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.
Have you looked at any guidelines of research authorities? According to them, your claim of meat beeing vital for health is false:
The American Dietetic Association is the largest organisation of nutritionists/nutrition researchers in the world. According to the following statement, a purely plant based diet is adequate in ALL stages of life, including pregnancy, infancy and as an athlete: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864/
I’m no scientist (yet) but I can’t see how they can be so wrong or corrupt to make such a drastic claim if its false.
Greetings from Germany!
I was a vegetarian for about 10 years when I began to re-introduce meat into my diet. At first it was mainly beef from local farmers (I live in Texas), but eventually I included chicken as well. I almost immediately noticed a substantial change in my overall health. In the seven years since I started eating meat again, I have rarely been sick and my other Auto-Immune related illnesses vanished. The one thing I haven’t been willing to eat again is pork. For years my mostly Mexican neighbors raised pigs and goats and I got extremely sensitive to the idea of eating these highly intelligent creatures. I just can’t bring myself to do it, no matter how they were raised. My question is, is there anything that pork has that cannot be obtained thru eating beef or chicken? I’m perfectly happy with my diet now, but I still wonder if I’m missing out on any essential nutrients or elements contained in pork. thanks for the insight.
You definitely aren’t missing out on any essential nutrients contained in pork, as long as you eat other meats, don’t worry about it!
My daughter bottled fed a day old calf, (she called it Silky) just twice when we were staying on a bed & breakfast farm for a night. 3 years later we went back and walked towards the now fully grown cow who was in with the herd grazing. My daughter walked towards the herd, the farmer and I followed, Silky lifted her head, saw my daughter, walked towards her, climbing over a broken down wall, went right up to her and licked her face. The farmer couldn’t believe it. Cows are highly intelligent, in fact all animals are. I would love to get her to eat meat as her health is appalling, but she refuses and to be honest, I totally understand why.
My family switched to coconut milk or almond milk which made a big difference, but I was wondering about yogurt. How do you think yogurt affects the inflammatory response as it seems to be good for those with celiac or chrones. Cashew milk yogurt seems to work. Thoughts?
Cashews showed up as an IgG response for me, and so did dairy. Yogurt would still set it off.
HI Mikhaila, great post. What are your thoughts on substituting meat for fish ?
I heard for mineral organ meats and shell fish are great. Are there any inflammatory reactions to these? Or do these also need to be organically to get the benefits?
All meat is “organic”. In fact most “organic” products are far worse when it comes to contaminants as compared to their “regular” counterparts as the quality standards are far lower for it, there is basically no check on what’s in them except for the “honour system” of calling yourself an “organic farm”.
Mind, this isn’t always the farm’s fault, but for example “organic” fruit often has extremely high concentrations of chemical pollutants on it. Whether those are sprayed by the orchard operators or blown in from elsewhere (like the orchard being downwind from a chemical plant) can be hard to determine, but that same fruit would likely be illegal to sell were it from a regular orchard.
I am not saying it doesn’t work but it certainly not ethical.
If you think pigs are different from the rest of the animals; try thinking for yourself.
There is not one good diet there are many.
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