4

votes

Moral objections to certain food

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created August 08, 2012 at 11:01 AM

On fast paleo I saw a recipie calling for coconut palm sugar and was outraged. While "experts" are touting this as a much better alternative to cane sugar it absolutley decimates the trees we rely on for our wonderful coconut oils/butters/milks/ect. These are they same people that say high fructose agave syrup (aka nectar) is also a health food, but my real problem here is what it is doing to the coconut farms. Read about that here:

http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/coconut_palm_sugar.htm

Also, there are slave grown tomatos:

http://www.thenation.com/blog/162307/trouble-tomato-slave-labor#

My question is what else should we be avoiding because of its impact on the planet? Someone has to know about more stories like this one.

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

(1439)

on August 10, 2012
at 11:12 AM

I presume, Wisper, that you mean chocolate grown in the Americas. Despite my lecture below about free markets, I just can't tolerate slave labor. I will be looking into this.

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

(1439)

on August 10, 2012
at 11:09 AM

I returned the favor, Talldog.

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

(1439)

on August 10, 2012
at 11:07 AM

Thank you, Talldog. I am surprised that anyone would down-vote me for that one. I thought that it was a perfect economic lesson. I guess some people just don't want to grow up.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on August 09, 2012
at 02:21 PM

Upvoted. This did not deserve a down vote. The 1st paragraph is satire to turn the tables. The 2nd paragraph is just a straightforward statement of how free markets work.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on August 08, 2012
at 07:52 PM

That doesn't excuse my salmon...Barney and Fred were lowlifes come to think of it...

Medium avatar

(10601)

on August 08, 2012
at 07:50 PM

I'll take that romaine-fed rabbit off your hands if you don't already have him in the oven.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on August 08, 2012
at 07:44 PM

+1. The true moral high ground. Help your neighbors, and if you're not eating coconut products grown within 100 miles of where you live you're a lowlife paleo.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on August 08, 2012
at 07:34 PM

Pork. Shellfish. A couple billion people have moral objections to eating these. I don't, and I don't see much point in elevating paleo to a religion. Though leptin reset might be classed as a cult...

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

(1439)

on August 08, 2012
at 07:23 PM

Oh, the humanity!!!!!!!!

091423a30c0188fbff51e39397e7e056

(384)

on August 08, 2012
at 05:02 PM

That wasn't even the point of the post.

091423a30c0188fbff51e39397e7e056

(384)

on August 08, 2012
at 05:02 PM

Not when you don't ever make enough to shift focus to a new industry. If they stop farming foods to feed us the money dries up fast. Not many people are making real money off things like Coffee and Coconut farming, and those that are rarely have interest in taking a risk on a new venture.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on August 08, 2012
at 02:27 PM

It seems to me like a matter of degree. Monoculture is bad everywhere. Having a mechanism to bring in outside money (while still having a flourishing local economy) seems like a good idea.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 08, 2012
at 01:56 PM

While some income can be made from farming for rich 1st worlders, it ultimately diverts labor and effort towards sustainable food for the 3rd worlders themselves. Encouraging the export of food is a big problem right now.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on August 08, 2012
at 12:48 PM

I'm not saying that if we had a food catastrophe we'd eat nothing but coconut, I'm saying that if we have some long-range food distribution mechanisms in place, those resources could be shunted to whatever food in a time of need.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on August 08, 2012
at 12:46 PM

I think a good argument can be made for buying foods like coconut that are only able to grow in certain climates, where the people who live there could really use the economic help. Then you have to be careful to buy from ethical merchants and such, but if you do, it helps their local economy. And from a graph theory perspective we're probably best off (i.e. better network efficiency plus increased ability to survive global food shortage catastrophe) if we distribute our food mostly locally with a few long range distribution patterns.

Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on August 08, 2012
at 12:35 PM

Totally agree: one person strategically expending effort on one factor of diet >>>>>>> 100 people feeling guilty and doing nothing about it.

  • 3ab5e1b9eba22a071f653330b7fc9579

    asked by

    (2262)
  • Views
    1.6K
  • Last Activity
    1497D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

9 Answers

6
4e6baf393fd5f339ae5a92ffbeadc884

on August 08, 2012
at 12:22 PM

If you can, eat locally produced food where you can actually get to know the producers. If they are decent people who actually care about what they produce it will generally work out OK.

For the rest of produce, there is a world of guilt you can lay on your own shoulders, or that of other people. I don't trust the ads telling us the food is naturally produced, or the news telling me the food is destructively produced and I should hang my head in shame. The best response is to focus on the positives of what you can change you can practically and realistically make. You'll make more difference than all the people out there crying out 'stop the madness'.

Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on August 08, 2012
at 12:35 PM

Totally agree: one person strategically expending effort on one factor of diet >>>>>>> 100 people feeling guilty and doing nothing about it.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on August 08, 2012
at 07:52 PM

That doesn't excuse my salmon...Barney and Fred were lowlifes come to think of it...

Medium avatar

(10601)

on August 08, 2012
at 07:44 PM

+1. The true moral high ground. Help your neighbors, and if you're not eating coconut products grown within 100 miles of where you live you're a lowlife paleo.

4
F5be4be097edc85690c12d67ee1a27c0

on August 08, 2012
at 12:43 PM

I'm sorry, but you can practically say this about anything. You living is killing the rest of the world. Vegans are so into only eating non-animal products, but do you know how many animals farmers kill to keep out of their crops? The wildlife that is cut down/destroyed to make room for the farms?

It's just something you have to deal with. Don't like it? Go plant a palm tree.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on August 08, 2012
at 07:50 PM

I'll take that romaine-fed rabbit off your hands if you don't already have him in the oven.

3
Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on August 08, 2012
at 05:00 PM

I think that a lot of people make choices regarding their food based, to some extent, on moral issues. If eating something is going to make you feel guilty, then absolutely don't eat it -- where I think I diverge from some applications of this principle, though, is that I believe that, while we may choose to INFORM others of the reasons that we eat -this-, but prefer not to eat -that-, it is RUDE to force our moral issues onto others' plates by demanding things like "legislation", etc., to force others to our brand of "food-think".

I have used coconut syrup, produced by a company that uses 1/3 of their trees to produce syrup and 2/3 to produce other coconut products. The trees that are being used for syrupare also being used to produce coconuts ON THE SAME TREE, using 6 month alternating production, despite the above-referenced article that says that it isn't possible or isn't being done.

http://www.tiana-coconut.com/sustainability.html

That being said, I personally don't believe that coconut syrup is a solution to over-consumption of sugar for my body. I think the only way to truly heal from over-consumption of sugar is to spend time without eating sugar, including coconut sugar. However, coconut syrup has been a great boon for special treats like Yule Logs, birthday cakes, and wedding/anniversary cakes in our household. We'd already figured out how to make these kinds of things without refined flour -- so this was a natural "next step" for us.

2
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on August 08, 2012
at 07:08 PM

If this is truly unsustainable, there must be price manipulation somewhere- with some government being the most likely perpetrator. Think about poppies in Afghanistan; why is the price so high? The crop is illegal, which jacks the price up, and creates the conditions where a farmer has an incentive to grow it. Legalize it, drop the price, and the acreage covered in poppies would fall.
Some jurisdiction probably has a high tariff on other sources of sugar, which gives the coconut sugar farmers an incentive.

1
11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on August 08, 2012
at 06:48 PM

As I understand it:

  • Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the flower buds of coconut trees.
  • If the sap is collected from the tree, it doesn't produce coconuts.
  • Collecting the sap does not damage the tree; it will once again start producing coconuts if the sap collection is stopped.

The farmers have determined they can make more money by producing coconut sugar than coconuts. Will that cause a shortage of coconuts? Sure, but...so what? All that means is that the price of coconuts will go up (because the demand is now higher than the supply); which will result in more coconut trees being planted to meet the demand; which will result in the price of coconuts falling.

If we let things play out, what we'll end up with in the long run is enough coconut trees to meet the demand for both coconut sugar and coconuts. And, the coconut farmers will be better off, because they will have an additional market for their product that they didn't have before.

I don't see the moral problem here. It's just the free market at work.

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

(1439)

on August 10, 2012
at 11:09 AM

I returned the favor, Talldog.

1
9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on August 08, 2012
at 06:21 PM

Much (most?) of the chocolate produced in Africa is produced by slave labor. Not minimum wage, I mean proper (!) and true slave labor. http://www1.american.edu/ted/chocolate-slave.htm I only eat American (not US) chocolate as a result.

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

(1439)

on August 10, 2012
at 11:12 AM

I presume, Wisper, that you mean chocolate grown in the Americas. Despite my lecture below about free markets, I just can't tolerate slave labor. I will be looking into this.

1
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 08, 2012
at 11:37 AM

How about any food (for example, coconuts, not just coconut sugar) that's grown half-way around the world? Think of the the waste, the pollution all so we can slurp down coconut products to feed our silly diet addiction??? Unless of course, you already live in the tropics, but I'd wager you don't.

Or anything you buy at the grocery store? Raping the earth by monoculture farming practices.

Isn't it just safer to assume everything you do is destroying the planet and enslaving folks?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 08, 2012
at 01:56 PM

While some income can be made from farming for rich 1st worlders, it ultimately diverts labor and effort towards sustainable food for the 3rd worlders themselves. Encouraging the export of food is a big problem right now.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on August 08, 2012
at 12:46 PM

I think a good argument can be made for buying foods like coconut that are only able to grow in certain climates, where the people who live there could really use the economic help. Then you have to be careful to buy from ethical merchants and such, but if you do, it helps their local economy. And from a graph theory perspective we're probably best off (i.e. better network efficiency plus increased ability to survive global food shortage catastrophe) if we distribute our food mostly locally with a few long range distribution patterns.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on August 08, 2012
at 12:48 PM

I'm not saying that if we had a food catastrophe we'd eat nothing but coconut, I'm saying that if we have some long-range food distribution mechanisms in place, those resources could be shunted to whatever food in a time of need.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on August 08, 2012
at 02:27 PM

It seems to me like a matter of degree. Monoculture is bad everywhere. Having a mechanism to bring in outside money (while still having a flourishing local economy) seems like a good idea.

091423a30c0188fbff51e39397e7e056

(384)

on August 08, 2012
at 05:02 PM

Not when you don't ever make enough to shift focus to a new industry. If they stop farming foods to feed us the money dries up fast. Not many people are making real money off things like Coffee and Coconut farming, and those that are rarely have interest in taking a risk on a new venture.

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

(1439)

on August 08, 2012
at 07:23 PM

Oh, the humanity!!!!!!!!

0
F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

on August 08, 2012
at 07:21 PM

I saw a recipe calling for coconut oil and was outraged. While "experts" are touting this as a much better alternative to vegetable oil, it absolutely decimates the trees we rely on for our wonderful coconut palm sugar.

Team Oberg, you fail to understand how free markets work. If there are fewer trees to make coconut oil, the price for coconut oil will go up, and the farmers will greedily plant more coconut trees. This makes for more jobs and more wealth for the folks in Thailand and the Philippines and other tropical countries. Or were you wanting to keep all of the wealth for us already rich folks in the temperate zones?

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on August 09, 2012
at 02:21 PM

Upvoted. This did not deserve a down vote. The 1st paragraph is satire to turn the tables. The 2nd paragraph is just a straightforward statement of how free markets work.

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

(1439)

on August 10, 2012
at 11:07 AM

Thank you, Talldog. I am surprised that anyone would down-vote me for that one. I thought that it was a perfect economic lesson. I guess some people just don't want to grow up.

-4
541e77c423482c95db2950cd462aef79

on August 08, 2012
at 04:34 PM

sugar is sugar, no matter in what guise.

091423a30c0188fbff51e39397e7e056

(384)

on August 08, 2012
at 05:02 PM

That wasn't even the point of the post.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!