Friday, January 15, 2016

not eating animals--what is that called?

hi there, my friends.

when i really dug into this organic lifestyle about a year ago, i experimented eating vegan, but it didn't last since i felt it was unbalanced. however i concluded that factory farming was inhumane and stopped eating most factory farmed animal foods. i would eat some amish farm eggs (still factory-esque) and organic cheeses. but i've recently been reading and learning a lot more about animals and the concept of eating them and it's caused me to stop eating them at all. (hmm--with the exception of raw, local honey.) i know i've said recently and many times in my life that i don't identify as vegan. but actually, for all intents and purposes, i am vegan. i may need to just come to terms with the label.

i really fully believe that animals, at this point in humankind's evolutionary journey, do not need to be and should not be eaten in the quantities they are eaten. it's unrealistic to expect everyone on the planet to go vegan or even vegetarian. but i do think a social shift in the direction of just generally eating more plants and less animals products is realistic and even economical.

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back when we were hunting and gathering, many humans were primarily herbivores throughout the year, with the exception of a lucky slaughter when everyone in the community feasted on a kill. (it's worth pointing out that the quality of meat from a wild animal is vastly different from even an organic grass-fed farmed one, my paleo friends.)

i learned in my anthropology class last year that the advent of cooked meat into the human diet is largely responsible for the increased size of our brain that allowed us to excel beyond competing species such as neanderthals. and that human populations exploded when we began drinking cow's milk because we were able to obtain a dense amount of calories that included ideally balanced portions of fat, protein, and carbohydrates from a single food source. and cheese made things even better since it stayed fresh even longer than milk. i understand why meat and dairy are so important to so many people. dairy has been with us for 10,000 years and meat, millions.

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but it's 2016. and factory farms are a thing. in fact, factory farms are the source of 99% of the meat and dairy privileged, first-world folks consume, including most of you reading this post. and if you believe animals are sentient, dignified creatures, then you can rightly view factory farms as lifelong concentration camps and torture chambers. animals that are factory farmed for food exist only to make corporations rich. their numbers and populations would not exist like they are now if they were allowed to naturally breed in the wild or even on small scale farms. their pain, misery, and confusing suffering, are not even a tiny concern to the corporations that own them and view them as inventory.

the bottom line is that animals don't have voices and can't speak up for themselves. and not a single animal would choose the life of being factory farmed and killed. not a single one. animals bred for food are just as deserving of life and dignity as cats and dogs and it IS hypocritical to defend cats and dogs and still eat factory farmed animal products.

the irony is that while people eat these animal products, it slowly kill them. and unfortunately, animal agriculture is destroying the earth, too. exhibit a) animal agriculture is a major contribution to climate change. exhibit b) our oceans are overfished (90% of the ocean's large fishes have disappeared in the last 50 years). exhibit c) forests are literally disappearing from the earth to make way for cattle farming.

so i really do think that while meat and dairy were wonderful initially (prior to factory-farming) since they allowed humans to excel as a species, we're at a point where continuing to consume the amount of animal products at the rate we're consuming them is definitely doing us more harm than good. it's doing our health more harm than good. it's doing the planet more harm than good. and it's unarguably doing animals much more harm than good.

i believe that as the human population continues to grow, sustainable, economical living will mean growing our own food. and i don't mean going to farmer's markets. i mean growing food gardens in our own backyards and largely eating what grows near where we sleep. i don't say this romantically. i say this practically. learning about plants and gardens and growing our own food will again become common knowledge, something that children learn young and that people will need to know as much as literacy.

so i'm living my life with a focus on eating whole plant foods as nutrient dense as possible. and hopefully i can share this lifestyle with love and not judgment.

and if you want to be disturbed but also learn about how gross the dairy industry is, watch this.

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