If constantly consuming social media reduces our creativity, then does constantly consuming food reduce our ability to tune into our own bodies and understand what we really need?
Marketing and advertising have incredible power in our modern world. The images we see every day on advertisements seep into our minds so that when we’re ready to buy, certain brands or products are our first choice. Advertising (and culture) drives our purchasing habits. When you throw in a little perceived obsolescence, suddenly we’re buying, consuming and eating 24/7. For the younger generation, that’s all they’ve ever known.
We’re so used to having the ability to eat at any time of day or night – thanks mainly to fridges and freezers – that the idea of not eating for a few hours draws many people into stockpiling food ‘just in case’.
But do we really need to consume as much food as we’re led to believe?
You and I both know the answer to that one, yet we continue consuming.
While I was writing some notes for this blog, the word GREED kept popping into my head and spilling out onto paper.
Greed can be defined as an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food; a desire to possess more than one needs.
What images does greed bring up for you?
I think back to the times I’ve watched people in buffet restaurants pile up their plates with mountains of food and stuff their faces. It made me feel sick so many times but it’s only now I realise that it wasn’t actually about the food or some strange phobia of watching people eat.
The nausea I felt was a nudge from the universe to keep me heading in this direction; a sign that I was following the right path.
It’s a journey that has brought me to this place, today, in an era of consumerism and massive environmental issues, so that I can share my knowledge and experiences with others and play a small part in creating change.
In hindsight, it’s no surprise that I was drawn to vegetarianism in my early teens and that I’ve since stopped eating meat, dairy, processed foods, gluten, refined sugar and alcohol. It’s a lifestyle of physical, emotional and spiritual health that awakens my soul with every breath.
If you feel you’re ready to jump off the consumerism train and live a lifestyle that will benefit your personal health and the future of our planet, here are some simple steps to begin incorporating into your life:
- Practice moderation and self-restraint. Before you buy (or eat) anything, ask yourself, ‘Do I really need this? Will this benefit my life in some way? How will I dispose of the packaging or the product after use?’
- Reduce your consumption of meat. There is plenty of scientific research that can show you how processed meats play a part in cancer. Plus, in terms of environmental effects, every kilo of beef produced requires over 15,000 litres of water compared to 1600 litres for 1kg of cereals and just over 300 litres for 1kg vegetables. We could eradicate mass starvation and water shortage simply by producing less meat and growing more plant-based produce (and sharing it more equally).
- Reduce your consumption of dairy produce. Casein, the main protein in milk, has been linked to cancer. The China Study by Dr T. Colin Campbell is a great book to read to educate yourself about meat, dairy and plant-based diets. In addition to the worrying aspect of disease, there’s a compassionate element to reducing your dairy intake. Millions of male baby calves are taken from their mothers at just a few hours old and slaughtered. The reason? To keep the cow producing milk. These calves are born and bred with the sole purpose of keeping mum constantly lactating to fuel the modern world’s desire for milk, cheese and cheap chocolate. I wish I’d had access to this knowledge thirty years ago as I know I would have bypassed the whole vegetarian part of my life and switched straight to a vegan diet. Plus, there are so many dairy-free alternatives now. I remember a time when soy milk tasted pretty bad and soy yogurts were packed with sugar and had a strange consistency. Now you can even get vegan Ben & Jerry’s ice cream – what’s not to love?!
- Learn to cook. Seriously. Stop using the ‘I can’t cook’ or ‘I don’t have time’ excuses! Get in the kitchen and learn how to peel and chop vegetables. Learn how to soak and cook beans and lentils. Learn how to create incredible salad dressings and vibrant pasta sauces. Learn how to make sweet treats with oats, dates and cacao powder to reduce your need for processed cookies and cakes. Get a recipe book, sign up for a course, join an online group – just do something every day to boost your skills. Plus, being able to put a meal together with basic plant-based ingredients will boost your health and your bank balance!
- Eat mindfully and share food with others. Put down your phone, turn off the TV, eat dinner with family or friends and share stories over dinner. Have a glass of water with your meals instead of fizzy drinks or alcohol. (Pure, fresh pressed fruit or vegetable juice is great too, especially if you have low iron levels or are under eighteen.) Chew your food well and put down your cutlery between every few mouthfuls. Who else remembers their grandma saying you should ‘chew your food twenty times’? She was probably right….
Where are you on your food journey right now? Does greed make your stomach flip? Does consumerism make you want to put your credit card away and go for a walk in nature instead?
I’d love to know…