I've gotten into the habit of listening to audio books while going to the gym. Rather than watching Larry King, I have decided to fill my head with business, cultural and social knowledge. In every case, it keeps me from overhearing the other peoples' often times disturbing conversations.
My most recent book was "The Way We Eat" by Peter Singer and Jim Mason. Here's the summary (taken from Amazon.com):
Ethicist Singer and co-author Mason (Animal Factories) document corporate deception, widespread waste and desensitization to inhumane practices in this consideration of ethical eating. (Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.)
While I think that the book is a rather radical and somewhat biased account of the food industry, I forced myself to listen to the whole thing. I do, however, think that it made many points about the food industry were quite important. Most importantly, we don't often think about the consequences for the animals we eat; we don't have an appreciation that some cow led a (generally) uncomfortable life, under unnatural conditions, to produce our McDonald's hamburger. I think that, being more aware of the facts presented in this book, I can make more ethical and sustainable food choices.
That said, I am going to be changing the way I eat slightly:
Z'Marik's is a (mostly) vegetarian restaurant in the Des Moines, Iowa. Their spicy peanut dish is to die for and can easily provide two small meals for $6.00. Generally, my lunch has consisted of a turkey sandwich at Big Sky Bread in Urbandale. While I would love to say I'm going "cold turkey" (har har har!) I don't think that I want to go without meat occasionally, but I can start eating at Z'Marik's more often.
I am going to continue to eat eggs, although, I'll be trying to eat eggs labeled as "cage free." While this simply means that hens will be closely confined in large warehouses, rather than cages, this is quite a bit less cruel (although far from idea.) I don't think that I'm quire ready to eat only free-range eggs because of the huge cost, but I can make an incremental step forward here. Likewise, when I do eat meat, I'll try to eat less red meat and more chicken . . . and probably less meat in general.
Now, this is the part that I love . . . I get to eat more fruits and veggies. I love raw fruits and vegetables . . . baby carrots, apples, bananas, spinach, tomatoes. Hurrah!
When reasonable, I am going to be more conscious of where my food is coming from. Given the choice between apples from New Zealand and Washington, I'll buy from Washington. (Unless, of course, it is a Red Delicious apple. Those things came with school lunches and I really hate those.) Transporting food comes at a huge environmental cost, so I'll try to mitigate this by buying more local.
So, Rebecca and Liz, now that you are both smiling, I'll treat you both to lunch at Z'Marik's the next time you're in town.