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Ecopoopia: carfreeness/physical activity and veganism

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  • Colin Leath
    This started as an email to carfree person and web author, Michael Bluejay ( http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/ ) . . . . . . to request he consider noting that
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 4, 2007
      This started as an email to carfree person and web author, Michael
      Bluejay ( http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/ ) . . .

      . . . to request he consider noting that some people who have tried in
      good faith to keep a vegan diet have not been able to--and that the
      trying may harm them.

      Since the flow of information is a bit like church--what we keep
      hearing stays with us, helpful or not--here's an updated

      "veganism, vegetarianism may work for some, not others"

      targeted to carfree people and food activists.

      We have Buddhists, yogis, other spiritual seekers (see 'sattvic':
      http://www.google.com/search?q=sattvic), environmentalists, often
      supporting a vegan, vegetarian diet.

      We have permaculturists, family farmers, ecovillage residents
      (earthaven), feral foragers, supporting incorporating animals, some
      influenced by Weston Price / Sally Fallon.

      All wish to avoid eating animal products of the industrial food system.

      My own recent seesawing led to this--my attempting veganism again
      because of interest in meditation, then again deciding to eat more
      cholesterol (
      ) which for me has been meaning buying fish, dairy, eggs from people
      and animals I've never seen.

      Different from mine though, Don's seesawing (
      "Don's Diet Experience: Why I (Finally) Gave Up On Vegetarian Diets" )
      has rigor to demonstrate that veganism, vegetarianism, aren't helpful
      for everyone.

      (Meditation, too, is assumed by many to be helpful to everyone, when
      it is not always

      The European eco-biketour to the Ecotopia gathering
      (http://thebiketour.net/), shows also the progressive striving not to
      eat animals. Barry writes:

      My main point about food is similar to my point about cycling. On
      biketour we're supposed to have a vegetarian diet whether for
      practical, moral or health reasons. What then if an outsider looking
      into biketour could see us limping from one feeding place to another?
      Once again this year I was blessed with the trailer and I'd arrive
      somewhere where the trailer was needed to cook lunch. All around me
      would lie seemingly exhausted biketourers. I would help cook
      sometimes at which point people would reluctantly rouse themselves so
      feeding could commence. There was little joy in the food, little sound
      over the noise of frantic eating. What was that saying about
      alternative diets and lifestyles in general when it leaves you so
      apparently weakened? I know our bodies under stress go into a type of
      survival mode but really we were not giving the vegetarian diet a
      cause to celebrate. Very unfair. Whatever the reasons, I'm just
      speaking about my impressions and what i feel was being portrayed. Did
      I hear at the end of biketour or was it at Ecopoopia that somone said
      that we should only eat meat in our tents? Seems a bit intolerant and
      though it's a completely different issue it reminds me of the
      intolerence to gay people who, it is believed, should keep their ways
      indoors. Eating meat, hah!


      And from Southern California we have:

      "Your Diet Impacts Environment More than Your Car":

      13% = The percentage of greenhouse gases created by all trucks, SUVs,
      cars, airplanes, trains and other transportation. 18% = The amount of
      greenhouse gases created by livestock production. Source: United
      Nations. If you are an average U.S. meat eater, reducing your meat
      consumption to 2 ounces per day is roughly equivalent to doubling your
      vehicle's fuel efficiency, in terms of greenhouse gas reduction.


      (The title and desires behind it may be the non-sequitur, not the
      statistics: "environment" does not equal "greenhouse gases".)

      Also related to this, "In terms of height (and well-being), Americans
      now fall short" by Scott LaFee:

      Asian populations, for example, boast some of the fastest-growing
      height rates. People once presumed to be inherently small turn out
      simply to be undernourished. When scientists surveyed short-statured
      tribes in New Guinea, for example, they found the natives' diet lacked
      iodine and other nutrients. Provided with supplements, the New
      Guineans soon grew to more normal heights.


      To conclude:

      Let's do our best to help activists, carfree people, foodies, yogis,
      be energetic/rajasic (vs. sattvic, tamasic) when they want to be.

      Progressive gatherings serving food could make an effort to source
      non-industrial animal products in recognition that at least some
      people benefit from eating animals, and that encouraging a population
      that lacks strong heathy eating traditions to be vegan may be causing
      a lot of not openly-shared harm.

      I think I may be able to feel the way I want to by doing a more
      careful nutritional analysis of what I eat, and perhaps get some of my
      nutrition from grubs or snails (cf.
      http://yourcityfarmer.blogspot.com/search?q=snails ). Animal-rights
      activists could help by saying: some people won't do well not eating
      animals, yet wish to avoid industrial food production; here are
      resources on household animal-based food production systems.


      I've shared criticism of veganism, meditation, and here--before I'm
      pulled offstage--is some criticism of biointensive gardening from
      "Gardening Without Irrigation" (
      ) by Steve Solomon, chapter 5:

      I began gardening in the early 1970s, just as the raised-bed method
      was being popularized. The latest books and magazine articles all
      agreed that raising vegetables in widely separated single rows was a
      foolish imitation of commercial farming, that commercial vegetables
      were arranged that way for ease of mechanical cultivation. Closely
      planted raised beds requiring hand cultivation were alleged to be far
      more productive and far more efficient users of irrigation because
      water wasn't evaporating from bare soil.

      I think this is more likely to be the truth: Old-fashioned gardens
      used low plant densities to survive inevitable spells of rainlessness.
      Looked at this way, widely separated vegetables in widely separated
      rows may be considered the more efficient users of water because they
      consume soil moisture that nature freely puts there. Only after, and
      if, these reserves are significantly depleted does the gardener have
      to irrigate. The end result is surprisingly more abundant than a
      modern gardener educated on intensive, raised-bed propaganda would

      And he writes on drawbacks of mulch (harbors insects), and on benefits
      of a "dust mulch" to keep deeper soil from drying out (Ch 2 & 3).
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