World-Building Wonders – Turning Food into Religion

Worldview and world-building are two of my favorite aspects of speculative fiction, and I’m super-excited to dive deeply into both subjects this year.

As a part of that, each Friday will be a time for World-Building Wonders! *cue music*

I’ll be featuring a speculative fiction author speaking about some awesome aspect of their unique world and the real-world stuff they researched/developed to bring that aspect to life.  Tune in each week for exciting world-building and worldview concepts!

This week, I’m diving into the pool first, with one of the religions I created for Treda, the world of The Eimiror Accords.


The Green Line is a religion practiced by many Phytaens. Like the other races on Treda, Phytaens are basically humanoid, with a unique quirk. In their case, four leaves growing out of their shoulder blades.

Phytaen Male

by Julia Busko

Phytaens live in equatorial rain forests, and identify a lot with plants. Thus, the Green Line is a religion that deifies the process of growth.

I borrowed a few concepts from pagan religions for this, as well as a few eastern mysticism concepts. However, a major inspiration for the Green Line was some of the diet crazes that have swept through American culture. Food consumption is a central part of the Green Line. Since Phytaens can photosynthesize through their leaves, they need roughly half the calories of a human, and many are particular about those calories. In particular, the Green Line sees choices in food harvesting and consumption as an vital way to respect and revere Treda.

The paleo diet focuses on trying to eat like the primitive cavemen did. This is supposed to be healthier for us because it is closer to what our evolutionary ancestors ate. It also focuses on the concept of a hunter-gatherer diet. While the Green Line adherents are vegetarian, they believe that they should only eat the simplest of foods. They also believe that only foods that can be gathered from the same location should be eaten together. This creates very unique (and sometimes unpalatable) flavor combinations.

The raw food diet espouses eating raw food due to the belief that they have the highest level of nutrients and enzymes. At the very most, foods are permitted to be barely warmed, and they may be dehydrated.

Adherents to the Green Line also eat raw foods for nutritional reasons. They also do not cultivate dairy or eggs, because that would be enslaving  a creature of Treda. In addition, starting fires in a forest always sets them on edge (and considering the sultry climate rain forests, isn’t necessary). However, with modern solar and hydro technologies, there have been sects of the Green Line that do permit the use of food dehydrators.

Phytaen Female

by Julia Busko

One of the reasons Greenliners can keep to these religious principles is that they live in very fertile rain forests. The Separate Peace, an enforced cultural segregation, has also preserved the old ways. However, with the rising insurgency, adherents may have to choose between their religion and survival.

Thanks for stopping by! Tune in next week for a special feature by Kat Heckenbach on the interplay of magic and science in world-building. And if you’d like your world-building featured (along with your book or WIP), please contact me. There are still spaces available!

5 Comments on “World-Building Wonders – Turning Food into Religion

  1. What a fun idea!! I’m really looking forward to reading more about other writers’ worlds! I write primarily high fantasy, and world building is one of my favorite parts. 🙂

    • I’m glad to meet a fellow world-building enthusiast! Please feel free to contact me with any cool things you have to share, or if you need to bounce ideas. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy the journey!

  2. Janeen, this is a great idea and a fantastic way to introduce people to different cultures within your novels! I may have to borrow your concept of blogging cultural aspects for an upcoming release of my own. This is just fascinating….

    • Thanks! I’m excited to share what I and other authors are dreaming up. Borrow away! That’ll give me all the more awesome cultural things to read and share. And if you’re looking for another platform to share about your book and culture, send me an email and I’ll be happy to feature your stuff!

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