Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Food, Health, the Environment... and an invite!

It doesn't take a quantum physicist to recognize the aggregate effect that food choices make on humanity and nature. Processed food generally increases the chance of sugar, salt and fat related illness. High vitamin food sources increase our chance of being healthy. But not so many people recognize the value of personal food choice in the environmental front. To be sure, this comes up in classrooms - from 1st grade Field to Table unit to high school health classes - but it's important to take a look at our choices collectively, as a larger community, and realize that we don't have to go too far to make a difference. 

Red meat such as beef is a good source of protein, but it is also becoming more scrutinized for its part in increasing the chance of heart-disease, as well as the increase in methane in the atmosphere, the degradation of rain forests through its transformation into pasture land and the side effects that that brings with it, including, according to the book Forecast, an increase in dengue-carrying Ades mosquitos. Who would have thought, as we head over to Suzi's for that New Zealand steak, that the juicy t-bone sitting on our plate, could bring forth such a commotion?  

For some all this talk of beef (in particular) as a greenhouse gas producer is a nuisance, but for others it matters. Take our school's initiative to support Meatless Monday's. Introduced a two years ago as a CAS project, the signs still adorn our cafeteria on Mondays. Students discuss the benefits - to human health and the environment - of making such choices at least some of the time.  

With this in mind, some members of our community are making conscious decisions to be vegetarian while others, such as myself, are trying to limit our consumption of meat. Kim McNaughton and Drew Davis, ISKL teachers, have decided to do something about it and create what is hoped to be an ongoing vegetarian group. They are extending an invitation to anyone and everyone who would like to enjoy vegetarian food and enjoy time with like-minded people in the community. It's a Vegetarian Potluck Lunch from 12 noon to 2 pm on Sunday, February 17th.  If you're interested feel free to write to Kim by February 10 and she'll be delighted to add you to the list! 

Sometimes grassroots movements are the best way to really make a splash, and I for one applaud their effort to share their enthusiasm for healthy food choices. At the very least it's a meal that is healthy for both humanity and the environment, so why not? At the very best it is a whole new way to look at food.

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