2011 is a very imporant and dynamic year for me. I completed a challenging cleanse early in the year,and now I find myself contemplating an even larger change, meat or no meat?
A book, Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer, sparked this dilemma ( www.eatinganimals.com) .
Growing up in an agricultural community, it wasn’t uncommon to have meat three meals a day. It was “healthy”, it made me “strong”, helped me grow taller, etc. There may have been some truth to those claims, but the state of mass-produced meat production is alarming, and arguably doing the opposite, causing sickness and weakness in those that eat it.
I don’t want to preach to the choir, but I do encourage everyone reading this to check out the book(see link above), and educate yourself. Jonathan Foer presents our carnivorous tendencies from both sides of the fence, avoiding a Michael Moore-esque steamrolling point of view. The topic of eating animals is a touchy subject for most, and honestly, one of the topics I have thought about least. I consider myself an educated person, but I haven’t taken the time in 24 years to research the welfare of the animals I eat. I love eating chicken, beef, pork, fish, and generally, most animals. But just because I like the taste of them, doesn’t excuse me from my ignorance of how they are raised, fed, and slaughtered. As a biologist, it would be a fair statement that I enjoy and appreciate animals. But the more I read about farming practices, I also learn how brutal, sadistic, and heartless the process can be. And all for what? Keeping prices of meat cheap? I would rather pay more for meat and eat less of it. I would rather eat a chicken that got to run around and eat bugs, or a pig that got to explore the farm pasture, than pigs and chickens who are raised in polluted and cramped conditions.
We are lucky to live in a part of the world where we, as consumers, have more buying power and choices than we realize. Our diets are so varied, partially due to a globalized economy, but also in conjunction with the plethora of cultural diversity present in Canada. When we have some beautiful ingredients and products to choose from, why do we not have much choice with regards to how chickens and other meats are raised. By buying these products in Safeway and other grocery stores, we’re giving our consumer stamp of approval that it’s ok to raise animals in their own filth and pump them full of hormones and antibiotics that eventually leech into our water supply and food chain.
So what? Well if I have the power to say yes or no, I feel compelled to say no. I want to eat those animals, but I want to make a stand for not only my health, but for animal welfare. The reason I have occasionally made fun of vegetarians is solely based on the mystery factor. I never really understood how they survived or how they were nourished without meat. As I continue to explore health and cooking, I am amazed daily, at the level of creativity and excitement of vegetarian food. I can survive on oatmeal for breakfast with hemp hearts and blueberries, rice and lentils and vegetables for lunch, and a nice pasta for dinner. I can still eat desserts. I’m not going to die without meat. Actually, there’s a good possibility that my health will improve. I have had hypothyroidism for over 8 years now, and a couple of food sensitivities. I owe it to my body to give it a break, even though it will require me to cook more at home, it will give me a creative avenue.
Thanks for listening to my rant. This is where I am at. There are a lot of restaurants in Victoria that celebrate farm to table cooking, and I highly encourage supporting these establishments,especally those that boast ethically raised meats from local farms.
Has anyone else been thinking about eating less meat or going veggie? I would appreciate stories and thoughts on the topic.