Responding to the following recent letters:
“Our relationship with animals,” by Karl Sugarman May 3; “Banning meat to fight climate change actually makes sense,” by Kasper Sweitzer May 3; “For health and ethics, eat a plant-based diet,” by Jean Slepian May 8.
My name is Dove. I am a nontraditional Keene State College student majoring in public health with a specialization in nutrition. I am also the mother of a college student and a middle-schooler.
I have been interested in nutrition since my daughter was a baby. She and I had thrush — corresponding yeast infections in her mouth and my nipples. I tried the recommended treatments (including nystatin drops for her mouth and rigorous laundry protocols).
After many months, I went to see an alternative doctor who suggested eliminating wheat, dairy and sugar. This sounded horrible! However, it did get me thinking. I’ve though a lot about nutrition ever since.
Nutrition is an interesting field of study because the recommendations change over time. This is partially due to new research. It’s also a matter of public opinion and the health messaging consumers receive through product marketing.
One particularly controversial topic in the field of nutrition is dietary fats. Some evidence correlates saturated fat and/or cholesterol-containing foods and heart disease. Other evidence points to dietary fats being an indispensable part of healthy diets.
If you take anything away from reading this letter, I’d like for you to consider the idea that fats are controversial.
With respect to the potential environmental differences in animal vs. plant agriculture, production of grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetable, fruit and oilseed crops is not always benign (from an environmental standpoint). Tractors require fuel. Factories use electricity. Almond groves use tons of water.
Ethical concerns have been voiced. To this I respond: Ethics is closely tied to religion.
Comparing religions, there are those that actively seek to convert others, and those that do not. Christianity and Islam tend to proselytize. Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism tend not to. If you are actively seeking to convert people to vegetarianism or veganism, please know that you are proselytizing.
Food choices are very personal, as personal as a person’s faith … or nipples! People the world ’round eat animals, animal products and in some cases, insects. I say, judging people’s food behaviors is presumptive and unethical.