Pop Quiz: What do the Spanish Flu of 1918, the Swine Flu of 1998, the Swine Flu of 2009, COVID-19, and many other outbreaks have in common?
It was serendipitous. I’ve been reading The Veganist at work for the last couple of weeks. On the spring equinox (March 19, 2020), I read Kathy’s interview with Dr. Michael Greger. He explains how all flu’s begin with a single issue: animal waste from cramped animal farming. (If you’ve never heard of Dr. Gregor, he’s an amazing physician I’ve followed for years—you can find him at www.nutritionfacts.org.)
Each disease begins with cramped animal conditions, AKA factory farming.
Factory farming isn’t “an Asian” issue. It’s not “their fault,” nor are they to blame.
My Sensei taught me a powerful mantra: when you point your finger, there are 4 fingers pointing back at you.
Now is not a time to point fingers at our brothers and sisters, nor to place blame. We can’t change what’s already happened. But we can prepare for the future, starting with our next meal.
As I discuss in multiple articles, my book and in my courses, what we put on our plate has a profound effect on the rest of the planet. The coronavirus is a wake-up call. At worst, well… we continue on our current path of factory farming, animal exploitation, and a flu strain decimates the human population.
COVID-19 has revealed the reality of our planet: we have to step up and take responsibility for how we treat our home. For the last century, Earth has given subtle warnings we’ve ignored. Factory farming is an issue we can’t keep sweeping under the rug.
If you continue eating meat, opt for pasture farms. Don’t trust websites or commercials claiming cage-free, humane, antibiotic-free, etc.. Most farms and food manufacturers offer nothing but clever marketing ploys.
“Sustainable” is a common disposable marketing term. How sustainable is a factory farm or diseased animal that creates a global pandemic!?!
A few plant-based alternatives to increase your health (and wallet) before, during, and after dis-ease:
- Eating beans and rice is healthier for your immune system. Each meal contains healthy fiber, nutrients, with no dangerous fat or cholesterol. If you need recipes or have questions about incorporating beans, reach out. Nutrition and cooking are my primary areas of expertise.
- Eating beans and rice is THE sustainable way to live, especially in times of limited groceries. I’m blessed we have 5 pounds of rice on hand, pasta, potatoes, 10+ pounds of beans, and spices.
- A whole food, plant-powered lifestyle is less expensive, pound-for-pound. Perhaps meat seems cheaper than vegetables and it appears to be true; our government subsidizes meat, feeding grains and soy to livestock (while millions die of starvation). The truth is, you spend 17% less when you focus on a WFLFPP lifestyle. That’s an “estimated $1180 in 90s dollars on [the] annual food bill.” Beyond our plate, what’s the cost of insurance/ copays/ deductibles/ medication, disease, the pain caused to loved ones, and an early funeral? What’s the cost of a global pandemic that crushes medical systems, jobs, and economies!?!
- Why not start your own garden this year? If nothing else, this virus is insight to the devastation we’ll face if we don’t increase our self-reliance. Permaculture is the art of looking at Nature and following her patterns. If you have questions on gardening or permaculture, email me for more information. 3 years’ experience in a nursery/greenhouse and 2 winters studying permaculture equipped me with a wealth of resources.
Remember, we’re in this together. Allow space in your life for tolerance and look at the bigger picture.
Global pandemics don’t discriminate against race, creed, gender, religion, or location.
Have patience with people. If someone cuts you off, don’t honk at them. We’re in shock, panicked, and aren’t thinking. Breathe and practice Awareness. Here are some situations I’ve encountered firsthand:
- People aren’t working; they have no income. Many of us in rural communities just entered the workforce after a winter off. Some haven’t returned yet—until they do, there’s no money. Savings accounts dwindle as they prepare for an added month or more of extended time off.
- Children are losing the one meal they have in schools. Free lunches are the only option some children have to eat.
- Medication and healthcare for people and their pets is increasingly difficult to obtain.
- Many medications suppress the immune system of the patient. While you may not feel sick today, you may be a carrier who unknowingly transmits this virus. You then carry it to a loved one unable to fight the disease.
- Businesses are closing with no idea when they’ll reopen. One company may be forced to lay off 7,000 people. Most have enough money saved to survive 1-2 weeks without pay.
- We’re not yet at the peak of this crisis; increase your mindfulness and meditation practices. There’s a difference between Awareness and Fear. Meditation will guide you to Awareness.
- Please don’t complain about being “stuck with your kids or family.” Would you rather they were outside contracting a deadly virus?
- Don’t drop your pets off at shelters and advise others to keep them at home. The coronavirus that attacks pets is not the same as COVID-19. There is no evidence to suggest COVID-19 transfers from pets to humans, nor vice versa.
- Essential oils WILL NOT cure the coronavirus… I’m stunned and enraged at the outpouring of marketing B.S.—if you question a trend you see online, please ask me or find another reliable source of information.
Most importantly, have patience… while many cannot work, those still working have increased workloads. Whether we show it or not, we’re also aware of our risk each day we go to work. Everyone needs love and support right now. Let’s raise the vibration of our planet and offer healing thoughts. Practice self-isolation, safe distances, wash your hands frequently, wear gloves, and stay home if you’re sick.
The Veganist, Kathy Freston