I know this post is gonna get some people upset, but I've always been a thinker and thought-provoker, so I'm not trying to offend anyone here; my intent is to simply question some of the things that I've been observing during these weird times.
There's a lot of media going around suggesting 5G is linked to the mutation of viruses (amongst the many other hazardous side effects it may cause). I'm no scientist here, so I'm not going to disprove this; in fact, I find it to be quite plausible. The evidence is convincing, but frankly, I personally don't know enough to make a statement on this.
However, what I can comment on, is the irony of what people choose to be afraid of. Right now, in the somewhat early stages of the virus, I think we can all agree that our world is in fear. There are a lot of "unknowns". There are a lot of theories. There is a lot of misinformation coming from all angles.
I wanted to point out an observation I've had during this time, and what people choose to be afraid of.
I was at the grocery store a few weeks ago; before masks were required to enter. At the time, employees were required to wear them, but customers were not. I was in line behind a larger gentleman, and when I say "larger", I mean a man who could lose 100lbs and probably still suffer with weight-related diseases. His skin was covered from head to toe in long pants, a sweatshirt, a painter's mask (with the little inhalation vents), gloves, a hat and even sunglasses. There wasn't much of him you could really see. It would appear he was worried about catching COVID19.
As he placed his grocery items on the conveyor belt, I noticed red meat, processed ham-like products, cheese, soda, beer and other Standard American food-like products. The irony; how "careful" he was to not catch the virus, but how carefree he was with his diet.
We don't know the true numbers of how many people COVID19 kills. There are so many numbers floating around, combined with theories that one side is inflating the numbers, while the other side is hiding them. There are theories that the flu kills 10x as many people as the coronavirus, then there are others stating we haven't even seen the true harm of what the virus can do. Scientists all over the world are presenting different data.
But, what we do know, is the harms of the Standard American Diet. We do know that processed meats cause cancer. We do know that Type 2 Diabetes, High Cholesterol, Heart Disease (etc) are some of the top killers in the States, all of which are linked to poor diet choices. We also know that obesity is one of those "external" confirmations that a person most likely at least suffers with at least one of these killers.
So, why is it that people choose to be careful in on area, but not another? Is it that the media has instilled so much fear in us over the virus, yet the news is followed by yet, another, McDonald's commercial that advertises free delivery during these times? Is it that doctors rarely talk about diet being part of health? Is it habit? Is it blatant ignorance?
I think it's a combination of all these things, plus people's desire to "feel good' in the moment. But, what about cigarettes, illicit drugs and alcohol? These things can make us temporarily feel good, yet, ask anyone if they're healthy for you, and most people would agree they're not; especially outside of moderation.
So, why is it, that people still eat processed animal-based foods? Are they unaware of the long-term consequences? Are they aware of them, but they're so addicted to the added chemicals and sodium that they have such a difficulty giving them up? Fat, sugar and salt have always been addicting, but we can get those in other plant-based forms that aren't nearly as bad for us. So, what the hell is going on?
When I speak to friends or colleagues about veganism, they often reply with "it's in my culture, I could never give up something like that!" But, it's in all of our cultures. Latin America is known for skirt steaks, Asian countries for sea life, European countries for sausage, and America for it's hamburgers. Of course I didn't list every culture here, but you get the point. My family is mostly German; I grew up on bratwurst and sauerkraut.
Humans don't like change; we're routine people. But, for me, once I was an informed adult, I realized that although I didn't have many health complications in my mid 20's, I was bound to get them in my later years if I chose to eat the way I was raised.
My first job at 13, was at McDonald's. I grew up in a small town and they allowed us to work if we had at least a 3.0 GPA in school. My family was living in borderline poverty and when I would work a closing shift, we had to throw out any chicken nuggets, patties or other meat products that were leftover. Instead of throwing them away, I would line my backpack with plastic bags and take them home for my mom to put in the freezer. Those "foods" would be our next meals for the week to come. At the time, I was thrilled to be able to feed my family during such hard times.
In my later teenage years, I continued to purchase these products because they were cheap. Later, in my early 20's, drive-thru's were an easy option when I got off work at 3am and needed some food. This shit food was a huge part of my early life as well; until I decided to make a change.
The point of this isn't to stand on some soap box or appear "holier than thou", it's to simply state that change is possible once compelling evidence supports it.
As stated in previous blogs, my change came from a cancer diagnosis in my late 20's, combined with a few documentaries about plant-based eating and slaughterhouses.
People have told me that they have food addictions, which makes it really hard for them to stop eating what they're eating. I'd love to share a personal story that I rarely speak about.
I grew up with a mom who was quite passionate about staying thin. I won't go into many details, because my point here isn't to offend anyone. But, bottom line, her passion rubbed off on me, and I became obsessed; not necessarily with eating healthy, but being thin.
I had developed an eating disorder in my late teens. I would eat like shit, then purge. I almost always overate. I think a lot of this also came from the fact that I was always told to eat everything on my plate. My parents would tell me that we should be grateful, since we didn't know when or what our next meals would be, or if we'd even have one.
Drugs became a part of my story. I'd use them to stay thin. I never knew how to control my intake of food, but I was so obsessed with staying skinny, there was no way I was going to allow myself to "get fat". Even to this day, I catch myself eating way faster, and way more than I should be. But, at least today, I'm not eating the same foods that could potentially lead to obesity. (I'm also no longer purging).
The point of this story, is once again, change. A lot of people look at me today and think I've never had a problem with overeating. They assume I've never had a difficulty with food-like problems. But, fact of the matter is, I've always had a bad relationship with food. I have compassion for those in similar positions.
Of course, the animal activist in me wants the world to go vegan overnight, but fact of the matter is, it's really hard for people, especially those who have developed bad eating habits over the years.
So, what now? How do we change? What's next? Mindset.
For me, it took adopting principles bigger than me. It took looking at the victims of animal ag as something (someone) more than me to fight for. It took looking at oppression as something that happens to them to, and something I was no longer willing to support. It was then, that I was able to adopt ideas of my own personal health and how much that mattered.
When people start eating more plant-based for their own personal health, I applaud them. But, in my own experience, I think it's really easy to fall back on old habits if we don't adopt bigger reasons to keep moving forward. For this, I think it's really important for all people on this path to understand the true terrors of all meat and dairy. For those interested, I highly suggest watching Earthlings and Dominion to get a better understanding. Check out Cowspiracy to understand the environmental impact.
If you're reading this, and not yet vegan, thank you. If you're looking for resources on how to change, feel free to check out the Resources tab on this website to learn more. It's a journey, but please, if you choose to care about your own health and exposure to harmful substances, please care about all the things you're exposed to; especially your food.