Monday, May 28, 2012

Is it the toast or the bacon? Extraterrestrial diet wisdom

Carrot diversity
Carrot diversity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It's the most hated and controversial word on Earth: Diet.

Almost any vegetarian will tell you how bad meat production is for the environment. The most intelligent meat eaters will remind you how unsustainable corn, wheat, and soybean production has become. Both would be absolutely right.

On my planet, we had paid hunters as well as farmers (not that everyone ate meat). There was little need for heavily processed food because everybody wanted to shop for fresh groceries and socialize nearly every day. On other planets, meat is considered primitive and wasteful. Even their carnivorous pets eat legume based foods (which works, but it requires a processing technology Earth doesn't have).

None of the advanced planets I know of genetically modify their food. Without going into a big genetics lesson, you can't modify one trait without affecting something else. Plants and sometimes animals are bred for certain traits, but it is always considered important to keep food diverse and minimally altered because of the risk of food allergies, food borne infections, and loss of nutritional value.

The drinking of another animal's milk, particularly when skimmed of all or most of its natural fat, is unheard of on other planets. Most planets make some versions of cheese and yogurt, and emergency infant formulas are sometimes based on animal milk (When possible, breastfeeding is always better for babies regardless of species), but it was just really surprising to find so many people on Earth drinking animal's milk.
 So, what should you eat?

Once, during adolescence, I had an infection that tends to get worse on a high carbohydrate diet. My mom took me off of all fruit and grain for a short time. Well, it happened to be a holiday time, and much like on Earth everyone had a great dinner, except me. I tried something similar again as an adult and quickly got moody, tired, and extremely hungry. I constantly thought of every sweet baked good and fried root vegetable I'd ever eaten.

On the flip side, when I wanted to lose a little extra weight, I tried to eat fat free. Nothing I ate really tasted like anything (except fresh juices). I was beyond tired, a little moody, and extremely hungry. I thought about meat all the time, even though at the time I hadn't eaten meat in a few years.

The moral of the story is what you already inherently knew. Everything in balance. There is no one right answer for everyone (other than staying away from highly processed food). Some need less carbs. Some need less fat than others. If you're at a healthy weight and feel energetic and happy most of the time, keep doing what you're doing. If not, don't give up on yourself or feel self hatred. You are what you eat, but you are not a single donut or even a whole large pizza. Nourish yourself so you can nourish others.

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