Asparagus – is it natural and ethical to eat it?

Is it natural and ethical to eat plant stems like asparagus, bamboo, kohlrabi, rhubarb, sugar cane and celery? We’re looking at whether it is natural and ethical to eat certain food groups.

We have already dealt with food from animals, and now we are investigating the plant world. Many people would agree that eating plants is natural, but most would not even think to ask whether it’s ethical. We looked at roots in the last post and are working up the plant.

Asparagus spears

Asparagus spears by Tina Philips

Is it natural?

Can we (human primates, equipped only with our bodies and natural items such as rocks, sticks, soil, fire, etc) gather, prepare and eat plant stems? Yes, without a doubt. Even if one is not equipped with a knife or secateurs, it’s easy enough to pull up a plant or break off the stem to eat it.

So, eating plant stems is natural.

Is it ethical?

a) Has it suffered the least harm? This falls into the same area as roots. Basically, pulling up a plant or breaking off the stem to eat the plant will probably kill the plant, which is the worst possible harm. As to whether the plant will feel any pain, read this post.

b) Has it had the best life possible? Again, as with our discussion on plant roots, only plants that have been growing in wild, natural, organic or biodynamic conditions can be said to have lived the best life possible, since plants growing in deficient soils and smothered in poisons can surely not be living a good life.

c) Is this food good for us? Yes, providing it’s been grown in natural conditions, as listed above. Celery is full of antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamins, minerals and trace elements, all essential to human health. Rhubarb’s claim to fame is high values of calcium, lutein and vitamin K. Bamboo shoots help fight cancer, strengthen the immune system, and contain protein, vitamins and minerals. Asparagus is high in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin K. Kohlrabi has more vitamin C than oranges and is exceptionally good for building the immune system, fighting cancer and reducing inflammation.


Chopped Rhubarb by Grant Cochrane

So, eating plant stems is ethical, providing the plants have been grown naturally. However, some people may feel that killing the plant in order to eat it may overstep the mark.


Final verdict – my opinion:

Eating plant stems is both natural and ethical provided the plant has been grown in natural, organic conditions, though could be borderline for those who believe that plants feel pain.

Next post: plant leaves


2 thoughts on “Asparagus – is it natural and ethical to eat it?

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