appetite for Twinkies. And believe me, I used to *love* Twinkies. And Cheetos, and all kinds of other foods that barely even get to be called “food.” But they just don’t appeal to me anymore. So this change in eating isn’t really about virtue and deprivation. It’s more about discovering things that are more delicious AND more healthy, and deciding to stop shoving crap in my mouth that I don’t even really want.
Meanwhile, I’ve been spending a lot of mental time planning our future farm. I definitely want chickens, of course, that’s a given. And a good place to start, it seems. But it is *possible* that we may eventually branch out to sheep… maybe a goat? Geese? Turkeys? The possibilities are endless. And a huge, huge vegetable garden, where I can actually grow more than just ONE zucchini plant, ONE tomato plant… although, even with a really big garden, I may still stick to just one pumpkin plant, man those things are huge….. Anyway. Big garden. Oh, and an orchard! So the ultimate property, of course, would already have an established orchard, since these things take a long time to get going.
I suppose there are people in the world who lust after cars, or big fancy mansions with swimming pools, really big TV’s that hang on the wall. You know, whatever floats your boat. But oh, how I daydream about a piece of land, with an old farmhouse with a big porch, a big red barn, an acre or two of pasture… sigh. Someday. I know it’s out there for me. In some ways, I think I’ve always known it was out there. Since I was a teenager, I’ve had this vision in my head of myself as an old lady, long gray hair flying in the wind, driving down a dirt road in a pickup truck with dogs in the back. Maybe with a little luck, I can get there *before* my hair goes completely gray.5 years ago