In Comfortably Unaware, Dr. Richard Oppenlander tackles the crucial issue of global depletion as it relates to food choice. We should all be committed, he tells us, to understanding the reality and consequences of our diet, the footprint it makes on our environment, and seek food products that are in the best interest of all living things. His forthright information and stark mental images are often disturbing-and that’s how it should be. As the guardians of Planet Earth, we need to be shaken out of our complacency, to stop being comfortably unaware, and to understand the measures we must take to ensure the health and well-being of our planet-and of ourselves. – Oppenlander
Comfortably Unaware: What We Choose to Eat Is Killing Us and Our Planet by Richard Oppenlander – $13 AMAZON
I just finished this one.
To say that it has me thinking and feeling some type of way, again, is an understatement.
For one, just the idea of committing to being vegan is mind blowing to me.
I’m that dude. I’ve always been that dude.
You can look in the about section of this very site, and see that when I started this whole thing it was about informing myself about the realities of meat production and consumption and where it all comes from and finding a way to better myself starting from the inside and with everything that I eat, to the outside and how it all affects me. I never wanted to be vegan, but I think that over the course of the last five years, I feel that I need to be vegan.
I could tell you all the reasons why in long form, but after reading this book, I think it better that I show you. And its better that I show you, with examples and words from the writer of this book, in video form.
First up, here is the good doctor, and a link to his websitecomfortablyunaware.com
From his family’s farm sanctuary, gardens, and medical practice in Michigan, Dr. Richard Oppenlander explains why he wrote “Comfortably Unaware” about the number one cause of all areas of global depletion (a coin he termed): rearing animals for food.
If you’ve been hearing the message that there are sustainable ways to continue to slaughter billions of animals and extract trillions of fish from the oceans each year, or that you can feel good about simply eating less meat, watch this video to dig deeper and find our more about Dr. Oppenlander’s crucial message.
This book dropped back in 2012, and there are a series of videos on the COMFORTABLY UNAWARE youtube page from a talk that Oppenlander gave, that support many of the topic in the book. This isn’t every video and these don’t cover every topic, but I think it gives you a good feeling and idea of what its all about.
I may add something to each video at the bottom of why it sticks out to me and my journey.
These two I put together because I think they are one in the same. In the first video, Dr. Oppenlander expounds on the myth that grass-fed beef is a sustainable food choice, while pointing out how we have become comfortable with simply accepting what other authors and experts have deemed true without knowing all the facts. In the second, he briefly addresses the underlying problems with campaigns such as “MEATLESS ON MONDAYS” and “VOTE WITH YOUR FORKS.”
This is one of those that I held pretty near and dear to my heart, and ironically was having this conversation with a friend a few days ago. I actually had started a personal, “vegan-February” thing to see if I could do it – which I’ve been pretty good about even though we are only a week into it… but in the conversation I was having, I concluded that not eating meat was pretty simple, I’d done the vegetarian thing for a few months, several times, but thought it would be ok to eat a steak every once in awhile. Or, be mostly vegetarian but eat fish – a pescatarian.
But as explained in the book (a lot more eloquently I may add) go big or go fxcking home. None of this dipping your toe in the water bullshxt.
It may make sense on some level to start out slow as to adjust without too much disruption to your body, but giving yourself an out is complete bs. And, its not doing what you are intending it to do. I always justified in my mind the grass fed, free range cow thing, but as very well said in the book, its not like the cows are eating any less, or drinking any less, or suffering substantially less by being grass fed and allowed to walk around. Yeah, they arent confined to a cage like normal but they are still being raised to be killed.
I’m sure that having your throat slit whether you are free range or not still fxcking sucks. I imagine actually that it may be worse. I think its well established that these animals, all animals, have some cognitive ability and develop feelings and relationships with their handlers so if they are given this sweet life and treated better its almost worser (I know, not a word) that they get murdered for consumption.
I think I’d rather be murked by a person who is an all-out criminal who that is what he does than getting deaded by someone who claims to be my friend and worked me over and made me comfortable with them…
Dr. Oppenlander describes how much water the average American household uses. He vividly compares how a home that consumes meat is dramatically different than a plant based diet household.
* Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t. #FactsOnly
These two go together as well, actually. This is the root of the book. What not eating a plant-based diet is doing to our bodies, our minds and our planets is incredible, and we aren’t paying enough attention to it.
It’s actually Super Bowl Sunday as I am writing this in America, and there are a lot of reports going on about how much food is going to be consumed today, how many billions of chickens were slaughtered (my words) for Buffalo Wings. The number, 300 million for 1.3 billion wings…. the math doesn’t add up to me, but that’s neither here nor there. That’s a lot. And its one day.
After getting a decent feel for the way that they are raised and what they consume at an alarming rate, I’m actually kind of baffled.
I won’t go too much in to the book because I think it’s a great read, but when animals that we are eating, only eat a plant based diet, why would we continue to eat them, instead of just eating the plants? The water they consume, the area they take up, the stuff that they “emit” … it just doesn’t make sense.
Especially when all of our nutritional needs can be met without eating animals. Why do we need a middleman?
So, in the realest way possible, I’m going vegan.
Now, I won’t lie, I have a fridge with animal product still in it, and I’m not reckless enough to just throw it all out and be a real G. I will probably eat most of it, but I can promise you this, I won’t be buying anymore in the foreseeable future.
My recipes here, will definitely be changing. Luckily, I already have a nice collection of conscious books in my library. Which by the way, are actually, probably, more of a real cookbook – or at least food preparation book – than a lot of what we call cookbooks these days.
If you really look at them, they tell you more about how to season something than cook or prepare it. Many of the books, have some technical knowledge in there, but they recipes are derivatives of the millions of other recipes that you have seen. Take this animal protein, slather this or that on it, and put it under heat at this temperature, right?!
Now if you juxtapose that against a book like THUG KITCHEN, or the Cafe Gratitude book I AM GRATEFUL, you see that this is real-life, food preparation and cooking with a million ingredients and stuff like that.
I have both of those books. They will be getting used a lot more now.
So, I put the link to the book up near the top of this post, so you can get it that way, or you can shoot me an email and I will send you my copy * (first come, first served). Everyone should read this.
But, you have to promise to pay it forward once you are done and give it to someone who will get something out of it.