Saturday, November 17, 2007

Is Stress Edible?

This is one of the most fascinating and powerful arguments I've ever heard about why we need to pay close attention to the food we eat.

Stephanie Daniel and Dr. Joon Yun, authors of a book called Low Stress Food, argue that one key reason we humans feel stressed is because we literally injest stress that exists in the food we eat. To quote from their Web site (, "The unnatural stress imparted on animals and plants through the industrialized food infrastructure is coming full circle back to those who consume them in a perverse version of 'you are what you eat.'"

The corollary: if we eat food raised under less stressful conditions, we will lower our own levels of stress commensurately.

The beauty is that low-stress food not only has nice moral and environmental implications, it is also highly likely to taste better.

For instance with beef, there is a direct correlation between excess levels of stress hormones and tough meat. While tenderness is a function of many things -- genetics, diet, handling, and aging are the most important -- cattle that have suffered significant stress (whether from dramatic swings in weather, poor handling, or a multitude of other causes) have a far higher liklihood of being tough.

Makes you think, doesn't it?

1 comment:

Jamie R.S said...

I love this idea.

While working at Potbelly Sandwich Works this summer, an Indian gentleman informed me that, in fact, eating meat even has consequences in terms of "anger" generation - that eating meat can infuse the eater with anger i.e. negative energy from eating the meat. Now, I still eat meat, but this very notion / article could very well parlay itself into this gentleman's thought. Interesting none the less...