Is your diet making you happy?

Food trends, diet trends, and even cookbook trends are not new to the gustatorily inclined. And because we understand that there is a connection between beautiful, great tasting food and our emotions, we constantly seek out food sensations and new flavor combinations that keep us feeling good. Slow food, local food, fusion food, food trucks, you name it. We love it.

A new cookbook has just been released called Simple Recipes for Joy. The book, by animal rights activist and yoga rock star, Sharon Gannon advocates the vegan diet for finding true happiness. In an interview with WellandGood.com, Gannon contends, “The “simple” part is that if you want to bring more joy into your life, veganism is the most direct way to do that. You can’t be happy by causing unhappiness to others. The animals that are tortured and slaughtered and ultimately eaten are not happy. If we want more happiness and joy in our own lives, we have to stop eating these animals.” (http://wellandgood.com/2014/09/15/in-her-new-cookbook-jivamuktis-sharon-gannon-explains-how-veganism-leads-to-joy/)

This extreme view on eating may turn some people’s stomach. In fact, some pretty happy people advocate eating meat raised locally instead of the carbon intensive shipping of vegetables in winter around the world to feed vegetarians and vegans in cold climates. And…forcing your personal food views down someone else’s throat doesn’t spread happiness either.

An older, popular book on food, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, by Mark Bittman, has a similar, but possibly more palatable message to a more general audience: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” This is possibly the best known phrase in the new food movement. Bittman has also written VB6 – Vegan Before 6:00. A book geared toward health and weight loss.

More and more doctors are recommending eating more plant-based foods for greater health and lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure. A vegan diet can certainly be among the most healthful ways to eat. And a vegan diet is much easier on the planet. Even Oprah’s Dr. Katz knows that “Eating plants, rather than feeding plants to animals and then eating the animals, makes much more efficient use of land and water, and produces far less pollution. Eating less meat means fewer industrial farms and fewer animals subjected to harsh treatment.” (http://www.oprah.com/health/The-Benefits-and-Dangers-of-a-Vegan-Diet-Advice-from-Dr-Katz)

But what of happiness? Do you have to eat just veggies and grains to find it? Many people agree that harming animals by killing and eating them diminishes their own happiness; but just as many people agree that bacon is a major contributor to happiness. In some parts of the country, vegetarian and vegan diets are losing ground with the local food movement, in which humanely raised and slaughtered animals are fodder for sumptuous meals. The other white meat, pork, might be winning over tofu. Even lard is becoming popular again – Julia Child would love this! A recent article in Food and Wine asks “Is Lard the New Health Food?” (http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/lard-the-new-health-food)

While we do agree that good food can make you happy, we’d never insist that one particular eating style is the gateway to such bliss. Instead we advocate being open and curious about what you are eating, how it effects your own happiness, and that of  the Earth and its inhabitants. We’re sure you’ll make the right food choices…