Food. It’s bloody complicated. Its impact reaches every single living thing on the planet. Religion, land, money, and even Dubai fitness influencers can’t hold a candle to the influence food has on this planet. We are a community of 8 billion people, and food is our biggest vice.
There is no doubt in my mind that our species has given nothing positive back to this planet. We are acting like hyperactive children in a playground. Sure, the see-saw might be working now, but eventually, it’s going to break. The ironic thing is, if we did act a little more like our children, we could probably fix this planet.
Therefore, I have recently been trying to make better, more ethical choices in life.
For example, in the rare times that I remember a reusable bag for my supermarket shop, I tut judgmentally at the person in front of me for using plastic bags. Yep, I am delighted to get on my high horse, whenever I can.
I installed an under-sink water filter from Liquid of life, but that was because those six-packs of Masafi are bloody heavy.
I try to eat less beef as I have a hygienic issue with the amount of cow flatulence in the world. If we can breed a fart-free bovine, I would happily eat beef every day.
I haven’t eaten foie gras for years, because, holy sh*t, poor geese. Nutella leaves orangutans homeless. Sausages equal instant cancer, and sausage cancer is the worst.
But now that I am an adult and can sit in front of a computer screen for 16 hours a day, I took the opportunity to explore this topic further.
I wish I hadn’t.
There is an internet thing where you google “Florida man” and then your birthday and post the first headline that appears. It seems a Florida man is doing something newsworthy every day of the year. Mine is, and I kid you not, “Florida Man arrested for hanging on traffic light and sh*tting on cars passing underneath.”
Inspired by my Florida man, and combined with my new ethical standing, I invented an internet game. Google search “The dark side of [enter favourite food item here]”, and you will almost be guaranteed of a result. However, as I mentioned before, I wish I hadn’t.
First up on google was avocados. Smashed, baked, guac, with eggs, in smoothies, these versatile fruits have taken the world by storm in recent years. They are like the Ed Sheeran of fruits. Slightly odd-looking, but smooth and delicious on the inside. However, in Pecora, Chile, avocado production is causing a massive problem. In Chile, it takes on average 320 litres of water to produce one avocado. One. Single. Avocado.
Rivers have dried up, and groundwater levels have fallen, causing regional droughts as farmers struggle to respond to the insane demand from the west for smashed avo on toast. In comparison, a tomato takes just 5 litres, and an orange takes 22 litres of water. So, that’s me off avocado from now on.
Nuts were next on google — amazing little things, full of good oils and fats and a good source of protein. There was even a Harvard study that said eating nuts decreased mortality rates by 20 percent. Alas, no, take your nuts off the table. California, which produces 82 percent of the world’s almond supply, suffers regular droughts and you can blame the almonds, quite frankly. A single almond takes 4 litres of water to grow. Imagine a Pecora avocado and almond nut smoothie – just a cool 360 litres of water used for that little morning pick-me-up. A packet of filter-free Lucky Strike might be a better choice at this stage.
Cashews used to be my favourite nut, but nut anymore. They are now my nutenemy. Between two layers of their hard shell is a vicious acid that is causing permanent damage to the hands of the ladies who work in the cashew factories. No-one has time for cashew acid.
Next up on my Google search was coconut oil – the healthiest way to fry your eggs, surely. Pah – it’s stuffed with saturated fat. About 90% saturated fat, which is the stuff heart diseases love. Butter is only 64%, as a comparison. So, that’s coconut oil kicked to the curb.
I googled pizza, because, surely pizza is safe from the dark side. No, pizza is going to hell too. In Sao Paulo, Brazil, there are about 8,000 wood-burning pizzerias producing almost a million pizzas per day. These pizzerias use 18.5 acres of forest every month, to keep up with demand. That’s 14 football fields of forest every month gone from the face of the earth, thanks to a Hawaiian with extra cheese.
Quinoa is rocket fuel for hipsters, millennials, and vegans the world over and a healthy replacement for junk fast food. Before we got our greedy little hands on this miracle grain of the Andes, quinoa was a staple food item to the people of Peru and Bolivia. However, thanks to our crazy demand, prices have tripled, and many Peruvians and Bolivians can no longer afford to eat their staple food. In a horrible twist of fate, imported junk food is now a cheaper option.
Farmers markets, we love them. We love that feel-good, farm-to-table feeling and brown paper bags of slightly disfigured tomatoes and courgettes and small jars of local honey. Think again – your farmers might not be so local. Thanks to the inflated, privileged prices of farmers markets, farmers are travelling great distances with their products to make more profit, leaving their own communities hungry and without food.
The more I googled, the more depressed I got. The poke bowl, farmed salmon, cheese, eggs, it was never-ending, and no food item was safe.
I typed one last food item into google but couldn’t bring myself to hit search. I couldn’t do it.
I am all for ethical eating and desperately want to do my part to help save the planet, but there are some things I don’t want to know. Some things need to remain pure and sacred; otherwise, what is it we are living for?
So, please, for the love of God, don’t google Shawarma. Let’s not ruin it. I don’t think I could handle it.