When I was 15 someone told me that someone they knew lived near a slaughterhouse and a pig farm. The slaughterhouse would come pick up the pigs every 2 weeks. Apparently, the pigs would start screaming the night before, because they knew they were going somewhere bad. Now that story is probably completely false, but it hit a nerve. I researched what kind of intelligence pigs had and decided to stop eating pork. I haven’t eaten pork since I was 15. I’ve watched Food Inc., which also struck a chord. Watching chickens get turned into pink sludge for McDonald’s chicken nuggets got to me. (The reason I don’t recommend pork at the beginning of an elimination diet is because Dad is sensitive to it, and I’ve read it’s not uncommon to be sensitive to pork but not to beef and chicken. It’s not for any reason but that).
What do you do if you’ve chosen to be a vegetarian or a vegan for the sake of animals wellbeing?
I’ve been asked this question a number of times, so here goes.
1. How sick are you? Are you overweight? Are you exhausted all the time? Do you have an autoimmune disorder? Do you have severe acne? Are you mentally ill?
- Caring for animals and how they’re treated is important. But it’s not as important as caring for yourself. From what I’ve read, (and a huge amount of anecdotal evidence including completely changing my dad’s and my life), meat is necessary to be healthy. You can’t replace it with other sources of protein without making yourself sicker. Soy is off the table completely (and even harder on men), dairy isn’t an option, and legumes are incredibly difficult to digest and likely to cause problems. So what are you going to take care of? Your body? If not, why don’t you deserve it? Why shouldn’t you be treated as well as you can be treated? If you have severe depression or an autoimmune disorder I don’t think there should be a doubt about what you need to do. Your diet is potentially killing you. Do you deserve to suffer and die to avoid animal suffering?
- From my dad’s book, “treat yourself as if you were someone you are responsible for helping”. If your best friend was sick, or even wasn’t in as good of shape as they could be, would you tell them to keep suffering or to eat what’s good for them? If you had a kid who had an autoimmune disorder, would you keep them vegetarian for the sake of the animals? Hopefully not. Why don’t you deserve the same treatment?
2. Be aware of where your meat comes from
- Buying meat that comes factory farm is completely avoidable. I stopped buying meat from factory farms shortly after I stopped eating pork. It was SLIGHTLY more expensive, but it made me feel better. The way they treat animals in factory farms is horrible. There’s no question about it. The answer isn’t to not eat meat and suffer health problems, the answer is to get your meat elsewhere.
- Find a Mennonite butcher and buy from them. They’ll usually do larger orders of meat to save money as well.
- Find a local butcher and buy from them
3. You can avoid factory farmed meat AND save money
- This requires a bit of work. Find a local butcher (or google “1/2 a cow” or “1/4 of a cow”. You should be able to purchase a large quantity of grass-fed antibiotic and hormone free beef at an equivalent price to factory farmed meat. You may need to invest in a deep freeze to do this.
- Buy cheaper cuts. Chicken is cheaper than beef, and if you’re concerned about price, eat chicken. It’s still better than not eating any meat.
- Avoiding factory farmed meat isn’t just about the wellbeing of the animals, it’s also not going to be as high-quality meat (hormones, fed corn, etc.)
4. You can always go back to being a vegetarian/vegan
- Do the elimination diet, reintroduce beef and chicken, and see how you feel. After a month, make up your mind yourself. But you can’t do the elimination diet without eating meat.
5. Doesn’t meat cause heart disease and cancer?
- No. It really doesn’t at all. I don’t have time to get into that (comment if anyone needs information about that or if I should make a post about it). Follow Shawn Baker on Instagram. He’s constantly posting studies linking meat to health, and showing studies that have been done badly and that ended up coming to the wrong conclusion (and harming people). He’s more on top of the research than I am.
6. Animals on farms wouldn’t really exist if we didn’t eat them
- This feels like a cheap point, but I’m going to make it anyway. If everyone stopped eating meat, we wouldn’t have cows and chickens. They’d be eaten by carnivores and wouldn’t exist anymore. Hell, we’ve already killed off the mammoths by eating them all. Is it better that we don’t eat them and they don’t exist?
If you avoid factory farming, I don’t believe that there’s anything morally wrong with eating animals. In fact, if you’re harming yourself by not eating meat, I think there’s something morally wrong with that. If you are unable to avoid eating factory farmed meat because of cost, or where you live, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Factory farming is horrible, but if that’s what you need in order to be healthy, that’s what you need.
- You deserve to eat healthily, and avoiding meat is probably killing you
- You can avoid factory farmed meat and save money doing it
- If you’re worried about animal suffering, buy from butchers and farmers and avoid factory farmed meat (1/4 of a cow saves money)
- Chicken is cheaper than beef. If that’s all you can manage, start with reintroducing chicken into your diet.
- You can’t do the elimination diet and see a really positive change in your health without eating meat. (That being said, removing grains, sugar and cutting out dairy would help, but it won’t fix all of your issues, and you need to eat more than that!)
Reminder: I am not vetting comments. I am randomly going on the blog when I have time, responding to the ones that are most recent (at the top), and then doing it again later. I’ve had questions about where people’s comment are – I’m not ignoring you, I just can’t keep up. I enjoy the comments! If you have comments or concerns about eating meat, post below and I’ll try to get to them.