0

Fruit – is it natural and ethical to eat it?

Finally, we’ve reached the last part of the plant, under the topic of which foods are natural and ethical to eat. Fruits. In case you haven’t been following the blog so far, you can catch up with the discussion here. We have looked at all types of foods that humans eat, and are asking whether it is natural and ethical to eat them.

“Fruit Isolated On White Background” by SOMMAI

“Fruit Isolated On White Background” by SOMMAI

Humans eat fruit. There are so many different types that we often do not realise how many of the foods we eat are fruits. Most often people think of fruit as the sweeter variety such as apples and strawberries, watermelons and mangos, grapes and pineapples. But, there are also what are called vegetable fruits such as cucumbers, pumpkins, tomatoes, avocados, sweet peppers, aubergines and even peas in  a pod.

So, the question is, is it natural and ethical to eat fruit?

Investigation
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 fruit. Yes, definitely. Fruits are easy to pick or gather, and most are very palatable raw. Sweet fruits in particular are superb natural fast food. So, yes, eating fruit is natural.

Is it ethical?

a) Has it suffered the least harm?

It’s not clear whether plants experience pain, as we have seen in this post  but should you be one of those sensitive souls that is concerned whether they do, you can rest assured that fruits do not feel pain. This is because they are designed to be broken down to release the seeds to bring on future generations of plants. The flesh is designed to supply the seeds with extra nourishment, and to do this it needs to decay.

This means that fruit can be taken and eaten without concern as to whether the fruit or the plant is suffering by this act. With respect to sustainability, most fruits have seeds that one can easily discard and which can then be used to grow new plants.

“Vegetable Sale In A Rural Latin American Market” by Gualberto107

“Vegetable Sale In A Rural Latin American Market” by Gualberto107

b) Has it had the best life possible?

Plants that live naturally without being poisoned by pesticides, fungicides and artificial fertilizers should be living the best life possible. Bose found that “administering poisons to tin, zinc, and platinum, and obtained astonishing responses which, when plotted on a graph, appeared precisely like those of poisoned animals.”

Thus, naturally grown organic or biodynamic plants are the happiest.

c) Is this food good for us?

Yes, fruits are good for us. Each type of fruit has different properties, but all contain vitamins, minerals, natural sugars, antioxidants, flavonoids, anthocyanins and vitamin C, known for keeping bodies healthy. Plus, they taste wonderful, can be eaten raw, their wrappings are biodegradable and if you spit the seeds out, you can grow more plants. The ultimate fast food.

Final verdict – my opinion:

Fruits are good food. Natural, ethical and healthy. Nature happily provides these foods, making them taste delicious, enticing us to eat them to help the plants spread the seeds. It’s a win-win situation, and I believe that fruits are the ultimate food.

What do you think?

Next post: The winner is….

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20. Fruit – is it natural and ethical to eat it?

Finally, we’ve reached the last part of the plant, fruits.

In case you haven’t been following the blog so far, you can catch up with the discussion here. We have looked at all types of foods that humans eat, and are asking whether it is natural and ethical to eat them.

“Fruit Isolated On White Background” by SOMMAI

Fruit Isolated On White Background by SOMMAI

Humans eat fruit. There are so many different types that we often do not realise how many of the foods we eat are fruits. Most often people think of fruit as the sweeter variety such as apples and strawberries, watermelons and mangos, grapes and pineapples. But, there are also what are called vegetable fruits such as cucumbers, pumpkins, tomatoes, avocados, sweet peppers, aubergines and even peas in a pod.

So, the question is, is it natural and ethical to eat fruit?

Investigation

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 fruit. Yes, definitely. Fruits are easy to pick or gather, and most are very palatable raw. Sweet fruits in particular are superb natural fast food. So, yes, eating fruit is natural.

Is it ethical?

a) Has it suffered the least harm?

It’s not clear whether plants experience pain, as we have seen in this post  but should you be one of those sensitive souls who is concerned whether they do, you can rest assured that fruits do not feel pain. This is because they are designed to be broken down to release the seeds to bring on future generations of plants. The flesh is designed to supply the seeds with extra nourishment, and to do this it needs to decay.

This means that fruit can be taken and eaten without concern as to whether the fruit or the plant is suffering by this act. With respect to sustainability, most fruits have seeds that one can easily discard and which can then be used to grow new plants.

“Vegetable Sale In A Rural Latin American Market” by Gualberto107

Vegetable Sale In A Rural Latin American Market by Gualberto107

b) Has it had the best life possible?

Plants that live naturally without being poisoned by pesticides, fungicides and artificial fertilisers should be living the best life possible. Bose found that administering poisons to tin, zinc, and platinum, and obtained astonishing responses which, when plotted on a graph, appeared precisely like those of poisoned animals.

Thus, naturally grown organic or biodynamic plants are the happiest.

https://rcm-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?t=naturalethicalfood-21&o=2&p=48&l=st1&mode=books-uk&search=fruitarian&fc1=000000&lt1=_blank&lc1=3366FF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

c) Is this food good for us?

Yes, fruits are good for us. Each type of fruit has different properties, but all contain vitamins, minerals, natural sugars, antioxidants, flavonoids, anthocyanins and vitamin C, known for keeping bodies healthy. Plus, they taste wonderful, can be eaten raw, their wrappings are biodegradable and if you spit the seeds out, you can grow more plants. The ultimate fast food.

Final verdict in  my opinion

Fruits are good food. Natural, ethical and healthy. Nature happily provides these foods, making them taste delicious, enticing us to eat them to help the plants spread the seeds. It’s a win-win situation, and I believe that fruits are the ultimate food.

What do you think?

Next post: The best natural and ethical foods to eat

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Seeds – is it natural and ethical to eat them?

Last post we discussed whether it is natural and ethical to eat flowers. The reason why we’re asking questions like this is because we, as conscious humans, can and should make decisions that could not only positively change the environment, but also, by association, elevate the level of compassion in the world, something that is sorely needed in this day and age.

Pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds

Pumpkin and black and white sesame seeds by cbenjasuwan http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

So, seeds are the next topic under discussion. Seeds include:

  • grains (cereals)
  • pseudo cereals
  • pulses (legumes)
  • nuts
  • nut-like gymnosperm seeds

Seeds are embryonic plants inside protective coatings.

People eat all types of seeds: coffee, sesame seeds, sunflower, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, mustard seeds, cumin, caraway, peanuts, kidney beans, wheat, oats, peas, maize, rice, almonds, coconuts, pine nuts, buckwheat, quinoa, cocoa, walnuts, barley and so forth. Seeds contain complex carbohydrates, protein, good fats and various vitamins and minerals.

But, is it natural and ethical to eat seeds?

Investigation
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 seeds. This has been proven over millenia to be not only easy to do, but has evolved into a practice that has kept humans alive during hard times, as seeds can be easily stored for long periods, and not only serve as food, but also as a means to grow more food.

Gathering, growing and eating seeds is natural for the human primate. However, one must consider whether eating grains, pseudo cereals and legumes (many of which are cooked to turn them into food that humans today find palatable) is natural for humans [See the section below on Is this food good for us]. Ideally, natural food for humans is food that can be eaten raw, since the natural human primate will not have tools or utensils. As discussed below, these hard-to-digest foods can be sprouted or fermented to improve their digestibility, which means that these can be eaten raw.

Is it ethical?

a) Has it suffered the least harm?

The seeds in themselves probably feel no pain. Perhaps when they are sprouted, they may have a form of nervous or sense response, but nothing in the league of the pain an animal feels when it is slaughtered. For those who are concerned about and feel that plants could feel pain, read this post.

So, the harm that a seed may suffer is irrelevant other than that, as discussed in the post about eating flowers, care should be taken to ensure that plants are not killed to harvest the seeds, and that enough seeds are replanted or left to grow to ensure the continuous survival of the species.

So, let’s look at the different seed groups and see how feasible this is:

Grains (cereals)

Most grain crops like wheat, barley, maize, spelt, rye, millet and oats are annual plants, which means that they die after seeding in a single year. So, gathering the grain from them, even before the plant has died naturally, could be considered to be ethical. Should one wait until the plant has died, in all likelihood all the grain would have scattered.

Pseudo cereals

Pseudo cereals like amaranth, quinoa, sesame and buckwheat are not grasses, as are grains, but are also annuals so can be harvested off the plant before it dies.

Pulses (legumes)

Pulses are seeds such as lentils, beans, peas and peanuts that consist of two parts and are housed in pods. They are also annuals, so no problem there with harvesting the seeds before the plants dies.

Nuts

Nuts are a different story entirely to the above groups. We have almonds, brazils, cashews, walnuts, coconuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, chestnuts and pistachios, to name a few. Nuts are borne on trees, which are not annuals. Fortunately for human primates, the nuts fall to the ground when the tree is ready to shed them for the growing season, and because they are encased in sometimes very tough shells, do not rot or get eaten by animals too quickly. So, gathering nuts is ethical providing enough are left to assure the continuation of the species.

Nut-like gymnosperm seeds

Gymnosperms are plants like pine trees and cycads, and we get get pine nuts from pine trees. Again, the tree drops these to the ground when they are ready, and can be gathered just as nuts are.

There are also other seeds that we eat that are not in the above groups, but also allow for gathering without destroying the plant, such as cocoa beans, coffee beans, sunflower seeds and hemp seeds.

So, generally, it is ethical to gather and eat all types of seeds, providing enough are left for sustainability.

b) Has it had the best life possible?

Now we get to the difference between natural growing methods such as biodynamic and organic, as opposed to current standard commercial practices where plants are often poisoned by pesticides, fungicides and artificial fertilizers. Read this to see why these substances are bad for plants.

c) Is this food good for us?

Most seeds are good food for humans. There are problems, though, with allergens. Some people are allergic to gluten which is found in grains. This is becoming more common as it appears that grains such as wheat are now being bred with a higher percentage of gluten to aid in bread making.

Other allergens include peanuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, tree nuts and poppy seeds.

There are also problems with some seeds in that they are difficult for humans to digest. Grains such as wheat, for example, digest better once they have been sprouted or fermented. Cattle and other ruminants digest grains and grass by allowing them to ferment first in one of their stomach compartments. Even horses and rabbits digest grass and grain in part of their large intestine. Humans have no separate compartments, so must make another plan.

This is why bread, in the early days, was made from sprouted and/or fermented grains. You can buy or make Essene bread, which is made from sprouted grain, and Pumpernickel bread made from fermented grain.

Pulses, too, can be difficult to digest (many of you will ahem… smile at this). There is a reason why – legumes contain phytic acid and some also have olligosaccharides that the human digestive system doesn’t agree with. So, for beans in particular, soaking, sprouting and cooking very slowly and eating them just as slowly helps humans digest them.

We will discuss the indigestibility of grains and other seeds when we deal with them one by one in the recipes section , coming soon!

See here how to make traditional sour dough rye bread:

However, for those who suffer no allergic reactions or digestibility problems, seeds are good food. They vary in nutrition with grains being high in carbohydrates, through to seeds like sesame and linseed as well as tree nuts being high in protein and good fats.

Final verdict – my opinion:

Seeds are natural food for humans. They are easy to gather and eat, and are nutritious. They are also ethical food since there is no need to kill the plant to take advantage of the bounty.

What do you think?

Next post: Fruit

0

19. Seeds – is it natural and ethical to eat them?

Last post we discussed whether it is natural and ethical to eat flowers. The reason why we’re asking questions like this is because we, as conscious humans, can and should make decisions that could not only positively change the environment, but also, by association, elevate the level of compassion in the world, something that is sorely needed in this day and age.

So, seeds are the next topic under discussion. Seeds include:

  • grains (cereals)
  • pseudo cereals
  • pulses (legumes)
  • nuts
  • nut-like gymnosperm seeds

Seeds are embryonic plants inside protective coatings.

People eat all types of seeds: coffee, sesame seeds, sunflower, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, mustard seeds, cumin, caraway, peanuts, kidney beans, wheat, oats, peas, maize, rice, almonds, coconuts, pine nuts, buckwheat, quinoa, cocoa, walnuts, barley and so forth. Seeds contain complex carbohydrates, protein, good fats and various vitamins and minerals.

But, is it natural and ethical to eat seeds?

Investigation

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 seeds. This has been proven over millennia to be not only easy to do, but has evolved into a practice that has kept humans alive during hard times, as seeds can be easily stored for long periods, and not only serve as food, but also as a means to grow more food.

Gathering, growing and eating seeds is natural for the human primate. However, one must consider whether eating grains, pseudo cereals and legumes (many of which are cooked to turn them into food that humans today find palatable) is natural for humans [See the section below on Is this food good for us]. Ideally, natural food for humans is food that can be eaten raw, since the natural human primate will not have tools or utensils. As discussed below, these hard-to-digest foods can be sprouted or fermented to improve their digestibility, which means that these can be eaten raw.

Is it ethical?

a) Has it suffered the least harm?

Seeds probably feel no pain. When they are sprouted, they may experience a form of nervous or sense response, but nothing in the league of the pain an animal feels when it is slaughtered. For those who are concerned about and believe that plants could feel pain, read this post.

So, the harm that a seed may suffer is irrelevant other than that, as discussed in the post about eating flowers, care should be taken to ensure that plants are not killed to harvest the seeds, and/or that enough seeds are replanted or left to grow to ensure the continuous survival of the species.

So, let’s look at the different seed groups and see how feasible this is:

Grains (cereals)

Most grain crops like wheat, barley, maize, spelt, rye, millet and oats are annual plants, which means that they die after seeding in a single year. So, gathering the grain from them, even before the plant has died naturally, could be considered to be ethical. If one waited until the plant died, in all likelihood all the grain would have scattered.

Pseudo cereals

Pseudo cereals like amaranth, quinoa, sesame and buckwheat are not grasses, as are grains, but are also annuals, so can be harvested off the plant before it dies.

Pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds

Pumpkin and black and white sesame seeds by cbenjasuwan http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Pulses (legumes)

Pulses are seeds such as lentils, beans, peas and peanuts that consist of two parts and are housed in pods. They are also annuals, so no problem there with harvesting the seeds before the plants dies.

Nuts

Nuts are different entirely to the above groups. These include almonds, brazils, cashews, walnuts, coconuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, chestnuts and pistachios, to name a few. Nuts are borne on trees, which are not annuals. Fortunately for human primates, the nuts fall to the ground when the tree is ready to shed them for the growing season, and, because they are encased in sometimes very tough shells, do not rot or get eaten by animals too quickly. So, gathering nuts is ethical providing enough are left to assure the continuation of the species.

Nut-like gymnosperm seeds

Gymnosperms are plants like pine trees and cycads, and we get pine nuts from pine trees. Again, the tree drops these to the ground when they are ready, and can be gathered just as nuts are.

There are also other seeds that we eat that are not in the above groups, but also allow for gathering without destroying the plant, such as cocoa beans, coffee beans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds  and hemp seeds.

So, generally, it is ethical to gather and eat all types of seeds, providing enough are left for sustainability.

b) Has it had the best life possible?

Now we get to the difference between natural growing methods such as biodynamic and organic, as opposed to current standard commercial practices where plants are often poisoned by pesticides, fungicides and artificial fertilisers. Read this to see why these substances are bad for plants.

c) Is this food good for us?

Most seeds are good food for humans. There are problems, though, with allergens. Some people are allergic to gluten which is found in grains. This is becoming more common as it appears that grains such as wheat are now being bred with a higher percentage of gluten to aid in bread making.

https://rcm-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?t=naturalethicalfood-21&o=2&p=48&l=st1&mode=books-uk&search=vegan%20grain%20allergy&fc1=000000&lt1=_blank&lc1=3366FF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

Other allergens include peanuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, tree nuts and poppy seeds.

https://rcm-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?t=naturalethicalfood-21&o=2&p=48&l=st1&mode=books-uk&search=vegan%20peanut%20allergy&fc1=000000&lt1=_blank&lc1=3366FF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

There are also problems with some seeds in that they are difficult for humans to digest. Grains such as wheat, for example, digest better once they have been sprouted or fermented. Cattle and other ruminants digest grains and grass by allowing them to ferment first in one of their stomach compartments. Even horses and rabbits digest grass and grain in part of their large intestine. Humans have no separate compartments, so must make another plan.

This is why bread, in the early days, was made from sprouted and/or fermented grains. You can buy or make Essene bread, which is made from sprouted grain, and Pumpernickel bread made from fermented grain.

Pulses, too, can be difficult to digest (many of you will ahem… understand this). There is a reason why – legumes contain phytic acid and some also have olligosaccharides that the human digestive system doesn’t agree with. So, for beans in particular, soaking, sprouting and cooking very slowly and eating them just as slowly helps humans digest them.

https://rcm-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?t=naturalethicalfood-21&o=2&p=48&l=st1&mode=books-uk&search=beans%20and%20pulses%20recipe&fc1=000000&lt1=_blank&lc1=3366FF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

We will discuss the indigestibility of grains and other seeds when we deal with them one by one in the recipes section , coming soon!

See here how to make traditional sour dough rye bread:

However, for those who suffer no allergic reactions or digestibility problems, seeds are good food. They vary in nutrition with grains being high in carbohydrates, through to seeds like sesame and linseed as well as tree nuts being high in protein and good fats.

Final verdict in  my opinion

Seeds are natural food for humans. They are easy to gather and eat, and are nutritious. They are also ethical food since there is no need to kill the plant to take advantage of the bounty.

What do you think?

Next post: Fruit

1

Flowers – is it natural and ethical to eat them?

We’re working our way up the structure of plants, asking if it is natural and ethical to eat them. You can check my past posts for other investigations, starting with animal products, but I feel that even plants have to undergo the tests, to be fair.

Romanesco Cauliflower

Romanesco Cauliflower by James Barker http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

People eat flowers. Admittedly, they’re not the classic style of flower that you turn into flower arrangements or grow in your garden but, nonetheless, flowers are popular on our plates. According to Mother Nature Network, we can eat 42 types of flowers.

The most popular varieties are cauliflower and broccoli, while some people add nasturtium, calendula and borage flowers to their salads, make wine out of elder flowers and turn pumpkin flowers into fritters.

So, the question is, is it natural and ethical to eat flowers?

Investigation
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 flowers. Yes, without a doubt. This is a most natural thing to do, and flowers are palatable raw, so they are even easier food to eat than the roots or stems or even the leaves of some plants.

Is it ethical?

a) Has it suffered the least harm?

As we discussed in this post  it’s not clear whether plants feel pain. One criterion we decided on was to avoid killing the plant, as this would cause the most harm. Plucking leaves off is acceptable, providing the plant has enough to continue growing. In fact, many plants grow in a way that they regenerate quickly and seem to be designed to be browsed on.

So, in terms of whether the plant suffers harm, eating flowers is less harmful than eating the roots, which may necessitate killing the plant. But, what about regeneration? Obviously, flowers are necessary to ensure the development of seed, so that the plant species survives.

The way it looks is that the least harmful way of eating flowers is to ensure that only a few flowers from each plant are harvested. This is not too difficult to do in a home-grown garden. If you cut flowers off a broccoli plant, it simply grows new ones until seed has set, and then it stops. Commercial operations rip up the whole plant to harvest the head.

Or, you can leave some of your plants to seed, as most plants develop huge quantities of seed.
b) Has it had the best life possible?

Here I will repeat what I said in the post about eating roots:

Plants that live naturally without being poisoned by pesticides, fungicides and artificial fertilizers should be living the best life possible. Bose found that “administering poisons to tin, zinc, and platinum, and obtained astonishing responses which, when plotted on a graph, appeared precisely like those of poisoned animals.”
c) Is this food good for us?

Yes, edible flowers are good for us. Some believe that broccoli is the world’s healthiest food. It can  lower cholesterol, is great for detoxing, it’s full of vitamins A and K which help maintain out vitamin D balance and, because it’s a rich source of kaempferol, it acts as an anti-inflammatory. It’s also high in vitamin C, chromium and folate as well as a huge range of other vitamins and minerals.

Marigold flower

Marigold – Health From Nature by sattva – http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Final verdict – my opinion:

Flowers are good for you. Eating them is natural and ethical, providing you make sure enough plants bear seed, allowing the species to survive and thrive.

What do you think?

Next post: seeds

1

18. Flowers – is it natural and ethical to eat them?

We’re working our way up the structure of plants, asking if it is natural and ethical to eat them. You can check my past posts for other investigations, starting with animal products, but I feel that even plants have to undergo the tests, to be fair.

People eat flowers. Admittedly, they’re not the classic style of flower that you turn into flower arrangements or grow in your garden but, nonetheless, flowers are popular on our plates. According to Mother Nature Network, we can eat 42 types of flowers.

The most popular varieties are cauliflower and broccoli, while some people add nasturtium, calendula and borage flowers to their salads, make wine out of elder flowers and turn pumpkin flowers into fritters.

So, the question is, is it natural and ethical to eat flowers?vegetables-659404_640

Investigation

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 flowers. Yes, without a doubt. This is a most natural thing to do, and flowers are palatable raw, so they are even easier food to eat than the roots or stems or even the leaves of some plants.

Is it ethical?

a) Has it suffered the least harm?

As we discussed in this post  it’s not clear whether plants feel pain. One criterion we decided on was to avoid killing the plant, as this would cause the most harm. Plucking leaves off is acceptable, providing the plant has enough to continue growing. In fact, many plants grow in a way that they regenerate quickly and seem to be designed to be browsed on.

So, in terms of whether the plant suffers harm, eating flowers is less harmful than eating the roots, which may necessitate killing the plant. But, what about regeneration? Obviously, flowers are necessary to ensure the development of seed, so that the plant species survives.

The way it looks is that the least harmful way of eating flowers is to ensure that only a few flowers from each plant are harvested. This is not too difficult to do in a home-grown garden. If you cut flowers off a broccoli plant, it simply grows new ones until seed has set, and then it stops. Commercial operations rip up the whole plant to harvest the head.

Or, you can leave some of your plants to seed, as most plants develop huge quantities of seed.

https://rcm-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?t=naturalethicalfood-21&o=2&p=48&l=st1&mode=books-uk&search=edible%20plant%20flowers&fc1=000000&lt1=_blank&lc1=3366FF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

b) Has it had the best life possible?

Here I will repeat what I said in the post about eating roots:

Plants that live naturally without being poisoned by pesticides, fungicides and artificial fertilizers should be living the best life possible. Bose found that administering poisons to tin, zinc, and platinum, and obtained astonishing responses which, when plotted on a graph, appeared precisely like those of poisoned animals.

c) Is this food good for us?

Yes, edible flowers are good for us. Some believe that broccoli is the world’s healthiest food. It can  lower cholesterol, is great for detoxing, it’s full of vitamins A and K which help maintain out vitamin D balance and, because it’s a rich source of kaempferol, it acts as an anti-inflammatory. It’s also high in vitamin C, chromium and folate as well as a huge range of other vitamins and minerals.

Final verdict  in my opinion

Flowers are good for you. Eating them is natural and ethical, providing you make sure enough plants bear seed, allowing the species to survive and thrive.

What do you think?

Next post: seeds

0

Brussels sprouts – is it natural and ethical to eat them?

Is it natural and ethical to eat the leaves of plants such as lettuce, spinach, cabbage, cress, chard and Brussels sprouts?

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts

This may seem like a crazy question if you have not been following this blog, but, it’s just another step in our ongoing investigation into whether the types of foods that humans eat are natural to eat, and also, whether it’s ethical to eat them.

The reason I’m doing this is because I believe that much of the harm done on Earth, including the compromised health of the planet, humans, animals and plants, is a lot to do with our attitudes towards our food.

We’ve covered food derived from animals, and are working out way up to the top of plants, having started from the roots.

Investigation
Is it natural?

Can we (human primates, equipped only with our bodies and natural items such as rocks, sticks, soil, fire, etc) grow, gather and eat plant leaves?

Yes, definitely. Picking leaves off plants and eating them is the simplest and most natural thing in the world. Most animals eat leaves, even lions.

Is it ethical?

a) Has it suffered the least harm?

Some people believe that plants feel pain. This is a tricky one. Obviously, it doesn’t manifest in the same way that animals feel pain. There’s no obvious trauma. There’s no blood. So, this is a decision you have to make depending on your own beliefs. But, I believe that the least harm you inflict, the better.

So, it’s better to nip off leaves, so that the plant carries on living and is able to, at some stage, produce seeds and die naturally, than to cut off or pull up the whole plant in order to eat its leaves.

However, some plants are so prolific that you could argue that nature has designed them to be eaten, and providing a certain percentage of the plants are left to produce seeds to make up for those eaten, this also works.

b) Has it had the best life possible?

Only plants that are living naturally in the wild, or grown biodynamically or organically can have had the best life possible.

c) Is this food good for us?

Yes, without a doubt, plant leaves are good for us. They contain protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Dark green leaves have a higher concentration of nutrients than any other food.

Our human primate ancestors would have eaten kilograms of leaves daily. This would mean that they would have browsed, much as gorillas do, constantly, in order to consume several shopping bags worth of leaves. We barely eat a hundredth of this amount. And very little of it is raw. It’s no wonder the human race is so ill.

Here you can watch a gorilla eating leaves:

You’ve heard this before: kale is the new beef! Eat it and be well.

Final verdict – my opinion:

Plant leaves provide the best food for humans, providing enough are eaten. They are natural, and certainly ethical, especially if care is taken to either pick leaves off a living plant, or ensure that enough plants are left alone to produce seeds in a sustainable manner.

What do you think?

Next post: flowers

Image attribution:  “Brussels sprout closeup” by Eric Hunt – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brussels_sprout_closeup.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Brussels_sprout_closeup.jpg