Discussion: Food is fuel


Early in the summer as I was thinking about my contribution to the obesity epidemic, global warming and the political implications of how we as a country have to import so much oil, I realized that something a former boss of mine used to chant:  “Food is fuel” is absolutely true in so many ways.  When we eat too much food and don’t get enough movement in our daily lives, we store it away for later use.  If we have a storage unit going and we want to walk to the store, we have the energy to do it right there.  We could mine the fat in our bodies to transport ourselves places!  Early in the summer when my thoughts ran this way, I was trying to make an effort to use my fat stores instead of gas.  I got a ride into work a few times and made the hour walk home.  I walked forty-five minutes each way to the bank one day and even walked a half hour each way to the post office to drop off a letter.  Then my old habits kicked in.  I started taking the car everywhere again.  Why?  Well, walking is damn hard.  It is also time consuming.  In order to make these trips by foot, I needed to make sure I had the time to do it.  I also had to plan out how to carry things if needed.  It took effort and I got lazy.

Why do I bring this up as a discussion point?  In case you didn’t see it, a new article broke a few days ago in the news that verified my own train of thought.  Here is an excerpt:

“America’s obesity epidemic and global warming might not seem to have much in common. But public health experts suggest people can attack them both by cutting calories and carbon dioxide at the same time. How? They advise that people get out of their cars and walk or bike half an hour a day instead of driving. And also they suggest eating less red meat. That’s how Americans can simultaneously save the planet and their health, say doctors and climate scientists.The payoffs are huge, although unlikely to happen. One numbers-crunching scientist calculates that if all Americans between 10 and 74 walked just half an hour a day instead of driving, they would cut the annual U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, by 64 million tons.About 6.5 billion gallons of gasoline would be saved. And Americans would also shed more than 3 billion pounds overall, according to these calculations.”  Read the full article here. 

Here are some things to think about and discuss.  Feel free to bring in your own thoughts if I didn’t bring them up.

1.       The U.S. consumes about 20 billion barrels of oil per day.  The article seemed to suggest we would save 6.5 billion gallons of gasoline annually.  Would this make much of a dent in how much oil we need to import?  In how much we contribute to global warming?

2.       If you were to really look at your lifestyle, would you be able to find the time necessary to run errands by bike or by foot.

3.       Do you think your quality of life would improve by making this small change in your life?

4.       The article also mentions cutting down on red meat.  Would this be something you are willing to do and do you think a healthier diet would give you better endurance to travel by foot or bike?

5.       What advantages are there to walking or biking for errands as exercise over going to a gym? 

Let me begin the discussion:

1.       I think that every little bit of oil we save is beneficial to us.  Not only will we be keeping the air clean and the planet from warming, but we spend that much less money helping the economies of countries that are not necessarily our best friends.

2.       If I were to look hard at my lifestyle,  I waste a lot of time on the computer and in front of the TV.  I need to work on shifting my ideas of what is a good use of my leisure time.  I was more successful at walking to my errands on the weekend when I didn’t have to be anywhere by a certain time.

3.       I think my quality of life would improve if I could walk to my errands.  When I did so a few times, I felt relaxed.  I was able to think about things uninterrupted.  I was able to observe things I didn’t notice in my car.  I felt like I really got exercise.  You can’t really get the kind of exercise on a machine that you get when you have to balance yourself over uneven terrain.

4.       I don’t eat beef.  I won’t bore you or horrify you with the reasons why.  I do eat pork or lamb occasionally.  I am trying to cut down to a more plant based diet.  I believe the complex carbs one gets when they eat a more plant based diet is beneficial to our energy levels and would help with endurance when walking or bike riding.

5.       Like I mentioned before.  When you are outside, you are connected to what you are doing.  You work many muscles and you increase your ability to balance.  You get fresh air and your mind gets a work out.  We are so attached to our virtual worlds.  Getting outside is as important to the body as nutrients are. 

I look forward to reading your thoughts!




  1. Recipe hunter said,

    November 29, 2007 at 2:29 am

    Hi Mimi,
    Thanks for contrasting the approx. 6B saved to the 20B barrels used per day. Wow! — the savings is obvioulsy negligible. I agree with your points #3 and #5. I think time goes by too fast when we’re strapped in to our car based, tech gadget lifestyles.

  2. Idetrorce said,

    December 16, 2007 at 4:48 am

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

  3. mimi9 said,

    December 16, 2007 at 4:55 pm


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