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Thread: Healthy diet, climate sustainability, and Zen

  1. #1

    Healthy diet, climate sustainability, and Zen

    Dear Zen practitioner,

    I am a Zen practitioner, a foodie, a nutritionist, and i work in the area of linkages between food systems and climate change.

    If you are interested in sharing anything related to healthy diets, climate change and Zen precepts, please, write here: am looking for people with similar interests in the Sangha.

    Gassho

    Shogyo

  2. #2
    Hi Shogyo

    I think your knowledge will be very helpful, especially when it comes to our precept thread on refraining from taking life.

    There are threads here about the natural world and our impact on them.

    I previously worked in research looking at the effects of climate change on plant ecology and genetics.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  3. #3
    Thanks Kokuu for the encouragement.

    This Lancet report is revolutionizing the current Policies. But a lot to do to make it talk to our hearts too.

    https://eatforum.org/learn-and-disco...net-animation/


  4. #4
    Unfortunately "healthful diet" is laden with a ton of political ideology and usually doesn't really discuss what a truly "healthful diet" is. For example, the science does point to the fact that there is probably nothing as nutritious for human beings as a meat-based diet. I understand ethical concerns, but facts are facts and, act the Twitter account reminds us: "Nature is Metal"

    Seriously- I am open to discussion on healthful diets, but let's keep it civil and fact based; let's not let emotion cause us to get angry etc. Also if we are going to talk science, let's make sure it's not the lancet nonsense - https://www.nutritioncoalition.us/ne...port-one-sided

    The theories that eating meat is destroying the environment aren't all that well founded as well. Again a lot of the material/propaganda out there will point to the opposite and a lot of studies being propagated about eating meat being unhealthy are based epidemiological studies that lack any fundamental causation at the core.

    So I would just ask that when we discuss this or if we do - that we don't get beat over the head with any bull

    I have to admit I do get a little passionate about this topic because turning to a primary meat-only diet completely turned my health around. The ideas that are still circulating around the cultural zeitgeist about saturated fats and cholesterol are also founded in nonsense. Both are essential components of a well-balanced diet and increased consumption is associated with a decrease in all-cause mortality.

    That being said- and for my sanity - I'd rather not get into this type of debate here, especially if it's going to turn into vegetarian vs. carnivore battle royale per the norm. hahahaah

    Thanks

    Risho
    -stlah

    Apologies for exceeding 3 sentences

  5. #5
    Member RobD's Avatar
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    I agree that we shouldn't let this thread devolve into another battle over diets like we've already had recently. I recognize that the dietary needs of each of us can vary widely due to any number of issues, so no one's particular diet should be called out in a negative way. There never will be a "one size fits all" diet.

    That said, I would love to partake in further discussion about how our food choices as a society (not necessarily as individuals—I do believe there can be a difference) may affect our ability to better feed the citizens of Earth.

    What may have been the most effective and efficient way of feeding/nurturing the global population just a few centuries ago may simply be outdated today due to population growth and other environmental concerns.

    All dietary options should remain on the table as everyone's health needs/dietary preferences will naturally differ, but I do believe that we can make larger, societal shifts in food production/consumption that will benefit the planet and all of us that are lucky enough to call Earth "home".

    Gassho,
    Rob

    -stlah-

    (Apologies for the added length of my post.)


    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Hello,
    I've been interested in 'food as medicine' for many, many years. A fascinating topic but the emotional weight of such a discussion might outweigh its usefulness. I learned long ago folks are extremely attached to their diets. And in my lifetime the new discoveries about what a 'healthy' diet consists of has changed over and over, and as science evolves and digs deeper this too will continue to evolve and change. Lessons here for sure. However, a discussion about growing our food and its impact on the planet might be a good and interesting direction.

    Gassho

    Anne

    ~lahst~

  7. #7
    Yeah and to correct what I said above - Rich Roll would disagree with me wholeheartedly - he is a vegan, ultra distance marathon runner, so that is significant because he views food like I do from a performance and nutrition perspective - so I'm open to this. So if he's able to handle a vegan diet, then I'm sure I could but I'm still skeptical. lol

    Just bear with me; I can get angry, so that was a pointer to myself with this. hahahah

  8. #8
    I think it's best to put the diet discussion aside, something similar always comes up during the Precepts and it's always contentious and divisive, so maybe let it arise there and not have further fuel being thrown on the fire here. Instead perhaps we should take a moment to reflect on our resistance to the beliefs of others and attachment to our own conviction that we are right - that seems to be more in line with our practice than a deluge of vegan versus meat eater posts.

    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  9. #9
    I have to admit I do get a little passionate about this topic because turning to a primary meat-only diet completely turned my health around. The ideas that are still circulating around the cultural zeitgeist about saturated fats and cholesterol are also founded in nonsense.
    I think that is very true as regards a personal diet but there is not a definitive correlation between the "healthiness" of a food, or whether it is plant or animal-sourced, and it's impact on the environment so we are talking about two different things.

    Personal diet and health seems quite individual. The impact of certain foodtypes as regards carbon generation is less so (although eating locally produced food does some difference) and plant-sourced chocolate and coffee have nearly as great an impact as raising livestock for food: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/vis...-of-each-food/

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    Last edited by Kokuu; 09-28-2020 at 08:14 PM.
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  10. #10
    Hi Filippo (who, for folks who don't know him, is a new member who is an aid worker dealing with hunger currently working in Ethiopia, previously in Mozambique).

    I hope it is okay, but I moved this thread to our "Engaged Projects" section so that we can keep it around longer.

    The topic is actually rather different from the discussion of the ethics of vegetarianism we recently had, and which comes up as a topic from time to time. This is more about environmental impact and effects on health, and is not actually advocating a totally vegetarian lifestyle but one of moderation and balance. It is an important topic.

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...-vegetarianism

    Here is, I believe, the original "eatLancet" report itself:

    https://www.thelancet.com/commissions/EAT

    I know that our Kyonin is also very interested in this topic.

    Thank you for raising it, Filippo.

    Gassho, Jundo

    SaTTodayLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-28-2020 at 11:30 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by filippo.dibari View Post
    Dear Zen practitioner,

    I am a Zen practitioner, a foodie, a nutritionist, and i work in the area of linkages between food systems and climate change.

    If you are interested in sharing anything related to healthy diets, climate change and Zen precepts, please, write here: am looking for people with similar interests in the Sangha.

    Gassho

    Shogyo
    Hi fellow foodie and nice to meet you. I think your line of work is extremely valuable and necessary and I am sure you have a great deal to teach me - I look forward to it! I am pretty interested in the topic of world hunger, diets centered around vegetables more than mean and sustainable food consumption.

    SatToday lah
    Jake

    -------------------------
    Join me on Insight Timer
    Help me feed those in need by joining my Share The Meal team HERE

  12. #12
    Thank you Fillipo. I am quite interested in this topic. My family and I started making changes to our diet over ten years ago largely driven by our decision to try to limit our bio-footprint when it came to consumption of food. Over the years we have increased our number of meatless meals and tried to eat more locally produced goods.

    I look forward to the discussion here.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  13. #13
    Thanks for this high level of interest on the topic. Apologies to the ones who felt threatened in the dietary convictions. As a matter of fact there is consensus that one third of gas emission is due to inadequate food systems. Action is needed immediately.

    I learnt recently that there is a growing interest on linkages between Buddhism and Sustainable Systems. I will be digging more into it and revert back. In the meantime time this book is a start: https://books.google.com.et/books/ab...on&redir_esc=y

    The key question is what a Buddhist can do to reduce suffering in view of climate change? And also what is the most effective choice to make? Since we are not all politicians, in our individual life we can have a major Positive impact on the climate promoting and practicing As much as possible a plant based diet.

    More to share

    Shogyo

  14. #14
    Without wanting to get into a partisan discussion of food, let me highlight this podcast that I discovered the other day. It's about wheat and bread; about how wheat and bread today are industrialized; about how small farmers, millers, and bakers in the UK and in other countries are trying to change this.

    https://farmerama.co/episode/cereal-1-flour-water-salt/

    There are six episodes, and they can be seen as a microcosm of the questions of sustainability.

    I was particularly interested, because I make bread, and I live next to a farm, where my landlord grows vegetables and grain. He grows wheat, and all summer, there was wheat in the field across from my home, but it's feed wheat, not wheat for bread.

    Sorry for going over; I actually have to go work the dough that has just about finished rising to try to have fresh bread for lunch today...

    Gassho,

    Kirk

    sat
    -----
    I know nothing.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc View Post
    Without wanting to get into a partisan discussion of food, let me highlight this podcast that I discovered the other day. It's about wheat and bread; about how wheat and bread today are industrialized; about how small farmers, millers, and bakers in the UK and in other countries are trying to change this.

    https://farmerama.co/episode/cereal-1-flour-water-salt/





    There are six episodes, and they can be seen as a microcosm of the questions of sustainability.

    I was particularly interested, because I make bread, and I live next to a farm, where my landlord grows vegetables and grain. He grows wheat, and all summer, there was wheat in the field across from my home, but it's feed wheat, not wheat for bread.

    Sorry for going over; I actually have to go work the dough that has just about finished rising to try to have fresh bread for lunch today...

    Gassho,

    Kirk

    sat
    I am also baking bread (sourdough) regularly. Such a gift. Thanks for sharing.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Tairin View Post
    Thank you Fillipo. I am quite interested in this topic. My family and I started making changes to our diet over ten years ago largely driven by our decision to try to limit our bio-footprint when it came to consumption of food. Over the years we have increased our number of meatless meals and tried to eat more locally produced goods.

    I look forward to the discussion here.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    Are you a flexitarian? How are the changes you noticed in your practice? Is it an ideological change or spiritual?

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by jakeb View Post
    Hi fellow foodie and nice to meet you. I think your line of work is extremely valuable and necessary and I am sure you have a great deal to teach me - I look forward to it! I am pretty interested in the topic of world hunger, diets centered around vegetables more than mean and sustainable food consumption.

    SatToday lah
    Dear Jakeb,

    Interestingly the Lancet Report highlights that world hunger, climate change and ....individual choices are all interlinked one another. Therefore must be watched and addressed simultaneously. Each one can contribute on daily basis if we wish to be serious in this topic.

    As Bodhisatva do we need to take a stand?

    Gasho Shogyo

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by filippo.dibari View Post
    Dear Jakeb,

    Interestingly the Lancet Report highlights that world hunger, climate change and ....individual choices are all interlinked one another. Therefore must be watched and addressed simultaneously. Each one can contribute on daily basis if we wish to be serious in this topic.

    As Bodhisatva do we need to take a stand?

    Gasho Shogyo
    I think taking a stand is unavoidable when realizing that our personal choices impact the lives of others in profound ways. One of us doing things right won’t change entire industries, but many ONES together might just make a difference. In the meantime, I can make sure I do my best on my own and while I might not be able to end world hunger on my own, I can support projects like the UN’s World Food Program and actively participate by donating, using platforms like Seva Search to indirectly contribute economically to WFP etc ... I can also educate myself on alternatives to traditional diets, on ways to help fight climate change and also help educate others, if not in a direct way, than just by the power of my own example. As long as there is the smallest thing I can do to be of service to others, I will find ways to do it.

    Ran long again, sorry everyone!

    SatToday
    Jake

    -------------------------
    Join me on Insight Timer
    Help me feed those in need by joining my Share The Meal team HERE

  19. #19
    Thank you for starting this discussion. This is a topic of interest and I am always trying to learn more so I can make better choices. I fear that the climate crisis is going to severely impact both food and water security, in some areas much sooner than others. I personally relate this topic to the Three Pure Precepts, asking myself what harm is created in my actions—what results in the least harm/most good?
    Gassho,
    Krista
    st

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by filippo.dibari View Post
    Are you a flexitarian? How are the changes you noticed in your practice? Is it an ideological change or spiritual?
    I don’t label my approach to food consumption but yes “flexitarian” would describe it. We tend to just say “meat reduced”. The changes in diet predate my Zen practice by a number of years but I do see them as supporting each other. Initially the change was for moral reasons I.e. to reduce our impact on the environment. Part of that is certainly “spiritual “ in the sense that we take what we need but try to not be excessive or wasteful. I do recite the Meal Gatha and say thanks for each meal. I know it is a gift. We do compost all our waste which I then use in our garden so feeding the earth as well as all the critters that forage through the compost. It doesn’t go to landfill in plastic bags which is important to us as well.

    Sorry for more than 3 sentences


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    Last edited by Tairin; 09-29-2020 at 01:14 PM.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by filippo.dibari View Post

    Interestingly the Lancet Report highlights that world hunger, climate change and ....individual choices are all interlinked one another. Therefore must be watched and addressed simultaneously. Each one can contribute on daily basis if we wish to be serious in this topic.
    Unfortunately, the idea that individuals can have much of an effect on climate change is mostly greenwashing created by oil companies. This is not to say that we shouldn't care, but our actions have minimal effect.

    https://theconversation.com/climate-...rations-108546

    Do you know what percentage of CO2 output is caused by cement and concrete manufacture? I'll let you look it up...

    Gassho,

    Kirk

    sat
    -----
    I know nothing.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc View Post
    Unfortunately, the idea that individuals can have much of an effect on climate change is mostly greenwashing created by oil companies. This is not to say that we shouldn't care, but our actions have minimal effect.

    https://theconversation.com/climate-...rations-108546

    Do you know what percentage of CO2 output is caused by cement and concrete manufacture? I'll let you look it up...

    Gassho,

    Kirk

    sat
    I’d rather have even a minimal effect than do nothing because “big companies”
    Jake

    -------------------------
    Join me on Insight Timer
    Help me feed those in need by joining my Share The Meal team HERE

  23. #23
    I don't think that's the point. In engineering we have a concept of "root cause". I'm sure this is used in other sciences as well. If a solution does not address the root cause, it's just not effective. So instead of spending time and effort on very inefficient ways of addressing things that don't really solve anything - and often have a ton of hidden cost and taxes, not to mention absolutely destroy our competitiveness in the marketplace when we are by far not the lead cause of these issues - we should focus our creativeness and ingenuity on real solutions.

    So it's also not that these aren't real problems - it's that we need to focus on real solutions. That's all. And we have a big role to play in finding a solution. I am very confident we will; we have a ton of intellect, and we can solve this. But this whole "discipline" has turned into a religious cult of its own or "Secta" -> I really like that word. lol

    There's no need for emotion with these types of issues; it doesn't help. It takes the focus away from actually learning the hard skills necessary to solve these problems, but I'm optimistic we will and we can.

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah

    Apologies for being inefficient in my speech and going over 3 sentences; it probably has a root cause in my egoistic need of always being right.
    Last edited by Risho; 09-29-2020 at 03:04 PM.

  24. #24
    I would be interested in knowing how we can help more our lives and our beautiful world as well. What little we can do, maybe we should do it. But, as Kirk was saying, unfortunately it does not depend that much from each individual (but it doesn't mean we have to stop trying), there are a few companies that need to look at their policies regarding CO2 emissions and change them asap. This article was from a year ago: https://www.theguardian.com/environm...rbon-emissions

    As for each of us, I believe most of us simply eat too much, I certainly do. I reduced my plate portion on certain things like pasta and rice, but I can't help myself with many other things, it's a struggle.

    Gassho,
    Mags
    ST

  25. #25
    The only thing individuals can do is put pressure on governments. No amount of recycling (oh, btw, most plastic isn't recycled), eating vegan, or turning the lights off makes much of a difference. We need to be realistic and worry about things we can change. Instead of thinking about specific food choices because of climate change, think about them because they can foster community, make things cleaner locally, and have an impact on the way individuals eat. The big companies developed the idea of the "carbon footprint" to make individuals feel guilty; don't feel guilty, do what you can on a local level.

    https://mashable.com/feature/carbon-...campaign-sham/

    Gassho,

    Kirk

    sat
    -----
    I know nothing.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Margherita View Post
    I would be interested in knowing how we can help more our lives and our beautiful world as well. What little we can do, maybe we should do it. But, as Kirk was saying, unfortunately it does not depend that much from each individual (but it doesn't mean we have to stop trying), there are a few companies that need to look at their policies regarding CO2 emissions and change them asap. This article was from a year ago: https://www.theguardian.com/environm...rbon-emissions

    As for each of us, I believe most of us simply eat too much, I certainly do. I reduced my plate portion on certain things like pasta and rice, but I can't help myself with many other things, it's a struggle.

    Gassho,
    Mags
    ST
    There are many ways we can contribute, and Shogyo can confirm that, as he is personally involved in projects meant to ACTUALLY help individuals. Sure, we won’t change systematic flaws quickly BUT until we can tackle the root of the problem we can help in small ways. I’d compare this with our current COVID crisis: sure, until they find and distribute a vaccine, we won’t eradicate the issue, but until that happens, small gestures like washing our hands, using gel, wearing our face coverings, keeping the distance, really help in managing the situation. Imagine if we all said: well, since wearing a mask won’t eliminate the virus, I’m not gonna wear it. Let the government fix the problem..

    SatToday lah ( ran long again.. so sorry guys)
    Jake

    -------------------------
    Join me on Insight Timer
    Help me feed those in need by joining my Share The Meal team HERE

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