What's it mean?
KOS is a Greek island in the Dodecanese chain (as you’d guessed). The place was a big deal in classical Greek history, its ancient marketplace one of the largest in the known world and a swinging Aegean destination for the laurel-leaf-and-toga set. KOS’ flowing, translucent coae vestes dresses were the envy of the Roman Empire, and the island was a great center of learning through its provincial affiliation with Alexandria; the Egyptian city whose legendary library was the largest in the ancient world.
The little isle, 25 miles long and a scant 5 miles wide, made its mark the easy way; by offering much, welcoming all, shrugging off turmoil, and giving of itself. KOS was a known bastion of peace in the Aegean Sea at a time when peace was not the default. Kinda cool.
Oh, and KOS is the birthplace of Hippocrates—the ancient Greek health enthusiast, and today’s anointed “Father of Medicine”.
Hey, we really like Hippocrates, the island’s most famous habitué and antiquity’s chief surgeon and diagnostician. We dig the simplicity and purity of the Hippocratic approach to health. We’re moved by the primacy of his instruction to “do no harm”, and wowed by his forward-seeing oath;
At KOS, we know that pursuing the right “dietary regimen” is deeply and happily connected to “doing no harm”. The joining of these two notions can change the world. We’re sure of it. In fact, we’re on it. So we went ahead and co-opted the name of Hippocrates’ home—thanking our lucky stars he wasn’t born in Great Neck, New Jersey.
So, yeah—The World. Big subject.
At KOS, our goal is unapologetically lofty: we want to feed it. The world, that is. And we know how to do it, too. Yes, you heard right.
Feed. The World.
No, we at KOS are not prancing know-it-alls dressed entirely in green velveteen.
Well. Not all of us, anyway. Here’s the deal:
Feast and Famine, Frankly
Food. It’s all about getting the sun into your body, right? The energy that infuses and drives all of Life comes from a ball of fire some 93 million miles away. This is grade school biology, not tie-dyed philosophy.
Sunlight bathes the Earth, plant eats sun, cow eats plant, we eat cow.
Yeah, it’s the long road to ingesting the sun’s energy. “So…why not just eat the plant?”
1Don’t talk crazy and
2We’ll get to that in a minute.
Energy is simple. It’s food that is complicated, but only if you’re a complicated animal. Like, say…a human being? From the Blue Whale to the paramecium, eating is surviving. But if you have opposable thumbs, 6000 known languages, and an outer layer fastened on with zippers and buttons, food is a ritual. And at this moment the ritual is killing us.
Over 70% of U.S. adults—classified as those aged 20 and older—are overweight. Around 35% of U.S. adults are clinically obese, and those numbers are rising like a runaway escalator. If you look at a graph showing the rate of obesity’s ascent since 1990, it’s an alarming 45-degree angle. If you had to walk up a slope that steep you would be—statistically—gasping for breath by the halfway mark. What comes with obesity? Let’s sing it together; diabetes, stroke, heart disease, gout, sleep apnea, certain cancers…but you know all this. It’s that Public Service Announcement always in the back of your head—the soundtrack to your second helping.
But food is also famine.
It’s projected that within about 40 years the Earth’s population will reach a staggering 10 billion people; that’s ten-thousand million people, if you really want the color to leave your face. Current food production practices will not be able to “scale” to this population number, and the fast-track science of retooling plant and animal genes to meet future food demand is rushing headlong into twilight territory. GMO’s possible suite of stealth side-effects won’t manifest until years down the line, when gene-mods are so central to the world’s food production, we won’t be able to extricate ourselves from the bad news.
KOS knows the food production game can be remodeled, literally from the ground up. You know it, too.
Feeding the world is a problem whose solutions are not terribly glamorous, and do not involve beakers, lab coats, or that buzzing thing from monster movies with the lightning that rushes up between the poles. The unequal distribution, and increasingly depleted condition, of the planet’s arable land, the nutty amount of water, grain and caloric treasure we take out of the human food cycle and pour into cows; it’s awesome in the worst way. Stop dumping grain into livestock tomorrow and pivot to human beings with the plant-based caloric equivalent and you can feed 3.5 billion people.
Meat is monumentally resource-greedy, and an almost comically inefficient use of caloric energy. It’s sort of like trying to cure your headache by feeding the family dog a bowl of aspirin, and then eating the dog.
The twin pillars of human nutrition—both globally and individually—are energy and balance.
Somewhat amazingly, obesity and global undernourishment are two sides of the same coin. The closer you get to eating actual sunlight, the more food there is to go around. Around the world, that is. A plant-based diet gets you, the human animal, closer to the dynamo that powers the biosphere, and just incidentally stops the explosive waste of caloric energy that keeps nearly a billion people in a state of daily caloric depletion.
Our Clothes Don’t Fit Either
Look…at KOS, we don’t preach, we don’t judge, we’re not moralists. We’re not gorgeous, iron-pumping gods and goddesses, nor have we performed lightning commando raids on chicken farms. We operate on one stupidly simple premise— everybody in the world deserves basic caloric sustenance. That possibility is maddeningly close. The solution doesn’t start with a somber voice-over and satellite photos of denuded cropland. The solution is you. And me. Us. We want to feel better, we want to look better.
Our role at KOS is to support your
journey—the transition, at your own pace—into a plant-centric nourishment lifestyle that helps the whole wobbly world find its food balance.