It's Not Just About The Oatmeal

Rather it's part of a much larger picture.


John Shepard

3/14/20233 min read

Making a difference for you and the planet.

Eating a healthy breakfast is part of a much larger picture. After some research, I understand just how important this grain can be for one’s health and for saving the planet. Our consumptive habits dictate the foods we buy, how much we eat, and the resources we use to grow, transport, and purchase what we put on the table. For instance, if we shifted to a plant-based diet we would reduce global land use for agriculture by 75%. Plus, it can increase heart health, and function in lowering unhealthy cholesterol, weight loss, and more (see below).

The health of whole grains

Here are a few examples of what cooking whole grains like oatmeal can mean for us:

- eating lower on the food chain which is by far better for the environment
saves money,
- increases our cooking skills
- keeps packaging and shipping waste to a minimum (buy in bulk)
- improves our overall health when we eat nutrient and protein-rich foods,
- offers better digestion,
- lowers our bad cholesterol and a myriad of other benefits ( Is Oatmeal Healthy? What a Nutritionist Wants You to Know |
- makes life simpler only taking minutes to fix, and minimizes our choices (yes, that can be a good thing)
- helps us participate in a cleaner, more productive environment with less damage to our soil, water, and air.

Oatmeal builds relationships

I want people to thrive in this world where a healthy relationship to what we eat doesn’t damage or pollute, hindering not only one's own health but that of others. Yet, we are living and creating an environment where our human activity has consequences for all of us. (See National Geographic’s Resource Library: Human Impacts on the Environment). Take, for instance, food with a higher level of processing, wrapping and shipping. It has a greater negative impact on the air we breath, the water we drink and the earth we use to grow our food. The production of meat has large environmental impacts – increasing greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural land, and freshwater use. The health impact of cattle feed lots is alarming, especially for those living near animal feed lots (see download below). By eating lower on the food chain (i.e., vegetables, nuts, and grains), we impact the physical environment less, lower the level of pollutants and their risk to our health, and help humanity live in a safer, and cleaner world. (For a deeper, data-driven dive on this, see: Environmental Impacts of Food Production)

It’s not just about the Oatmeal

On a grand scale, it's not about the oatmeal. It's about you and me and our choices that make a difference. As Emily De Sousa said in a Ted Talk, "Change starts with one person.... It starts with one drop. 'You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.'"

What each of us cares about, and the course of our actions are like a tiny ripple on water. Small yet, change the conditions of the environment we are in. This ultimately will affect not only us but the people we know, their behaviors and impacting their beliefs. We are given a beautiful creation and yes, at times we forget our role as earth caretakers. But a simple and regular act of eating a bowl of oatmeal can make a difference. We become that one drop, one ripple that says to others we care.