Meet Your Food

Chicken Heads in the San Cristobal de las Casas Indigenous Food MarketThere was a time, now long past, when humans lived with an awareness toward other species that we “more developed” cultures have now managed to merchandise, pre-packaged and hide away from our consciousness. Now enjoy an artificial bliss toward the consumption of our fellow creatures that is hidden by a willing collusion of modern merchandising, mass marketing and intentional self-denial. We now happily ignore the suffering that our “chicken fingers” or bacon had to go through in order to make it to our plate because we don’t have to actually see the grisly reality that brought them there.

It really isn’t very comforting to know that the hamburger we are about to consume was recently as sentient as our pampered family pets. As modern carnivores we have managed to almost completely depersonalize the consumption of our fellow animals. How convent is it to “believe” that somehow animal flesh comfortably finds itself onto Saran Wrapped Styrofoam trays neatly stacked, graded and labeled in refrigerated bins for us to mindlessly purchase?

Don’t misunderstand me; I enjoy the flesh of my fellow animals as much as anyone. The thought of being a vegetarian or a vegan for more than a few days strikes me as a bland denial of my omnivore heritage. We evolved incisors and canine teeth for reasons that go back far beyond human existence and to deny that would also be a deceit. However, shopping in the indigenous markets in San Cristobal de las Casas just reminds me that I need to be more enlightened and mindful of my place on the planet and take a few seconds to give thought to the creatures that I use for the nourishment of my body. On better days it even makes me consider ordering the vegetarian plate.

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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn't intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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