In the months ahead, I’m hoping to explore a little more closely what we CAN eat. What drove many of us to vegetarianism years ago was learning about the unhealthy nature of the beef and poultry industries — both for us and for the planet. In THE OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA, Michael Pollan took that line of thinking further, starting with his observations about corn, ethanol, and what we might call Big Grain. Monsanto, anyone?
What’s true of grain and beef is true of soybeans too. There goes a protein-rich mainstay of the traditional vegan diet. Now folks are turning to coconut oil for salvation. But you know, ANY monoculture crop is a problem — a BIG problem, sorry to say! Just google Indonesia and rain forests if you don’t believe me. Those coconut trees have to grow someplace, and it won’t be in New England.
So what CAN we eat? The impetus to buy, cook and eat whatever locally grown foods may thrive in your neighborhood maybe isn’t quite as trendy as the idea of being vegan. Part of the problem is that everyone’s microclimate is different and that prevents locally-grown from easily translating into a global movement. But it shouldn’t. And locally grown is part of the answer.
But we’re not there yet.