Eating for Sustainability
Once upon a time there was a girl (you met her in Feel-Good, Do-Good Food: Part 1), who loved to eat meat. Then she read a couple of books, met some people, and
became vegan, The End… Not quite.
I’m sure this story sounds familiar, I mean most of us are not born with a strong sense of the political. And while some of us find our way sooner than others, and other of us find our way later than some, the point is values change, priorities shift, new information is uncovered and decisions made in haste (like
becoming a vegan) are reexamined.
For this particular girl, being vegan was a rushed response to prior ignorance of the state and impact of the meat industry- complete shock and horror that resulted in a head first dive into staunch, vegan outrage. But it was not to last. Many people can happily and healthily maintain a plant-based diet, but in this case health was an issue and so was happiness. A love of well paired flavours, scents, colours, textures, and temperatures, visiting restaurants, and cooking at home meant that I felt deprived, unable to be myself.
Once the outrage had subsided however, I was able to examine what I really had a problem with, read a bit more, googled, talked to people and moved towards a position that felt better: gradually including eggs that I felt okay with, milk that I felt okay with and deciding that meat was okay as long as certain requirements or conditions were met. This might sound like a hopeless failure, or the reaction of someone who’s self-discipline didn’t support their values. I don’t see it that way (you don’t say…), I prefer to see it as conscious consumption- I am the person who has the values that I have, the same person that decides what to buy and what to eat. By consciously acknowledging this and informing myself about what is involved in getting the food to may plate, I eat in a way that reflects these values- without giving it a name or raising expectations. It applies to vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes too (on the topic of food). Being conscious of your impact isn’t limited to ignoring meat and tucking into the quinoa- something that seems to be left out of the discussion to an extent.
As I type all this, it seems kind of obvious- I suppose it is, but sometimes the obvious things take the longest to learn.
Limitations can sometimes give rise to far richer pickings than unrestrained choice
I still eat plant-based meals most of the time, I haven’t gone and gorged myself on steak after giving myself the permission to do so. This surprises
me, but pleasantly so. Another thing happened though, through all this thinking and figuring out, the meals I cooked with the limited options I had became so much more intricate and considered, and received so much more effort and patience than I ever used before. In large part it was due to the only vegan cookbook I own- Veganomicon (written by the ladies of the Post
), which inspired me
Sustainable food does not equal boring food
But it does require some effort to find out what to take into consideration, reliable sources of information and maybe learning a few new recipes…To make it easier for you (and me) Futureperfect has the pleasure and good fortune to welcome the Brydling Sisters, Ulrika and Carina to Futureperfect 2013 at Grinda, on 15/8 at 16:30. They will help us understand what goes into making a sustainable meal from
farm to table, in their seminar entitled ‘Who creates the food system?’. And if that wasn’t awesome enough, you can go up to Grinda Wärdshus at 12:30 on the same day and get lunch, specially prepared by the Brydling sisters according to their philosophy on sustainable eating.
Look out for the final installment of Feel-Good, Do-Good Food- in which I will discuss the gastronomical stylings of the chefs behind Gastrologik, and their take on shaping a sustainable menu.
Illustration: Mark Frudd