“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”
― Herman Melville
I have been listening to a book titled In Defense of Food; You may have read it, or heard of it. It's taken me a long time to get through it, from start to finish. I have started reading it a few times, but I am finally on the last chapters. It's the most recent chapter I listened to that I wanted to share. It's about how everything is connected.
I don't know why this is such a revolutionary concept for me. I know well, despite my often poor use of agency, the ripple effect our actions have on those around us- directly or indirectly. So, naturally, this makes sense. But, I think I had forgotten that in order to be a more conscientious consumer, a more thoughtful eater, better example, and a better person in general, the world demands my commitment to understanding my connection to the world. It's not just what I have to offer the world, but how it affects me, what I have to learn from it, and how I can share that with others.
On Saturday, I went running with some friends. The first thing I realized as we started running uphill, was that I should not have eaten that donut the day before! The second thing I realized was that every place I stepped left an impression on the ground; every branch I touched, or puddle I stepped in, left its mark on me. After going up the hill, which was windy and not very enjoyable, we started going downhill, and experienced a beautiful panoramic view of the mountains and trees. The long, arduous process of getting up to the top was all worth it as we came down the mountain. And I hope that in all experiences and moments in my life, I can enjoy both the climb, and the descent. Both had beautiful views; and both left its impact on me in a positive way.
Anway, I try to make my food choices the healthiest and most natural that I possibly can- but I am learning that there is yet a higher level of concientiousness in consumerism. It's not just buying the apples and bananas- but understanding how those apples and bananas got there; logically, but mostly unnoticed, how our food is grown will largely determine it's nutritive value. The mass production of apples, or milk, or potatoes, means for us that we don't get quite the value from our food that we think we are getting. Nowadays we need to eat two, or three apples to get the same nutitional value of an apple grown in the 1950's. And so we do... I know I do. Unfortunately, sometimes I don't choose those apples. But I feel the need to consume those extra calories anyway. I am working on changing that. One of those ways is by working on my variety.
I saw a recipe posted on a blog for Bison Stew. At first, I was turned off. Ew, how could I even consider eating an animal we rarely even talk about?! But the more I think about it, the more I am understanding that this is just it- it is the conscientious addition of things we don't normally incorporate into our diet, that makes us more conscientious of the things we do eat so much of. Maybe, just maybe, by carefully adding something new to our diet, we will think about how it will affect the other things we eat. And this might be really cheesey, but all of this might get us thinking about how our choices will influence our childrens' choices, maybe our friends' choices, and even the community in which we live.
And we might make a small difference in ways we never considered. "By small and simple means, are great things come to pass..." And that connection to the world will change us; and we will never be the same.