“From the perspective of nutrition, performance, and environmental impact, a vegetarian diet is the sensible choice for the outdoor recreationist. It benefits you and the ecosystem.“ – Outdoor Herbivore
Celebrate the Experience of Food!
Outdoor Herbivore believes we should not trivialize what we consume. After all, food can heal our body just as it can destroy it.
For centuries, food has been refined to improve taste, environmental resilience, and medicinal properties.
Numerous plant varieties were cultivated to allow for a variety of taste preferences and nutrients. Humans came to understand which species were useful in preventing and curing diseases and ailments. Over time, plants adapted and flourished in the unique climate and soil environments they were grown in. The devoted efforts of cultivating, nurturing, and perfecting our food supply from generations past have led us to the abundance we enjoy today.
The Decline and Renewal of Organic Farming Practices
Organic agricultural practices waned as fast food, frozen dinners, and packaged foods replaced our daily meal choices. The only way to accommodate the increased demand for prepared food was to grow it efficiently. Industrial agriculture’s influence on the food supply ramped up to feed the hungry masses.
The most efficient method of growing food is to plant only a few handful of high-yielding plant varieties best suited for mechanical harvesting and processing. Here we learned that corn and soybean crops were the most efficient (cheap) transformers of sunlight, water, and chemical fertilizer into carbohydrate, fat, and protein macro nutrients.
To encourage farmers to adopt the industrial agricultural approach, and focus their efforts to growing soy and corn, the US government stepped in with subsidies. Subsidizing corn and soy motivated manufacturers to use these foods in their products because it meant they could purchase these foods much cheaper. Thus, today the American diet mostly consists of processed corn and soybean ingredients.
Our health is declining as a result of this mono-cultured food supply, as humans are meant to consume compounds and elements from a variety of plant species.
The good news is that organic farming increases biodiversity at every level of the food chain – all the way from bacteria to mammals. Organic practices are not only friendly to the environment but are healthy too. Thankfully, organic farming is undergoing a resurgence as more people are becoming aware of the benefits. Outdoor Herbivore uses local, organic ingredients first and foremost.
No animals are Destroyed in our Food Process
We do NOT sell products containing meat ingredients because we do not want to participate in animal exploitation or environmental destruction. We recognize that there are more responsible alternatives to enjoy a meat-based diet and congratulate those that have made that choice; however, regardless of how the animal is raised – whether it be grazing freely on pasture or detained within a factory – we feel meat consumption presents too many dilemmas. There are just too many indicators that reveal a meat-based diet is not something we should practice or participate in. These were enough reasons for us to abstain from the meat industry. There are some facts below if you are interested in reading further about the devastating impacts of an industrialized meat-based diet.
- Industrial Processed food does not reflect it’s real cost. It may be cheap to purchase it in the store, but it does not account for the external cost of its production – the economic, social, and environmental costs that are involved. Industrial meat and dairy production in the United States is not only brutal to the animals, but also compromises the health of the animal, consumer, and surrounding environment.
- Water waste: 1 pound of beef requires 2500-5000 gallons of water to produce. That is enough to shower every day for a year. ¹
- Water contamination: Industrial meat production produces mass amounts of toxic, concentrated effluent that runs off poison into water drinking sources, making it one of the largest contributors to water and air pollution.
- Antibiotic waste: The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that at least 70 percent of the antibiotics used in America are fed to animals living on factory farms. Raising millions of cows, pigs, and chicken in filthy confinement simply would not be possible without the routine feeding of antibiotics to keep the animals from dying of infectious diseases. Americans are consuming mass amounts of low dose antibiotics each time they consume meat, drink milk, or consume cheese. The result is a very lethal antibiotic-resistant strain of Staphylococcus bacteria MRSA, that is now killing more Americans each year than AIDS according to The Journal of the American Medical Association.
- Grain waste: 95% of the grain in the US is grown for animal feed. Solving world hunger could be more achievable if our appetite didn’t demand so much meat.
- Land waste: Clearing of land for feed crop production and expansion of pastures for livestock production has been one of the driving forces behind deforestation. According to the United Nations, 37.5 million acres of rain forests are cut down annually, most of which is converted for farming practices. Deforestation causes significant environmental damage, releasing enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and causing the extinction of many animal and plant species each year. Once cut down, rainforests are extremely difficult to regenerate. The parcel of land required to feed one meat eater can instead feed 20 vegans.
- Environmental Waste: A 2006 report by the United Nations (U.N.) revealed that raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gasses than all the cars and trucks in the world combined. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that roughly 80 percent of ammonia emissions in the U.S. come from animal waste.
- Known Health Impacts: Eliminating or even reducing meat consumption has many health benefits. You can find some additional information here.
- Unknown Health Impacts: Today, 45% of U.S. corn and 85% of U.S. soybeans are genetically engineered under a government-regulated system. Only time will tell if modifying seed poisons the body like it is destroying the earth.
The earth has so many amazing qualities. All life forms are interdependent on the environment, water, plants, and animals for food. It seems appropriate that humans, highly developed in capability and intellect, be responsible for finding a healthy, respectful way to sustain all life forms on the planet. Factory farming is such a misuse of these qualities. My hope is that education and critical thinking will evolve the human race towards a more compassionate lifestyle.
Food should not only be nourishing but appreciated as well. For this reason, Outdoor Herbivore’s products reflect a combination of culinary influences from all over the world.
Your choice of food impacts much more than your own health. It impacts the health of our environment too.
May you consume wisely,
1- (Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2002.)
2 – http://www.vegsource.com/articles/factoids.htm
7 – http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/themes/en/Environment.html/