Former Minister of the
Founder of "Friends of the Earth"
President of 'Generation Ecology' (environmental movement)
Environmentalism applies to every aspect of life and to diet in particular, which is why I was happy to accept writing a preface to this book by Bruno Comby; it presents nutritional environmentalism and follows his previous books, all in the domain of prevention, nutrition, and applied environmentalism: how to stop smoking, stress management, a natural diet, efficiency in work, entomophagy (about eating raw insects), and better organization . Environmentalism, beyond political and scientific discussions, is only of interest if it is expressed by concrete action in our daily lives. Nutrition is part of these elementary acts that we repeat several times every day and that take up a large part of our existence.
Until now, man struggled to dominate nature and exploit its riches for his immediate profit. Today, we have to learn how to harmonize the respect of the environment with our daily needs. For a long time we ate our meals without concerning ourselves overmuch with the deferred consequences of our dietary behavior, but we are now discovering little by little that we also have to learn how to choose our diet taking into account ecological factors. The food industry has produced what are now called 'food industry products' for several decades, as a function of immediate economic criteria; these have led to a decrease in the flavor of food to the profit of a flourishing processing and distribution industry. The development of collective catering and fast-foods is the result of industrial agriculture. We have less time to go shopping and prepare food. This attitude, unfortunately, also has dramatic consequences on public health and the environment.
Our present dietary habits favor a polluting food industry and a waste of energy through excessive cooking and processing of food.
Take the example of a fruit such as an apple: we can consume it as it is, or in the form of apple pudding. If we eat it in its natural form, we do not pollute, we benefit from all its vitamins and flavor, whereas in the form of an apple pudding dessert, an apple is less profitable for our health (its vitamin content has decreased), has less flavor (sugar has to be added), will be badly digested (bad food combinations in the pudding) and, in addition, energy was required to cook it and manufacture its container, which will finally end up on a refuse dump and pollute the environment just that little bit more. We have everything to gain, therefore, with a little good sense: eat apples raw, as well as all other fruits, and why not our whole diet, as Bruno Comby suggests? Good sense is environmentalism in action.
We usually choose our foods according to three main criteria: their weight, their price, and their taste. We therefore usually disregard the body's real needs, the quality of our foods, their nutritional value, our resulting health and well-being, the prevention of disease (heart disease and illnesses, despite the fact that their human and financial cost is far from negligible), conviviality, the preservation of the environment, the protection of our species and of the planet for future generations. These factors, although their importance is difficult to estimate precisely, are fundamental and should play an essential part in our choices. This is what the lifestyle presented by the author proposes.
We now know, as this book also confirms, that a great number of illnesses can be prevented by a more ecological way of life. By eating better, we can in particular prevent heart disease (which kills one in two people at an early age in developed countries), as well as certain allergies and forms of cancer. People should be taught the basic rules of nutrition and daily environmentalism even in kindergarten. A more ecological raw diet would contribute to solving the problem of the increasing cost of social security and public health expenses. The question of health is often mentioned in political discussions in terms of health care benefits (all patients should have access to medical care and be properly cared for), but another approach is possible, in terms of prevention and helping people be responsible about their health by instructing them a healthy lifestyle. We are in fact responsible for our health, insofar as it is the result of our way of life, our way of eating, sleeping, smoking, and working. We can live in good health or, on the contrary, quickly become unwell. Environmentalism means, above all, emphasizing prevention so that we can at last benefit fully from the old saying "preventing is better than curing". This benefit would not only be financial for individuals and collectivities (less medical care expenditure and less absenteeism at work for example), but, better still, would mean greater vitality, efficiency, quality of living, well-being, and comfort for all.
There is no "perfect menu" applicable to everyone. But there is a simple, pleasant, and easily applicable way to eat better: eat more raw fruit and vegetables that are rich in vitamins and fibers, learn how to observe and obey your body's reactions, how to balance raw meals, avoid cooked fats as much as possible as these are harmful to our cardiovascular system, avoid some "bad" food combinations, choose quality foods whenever possible, and, above all, enjoy life and eat in a pleasant and friendly environment, because that is important too. We must also learn to be wary of "food gurus". Nutrition is a science, and any kind of diet must first be consistent with all available scientific nutritional knowledge. There are too many dogmatic, dull, restrictive and moralizing nutritional methods that isolate their adepts in a limited way of thought without their even being aware of it. Closed and monolithic systems that assert that they alone possess the truth do not lead to people's fulfilment, but rather to their confinement.
Bruno Comby is both a leading scientist and environmentalist, who is striving to propose a constructive, open, new and revolutionary nutritional approach. He proposes but does not impose, he simply orientates us towards better dietary habits, and, as a result, we can all apply dietary environmentalism and benefit from a better diet in our own environment. Company managers who eat at the restaurant every day for business, mothers who prepare meals for the whole family, students on a strict budget, single men or women with no time to cook, sportsmen wanting to improve their performance, all these people will benefit from this book.
This new diet goes beyond just nutritional aspects, it connects us to a greater ecological awareness and this also means greater importance granted to environmentalism by society as a whole.
This book is not just a theoretical work, but above all a practical guide that is easy to understand, filled with examples and enlivened with delightful drawings by Moebius, an artist of genius, whose interest in environmentalism and support of Bruno Comby's ideas is well-known.
We have neglected and sacrificed our health and quality of life for years, emprisoned as we were in artificial life habits, in the name of immediate pleasure and productivity. From this point of view, nutrition and gastronomy were considered as the short-term satisfaction of a vital need. It is high time that we take longer-term effects into account in our choices, as well as the qualitative effects of the foods we eat on our bodies.
Bruno Comby is a kind person, full of good sense, who has been pursuing his research over years through adversity, promoting a simple raw diet in a world more prone to hear about easy artificial pleasure through cooking, modern gastronomy (especially in France) and other pleasurable artificial adulterations of foodstuffs. He manages a prevention and nutrition research laboratory and brought together considerable scientific evidence backing his theories. In the following pages he invites you to share his wide scientific and human experience of dietary environmentalism. Read this book carefully and you will not be disappointed, as it can really help you to live better. It is at the heart of the environmentalist debate, and this is why I hope that reading this book will make you want to apply its guiding lines in your daily life, to enhance your vitality, health, and well-being, as well as your performance and efficiency.
If we want to be of some use during our brief passage on earth, we would be wise, before wanting to change other people, to change ourselves first. When we have all learnt to live better, a little corner of the planet will be a better place, and we can then, all together, advance towards a better world.