Food + Plastic

“Everything you eat has to die for you to eat it.”

This is something Trent said. It’s the reason I’m an omnivore, not a vegetarian. For me to live, everything I eat must die. I suppose fruit is a technicality, but I’m stealing the food the fruit seed needed to grow into a plant.

Trent and I had similar views about omnivores. If you eat meat, you better know what kind of animal it came from, and you better appreciate the animal. Also, don’t buy meat from a place that was cruel to the animals before it killed them.

Bird’s meat market was a few miles down the road from us in Newaygo, Michigan. We took Jeanna there so she would know the truth about what she ate. When the butcher passed a quarter of a cow across the counter, Jenna said, “Oh, gross!” Trent’s response was, “Where do you think your hamburger comes from?”

Animal welfare is the reason I buy my eggs from Vital Farms. Yes, they cost more, but I like knowing my egg-laying hens weren’t tortured on my behalf, the earth under their feet wasn’t herbicided to smithereens, and that those working the farm are making a living wage. I can make up the extra cost of the eggs by eating less beef.

Even though I’m an omnivore, I’m eating much less beef these days.

Partly it’s because I’ve realized I don’t like beef all that much. Partly it’s because my digestive system prefers protein from other sources. But a big part of the reason I’m eating less beef is the toll beef takes on the planet.

If we look at different food sources to see how much CO2 they add to the atmosphere, beef is a stinker.

Chart showing greenhouse gases by food type

The next behavior for me to change is to stop buying automatic chicken, not because of the chicken, but because of the plastic casket the rotisserie chicken comes in.

“But Jule! Don’t you know that plastic chicken tub is recyclable?”

Yes, and even though things are marked with a code that implies they are recyclable, 75% of all plastic is not recycled. Plastic recycling is a fiction we tell ourselves to feel better about using plastic.

I wish I could invent some marvelous sustainable replacement for plastic. In the meantime, I will use less of it. No plastic straws. Fine mesh bags at the grocery store for produce and reusable hauling bags for food. A small ball of a shopping bag to keep in my purse, to expand and use when needed.

All just a drop in the bucket, but an ocean is made of drops.

overhead view of the ocean

Chewing the Cud of Good

Dry wheat-colored grass against a blue sky

Thankful for a hot bath and a warm bed after a cold & rainy walk home.


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