How Food Fads Will Destroy the Planet: How Much Is That Almond Worth to You?

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Whenever someone tells me the supposed health benefits of a particular food, I cringe. I cringe because with the “immune-boosting”, “anti-oxidant rich” claims comes the immediate denigration of another real food as being particularly bad. The way I see it, if it’s food, it’s good. If it’s not food (i.e. processed, chemicalized, injected and so forth), then it probably needs closer scrutiny to determine it’s safety and possible benefits or dangers. But besides the psychological games these notions play on us, I have a great concern for our planet and how each passing food fad threatens to create as many imbalances as fracking and nuclear testing.

How Food Fads Will Destroy The Planet

For decades, people have been claiming that not raising animals for food would make sure that more land would be available to grow grain. Not only has this resulted in genetic engineering of grain crops, but also a society that has relied so much on monocrops that we are now increasingly allergic to grain. This has also ignores the fact that much of the world’s landscape is ill-suited to raising crops, but perfect for animals to graze.

This brings up another point. As small farmers who raise animals for meat, eggs and milk are put out of business because of the supposed ethics of a few, large-scale factory farming becomes the only option for the largely unaware majority who still want those products.

And as these small farmers who often lived at high elevations, move to the cities to find office employment, there is an increase in avalanche. Yes, avalanche! Many years ago, I had the privilege to stay with a sheep farmer in central France. She told me that because farmers are being forced to stop farming, avalanches had been increasing. Now, sheep are being airlifted to higher ground in the summer to eat the rapidly growing grass so that when winter snows come, it won’t slide down onto passersby below,  but will actually cling to the short grass. All these little things we modern folks don’t understand about our planet.

In researching my latest book, 50 Ways to Eat Your Honey, I made a connection that I hadn’t heard anyone else talking about — how the plight of the bees is being exacerbated by our obsession with food fads. With milk still being considered a bad food by some, others blaming gluten for all social ills and soy’s true colors coming to light, people are turning to nuts, and specifically almonds, as a milk alternative, breading and supposed source of non-animal protein (it’s not really).

This newfound popularity has led to a dramatic increase in demand for this sweet, tasty little nut. But here’s the rub: almonds are mainly grown in California, and to meet demand billions of bees are being shipped (driven) to California every year for pollinating the almond trees. And many of these die from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) from exposure to pesticides. This article in The Atlantic goes into a bit more detail.

In all things there is a poison

Bees are responsible for pollinating up to 40% of our food — more by some estimates. So why overburden them by encouraging the proliferation of monocrops? Of course, we all want to be healthy, but trust me, getting healthy isn’t about finding that one miracle food that will magically cure every ache and pain, unclog arteries and make tumors disintegrate. It is about getting in tune with our bodies and enhancing its inherent strengths within the many resources of natural world before turning to invasive drugs and procedures for solutions.

Paracelsus, the 16th century founder of toxicology, said, “In all things there is a poison, and there is no thing where poison is not. It depends entirely on the amount of the dose for a poison to be poisonous or not.” This is far healthier than the modern notion of good food versus bad food.

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