The random and conflicting – some might say crazy – behaviour of humans is a constant source of entertainment, amusement and, sometimes even angst.
One such subject du jour is vegetables and the eating thereof, both in relation to our own health and that of our precious planet. On one hand, a study has found that despite endless harping, presumably from parents, and also health authorities and the media, most people don't eat enough vegetables. Yet on the other, it seems hordes are becoming vegans.
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Could these be different people? Due to the vagaries of human nature, who knows?
That people don't eat enough veges is bewildering given my lifelong passion for them. If my parents were still with us I'd ask whether, as a toddler, I sprayed mouthfuls of half chewed veg all over the floor. I doubt it.
About 20 years ago, when vegetable eating wasn't on our radars as it is now, my step mum served a dinner that included seven vegetables.
Three years ago, we had dinner with friends and they served eight. This so impressed us that when they next came to our place we served nine – and the usual protein of meat or fish.
Nowadays the farmer and I sometimes have two greens on our dinner plates and, more often, massive salads for lunch and, less often, meat-free meals.
It's unnerving when I go out to dinner and am served a meal, say curry, with no vegetables. The farmer reckons we'll never get scurvy – the most alarming outcome of insufficient vege.
I'm no gardener, but greens – spinach, perpetual spinach (which is nicer) and beetroot (the tops are nicer again) – are as simple to grow as are lettuce and rocket.
Last year, I was spurred into learning more about our diets after reading two articles about low-carb eating – one of which featured Lady Smith, the wife of Sir Lockwood, who lives down our way.
The other article, by a writer whose wife had found the diet helped her migraines, mentioned the book What the Fat? by Grant Schofield, Dr Caryn Zinn and Craig Rodger.
I bought it with my own diet in mind, but the farmer promptly commandeered it and changed his. At his annual doctor's visit he learned his cholesterol had dropped a point along with his prospects of becoming diabetic; there was a time when he'd eat anything sweet within reach.
We continue to eat meat and fish although I've never been big on meat. When the farmer and I have steak, for instance, I have a half – we freeze them in packs of three.
Another book kicking around at our place that's all about food is On Eating Meat by Matthew Evans. It's a thoughtful account about life as an omnivore and the industry that provides this source of protein. Some of it, in particular in relation to chicken and pork production, isn't pretty.
As well, his research found that if all of us ate as much meat protein as those in wealthy western countries, we'd need about half another earth to make this possible.
Nevertheless, it concludes that humans are omnivores – we're designed to eat meat – but that massive industrial operations aren't the way of the future. It seems to me that system called regenerative farming is building a solid following.
There are reports of people going vegan for a brief time and feeling better. But how they'll do long-term is less certain because a vegan diet needs careful planning and, often, supplements.
Get low in iron or B12 and both physical and mental health suffer. Of course, for some, poverty and location mean being vegan isn't viable; Inuit and Masai come to mind.
A big blessing New Zealand's got going for it is that most livestock eat grass and live on land that isn't suitable for horticulture. Every day in paddocks near me sheep and cattle meander as they graze. I'd bet they have a less stressful life than mine. Like all of us, they just have one bad day.
An important thing we omnivores can do for our health is to ensure our meat or fish has the company of plenty of different vegetables on our plates. The more the merrier.