Today Renee and I realized we’re at the same place when we tried the Engine2 Diet. Almost a month in and we’re looking at each going, “what the ##$%^ are we going to eat”?
Before I go on.
This time, we’re not giving up. We’re doing this. We’re doing it for selfish reasons — our health. And we’re doing it because of what we believe in — Cowspiracy is right on. Eating this way is a way of life and it supports so much of what Renee and I believe in. We’ll figure this out.
I want to point out some gaps.
There’s a few things that Rich and so many others talk about, that sound good when you hear them. But Rich and so many other evangelists of this movement aren’t telling everyone the whole story. In fact they’re leaving out key parts of the story. If this movement we’re apart of is ever going to cross the bridge from where it is now, the domain of white, well-to-do liberal America to the the country we live in, folks like Rich need to do a better job of filling in the gaps. Otherwise, living this way reminds me of going to a Chamber of Commerce networking event — members, selling to other members.
I think Rich and his ilk need to get square and realize they’re promoting their message to each other, doing one big dance with each other. Then, asking their flock to share the celebration down the line to more, well-to-do white liberals. They’re selling to the classes, not the masses. It’s bullshit (sorry Rich). Well, it’s not bullshit if that’s their business plan. But I don’t think that’s Rich’s plan. I think Rich is solid. The planet is a better place because he’s on it. We’re doing this because we found Rich. I think Rich wants this to cross over and be fully available to those who aren’t so well off. I think he’d like to be a beacon for people to rise up and good health is certainly key.
Now then. A few rants.
On episode #149 with James Lawrence (another guy I connect with) Rich talked about a woman he met at a conference he was speaking at, Bea Johnson. Bea is promoting her Zero Waste Home idea. When I heard Rich mention this I was like, “How cool is that!”. But then I checked out Bea. She lives in a wealthy neighborhood, Mill Valley. Mill Valley is to San Francisco what Aspen is to Colorado. Now don’t get me wrong. I think what Bea is doing is wonderful and just because she’s wealthy, that doesn’t make her wrong.
But Renee and I were talking about her today. In order for Bea to live with zero waste, she has to make…everything; toothpaste, shampoo, you name it. Renee and I aren’t well off. We look like we are, but we aren’t. I work at my business all day every day. Renee helps too. We don’t have hired help. Renee cooks, cleans, takes care of our son. Our only luxury is we have our lawn mowed each week. Other than that, we’re slugging it out just like the rest.
So how does Bea pull this off? One thing Renee and I have figured out is that living this way does in fact take more time — because you have to cook. The cooking time is not inordinate, I’d say an hour a day. So Renee’s asking me, “Does she have kids? How on earth does she have the time to make everything, clean her house, feed the kids, read to the kids, have sex, exercise, shop, hang out with her partner, and still have time for herself”?? Again, I think Bea is doing a good thing. She either has hired help (maids, personal assistants, etc), or she’s some kind of super woman.
This goes back to the gap I’m talking about. It’s one thing to say, “live with zero waste, it’s great”. But people like Bea put their story out there and think that it’s transferable, when in most cases it’s not. Can the average person really attain this? No, they can’t. Who knows? Maybe Bea doesn’t have kids, she’s able to do it all while making everything. If so, God bless her. But if not, and my guess is not, Bea needs to adjust her story to, “I live with zero waste — but I have a maid, a personal assistant, and someone else takes my kids to school”. Or, Bea needs to be upfront that living with zero waste can be done, so long as you have the time and money.
Rich’s cook book is great. It’s only intended to be a primer, not, a complete day to day guide.
Before we started eating this way, we didn’t ask any questions about what we ate. Because eating the old way, using the food pyramid, is simple. But when you take meat and dairy out of the picture, things aren’t so easy. In fact it brings up questions.
Ever try reading a food label? The movie Fed Up does a great job of explaining what a scam, food labeling is. Ingredients are listed by volume or by weight. Say what? Then, we always end up wondering if the label translates to cooked or uncooked. Trying to figure out the label, then converting that to what goes in your pie hole, is practically rocket science.
I know when we tried the Engine2 Diet we had to find a math expert, or, we spent way too much time trying to figure out if we were getting the protein we needed. It was too much hassle so we quit. I’m guessing millions of others have been through the same thing. Why aren’t people like Rich getting the problems people have doing the plant powered thing? Most people aren’t like Julie, nutritional geniuses. We’re average people with jobs, kids, mortgages, just trying to live a better way. No one wants to attach a calculator to their fork. Rich’s book and other cook books we’ve seen give you the recipe, the easy part. But they leave the hard part (figuring out calories and RDA) out.
Rich’s book, or for that matter any great cook book, should break down each recipe to what ends up on your plate. Something like this: “When you’re done, you’ll end up with a dish that’s 6 servings, a total of 1300 calories. The dish has 300 grams of protein, 250 grams of calcium…” It’s easy to look up daily RDA and we know how many calories we’re looking to take in each day. I’m not too concerned about calories but Renee is. Most women are. We know that most of us need about 50 grams of protein each day. So if I knew the total calories and RDA’s for each dish, I eyeball and dish up about 1/4 of the dish, from there I have a pretty good idea of how many calories and the percentage of RDA’s what I just served myself is. So does anyone else. No calculator or math expert needed.
Rich and most others we’ve found all want their followers to post their questions on social. Or in other words, share with the world. That doesn’t work for us. We’re not on social, we’re not into letting the world know what’s going on in our kitchen.
“Hang on, you’re typing from side of your mouth! What about this blog? Heh? Aren’t you telling the world what you’re up to”? Eh, no. I don’t tell anyone about my blog. I tell Google not to index it. This blog is a soliloquy. It’s here because journaling is therapeutic and the UPS guy dropped off a typewriter to Mrs. Sycamore (my favorite scene from “You Can’t Take It With You“) by mistake. And, I want my son to know what I believe in and stand for. If you’ve found this, it was by accident. I don’t have followers or subscribers, no one knows when I post, I don’t tell anyone. Wait. I think Blackwell still follows me? He’s the only one. So I got one follower! I’m not on social. Renee doesn’t even read this. Each day I get like 3 visitors, all by accident. Most days, zero.
Back to the rant about getting questions answered. We just want to to be able to pick up the phone and ask a few questions. Is that too much to ask?
Someone needs to write a Plant Powered book that maps each meal, with a few different choices, along with the total calories and RDA’s. This alone, would make it so much easier. Right now, it’s a guessing game for us. 3 plus weeks in, we have no idea how many calories we’re taking in or the RDA’s. Surely, we’re not the only one’s. To me, this is the burning problem to solve.
Rich could also do a better job of telling people where to find ingredients such as turmeric root. The first few times we went shopping we literally had to have to have a clerk follow us around the store to help us find stuff. Luckily for us, the folks at Natural Grocers are kind and helpful. Now, we’re learning where everything is. But what about the rest of America, that doesn’t have a Natural Grocers or a Whole Foods? I have no idea how or where they find all the ingredients in Rich’s book.
The gap here is that Rich could do a better job of telling people that this isn’t easy. And, that it isn’t cheap.
Hopefully his flock is telling him what’s wrong, maybe his 2nd book is on the way? I don’t know. But for us, so far, living this way is…different. Of course it is. That doesn’t make it wrong — anything new is a challenge. My view (of course it’s mine, who else’s would it be?) is the story has big gaps. I think, it’s somewhat disingenuous. It pisses me off that only those with the means can afford this. I want everyone to be able to do this. It takes a village.
A couple of posts ago I wrote that eating this way seems to be less cost. Not so fast, Kale face!
So far in May our food bill is $2800 bucks. Ouch! Hold on. That included the Vitamix blender and stocking up on really expensive stuff like Macao Powder and Spirulina. I’m now tracking our food costs to the penny, I’ll be updating here. Next month we’re aiming to half (or is it halve?) our food bill. Doable? We’ll see. But even $1400 bucks per month for 3 of us sounds like more than most families can do. That’s just wrong. That’s not Rich’s fault, we can thank our government for that. Our government subsidizes corn, which basically subsidizes the fast food industry.
From what I know right now, not a lot of people can afford the entry fee into this way of living. And, because so much is left out, the intended audience seems to be only those with nothing but time or money. If I was in charge, I’d go back to the white board.
Rich and those like him are influencers, smart people who love challenges. They need to quit patting each other on the back, stop celebrating each other, stop sharing stories that only connect with those who have a private jet, and start working with Vitamix to give away blenders. If they’re serious, they should be ultra cognizant of how difficult and expensive this way of living is, be up front about it, and recognize it as the burning problem to solve. One idea I have would be to start a co-op. I get it, Rome wasn’t built in a day. But there’s too many gaps.