You Are What You Eat

you_are_what_you_eatI don’t care what you eat. As long as you don’t eat so much fast food that you end up as a one ton shut-in living on disability (a.k.a. my tax dollars) and have to call the fire department to rescue you from your house with the jaws of life because you don’t fit through a traditional doorway, I don’t really care. If you want to eat yourself into a coma, go right ahead, provided that it doesn’t cost me money, that is. But, if you’re self-reliant, earn money, pay taxes, if you don’t drive up medical costs for the rest of us, don’t wear short shorts and leave me the fuck out of it, good for you.

The converse of this principle is true as well. If you only eat indigenous dandelions that grow on the northern slope of some hill in Delaware, you’re an idiot, but go right ahead. I don’t care. If only green beans doused with bird shit harvested by naked monks in San Juan Capistrano with their toes will do for you, again, whatever. But do not proselytize and attempt to convince me that I should too. Some health nuts are worse than born-again Christians. You never hear the extremely obese extolling the benefits of eating 100 Big Macs a day, so why the hell should I listen to your skinny, malnourished ass go on and on about the benefits of Capistrano bird poo? And, before you run off to San Juan Capistrano asking about naked monks and their bean-picking habits, I’ve never heard anyone claim that the swallows in San Juan Capistrano produce healthier poo than your average bird.

I once knew a girl, and I use the term knew loosely here, who wouldn’t eat honey because it exploited bees and wouldn’t wear silk because it exploited silk worms. I wish I was exaggerating for dramatic effect, but I’m not. My acquaintance with this nutbag was short lived and a very long time ago at that, so I’m not sure if she’s even still alive. I can’t imagine surviving more than a decade with that sort of belief system. Who knows, maybe she owns a steakhouse now.

I’m going to give up wheat because it exploits the grain. Have you heard about the unfair wheat practices? This poor wheat lives out its entire life in one spot and it’s not even allowed to move around! Then the farmers decapitate it and run it through something called a thresher. I’m not sure of the exact workings of this medieval torture machine, but I hear that it rends the body of the grain from the shaft! I can’t talk about it anymore without getting angry. STOP WHEAT CRUELTY NOW!! SAVE THE GRAIN!

That previous paragraph is the work of a vivid imagination, namely mine, and fortunately, it’s not anything anyone has ever actually said to me. But honestly, how do we know that wheat doesn’t have feelings? Maybe it screams in pain in a plant-like way and we’re just not aware of it. Where do we draw the line? Killing animals is evil, but animal byproducts are OK? Or is it all living things? Does it have to have a face in order for it to not be eaten? Have you ever seen a wildlife show where a lion takes down a stag and eats it raw? (I hear raw foods are healthy.) Does that make carnivorous animals like lions, tigers and bears evil then? Are human beings not carnivorous animals? So many questions…

Even wheat, barley, couscous and quinoa were alive at some point. Yogurt is very much alive when you eat it. Yeast is alive when you bake it in an oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Even the water you drink contains living, microscopic organisms. We don’t have different terminology for the life cycles of these various things, even if they are of a different species, genus or order than we are. They live and they die, just like we do. If you don’t water your houseplant, it dies. So, really, on a biological level, what’s the difference between a human being living and dying or a protozoa? Language? Thumbs? Cute factor? Is it the fact that we have faces?

And for those sign-waving, up-in-arms types who might read this and think I’m pro-animal cruelty, I assure you, I most certainly am not. And I’m definitely not saying that people should stop eating yogurt, yeast or grain; quite the opposite. I’m simply trying to point out that everything you eat is or was alive in some way, even if you only eat couscous and tofu.

If you have a heath problem and can’t eat certain foods, then naturally, don’t eat those foods. I have the rotten luck of being lactose intolerant; Intolerant being quite the understatement. I can’t eat cheese, milk or even ice cream without my digestive system wanting to jump ship. It sucks, but I live with it because I have no choice. Abstaining from eating dairy is not a personal statement; it’s an inability to digest it. I guess that’s what it boils down to: Choice versus statement. I have zero issues with choice. I am all for choice. The more choices the better. Eat whatever you like, but when your choices turn into a rigid belief system that impacts my life in any way, that’s where I draw the line.

This post is part of the Drat & Blast series.