Typography

We live in a world where everything is moving faster. This is a world where fast food has become one of society’s focal points; a world where people guzzle sugary brown water and gorge on greasy, unnatural food in such quantities that the size XL has stretched to become XXXL and humanity has begun to physically mutate.

All you need is to take a look around you to see programmes on television where people struggle with the obesity, addictions and diseases caused by the food culture of the modern age.

There seems to be a gap between the mainstream and people with different values in life when it comes to their food habits. For example, if you’re a Jew you live by Kashrut, a Jewish food law that forbids pork and allows you to eat meat from animals that have been killed in a timely fashion. And if you’re a Muslim and live according to Halal, then you abstain from pork and alcohol. Similar to the Jews, the animals that Muslims consume must be killed in a special way.

But what about other groups in society? How does a Mormon (a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) eat? And what about people who are into anthroposophy? Do they just eat biodynamic food? How hard is it to live without meat in general? SixDegrees talked with some people about their food habits and how eating affects their lives.

Gluten-free diet

Do you want more energy and lose weight? Probably sounds appealing to people who want to look like a fitness god or goddess! Scientists say that a gluten-free diet can prevent autism, migraines and even schizophrenia. The gluten-free diet favours fruit and vegetables over grains.

Dukan diet

Similar to the Atkins diet with focus on the protein, this French trend has spread throughout the world. The first step contains non-fat, high protein foods with a lot of water. After the first tough days it’s then permitted to enjoy some vegetables, fruit, wine and desserts, and finally whatever you want. A kind of Christmas for those who don’t want to be strict with their food habits all the time…

Dash diet

Avoidance of red meat, sugar and processed food and eating a lot of vegetables, nuts, beans and whole grains, This diet will help you to prevent cancer, stroke and heart disease.

Juice cleanse

Do you want to purify your body and get rid of toxins? Cleanse your body for some days and be a part of a trend that has existed for at least twenty years and is still going strong.

Paleo diet

Here we talk history. Eat like your ancestors did thousands and thousands of years ago and forget grain products, excess sugar, vegetable oils and dairy products. Fish, roots, eggs and fruit and vegetables are the vital elements of this menu.

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Marina Reuter is an art therapist and works as a group leader for an anthroposophy course in Helsinki. She has been involved with anthroposophy for over forty years and was raised under the guidance of the philosophy by her mother, who has also been active in this lifestyle.

Is it just a rumour or is it actually a fact that people who are involved in anthroposophy eat only biodynamic food?

No, then we should starve to death. It’s complicated to get all the kinds of food that are needed here in Finland. But of course it is the best food according to taste and nourishment. We have to be satisfied with what we get.

So you don’t have any strict rules within anthroposophy according to food and drinking habits?

No, everything is very individualistic and it is a very free way of living. I drank a little alcohol earlier, but after I drank too much one time I decided to quit drinking. But as I said earlier, we have no rules and each of us can drink what she or he wants to. We have guidelines that people can follow, but no general applicable rules.

But is it correct that meat is not on the top of the menu according to your lifestyle?

No I don’t eat meat, but there are those who do. I gave up fish a while ago, because it is not that healthy to quit eating habits too abruptly.

And what about the question of potatoes being bad for you, according to the early teachings of your way of living?

Well, I eat summer potatoes.

So you skip the French fries then?

Well, if I visit a restaurant I can eat them, but not at home.

How big part of your identity is the food you eat?

As an anthroposophist I don’t make such big deal about what I’m eating. It’s just an individual choice for me.

Is there anything that you miss with your food habits?

No, You can make really good vegetarian food with the right spices and a lot of imagination. For example, Mediterranean food with a lot of olive oil!

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Lasse Holopainen

What about the Mormons? What is their secret to long and healthy lives? Lasse Holopainen, a Bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints answers some questions concerning their food habits.

It has been featured in the media recently that Mormons generally live long lives, because of strict rules controlling what they eat and drink. So, what’s the secret to living a long life, according to your faith, and what is not allowed if you are an active Mormon?

An important tenant of our faith is a set of principles known as the Word of Wisdom. The Word of Wisdom is a law of health revealed by the Lord for the physical and spiritual benefit of His children. According to the Word of Wisdom, we should abstain from using alcohol, tobacco,
tea, coffee and other harmful drugs. The Word of Wisdom is not only a restrictive guidance but also an exhortation to eat healthy food and to take care of our physical bodies.

How has this living according to the Word of Wisdom affected your life?

Well I believe I’ve evaded plenty of problems that either bad eating habits or stimulants such as alcohol or tobacco can cause. These include naturally issues related to physical health as well as social relationships. Additionally, abiding by these rules also has a purely spiritual element, which I feel has strengthened my character.

How important are those rules for a member in the Mormon Church?

I don’t presume to speak in behalf of all the members in the church, but I would say that the Word of Wisdom is an important part of being a Latter-day Saint. It’s a very visible element in our lives and something that sets us apart from other people who don’t share our faith. As for the nature of the rules, they are considered a commandment from God, so theologically they can be considered
important as well.

Have you lived this way all your life according to the Word of Wisdom, nothing you miss?

I certainly can’t claim that I’ve always eaten healthily and, for example, always eaten meat sparingly [as stipulated in the Word of Wisdom]. But I can say that I’ve been able to meet the
expectations of the Word of Wisdom pretty well.

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Allan Bain

SixDegrees takes a closer look at veganism – a way of life that began in the 1940s and has grown considerably in popularity since then. Having been a vegan for around eleven years, journalist Allan Bain gives us some answers about this lifestyle.

So, how did it all begin, why did you become a vegan?

Oh, it was for animal rights reasons to begin with. I’m pretty left-wing and was interested in social justice and human rights, so the logical step was to start thinking about animals and how we treat them. There was this punk band called Propagandhi that influenced me a lot – they gave me the idea of going vegan as opposed to just vegetarian.

How has being a vegan affected your life?

Not very much. If I go to restaurants with my friends I don’t really have to compromise and shops have a lot of vegan food.

How does an ordinary menu look like for you, from breakfast to dinner?

Breakfast: porridge with berries, soya yoghurt and powdered hemp protein. Maybe also a slice of rye bread with tahini and jam.

Lunch/Evening meal: lots of vegetables in a sauce, for example, with kidney beans, chickpeas, soya, tofu or lentils for protein. Accompanied by non-egg pasta, potatoes, polenta, non-egg noodles etc. I also make a lot of soups with similar sorts of ingredients.

Drinks: water, soya milk, soya milkshakes with banana or berries.

How about drinking? Do vegans drink alcohol?

I don’t drink alcohol so I don’t know so much about this. In some cases red wine and beer aren’t vegan, but still, there’s nothing stopping you from drinking alcohol and being a vegan at the same time.

So you have not chosen this way of eating for your own benefit – rather as a political statement?

For me it’s all about animal rights and the effect of meat and dairy production on the environment.

And finally – how are you feeling living this way?

I feel fine, I’m in good condition!

Text Nicklas Smith