May the 4th… be a healthy veggie path for you.
Monday, May 4, 2020
So folks, it appears we’re inching toward a reopen whether we want to or not. We don’t know what this means, but it look like it’s going to happen for better or worse. At least this is the case in the U.S.
This is surprising in that Italy and other places in Asian countries are almost already back to normal yet they were massive epicenters of the “outbreak”. So how did everything get back to normal so fast? Or did immune systems just take care of everything?
In the U.S. they are talking about a poultry and pork interruption in production due to people that work inside the factories getting health issues from Covid-19. Now is a good time to start going to veggies and alternate food sources. Think about it, with the executive orders that plants continue to stay open even in the midst of all this and workers either having to leave or stay at home because of the outbreak issues, you’ll have a thinning out of safety inspection workers possibly or people that aren’t necessarily as trained come in. And the likelihood something can go wrong coupled with the the probability of catching an illness unknowningly and spreading it gets higher.
So what is a person to do? Well now is a perfect time to go to alternate food sources then. While in most of the Americas we’re accustomed to big animals used for food like cattle and livestock and other pasture and farm animals we’re not brought up to eat other types of animals which might be eaten overseas. For example, in an episode of Taboo which was found on YouTube the explored other farm raised animals. These animals were viewed as majestic and noble riding animals, and it was perceived as unusual to slaughter them for food. In the episode it also explored insects such as in Venezuela which had the villages remove bristly hairs off a large arachnid and toast and roast it over a fire. It was common place over there. And in Thailand markets you saw teeming crowds that gawked and gazed and took pictures of various “localized delicacies” such as scorpion on a stick whick I saw a blogger describe as similar to eating french fries.
However for most of us Americans and this writer included we’re definitely not accustomed to this and it is a big stretch for us to consume anything like this because of the factor of “disgust or revulsion or fearful nature” depending on the type of animal. It is dependent also on upbringing. And poses a few questions why some cultures eat certain things and not others and why certain animals and not others. For example, many have maybe dabbled in “chocolate covered ants or crickets” which might be the tamest introduction to the subject. However, most of us don’t want to consider going down this scenario for personal reasons and objections or unless it’s an armageddon, famine situation. Yet survivalist enthusiasts have considered this and possibly also those that have fought in wars. Even those in Shark Tank touted a health bar made from cricket flour for people that considered exploring that as sourceable, sustainable option.
Now, this site is more tailored to your average reader around the world who might be just slightly more informed. We don’t expect you to dive into those foods, but it does give you insight and open up your mind and let you question the world around you and that’s what we want you to do, is to examine your own personal belief systems. However the easier step, in my opinion is to go to vegetable and fruit sources for more of your daily needs. Yes, you will likely still need proteins in your diet.
As a side note, a lot of people are fond of seafood. Some seafood such as crustaceans are similar to some other insect family relatives and so will have similar textures (last mention of this as I segue into vegetable topics). People are aware of tuna in cans and nuts. We know about milk and dairy products. Cows will be important for many for survival as they currently have no issues in the food chain supply. They are essential for their flavors in steaks and hamburgers and beef tenderloin and the people that grew up in the U.S. are proud of their big summer grilling and showoff of their bold master chef / master chief of the barbecue skills. This is most likely why chicken and pork and steak are considered not only for the taste and quantity of food provided, but also because in the Americas and European countries “we” want to differentiate our palettes and culture as being “civilized” and cultured and evolved. Which is nothing wrong per se.
Of course we also have nut options such as walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts etc. And those will work for some. Seed will also be an option such as sunflower seeds and pumpkin, watermelon, and sesame seeds which is added around the world for flavors as well as is known for its oils.
But back to large farm animals: cows are important for the meat but also the milk they produce which can be made into yogurts, ice cream and a big variety of cheese. Some other animals like sheep and goats can also make some varieties of milk and depending on how you grew up you may prefer these milks or cheese better. For example some cheeses are made with sheeps milk and have a definite different taste. Others grew up drinking goats milk on the farm. And I’ve tried the difference in goat and cow’s milk and definitely can tell a difference especially if the milk has been watered down or if it becomes spoiled. The higher fat products also may be richer and tend to taste better depending again on your pallate.
People have explored camel milk (which doesn’t curdle) and also described wild game like venison and rabbits. People have resorted to describing alligator and frog legs as a generic “tastes like chicken” when they can’t really describe what these animals taste like. Some local stores even sell these specialty products because either not enough of people buy them or because the cost is prohibitive. In certain Asian markets you might be able to by chicken feet while Americans have their odd novelty foods like pickled pigs feet or pickled eggs for instance and gefelte fish.
Regions have differences and different tastes. For example Americans are reknown for their overuse of salt in products or are heavy on hot spices while in European countries you might see different variants of cookies and candies that are milder versions of American versions. The American versions tend to push the envelope of taste sensory overload which borders on that Jurassic park quote: your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should. In this case it’s the preoccupation with making things sweeter and more decadent – you might have seen the Paula Deen recipes for instance. Yet people can adapt or make their own versions of products over time. For instance in many parts of the world they didn’t have McDonalds but have gradually made the restaurant customized to their own region with special foods. You might have seen the black sesame hamburger. You have seen Kit Kats that in Asian countries become their own phenomenon almost fetishist micro-packages that are “kawaii” or cute and also readily available. You might have seen Pocky sticks that were popular overseas become a fun product that Americans enjoy. So each region shares their food and culture and it’s a literal melting pot for countries. It’s something almost all countries can enjoy whether it’s borscht or pizza or spanikopita to sushi and gyros, every country has a lot to offer.
Now, another food source you might not have thought about are weeds. People are starting enjoy multicultural foods. Food is convenient. We have Uber Eats and Door Dash and other options that we didn’t have before. We can click on an app or the Internet and order pizza to our door and never have to leave our house or fiddle with actual cash. This generation feels “lazy and spoiled” to the older generation and the generation gap is there despite the more time we’ve spent at home. In this unprecedented quarantine time, we’ve tried to come up with alternate solutions and services for people that needed them. Different places have stepped up with food kitchens for the needy as well as “Takeout Tuesdays” to help support local restaurants and help keep them earning income and staying profitable in the community so that when life gradually returns to normal we can still enjoy our restaurants we all know and love and maybe one day enjoy a favorite DINE-IN meal of curry or pizza, or spaghetti and noodles, or masala or hibachi cuisine or even a buffet smorgasboard. Will our restaurants survive till then? Hopefully so in this economy.
And while we think about alternate solutions we also are thinking of alternate foods. The vegetarian community has been some of the forerunners in this with their vegetarian cheeses either comprised of various ingredients, oils, flavorings. We’ve looked to soybeans which are all important in our food products. We’ve had discussions about GMO corn and also about trying to optimize the hardiness of crops. The health community has explored wheys, ghee butter, tofu, and nut based or bean based alternatives. There are even alternatives for alternatives such as sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter. And this is important.
Consider also the fact that the current situation involves controversy over wet markets. We’re talking about disease transmission from animals to humans. But a few years ago we were talking about bovine spongiform encephalitis, also known as mad cow disease which was prevalent in the news a decade ago. Our society constantly thinks of new ways to innovate and food is no slacker in this department either.
Alternative meat products have been all the rage this year. We’ve had the Beyond Burger or Impossible Foods fandom and popularity with the stock going up for a large part of the year. (Which we don’t own to influence this stock either way.) Veganism and vegetarianism is starting to look like something to consider. Now, Jack LaLanne was a pioneer in health and fitness and might have also spurred on the juicing and smoothie crazes and that whole Magic Bullet blender business industry a few years ago. People want an edge in food and for it to taste good and make them feel good. Which is why presentation is important and while some of the above mentioned taboo foods may turn off some due to cultural training.
Presentation and masking with other flavors is also important as most foods are not often prepared with only one ingredient. Some others have even talked about various test tube meats or fungi alternatives. And some have also used “live presentational moving artistic” foods which maybe conjure up too much as a horror movie scenario. The Soylent Green movie has often been cited for its futuristic apocalyptic predictions. Even FB founder has talked about capturing and preparing his own food so he would understand just how his food came to be. The majority of society is starting to become more ethically conscious or awake. Even though we aren’t affiliated with PETA or any other of those industries a lot of people are becoming “woke” to the fact of how industries still continue practices as detailed in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. Some industries have overcrowded cages and they aren’t free range animals. And many animals are sick but still put on the dinner table. Whether you eat for nutrition or health or religious reasons, we all have habit that we’ve become accustomed to.
Now as a millennial or just a consumer or reader, we’re not pushing any massive agenda or ethical judgment. We just want you to be aware.
And so the other option like we said is to eat more vegetables and fruits. There’s nothing wrong with eating the meats or nuts etc. People have to enjoy what they eat. We have to have a positive feedback between brain, eyes, nose, mouth, tongue, smell and feel, even the way it sounds. All that is important. And so you should continue to eat what you are able to enjoy.
But if you haven’t contemplated alternate foods, another category which most haven’t thought about also are “weeds”. A lot of people in society treat their lawns and gardens so chock full of chemicals and granules and pellets and forget that nature made a very abundant cornucopia of flora in the natural environment. And often we treat our surrounding homes with pesticides and herbicides and other treatments and forget that we have a natural ecosystem that is varied. And when we treat the area we’re creating a environment that also becomes more uni-species or might have fewer genetic variation to overcome other mutational invasions.
We should appreciate perhaps your big trusty favorite broadleaf weed is growing in abundance in your backyard. For example dandelions are highly recognizable and have leaves and parts which are edible if you’ve learned in the boy scouts. Some other edible weeds you might not be aware of per a quick search engine lookup:
- Chickweed, yes this common weed can be eaten
- Creeping Charlie
- Dandelions (can’t mistake this. A lot of people worry about eating unknown mushrooms but you can’t mistake a dandelion)
- Garlic Mustard
- Purslane (there’s a few videos online of people enjoying this immensely after adding some seasonings and oil and making it as taco filling).
There might be others but those were ones which quickly showed up. Now a disclaimer is that you do have to be careful about wild vegetation as you don’t know if chemicals were used on them or where you harvest them. For example some near the road or a busy street probably have a lot of chemicals from the street washings and snow plows so you want to avoid those. And other flowers can easily be confused or mistaken or have other issues and runoff of water and chemicals which make them inedible or toxic. It might be good to check with a plant specialist to help recognize which plants are edible. But if you grow your own cleanly for example alfalfa and don’t have dangerous harsh chemicals but have them in its own pot then you likely also won’t have problems.
The world now is a slightly different place. People are staying at home more and not able to go out and spending more time working on their yards and lawns and gardens and other special projects. Why not spend time improving one of your skills and plant life and gardening become one of them. It can give you a sense of accomplishment, pride, and survivalism from creating your own private food supply which you don’t have to worry and you can have away from the grid. And if there’s ever an interruption in the supply chain either virally or chemically or transportwise etc, then you will be able to have fresh farm to table quality locally sourced food. You can even grow radishes, potatoes, asparagus, tomatoes, okra, beans, melons and pumpkins and other crops without too much hassle.
(Tl;Dr summary note for next paragraph- Don’t believe everything on the Internet or worry about other’s “plans” that you forget to take care of your own self & our actions whether to help or harm others will create outcomes we have to live with for better or worse.)
And as people are staying at home we have to be mindful of our own mental, physical and emotional health. Like animals we don’t want to be caged up either and prefer freedom to roam if given the option. At this time we as humans know that we have to compromise for the sake of our own health and others. I’ve been reading about the uptick of home based violence, domestic and also young adults. If you’ve been paying attention to soc media and trends you may have seen on various message feeds think that this “lockdown” is a way to mobilize a way to solve some of the ills in the society… but this most likely is an illusory alt wish with political inklings and this solution begets other issues as well. Events create additional consequences. Our site does not readily or actively indulge in unverifiable theoretics. But we do acknowledge what are visible trends. Be conscious of your fellow neighbors and friends and animals and the consequences that ripple from actions that you take. After all we all want freedom, health, and to protect our family. We notice people are getting antsy, but this too shall pass and societies have had to deal with large events before. Be patient with your family, your kids. Be tolerant of your neighbor. Be kind to your pets and animals. We all want normalcy and to get back to our normal lives. Life will go on and this cycle will repeat again.