Loud-mouthed liberal feminist. Anarchist knitter. Tequila-drinking artsy-smartsy fat chick. Bluesy folk-rock singer-songwriter. Rebel with too many causes. Quirky eclectic pagan poet. Paradoxical intuitive smartass. Sarcastic brainiac insomniac. You know, for starters.


Green v. "LOHAS"

If you live in Chicago (or L.A. or San Fran or Seattle...hmmm, one of these things is not like the other...), you may be familiar with Conscious Choice, a magazine dedicated to "LOHAS" (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability), which from what I can deduce, consists of yoga, meditation, and buying a whole buttload of eco-friendly stuff. The consumerist bent of this magazine has really started rubbing me the wrong way; I read it because it also has info on local green happenings and occasionally, interesting articles or essays (I tend to enjoy the heck out of Daniel Pinchbeck's monthly columns). The class blindness generally creeps up my ass only mildly, but this month, when they were running down the idea of green leases, I kinda lost it. I mean, they expect people to pony up two years worth of utilities in advance. So, let's conservatively argue that a month's utilities are, say, $100, between water and gas and electric...which is $1200 a year. Now, I don't know about other folks, but if I'm already shelling out to move into a new apartment, I'm spending on moving costs, plus deposit on the new apartment; on top of that, which could run a couple grand itself, depending, I'd need to come up another $2400 or more?! Who the fuck has money like that laying around, especially these days? So, yeah, not striking me as terribly helpful on that count, Conscious Choice.

((Sidenote: Shucks, it would be nice to find green resources that didn't involve shelling out craploads of money, or just in general green tips that weren't just replacing the same ol' consumerist habits with green versions of the same! End digression.))

Every month, they have a feature that runs down a bunch of statistics. This month's listing included this tidbit, recommending a vegetarian breakfast over the "traditional" American breakfast:
10 Times less, in greenhouse gas emissions, incurred by eating a light breakfast of yogurt, banana, cereal and milk in place of a traditional breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausage, potatoes and toast.

Now, first off, I don't know *anyone* who actually eats a breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausage, potatoes, and toast on a regular basis. Once or twice a month at weekend brunch, maybe, but I can't think of a single person I know who does that more than occasionally. (Granted, my social sphere may be skewed by my hippie liberal leanings, but still...I come from farm folk, and even my grandparents don't eat like that!) In fact, I'd hazard a guess that I know more people who eat *no* breakfast than who eat eggs plus two servings of both meats and carbs for breakfast.

Secondly, and maybe more disturbing to me, the breakfast they're recommending includes yogurt, cereal, milk, and fruit. I like this breakfast - in fact, it's one I have myself fairly often (sans milk - I like cereal in my yogurt). Over this past summer, I've enjoyed it many times with farmer's market blueberries or strawberries. As we shift into fall, I suspect it may become apples, since that's what's both local and seasonal. I'm curious, though, why Conscious Choice would make a specific recommendation for a particular type of fruit, when a general statement would have done just as well. I am specifically curious as to why they felt it necessary to recommend bananas, the evil-est of all evil exotic fruit. Are the Conscious Choice editors and writers not aware of the political ramifications of bananas? Of the environmental ones, due to monoculture and long-distance transport and petrochemical agriculture and genetic modification?

Needless to say, I have written a letter to the editors asking them to reconsider this recommendation. I'm all for yogurt, cereal, and fruit for breakfast - but skip the blood-soaked environmentally-unfriendly banana in favor of some local, seasonal fruit instead. Or, if you can't get local/seasonal fruit, try organic raisins or just about anything at your neighborhood fruit market that's not a banana.

Also annoying? The usual weight loss claptrap. Especially the part about cutting 300-500 calories from your diet to "slow aging." Not only did this two sentence blurb contain three (count 'em) weasel words (might, may, could), it mentioned no cautionary statements about starting points....like if you're already eating 500 calories on a starvation diet, cutting 300 of them might be a bad idea. Also, although it's impossible to know for sure which study they're basing this off, all of the likely studies in the publication they reference involve mice and rats - not a human-based experiment in the lot! Again I say: "THEY DON'T ACTUALLY KNOW FOR SURE, and whatever they're selling you is based on FUCK ALL."

I wish there were better choices in the world.

No comments: