We want everyone to realise they eat life forms from a cycle of birth, life, death and decay. You can make local and sustainable choices.
Dieting is a national obsession - but many diets have a negative impact on health and people's sense of well being. A new approach is showing people how they can eat to benefit their own health - and make planet-friendly choices at the same time.
The Wildevore approach embodies some of the philosophies of veganism, vegetarianism, flexitarianism, ethical omnivorism, and clean eating – but looks more closely at the pressures on the environment and the impact that has on human health.
This new way of eating looks at how to make the best choices both nutritionally and ethically and aims at educating followers about where their food originates from.
Think foraging, eating from the veggie patch, buying locally and from regenerative farming methods, and you’ll be some way to becoming a fully-fledged Wildevore.
Caroline Grindrod, an environmental conservationist, writer, and Wildevore coach, and Georgia Winfield-Hayes, a nutritionist, are both leading this way of thinking. They both agree that this new diet is not for the faint-hearted, requiring some serious homework and a desire to change habits.
The system can work for vegans and meat-eaters, but there is an underlying need to understand the consequences of food choices. In the Wildevore approach, meat reared on regenerative farms and fed on natural diets is allowed for its human health benefits.
Georgia has written extensively on human nutrition, and says a vegan diet doesn’t always provide the best results. “From a health perspective a vegan diet, in the short term is an amazing way to cleanse the body and this feels great.
"However, long term it can create serious health problems. Soya, a main protein source for many vegans, is a hormone disrupting food and can cause our own reproductive systems to stop working correctly.
“Other issue with not eating animals are omega 3 deficiency, and certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies, all combined with the problems created by soya can cause premature degradation of bone tissue.”
Relying on our supermarket staples has led to a decrease in nutrition levels, argues Georgia. “The minerals in food have reduced by up to 60 percent. These deficiencies compound our craving for the taste of nutrient dense foods. But if we don’t understand this we end up eating all the wrong things.”
The Wildevore approach is about “rewilding” our palate to make healthier food choices and move away from the fast-food nature of most diets. Georgia and Caroline claim the Wildevore approach can help with health and imbalances in weight.
Another key aim with this innovative diet is to break down barriers. There has long been segregation between meat-eaters and non-meat eaters - with hostility coming from both sides against the other’s alternative choices.
Caroline believes breaking down categorisation is key. “We want everyone to realise they eat life forms from a cycle of birth, life, death and decay. You can make local and sustainable choices when eating meat and you can make local and sustainable choices when eating plants – we all need to take responsibility for doing better.”
Harvested and killed
If you choose to eat meat using the Wildevore approach, then you’ll have to be incredibly choosy. Intensive farming, GMOs, antibiotics and mistreatment of animals have absolutely no place in the world of the Wildevore.
Meat that is allowed on the diet is from farms that restore ecology. Georgia said: “Animals can be used to regenerate land or degrade it. And in fact much land requires herbivores to help regenerate the ecosystem, it’s just most farming systems don’t function this way and the animals are degrading the land.
So we choose animals that are helping restore the ecology. These meats, which include wild meats, are far more nutritious as they are not fed any concentrates, they have a varied diet and a natural life.”
The Wildevore approach promotes restoration of grasslands and preservation of our precious soils and forests. It means eating less, but better foods.
It many ways, this is harking back to when humans had a strong relationship with the food they harvested and killed.
Caroline said: “The process of degrading our soils though ploughing and fencing in livestock has depleted the nutrients in our food and reduced the variety and quality of our diet with disastrous effects.
"Our food is a shadow of what true hunter gathers eat. There’s of course no way we can all live or eat from the ‘wild’ anymore – we’ve destroyed most of it.
"But we can take steps to build healthy ecosystems in all the land that grows food for humans. This is the only sustainable way we can live on this planet.
"Farms should be like nature reserves, building an ecological bank account which can generate ‘biological bank interest’ in the form of food for homo sapiens – the 'conscious' keystone predator.
"Wildlife, livestock and humans will all benefit from this increased bank account which must never again be spent like the savings account we once inherited and subsequently robbed in the form of soil fertility and ecological diversity.”
Many of the foods that are enjoyed by both vegans and meat-eaters, such as soya, avocados and coconut oil, have led to vast plantations of monocultures which put extraordinary pressures on land. The felling of rainforests for monocultures - including animal feeds - is something we are all responsible for. Buying from small organic farms reduces this pressure.
The Wildevore approach itself isn’t a three-month quick fix – that simply won’t do. This is a way of life, and one that Georgia and Caroline believe can help restore our fragile planet.
Laura Briggs is a regular contributor to The Ecologist and can be found Tweeting at @WordsbyBriggs. Georgia and Caroline run a course for dedicated planet-loving foodies. With a couple of hours learning a week you can understand the Wildevore approach and find out if it’s right for you. Find out more at www.wildevore.com.