“Wellness” issue is a misnomer

a href=”“Calling the Jan. 25 Mountain Xpress a “Wellness” issue is quite a stretch. There were only a few articles dealing with wellness — one detailed how Asheville became an alternative medicine mecca and discussed Project Access, which provides free medical care to uninsured residents.

But this so-called Wellness issue also included a piece that glorified bacon and, in another one, the practice of eating animals was touted as having major health benefits. This confused me because current research tells us that, to produce a state of wellness, we’d be much better off not eating animals. (To learn more, check out http://www.forksoverknives.com.)

I was pleased, though, to see that an article featured Jason Sellers who creates amazing plant-based foods at his restaurant, Plant. However, it appears that the interviewer didn’t really listen carefully to what Jason was saying. I know Jason personally and I know for a fact he would tell anyone considering a vegan diet that to do so in a healthy satisfying manner is not inconvenient and does not involve any sort of deprivation. On the contrary, it means eating a wide variety of delicious foods, abstaining from participating in violence, and doing the right thing for your health and the environment.

Speaking of the environment, butcher Karen Fowler’s comment that “on a lot of vegetables, like soybeans, the carbon footprint is huge” was simply double-speak. Seemingly, her implication (and that of the writer) was that eating animals is better for the environment. In reality, according to a Carnegie Mellon study, the transportation component of food production accounts for a very small percentage of greenhouse-gas emissions. (To read the study, visit http://avl.mx/9o.) The researchers concluded that if you want to most effectively reduce your carbon footprint, you’d eat closer to a vegan diet than eating all locally sourced foods.

— Monica Causey
Asheville
David Forbes responds: The piece was meant to talk with people in the local area about the benefits and challenges of different ways of eating, and to get their personal perspectives, not to take sides in the ongoing, complex and legitimate debate about how to best eat in a healthy and sustainable manner. All ways of consciously eating — whatever their differences — involve planning, preparation and their own set of challenges. As the writer of the piece I wanted to address those practically and give people a chance to eloquently talk about their own experiences, which all involved — Walter Harrill, Fowler and Sellers — did quite well.

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