Friday, April 8, 2011

Don't think twice it's alright.

This blog post is a bit of a departure. I have stumbled onto a old
issue that has become once again important, so bear with me.

I have been on a "get healthy" journey since the beginning of March. I
have put myself on a 1500 calorie diet and have been exercising A LOT!
Much of my success (20 pounds in 8 weeks) is due to eating very
limited meat. When I do eat meat, it is either chicken or turkey.
Recently I picked up Michael Pollan's OMNIVORE'S DILEMMA and reread
it. Now I am revisiting a moral dilemma I had earlier in my life. I
was a vegetarian once before. I did eat eggs and cheese but nothing
with a face. Honestly, I only quit because of health issues.

OK, some set up: I believe if you can't face the fact that that lovely
steak you are eating was a cow that had to stand in its own waste or
eat a diet that made it sick, then you shouldn't be eating it. When I
was little, if my mom served a roast chicken and I saw the whole
thing, I would, like clockwork, have an upset stomach that night. Was
my mind trying to tell me something?

If you can't kill it, or milk it, or take it's eggs, are we being honest
about where it came from?

I was into FFA (Future Farmers of America) as a youngster, so I have
killed a chicken, milked a cow, harvested eggs, not to mention
castrated a steer and raised a lamb for inevitable slaughter. The day
I watched my lamb get slaughtered (we were made to watch as part of
the class) was the last day I ate lamb. He was an annoying creature
but I just couldn't eat the poor bugger. My family did, insisting it
was the best lamb they ever tasted (a case for happy animals...happy

Back to the point (I think I have one). I am struggling with our
"humane" forms of slaughter. Some slaughter houses have new "humane"
chutes for the cows that keep them calm. They were designed by Temple
Grandin and she has done some amazing things, but I wonder exactly how
humane *is* "humane" you know?

Sooo . . . I thought I might only buy meat from local farms where the
animals are allowed to move freely and happily through life, eating a
healthy diet of grass and grains --- not their own animal protein. But
they still have to be killed, and in a small farm they certainly don't
have fancy chutes and stun guns. So now what? What was the trade off?

As a side note, in my previous vegetarian incarnation, I loved my
leather shoes because I rationalized that the cows are already dead,
and the hides still had to be used, so I am just helping to fight
against waste . . . Yeah, right Synde. . . denial much? Hey, don't get
me wrong, I still LOVE my leather shoes. Hence the dilemma.

Here is what I have decided to commit to: I will only buy my meat
(still mostly chicken) from local "animal friendly" farms. This will
include cheese as well. I will also have 3 vegetarian days a week,
from breakfast to dinner no animal product at all. For now this is the
best I can do. I am going to check out some of the new meat
substitutes out there like Gardein. We'll see what happens.

I want to make something clear. I have NO ill will towards anyone who
eats meat. I love meat. Man-oh-man, I love me a bacon cheeseburger
once in a while. I just don't know how to have both a yummy-yummy
burger and a shiny happy cow.

So what do you think? I would love to know your thoughts (be nice
please, and no religious discussions --- this is not the right
platform for that).