You are what you eat and the meat we eat, eats corn and oil

The old saying is that you are what you eat. These days a lot of the meat that we eat in the West is fed on corn and oil. Meanwhile, animal rights extremists like PETA who think that we should shun wool in favour of wearing reconstituted plastic bottles seem unaware that not only do we indirectly consume oil through our food, we also wear it.

Like many eaters, reading Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma completely changed how I thought about food and how I purchased it. […]

What has always stuck with me from Omnivore’s Dilemma was the discussion of oil and how it fuels our agricultural industry. “You are what you eat is a truism hard to argue with,” writes Pollan, “and yet it is, as a visit to a feedlot suggests, incomplete, for you are what what you eat eats, too. And what we are, or have become, is not just meat but number 2 corn and oil.

[…] In 1951 polyester suits went on sale in the United States. The fiber came not from a textile mill as it had done for decades previously, but instead from the DuPont chemical factory. Since then, the use of polyester in clothing has skyrocketed. Today, synthetic fabrics – polyester, nylon, acrylic – dominate the market. Our wardrobes filled not with cotton, linen and hemp as they were for centuries, but instead polyethylene terephthalate, commonly referred to as PET, a plastic made from crude oil.

In 2007, polyester overtook cotton as the world’s dominant fiber.[…]

[…] our plastic wardrobes come at a cost. As plastic products, including synthetic clothing made with petrochemicals, break down, they become smaller and smaller. […]

Microplastics – pieces of plastic that are less than 5mm in size – have become a particular problem. Today it is estimated that there are trillions of microplastic particles in our oceans, and our wardrobes are contributing to those numbers; every time we wash an item of synthetic clothing – your yoga pants, you running shorts, your fleece jacket – more of these microplastics are released.

Plastic fibers have been found in everything from drinking water to fish to sea salt.

[…] And the issue of plastic pollution is only going to get worse: it’s estimated that by 2050, plastic pollution could outweigh the amount of fish in the ocean.

Mason, the lead researcher on a new study that looked at 12 different sea salts from around the world purchased at US grocery stores. Mason and her team found that Americans could be ingesting upwards of 660 particles of plastic per year. But that’s if they stick to the advices 2.3 grams of salt per day; most Americans consume far more salt than that. In other words: we are literally wearing and eating oil.

[…]  Before petrochemicals, we grew fibers instead of making them in a chemical lab, and growing fiber is just like growing food; done in a responsible way, it can be a part of a regenerative cycle. Natural, organically grown fibers like linen, cotton, wool and hemp can in fact help to improve the soil and make for climate-beneficial clothing.



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