Monday, September 13, 2010

Our Friends the Plants - Part 1

There's a certain weirdness about ethical vegetarians that somehow plants are put on this earth to be eaten while animals were not.

I assure you, no plant "wants" to be eaten any more than a shrimp or chicken does.

Plants want to protect themselves but they have a problem. They can't run away. They literally have to stand their ground.

So what do plants do? They harden their bodies, they use thorns or spikes, but mostly they use chemical warfare - natural insecticides and toxins. Poison oak is one great example. Nobody messes with poison oak.

This is why cooking was such a boon to early man. Among other things, cooking breaks down toxins and renders inedible food, edible - like potatoes and beans. But even so, some of those toxins remain so you get a dose of it every time you eat those foods. Fruit is the exception since the plant is using you, yes using you, to spread it's seeds. Note that the seeds themselves are usually not edible.

So it's a little naive to think that plants don't mind being food. In fact, they're doing everything in their power to avoid it.

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