Friday, August 20, 2010

Energy or Health: A False Choice

This is a very enlightening NYT piece on the "locally grown" food craze. Growing up on a farm, and being so close to it here in "Sac-A-tomatoes", I have to say, this rings true to me.

Eating locally grown produce is a fine thing in many ways. But it is not an end in itself, nor is it a virtue in itself. The relative pittance of our energy budget that we spend on modern farming is one of the wisest energy investments we can make, when we honestly look at what it returns to our land, our economy, our environment and our well-being. 

I 2nd the underlying theme here. Eat for health, and forget about the energy impact of growing food where it grows best and shipping it where it's needed. Good health is the #1 factor in the enjoyment of life in poll after poll. Be smart. Take good care of you. 

On a related side-note, I have been in dental health hell the last few months, and things are getting worse at the moment. I had to reschedule an extraction and double implant post placement because a molar I thought I had fixed last winter has devolved into raging infections I can only control with antibiotics so  powerful they are giving me colitis.

Being unemployed and looking at $10k+ in dental bills is more than a little stressful too, which isn't helpful. It has definitely hampered my ability to ride, especially on anything like a schedule. I am hoping in 4-6 weeks this will be fixed, but for now its hard to eat, sleep or even function. Mostly it just saps my strength, endurance, and hurts like hell. I will be soooo happy when this is handled. As much as I hate to whine, I thought you might like to know what the back-story is around here.

2 comments:

Stephanie said...

I don't know, but to me it's just important that food isn't yikesy! I'm so glad we buy organic food and I don't care from where it comes from. Take the awful salmonella situation...400 million eggs recalled and ours aren't! It's still sad that most households don't pay attention to energy consumption. I could always kill people that turn up their AC's because they are afraid to sweat a little.

Roy, I hope your tooth gets better. I'm so sorry:-(

Grey Beard said...

Agree on all counts Stephanie. My electric bill is $35 a month, and gas $9, and I live in an apt. If I owned my own home I could do more, but at $35 a month it's hard get to break-even anymore, so kind of at an equilibrium.

Being fit reduces your energy requirements. You sweat better, have less core to cool, and make heat much more effectively with a fit musculature. Unfit, obese people have very narrow comfort ranges. They're always running to adjust the thermostat.

One thing that many people have forgotten, except perhaps where wine is concerned, is all food is not created equal. My dad and I farmed a few years before commercial seed became prevalent and we would screen corn, soy beans, etc for the largest kernels to find the best, most successful adaptations.

These will have more germ, more protein, and more nutrients. Likewise, range-fed beef and meats in general are loaded with Omega-3s because grass is loaded with Omega-3. Corn-fed meats, especially pen-fed where the health of the animal can only be maintained with antibiotics makes for "sick" meat.

If you were a cannibal, would you want a nice thick Lance Armstrong steak, or some BBW couch potato? Which do you think is going to promote health? The same goes for animals. If you eat the meat of sick animals it's not going to be very healthy meat. Ditto eggs, milk and anything else that comes from those animals.

Thanks for the good vibes Steph. Last night was scary. I think I have found some good health care professionals now, but these kinds of cascade failures are really rattling.

Hey, have a great weekend, and get some for me too. Will try to get out, but will have to see how it goes.