Are You What You Eat?

Gerri Kennedy

On a deeper level, do we consider what we are eating and
whether its origins are compatible with our personal values?

Since the beginning of time, dietary practices have been
incorporated into the religious practices of humanity. Some
religious sects abstain, or are forbidden, from consuming
certain foods and drinks; others restrict foods and drinks
during their holy days; while still others associate dietary
and food preparation practices with rituals of the faith. The
early biblical writings, especially those found in Leviticus,
Numbers, and Deuteronomy of the Old Testament outlined
the dietary practices for the Jewish faith. We heard
some of these earlier this morning. Practices such as fasting
are a part of many religious traditions.

There are many theories about the origins of some of these
restrictions and customs, but that is for another day.

Our relationships with food are very complicated. We
have family and ancestral traditions, religious rules, dietary
restrictions for health and much more.

Many people have lost the connection to the origins of our
food. Very few Americans have ever visited a farm, much
less had personal contact with a pig, cow or chicken. There
are children growing up in inner cities who have never even
seen a living, growing vegetable plant, much less know that
peanuts come from the ground and walnuts grow on trees.
They can be shocked to learn that carrots are actually roots!
We change the names of our food to avoid thinking about
where it comes from – we eat beef and pork, not cows and
pigs. Livestock growers talk about units of production, not
individual animals. In Spanish, the gallina walks around,
the pollo is on your plate.


delivered at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City, CA.