This is my reply to Jon re his comments on my last post about diet. There was probably a “reply to comment” button but I couldn’t see it! Oh, well………………..
Hi Jon. Many thanks for your kind words about my straw work. We have just got planning permission to build another straw house at Village Farm, so that is very exciting!
Also thanks for your thoughts on a plant based diet. I have many vegetarian friends and absolutely respect their choice. My main issue is from a resilient food production point of view – how much of a vegetarian diet can be grown in this country? If you could analyse your diet in terms of % potentially UK grown I’d be really interested.
I’ve just read a book called Grain Brain by Dr David Perlmutter. It is recently published and is written around new research which confirms that a high carb/low fat diet is definitely not going to help your heart and can in fact do an awful lot of damage to your nervous system. Our brain is made up of mostly fat and it is vital we eat plenty in our diet to keep it in good health – with animal fat being the best kind. The book also explores the huge amount of damage done to human health by sugar and gluten – whether you exhibit intestinal symptoms or not.
The best fats this country can produce are grass fed animal ones – beef and lamb primarily. Grass (but more especially herb rich meadows) produces meat high in omega 3’s and there are biodiversity bonuses too (which I will get to in a later blog). I’m thinking hens and ducks on grass will produce eggs and meat with good omega 3 levels too but I need to research this a bit more.
Animals have an important role in a growing system too. They can build fertility, recycle, control pests and do work. For example, we had three pigs this summer which happily ate all the fresh vegetables and fruit that us humans didn’t want. I’m thinking of having some more this summer to dig up the rest of the growing area. I don’t want to plough or spray chemicals to kill all the couch grass. I picked out an awful lot out of small vegetable beds by hand last summer but I don’t feel like rubbing 3 acres worth of soil through my hands to get out every last bit of couch root. I think some pigs will do a much better and quicker job of it and very much enjoy doing so.
If I ate a diet of meat and vegetables only I would easily maintain a healthy weight. My weakness is cake and puddings (homemade largely – although I do sometimes (often?) give in to confectionary from the shop). I know this is where the unnecessary calories (and other baddies) lie and I often wonder why I still eat them. Am I very weak willed? Is it because although I know excess weight will cause me health problems eventually, currently I feel fit and well and at 50 still have the energy to work a 12-14 hour day so I don’t see any urgency? Having two 500 calorie days a week is just an easy way to lose some weight while I get my head around other issues. There are health benefits to fasting too – see The Fast Diet by Dr Michael Mosley. It seems to make sense because we evolved in a time when a constant supply of food was not available. I think ultimately, I’m heading towards a paleo-ish diet with an added mantra of “everything in moderation”.