Richard's Reviews > Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly

Just Food by James McWilliams
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's review
Nov 16, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: environment, nonfiction, social-political, food
Read from May 25 to July 02, 2010

It's a six-year-old book, but still one that goes into a lot of science that many folks don't want to believe, even when the science is pretty clear. But there's good news, which the author of Just Food writes about in Even the Critics Are Coming Around on GMOs . And the article he links to, about a tour of Monsanto, Inside the Country's Most Controversial Company , is informative even aside from the surprise that a GM-hating reporter from Mother Jones would even deign to visit Monsanto.

While I'm here, I'll also point to an interesting interview with a Monsanto scientist by the Mother Jones-affiliated science podcast Inquiring Minds: Inside the Mind of a Monsanto Scientist .

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Late 2010 update: Want to read the micro-version of this book? Check out the editorial, Math Lessons for Locavores in the New York Times, August 19, 2010. It doesn’t get into the complexities that McWilliams does, but it encapsulates the first chapter of this book quite nicely.

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In Just Food, James McWilliams goes all heretical on his former fellow-travelers in the food-reform-movement cabal. He looks a bit deeper into the global political realities that are so easy to ignore when arguing for a 100-mile food production horizon, and doesn’t particularly like what he sees.

As Lena points out in her excellent review, his subtitle is misleading. The first half, “Where locavores get it wrong” really only applies to the first chapter here, although it is a note McWilliams returns to several times as a former fervent locavore himself. But the real story is the second half of the subtitle: “How we can truly eat responsibly” – and he will argue that much of the received wisdom in the reform movement isn’t fundamentally responsible.

The faithful might well be very discomfited by his lessons, although those so ideologically committed to their current trajectory probably wouldn’t read this anyway, since it might threaten their trajectory. Those willing to examine his arguments will find many of them very plausible, especially the ones that cast as villains those we are accustomed to putting in those roles. Agribusiness as a recipient of government largess comes in for a spanking, as does the American legislative machine that rewards agribusiness and distorts so many markets.

But quite a bit of McWilliams’ story will still be hard to swallow, although my perception is that in his research he has examined the evidence more carefully than most readers or writers could: he is probably correct on all counts to a great extent.

The first chapter, as mentioned, covers the locavore movement. By this point, many of us will have heard the counterarguments: production efficiencies in some parts of the globe are so much higher than in others that it is still better for the planet that some food is produced far from where it is consumed. I’m lucky: I live in San Francisco, and within one hundred miles almost everything I might want to eat could potentially be grown. Bananas and mangoes, no: but that list is pretty short. Unfortunately, much of the world isn’t so fortunate and would find an intolerably dull and perhaps even unhealthy diet. Countering these climatic and geographic limitations can be done with hothouses, for example, but for most of the year it is actually much more resource efficient to produce green beans in Kenya and ship them to England than to grow them locally. The truth is that transportation of the final product is a small portion of the amount of energy that goes in. Other energy costs are often overlooked, such as the cost of irrigating deserts, or of shipping feed for livestock. McWilliams returns to this point in the final chapter as he discusses how “perverse subsidies” make this worse – creating incentives for ranchers to raise cattle on subsidized grazing land and then ship subsidized corn (or soya) (raised with subsidized fertilizer) to fatten ‘em up. The message Mcwilliams’ seems to understand is that while local production is excellent when it makes sense, there are more circumstances where it is irrelevant and quite a few where it is counterproductive.

His second chapter is more reminiscent of the story Pollan tells in Omnivore’s Dilemma: it’s really, really hard to solve the food problem with organics. First, going organic introduces problems. Pesticides and fungicides can prevent food from decaying after it is harvested, but organic producers often have to use energy-intensive refrigeration instead. When herbicides can’t be used, other techniques to keep weeds from destroying yields have to substitute, and some of those, like deep tilling, have nasty environmental consequences of their own. But one aspect that I hadn’t been aware of is that today’s “poisons” are much more targeted and less toxic than they had been decades ago, and we consumers often don’t pay attention to that distinction. One study that he cites noted that “the natural chemicals that are known rodent carcinogens in a single cup of coffee are about equal in weight to a year’s worth of ingested synthetic pesticide residues that are rodent carcinogens” (p. 64). The author of that study concluded that, effectively, “pesticides lower the cancer rate” by increasing the supply of cancer-fighting fruits and vegetables. It bears remembering that plants have been evolving their own pesticides, herbicides and fungicides for billions of years and we ingest many of those without blinking an eye. Caffeine, anyone? Capsaicin? Allicin? Diallyl disulfide? Maybe some bioflavonoids? We might be guilty of enforcing a distinction between “natural” and “synthetic” toxins that has less than we think to do with our health or the health of the planet. The third chapter is similar, but deals with genetic modification instead of chemical applications. A gene that creates a highly targeted pesticide within a plant generally means much less of an equivalent pesticide would need to be applied externally — where it will also be sprayed on soil, into the air, and on non-targeted insects and other creatures (and recall, once again, that plants have long been fighting this battle on their own as well). For example, a pesticide created within the plant’s tissues will only be directly consumed by the insects that attack the plant, not the many other insects — some of them beneficial, such as bees — that happen to be in the vicinity.

Chapters four and five really hit hard at meat eating. Most grain is grown just to feed animals; reduce the amount of meat in the planet’s diet and many problems would simply go away. This is, really, the key point the whole book is oriented around: we already eat too much meat, and the trend is just getting worse with the changing appetites in formerly vegetarian-intensive parts of the world like China. McWilliams makes a strong case for eating fish if one has to eat meat, because fish are a more means of converting energy into human food. Yeah, there are plenty of problems with global fisheries, but there are some really good potential paths through that thicket, especially with fresh-water aquaculture and herbivore fish such as tilapia and catfish, especially when these are integrated with horticulture. McWilliams’ discussion of how well aquaculture and horticulture can be blended is more hearteningly optimistic than Pollan’s examination of Polyface Farm.

But finally, it bears repeating that one of McWilliams’ two central messages is expressed in the quote: “However close you can be to a vegan diet and further from the mean American diet, the better you are for the planet” (p. 153). Get your meat consumption down to less than a pound a month and you’re probably going to do more for the planet (and your own health).

The other message is that if the burden of feeding ten billion people can ever be done with the least damage to the environment, then we have to look beyond some of the more simplistic prescriptions. Pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, GMOs — all of these will probably be necessary. Reform of how these are used will also be required, but eliminating any of them probably isn’t in the cards.

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Susan Albert’s review of McWilliams’ book has some points that I kept an eye on while I was reading, and I want to touch on them.

Her first point is that the locavore movement is an important response to fossil-fuel depletion. McWilliams doesn’t address this head-on, but I think he is still on-point in his attack on the simplistic version of “locavore”. Industrial food production has huge energy inputs, and transportation typically isn’t one of the bigger drains. If the oil is available, it will often make more sense to use it to transport food from where it is most efficiently grown, instead of using it to force production in unsuitable regions. The prospect of near-term fossil fuel exhaustion Susan is concerned about would be catastrophic in so many ways that, frankly, people will automatically become locavores as the global economy crashes around us. Worrying about whether lamb comes from New Zealand or fifty miles away won’t be much of a concern at that point: it’ll be a struggle to keep billions from simply starving.

Her second point is that the use of genetic modification is fraught with problems, including low yields, gene contamination, and amoral corporations.

One by one: yields will change as the technology matures. Gene sequencing is still in its infancy: the state of technology is analogous to electricity back when Franklin was playing with kites, so expectations really shouldn’t be too high.

Gene contamination is more of a theoretical problem than a real one: in most cases, the genes we like are for our benefit, not the plants; if a gene adds beta-carotene to rice, that doesn’t make the rice more evolutionarily fit in its natural environment. If that gene were to contaminate other organisms, it would be an irrelevancy or worse, since any plant that expended energy on create superfluous (to the plant) compounds would be out-competed and doomed. Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc., would be a somewhat different matter, but recall that these are battles that plants have been fighting since before mammals arrived on the planet. We’ve been taking part in this battle since we started selective breeding of crops. GMOs are a new tool that should be regulated carefully, but the potential is there for a radical beneficial change as well. Consider the analog in cancer treatment: imagine using targeted anti-cancer viruses instead of cutting people open or dosing them with chemo or radiation. GMOs in agriculture could provide a more precise and much less toxic way of managing food production.

Amoral corporations are certainly a real fear in agribusiness — together with the oil companies, its hard to imagine companies that have a worse reputation. But when we discuss those nasty oil corporations we talk about reform and regulation — why aren’t these seen as adequate solutions with agri-tech? Furthermore, a great deal of GM-research could be done in the public interest if we funded research universities properly. The research leading to the beta-carotene-enriched rice, for example, was done at the Institute of Plant Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the University of Freiburg. What if the funding for that research had come from governments instead of corporations? But even with corporate funding, the corporations involved (including Syngenta and Monsanto) quickly granted completely free “Humanitarian Use Licenses” to impoverished farmers. Of course, corporations exist to make a profit, not to benefit greater humanity, and so always should be regulated appropriately.

Finally, Susan points out that McWilliams’ book didn’t deal with how global climate change is likely to affect food production. That is certainly true, and it would have been a welcome addition. But I suspect that single topic is too big and important to include in a book that hopes to change how we eat here and now. And, ultimately, it would require too much guesswork and hypothesizing. We barely understand how the global system is gradually changing, and knowing how agricultural practices will adapt would require far more detailed knowledge of changes on the regional and subregional level. For example, California is one of the most agriculturally productive regions in the world but depends through its long dry summer on the snowpack in the mountains that ring the central valley. To what extent that snowpack will be replaced by rain (replacing the snowpack with too much flooding in the spring) depends on too many factors that are still unpredictable. And California is probably one of the best studied of the world’s agricultural regions. The information Susan asks is critical, but it is simply too early to know enough detail.
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message 1: by La pointe de la sauce (last edited Jul 08, 2010 01:05AM) (new)

La pointe de la sauce "However close you can be to a vegan diet and further from the mean American diet, the better you are for the planet" (p. 153). Get your meat consumption down to less than a pound a month and you're probably going to do more for the planet (and your own health).

After reading a review on 'The China Study', I decided to cut meat out of my diet, thinking that this one act would not only help 'save the planet' - a very selfless act of altruism if I may add- but also ensure my long term health. Two months in and I know my body NEEDS meat, despite all the supplements I take my health is totally shot! It seems the way forward for me might be less meat consumption and not total abstinence. Moderation wins again.

Richard I think it's pretty well known that a purely vegetarian diet can easily be problematic, and a vegan diet is even more precarious. The balance of proteins is the primary problem, I understand. What is a convenient vegetarian diet is often missing adequate amounts of this-or-that set of amino acids.

I haven't cut meat out completely, but I think I'm pretty close to McWilliams' recommended threshold of roughly one pound a month. It's almost all fish and chicken, with the fish coming mostly as tuna and salmon (after checking with Monterey Bay Aquarium's SeafoodWatch) and the chicken coming mostly in burritos :-)

Before I cut out any more, I'd have to find out where else to get my protein besides black beans and tofu...

message 3: by Richard (last edited Jul 08, 2010 01:53AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Richard Living Vegetarian For Dummies (For Dummies (Cooking)) by Suzanne Havala Hobbs I guess I could probably start with...
Richard marked as to-read:
Living Vegetarian For Dummies (For Dummies (Cooking))
by Suzanne Havala Hobbs

Damselindistress I’ve been writing a load of content for a revamped US website that sells health supplements, and it’s clear to me that the whole thing’s a scam with some science underpinning it. You should not read all the blurb – my blurb, perchance – and believe all the stuff about how this cleans your kidneys, that increases the healthy microorganisms in your gut, that supplies vital nutrients which provide the vitamins and minerals that today’s modern farming methods leach from plants before they get a chance to mature, bla bla bla.

I watched a documentary on TV recently promoting the raw food movement, at the other extreme. Some boring fart proclaiming that he’d never felt better in his life, great libido, deep breaths, look at me look at me look at me, etc.

Moderation in all things, as you so rightly say. America is for us associated with folks getting up in the mornings and popping pills for this, that and the other with their breakfasts of boosted real food cereals and nutritional fruit juices and intoning to themselves that they feel really great, trying above all to control their lives at least through their diets in an essentially uncontrollable environment, which I think is a symptom of desperation and a function of just how little control they really have in an over-saturated socio-economic system based on exploitation at the (usually third-world) producer level. Avoid all these ridiculous books that just cash in on gullibility and people's real concerns.

You might as well go back to slaves and plantations. At least everyone knew where they stood. Now we’re all slaves but are made to think that we’ve never had it so good. I think this is where all this talk of secret societies and global conspiracies comes from, as many people can’t help imagining that as most of us are living in bondage of one form or another there must be hidden manipulators somewhere. Bu I think that it all just built its own momentum over the last few centuries, and that the ‘masters’ were ejected as superfluous like furniture hurled from a whirlwind as it built up speed and sucked everyone in.

Even the guys at the supposed top have had their brains altered as a necessary part of getting there. I watched Sir Alan Sugar once – like your Donald Trump twat – scowling at young apprentice hopefuls that business is hell and that it’s tough and that he himself doesn’t have time to spend with his family even now. I just thought, you vacuous bastard – you’re a fucking billionaire or something and you don’t have time to spend with your family?

Maybe I’m having a bad hair day, but it just seems to me that maybe you’re free, or making free choices, when you’re reading quietly in a quiet room or when you’re meditating, but that as soon as you step out of that inner magic circle the piranhas are straight at you, usually trying to sell you something. And don’t tell me it’s up to me whether or not I buy what they’re flogging. There’s a big movement now in England at least to get away from all the hype and grow your own food as we’re all heartily sick of it all. I’d stuff myself with onions, garlic, cucumbers (no pun intended), leeks, lettuce, potatoes, herbs and other natural and only partially-polluted vegetables from my own allotment – for exercise as well, and conveniently just behind the house – rather than get it from a supermarket or take any form of food supplement. And ‘farmers’ markets’ are just a middle-class fad at the moment, flogging over-priced designer cheeses and educated chickens to gullible types who think they’re making a contribution to the planet; a place to see and be seen, all luvvies with basketsful of crunchy French sticks and expensive hand-reared hams and bottles of organic wine. Oh yes dahling you see we can afford all this crap we’re practically shoving in your face.

I’ve forgotten what I was saying... Oh yes – you look after your health, Pointe de la Sauce. I’ve got friends and acquaintances who started on food fads and they lost weight, became bony and irritable, lost their sense of humour and became very much self-absorbed and just boring.

Eat sensibly, eat meat in reasonable amounts, eat fruit and vegetables, drink some wine, check with your doctor before you launch into a sea of supplements. This is especially true if you have a recent history of health or emotional issues. The body, though thousands would lynch me for saying it, needs meat. We’re not cows. We need protein from animals, and volume for the stomach. Think of the animals you help to create and have a life simply by eating one of them. Think of the flocks of frolicking sheep and herds of happy munching cattle that wouldn’t even have a stab at life if you didn’t eat them occasionally. You can’t lie in bed reading a book on a gnawing, empty stomach trying to get by on some grass and a couple of vitamin supplements. Talk to your friends...

Women have been having babies for millennia, in Africa now they still have them under a tree and sling them over their back to carry on working, but in the west there are a million books telling you how to do it right, and it's the same with such a simple thing as eating. Reminds me of the Madrid metro, where you buy a sensible single ticket to go anywhere whereas in London it's deliberately made complicated. Why? So the money-men have more room for manipulation of course. They deliberately muddy the waters around simple matters to generate opportunities for profit and we all fall for it. Buy a 1-Euro ticket and ride the metro; have a kid and get on with your life; eat a sensible meal with some meat and veg without agonising over the balance of amino acids and essential vitamins. Did they do all this in the fifties? It's a new thing altogether, and immensely profitable. Don't worry about the sheep - we're the fucking sheep, and the advertising men are the sheepdogs, whistled about by the multinational corporations selling us this crap. I've had cuddly, happy friends reduced to paranoid, skinny, neurotic wrecks by listening to the blurb about healthy eating. Healthy eating is common sense, like boiling an egg, not a whacky cult to be indoctrinated into. Perhaps the problem is that we have too much leisure and wrong priorities in life.

I can talk, anyway... I had pizza, chips and
prawn cocktail last night, with two bottles or red wine whilst watching the football, which probably accounts for the thick head this morning.

La pointe de la sauce 'Don't worry about the sheep - we're the fucking sheep'

Ha! You had me chuckling all the way through your comment. Lol. I'm sitting here just nodding through the whole thing screaming, 'Yes! Yes! You've hit the nail on the head you have!'

I would love to disagree with you by citing Epicurean philosophy or some other philosophy (pick any) backed by all the research proving how much healthier it is to cut meat out, but the truth is, and from my experience so far it is potentially very dangerous to go to that extreme and as you rightly pointed out, the supplements just don't work.
You also made a very strong argument against 'reasoning' getting in the way of our natural instincts whether in child birth or our dietary choices but wouldn't you agree that this is the flawed beauty of humanity?

Damselindistress No

La pointe de la sauce I see. No compromise at all. If I understood you correctly, you think our ability to reason is a flaw with little discernable benefits? Please feel free to elaborate.

Damselindistress I'm always making compromises. Reason is great in many areas of course, it distinguishes us from the beasts and all that. But in our modern, creakingly commercial societies, where we get so caught up in fads and fashions and so lost in the conditioning that it often seems like a maze there's no way out of - then is the time to find that Ariadne's Thread of instinct and grab tight hold of it, and the whole profit-driven house of cards starts to collapse. A bit like the guys in Plato's Cave stepping outside to look at the sun. All this conditioning business only goes so deep after all, and once you switch off from the hype and start thinking for yourself nature will tend to come to your rescue. The human organism has evolved over millions of years, fine-tuned to natural processes, and it always surprises me that people can blithely take things like supplements or plaster on creams or have cosmetic surgery and be surprised when there are the inevitable side effects. It's like trying to selotape new and improved plastic wings onto a butterfly. So I'm merely suggesting that in the case of the human body as a physical entity it's probably better not to think too much in terms of products promoted by an industry that makes staggering profits from what it rightly sees as a common concern about age, beauty and health. By the way, this trio of modern concerns is in my opinion a direct result of rampant materialism and the common perception that science, the new god, can solve all problems. I wouldn't want to go back to the Middle Ages, but think that a reaction from this malevolent form of conditioning that insulates us from our natural selves is long overdue. Even when we suspect what's going on and prepare to think our way out of it the advertising men get in there first with farmers' markets, health foods and the like, knowing before we do the lines along which we're starting to think. So in my humble opinion I'd just mentally take a guillotine to the lot of them - to anyone with a financial vested interest - and chop them off like a gangrened leg, because a cut here and a plaster there makes no difference. Having said that, the supermarket has its uses, in terms of claret and crisps, which are difficult to grow in an allotment. But seriously, cut out the supplements. I know that there's nothing in them of any real use. Feed yourself decently, not on junk food of course. I had paella with meatballs and bread the other day, and WOEBER'S REAL AMERICAN MUSTARD. Take your mountain of supplements, dump them in a landfill site, and go get a chicken Kiev and chips from the market, a bottle of something, and then slur into the mirror 'Hey - I feel Great! I'm a winner! Fuck them all!'

Damselindistress I can recommend sirloin steak for the extra protein, but leave it rare so you don't lose too much blood.

message 10: by Damselindistress (new)

Damselindistress By the way La Pointe, if you were a lady and I were a man I'd take you out to a restaurant and sit you down in front of a rump steak with salad and chips, with a bottle of wine, and force you to eat it whilst discussing flank openings in chess for later in the evening, all mention of pills strictly banned or else met with a sneer of contempt. But as you're a man it would be less fun, cricket or rugby if you were red-blooded enough, with a manly slap on the back. As a hot-blooded Italian gal I can go both ways I don't mind at all.

message 11: by Richard (last edited Jul 08, 2010 05:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Richard OK, I'm kind of annoyed here. I put a lot of effort into that review, and when I do that I always hope to see people discussing the book and, perhaps, my review.

So I'm feeling like the whole thing got hijacked.

The book and review didn't discuss food supplements, or whether farmers markets are a scam, or materialism or Gramsci's cultural hegemony or Wallerstein's world systems.

The book is about food production, and how it should affect how we eat.

Please get back on topic — or else!

message 12: by Damselindistress (new)

Damselindistress Oops!

I’m sorry Richard, it was a very thoughtful review and much appreciated. But it’s just that I can’t take this McWilliams to heart on a personal level. He makes lots of no doubt valid points about the global food production and delivery complex, but I knew them already. I think his central point as you describe it of the planet’s problems just going away if we ate less meat so crops could presumably be grown to feed the hungry multitudes is naive in the extreme.

Everything on this planet emanates from human nature, every problem we have as a species is not a problem inherent in the world but is a projection from us. If we ate less meat, what would happen? There’d still be starving millions because our innate tribalism and greed would merely find new patterns of expression and control of the resources. It’s not the nature of the resources that is in question, but the resources per se, and how we relate to them.

Sting famously failed to grasp the essential problem – or simply fact – when he was doing his bit for the Amazonian rain forest about 20 years ago. He used his considerable popular influence to get the President of Brazil to create a protected area for the Kayapo tribe in 1991 so they could legally own the land and supposedly get on with their idyllic rainforest lives. As soon as the deal was cut the Kayapo chiefs started doing deals with logging and mining companies, making them multi-million-dollar fortunes that they spent on houses, cars and planes while providing little for their villagers. A shared fondness for fast food and cars has been easier to achieve than globalisation of human rights, but at least it’s a start.

As far as meat is concerned you must know how I think about that already. We are omnivores – just look at the teeth and stomach and intestinal tract. You can cite the latest research but that changes on a daily basis. Every loose bit of research is rushed to publication before proper exhaustive testing and hits the headlines as holy writ. I can cite several examples. Two months ago they were telling us sombrely that the full English breakfast was incredibly harmful, and just this morning some perky little blonde on Breakfast TV was citing ‘the latest research’ that it is a great start to the day. Eggs were full of cholesterol so keep away from them, but now all the ‘research’ points in the other direction: Go To Work On An Egg! Keep away from red wine/a glass a day is good for you.

And as for alcohol in general... The healthcare organisation Bandolier takes the results of medical trials conducted around the world and amalgamates them to obtain the largest possible test base. In January 2000 it published a ten-point summary of advice on healthy living based on its research. And I quote:

‘Drink alcohol regularly. The type of alcohol probably doesn’t matter too much, but the equivalent of a couple of glasses of wine a day and a couple of beers is a good thing. The odd day without alcohol won’t hurt either. Think of it as medicine.’

I know you were talking of something else in your review, but I think it’s all related. There’s not some edifice of solid scientific research being slowly but methodically erected here, but a thousand and one researchers vying for the limelight and frequently contradicting each other, and books by the hundred being spun off that prey on our concerns for our health and for the planet. Instead of reacting to every little electric shock like rats in a Skinner Box we should as I say use our common sense. When we sit exams as children it’s often difficult because instead of simply concentrating on the questions and answering them we can’t help glancing about the room to see what everyone else is doing, seeing their pencils racing, feeling we’re not fast enough and everyone else seems to know what they’re doing and OMG I have to keep moving even though I haven’t read the question properly yet!

Dr Atkins, the South Beach Diet Plan, Nutri System Weight Loss Program and all the rest can just go to hell. It is all a great big con. And all this spurious and conflicting research that keeps pouring out from god knows where that keeps us in a constant state of anxiety and self-doubt, and that seems deliberately designed to encourage feelings of inadequacy, is itself like a drug in the collective system to keep one particular subset of the cogs of commerce running smoothly.

By the way, I think that as individuals – rather than as economic units – we can exercise our ethical muscle and be sensible about where we buy our food both in terms of wholesomeness and in terms of morality. I wouldn’t buy bananas produced by a company ultimately propped up by drugs proceeds for instance, and I think Fair Trade coffee beans are a good idea.

I wouldn’t agonise though about where my amino acids were coming from because all bodies require different amounts of nutrients, and the body itself has its own ways of telling you what it needs. Only a small child needs to be told what to eat, and as adults we don’t need all this advice behind which lurks the usual faceless corporation grabbing what it can in any way it can.

Personally, I think more research needs to be put into making insects a major food source. Surely huge nets could be used to catch the swarms of locusts that devastate vast areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, channelling them smoothly into special processing plants and churning out millions of cans of concentrated nutrients. And seaweed has hardly been touched yet. But as I said, it’s not so much the food resources available as human nature itself that generates the problems. As science advances into new territory and opens up novel possibilities for solving global problems, the money men are close behind looking to make a killing, filtering and manipulating the raw data, packaging it into a form designed for the masses in such a way that we see only what they want us to see and never what is the actual case.

I wouldn’t want to see any vulnerable person or anyone I love go down the route of serious dieting and food fads and supplements, because apart from causing physical and psychological damage in a negative feedback cycle it is an insidious manifestation of the worst sort of social manipulation in the name of pure greed. Like pornography. As Oscar Wilde said, ‘Everything is about sex except sex – sex is about power.’

Fuck them all, as I said. Respect yourself and trust yourself, and know who your real friends are.

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