Boy am I feisty today… As a Bolivian, vegetarian/vegan, environmentalist and quinoa-lover I had to respond to this article being circulated by many friends:
First of all, what is up with all the assumptions? That the only people that consume quinoa are vegans? That Bolivia is the same as Peru (and thus easily interchangeable in the article)? That Bolivians have the same socioeconomic opportunities as Peruvians? That omnivores rack up no food miles themselves? That by definition the quinoa consumed in developed countries is harming farmers in South America and there are no sustainable, fair trade and organic options (Um AlterEco..) ? Are we also not forgetting the simple economic fact that domestic prices go up whenever outside demand rises for ANY product?
About costs: “In Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken." I dont know about Lima, but I can tell you for a fact that that is not the case in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, my city, which also happens to be the fastest growing city in South America. Also, what kind of cost comparison are we doing here? A kilo of quinoa vs. a kilo of chicken? Are we taking into account the fact that quinoa is more filling, nutritious, and can feed more people? Having just spent 3 weeks in Bolivia, and grown up there, my humble observation is that the domestic market for quinoa is actually growing and quinoa is not priced higher than any other staple. The government even says local consumption is increasing!
“A rummage through the shopping baskets of vegetarians and vegans swiftly clocks up the food miles, a consequence of their higher dependency on products imported from faraway places.” Where on earth are we getting this assumption from? Yes, I eat quinoa and coconut oil in Switzerland, but I am also the first person at my local market on Sundays buying from local, organic farmers and I consume 80-90% seasonal products. I am pretty hard core about living a sustainable life and still do not manage to have zero food miles, though I’m pretty sure I’m doing better than most omnivores.
And while we are on the subject of soy, it is pretty clear the author has no experience in South American soy growing regions. It is not, contrary to her point, used for export, but rather as feed for cattle. Cattle for human consumption. That is what you can attribute the deforestation to, not vegans that want to snack on tofu!
Can it also be that farmers may not be consuming as much quinoa because as their income increases, they want access to more varied foods as this other Guardian article posits? (Which unfortunately tends to mean Kelloggs cereal and other imported and processed nasties) ”They have westernised their diets because they have more profits and more income,” says Mejia, an agronomist. “Ten years ago they had only an Andean diet in front of them. They had no choice. But now they do and they want rice, noodles, candies, coke, they want everything!” This tells me that the force at work is not vegans hungry for new superfoods, but the whole market system itself.
Which brings me to my final point… The whole globalized system in which we operate is flawed, yes, I agree, and ideally we each do our part to contribute to the well-being of others, the planet and ourselves. The asparagus example is actually on point on the environmental degradation issue, but has nothing to do with vegans, or quinoa. Quinoa is different, so go ahead, eat it (buy AlterEco or similar when in doubt) for your health, the health of the environment (when replacing meat), and for the livelihoods of farmers in my country.
So I got heat for two things with the previous post and I want to clarify:
Anti-vaccine attitude, since vaccines have been around since the 18th century. First, I dont think something being around for X amount of time automatically legitimizes it as a good thing. Second, I am not anti-vaccine per se, but as someone who grew up in a developing country and got almost every disease most developed country kids are immunized for (and am stronger for it!), I am a bit skeptical about mass immunization. With the caveat that diseases like polio and smallpox are a different ball game than the seasonal flu. Call me crazy, but I dont think we need 90% of what the allopathic medical community tries to push on us (and I come from a family of doctors).
Quoting the controversial Dr. Michael Savage because he regularly spews intolerant political banter. I must confess that I had no idea who he was politically, and only knew him from the natural/homeopathic world…so while I agree that his political banter sounds horrendous, I dont think someone’s political leanings should automatically disqualify them from making factual statements about health issues esp. when they have a PhD in nutritional ethnomedicine. What is political about stating the harmful ingredients in the flu shot? Perhaps I should have picked a less controversial character to quote, but I agree with his points in that article nonetheless…
How many times have you gotten the flu shot and still gotten sick? If you are like me in college, that happened EVERY time I got the shot.
And lets be clear… even the CDC says that "preliminary data for the 2010-2011 influenza season indicate that influenza vaccine effectiveness was about 60% for all age groups combined.”
I do not want to risk introducing a virus, harmful chemicals, and other shenanigans in my body if it isn’t even guaranteed to protect me!
But let’s tack on to the list:
1. The flu shot is not vegan - Made with egg products!
2. According to Dr. Michael Savage, ”Formaldehyde is in the common flu shot. It’s a known carcinogen. Another ingredient is a mercury containing a compound called thimerosol, which impairs neurological and immune systems. There are also detergents, antibiotics, chemicals, and allergens and other ingredients that are unsafe for human consumption.” Yikes!!!
3. What about letting your immune system fight foreign bodies naturally (if you are a healthy young person)? I actually havent had a flu shot in years, and so far in the past two winters havent had the flu once!
This article sums it up well: “You should give your body more respect and not spend time worrying about the flu. You should eat better food, drink more water, learn to manage stress, exercise, sleep well. If you’re in a risk group (if you’re elderly, have a compromised immune system, or work in a hospital or a school), you should think very carefully about vaccination, but before you roll up your sleeve, do your homework to understand the costs and benefits.”
Some more info on FoodBabe. I echo her disclaimer as well, do what is right for you and your body.
how do you swallow a bulb of garlic? and does it make you smell like garlic? lol just curious ! might try it.... thanks !
Hey! The way I swallow a garlic bulb is simply by peeling it and swallowing it with water, just like you would some big pill! You wont end up with garlic breath because it barely touches your tongue and you dont chew it. Hope that helps!
The message of the modernist greens is: in a world of 7 billion plus people, all of whom want (and deserve) to live modern, consuming lives, we need to be pragmatic about how we use—and how much we protect—nature. We don’t have any other choice, so we’d better start dealing with the realities on the ground.
I am not sure I agree with the approach (I am more in the Anthropocene-as-impending-doom category of environmentalists) but interesting piece nonetheless.