The vegan and healthy eating movements shouldn’t feel too ethically and environmentally smug about their meat-free food choices. These too come with a cost to others.
A vegan diet is not for me, but I’m perfectly ok with those following it, if that’s what rocks their boat.
What I can’t stand is if these people feel ethically and in all things environment superior to those that feed themselves in the omnivorous way of things.
If you happen to eat a steak in the vicinity of a vegan, chances are you invited yourself to a lengthy treatment about the cruel conditions livestock suffer from and how one pound of beef wastes so many resources and hurts the environment, while produce could feed so many more.
Yes, that steak I’m eating was once a living, breathing organism, very much capable of feeling pain. Anyone having pets and eating meat is essentially putting animals in superficial categories: those to be adored and those to be eaten.
Pigs likely are more intelligent than cats, but to their disdain can’t meow as cutely and lack the soft fur. Petting the one and eating the other is a cultural concept that today carries no logic; I grant animal rights activists that criticism without a doubt.
But even if for yourself you solved this ethical dilemma by saying no to meat and animal products in general, there is a cost. There is no such thing as a free lunch – that beaten expression seldom fit better.
The Unethical Quinoa
Case in point: quinoa, the grain native to South America, very nutritious and coming with an ample helping of protein.
In the usual vegan diet protein is often hard to come by, making quinoa a favorite of many vegan bodybuilders and weightlifters. It’s also becoming more and more popular among those who still eat meat, but assigned themselves to the healthy eating movement. In the latter, the case of superiority complex is usually not as bad as in many vegans, but nonetheless they often are the kind of individual who will look down upon if you dare to buy some Cheese Whiz and chips at the supermarket.
While these two groups are sitting at their kitchen tables, munching their organic quinoa banana bread and congratulating themselves to their environmentally safe food choices that animals didn’t have to be hurt for, a good number of Peruvians and Bolivians are sitting at their kitchen tables, too. But they are wondering what to eat, because due to the increased demand, they can’t afford to buy anymore what used to be the main staple of their diets.
Resources Aren’t Endless
It is a fallacy to assume that certain choices don’t come with a grand total because they look better. Their cost may be smaller, as they involve less waste, but in a world where resources aren’t endless, some of them still had to be shifted to accommodate you.
Picture courtesy of Gloria Cabada-Leman.