Have you ever had a moment where something really just rang a bell in your mind? Where something inside you went “ding” and you thought, “It’s time I tried that.” It’s often something you’ve been thinking about for a while and you’ve been thinking to yourself, “You know, I should really try that sometime.” When you have the thought of “should” in your mind, eventually should turns into “must”, the bell dings within you and you do what you say you should try. Should’ve, could’ve, must’ve and eventually turns into I’m going to try that right now.
I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries like this ever since I came back from my Colorado vacation in October 2011. When I was in Colorado, I was introduced to Whole Foods and organic eating. I was still an omnivore at the time. When I came back from vacation and went grocery shopping, I switched to almost all organic eating, meat, fruits, vegetables, dairy, the works. Not everything was organic, but I would say 90% of what I was eating was organic. At the same time I started watching a lot of documentaries like “Kitchen Rescue”, “Food Matters”, “Forks Over Knives”, “Food, Inc.” and “Raw For Life.” I’m waiting for another one to come out called “Hungry For Change” which will premiere on March 21, 2012.
I enjoy watching these shows because it’s changed the way I look at food. Most of these documentaries are available on Netflix and instantly available on the instant queue if you have a streaming-enabled TV or a gaming system like a Playstation, Nintendo Wii or an Xbox 360 like Pete and I have. The information is at your fingertips. The question is, will you watch these documentaries, will they change how you feel about food, or will you walk out of the room when it’s on? Anytime I turn on one of these shows, Pete leaves the room. He can’t stand watching them. He’s watched one or two with me, and it’s like listening to them makes his skin crawl and he just wants to leave the room. These documentaries opened my eyes to what is in food such as genetically modified soybeans and corn. If you’re not eating organic versions of these, then chances are good you’re eating a genetically modified version—in other words, not in its organic state. These soybeans and corn are then fed to the cows, pigs and chickens to fatten them up quickly for slaughter. Cows are meant to eat grass and not these genetically modified foods. Genetically modified is also another way of saying cheaper production. If we can genetically modify a product we can produce it more rapidly and in a cheaper way because we can control its production. We are not only consuming the genetically modified soybeans in process foods that we buy, but they’re in the meat you’re eating as well.
Did you know that cows and chickens don’t stand around all day grazing on grass and basking in the sun? Nope, they stand around in their own fecal products in mega-crowded, dirty barns and coupes and are given antibiotics so that they don’t keep getting sick. Along with the genetically modified foods, these antibiotics and fecal products also wind up in the meat you’re eating.
These poorly treated animals are slaughtered and right before slaughter they experience fear which produces the hormone cortisol which effectively also winds up in the meat that you’re eating. If someone was going to kill you, you’d probably experience high levels of hormonal changes as well. So the genetically modified foods, feces, antibiotics and hormones are all in that package of steaks that you picked up at the grocery store. Having a side of non-organic corn with that as a vegetable or some steak sauce that contains soybean oil that’s not organic? Congratulations, you’re also eating the same diet that your main dead dinner course ate! Doesn’t that make you feel great? Go ahead, give me your reasoning that I hear all the time: “But Sara, it tastes good. And I’m not giving it up.” It’s your choice if you want to walk out of the room.
If you think that being vegetarian is much better then I disagree with you. Yes, you’re not eating the meat which is really good. However you’re still eating the animal by-products which have been altered by the animal’s diet. By continuously buying products from dairy and egg farms, you’re going to continue to support the farmer who is going to send that animal to slaughter when it is unable to produce the byproducts anymore that you are eating and drinking.
Vegetarians out there, did you know that cow you’re drinking milk from was injected with hormones to induce the animal to artificially produce milk when the cow hasn’t produced a calf to provide milk to? Cows, just like humans, are meant to produce milk after a baby or, in this case, a baby calf, is born in order to feed the calf. That milk is meant to grow the baby calf to become about nine times it’s initial size. If you’re a human, why are you drinking milk meant for a baby calf? And what’s worse is why are you drinking milk from a cow that was injected with hormones to produce milk in its udders so farmers can sell it to you to drink? The cow’s udders are sensitive and they aren’t meant to be milked for money. I know, I know, you drink milk because it tastes good. It tastes good because it’s all you know. After birth you may drink your mothers breast milk and then are switched to cow’s milk. You know why it’s hard to give up cow’s milk? Because it’s all you’ve known for years. Are you open to giving plant milks a try? Oh Sara, I could never drink those. They taste nasty. They taste gross at first just like anything new because you’re not used to the flavor. If you’ve never eaten something before doesn’t it taste funky a first? Sure it does because you aren’t used to it. If you’ve been drinking cow’s milk for 20 or 30 years, it may take a few days to get used to drinking plant milk at first. But just like anything, are you willing to give it chance? Cow’s milk is meant to make a calf grow to nine times its original size. Are you a baby calf to grow to become nine times your original size? Are you now a full-sized cow? If you are a cow and reading this, then props to you because last time I checked cows couldn’t read and humans weren’t meat to drink calf milk…they were meant to drink human breast milk until they were ready to be weaned off and from there food can do the rest.
Let’s turn the tables for one minute and say that you’re a man and woman, married, with two kids. Let’s says cows go on strike and are standing outside factory farms with signs saying, “We’re not giving you our milk anymore.” The man looks at his wife and says, “Well we can’t get dairy milk anymore, so you’re our only option.” So the man takes his wife to a scientist and demands the following: “Please develop a hormone that will artificially produce milk in my wife’s breasts even though she’s not pregnant, then we can hook her breasts up to a milking machine, milk her and produce milk for our family, the rest of our world and maybe we’ll have enough for the cows to drink. This could be the latest craze if other men catch on!” Sound crazy? If you wouldn’t demand that of your wife, then why buy milk from a farmer’s cow? Because it tastes good? Really? Give something else a shot and be open to change. It tastes good because it’s acceptable by society because it’s all we know. If we all gave plant milk a chance it might also catch on and taste good and maybe someday that will be promoted instead of unnecessarily milking a non-impregnated cow or even better, your non-pregnant wife!
Animals have no rights because they can’t speak up for themselves. They are still beings who experience feelings like love and fear and they also have brains. Since they can’t communicate with us through language we take away their rights and invade them. All animals, including your pet cat or dog have brains, beating hearts and experience feelings. Would you eat your cat or dog for dinner? I’m guessing if you knew that your cat or dog was going to experience fear right before slaughter, you’d try and defend it. But would you defend a cow or chicken before slaughter? No you probably wouldn’t. Would you pump your cat, dog or even your wife up with hormones and drink their milk when they weren’t pregnant? As a grown adult, would you drink it right from the nipple? My guess would be no. My guess also would be that even if your wife had a baby, you’d leave the milk for the baby. You wouldn’t take your wife out to a cow farm and let a cow suck on her breasts to drink her milk for no reason, would you? No you wouldn’t. You’d tell me, “Well my wife’s milk is meant for our child.” And you’d be 100% right. So if a mother’s milk is meant specifically for their offspring, then why are you drinking cow milk that was meant for a baby calf? Because it tastes good? Please. Again, you do it because it’s what you’ve done for years and it’s all you know.
What keeps the vicious cycle going? Marketing and advertising and the government all keep this vicious cycle going. If the government turned around one day and made an announcement that eating organic plants, vegetables, fruits and drinking organic plant-based milks and and even better more water was the best thing we could do for ourselves do you know how many people would jump on the bandwagon? Yep, lots of people would. We need a leader in our lives and why not follow the leader that we pay our tax dollars to? After all, they know what’s in our best interest right? We couldn’t possibly know. We keep eating animals and dairy because the US government says we need to. Milk campaigns tell us we need to drink cow milk for calcium and eat animals for protein.
If the US government said jumping off of a 20 story high rise skyscraper with no parachute or net to catch you would do wonders for your health, would you do it? Or would you think to yourself, “Hey, maybe the US government doesn’t know what the best thing is for me.” The US government wants you to keep eating cows and drinking cow milk so that it can get tax dollars from large food corporations that care nothing about your health or the animal’s health. The US government will gladly encourage you to keep eating genetically modified foods like soy beans so that it can benefit from large corporations like Monsanto. For the record the US government is never going to tell you to jump off of a high rise because it would be good for your health. They’d never recommend it because then they wouldn’t get your tax dollars to keep this vicious cycle going.
We’re hurting our animals and in turn we wind up affecting our health and well being because it’s all we know how to do. My goal in this post is to open your eyes to what’s actually in your food and to encourage you to watch one of these documentaries if don’t have time to read this extremely long post. I got all of my information from watching these videos. I have more information to give you, but I feel this is way more than enough for right now. If you watch just one of these documentaries then I’ve done my job. It’s obviously your decision what you do with the information. You can get up and leave the room even though you know what’s in your food which can affect chronic diseases and how you feel every day. I can’t imagine not wanting to protect yourself from heart disease, high cholesterol, heart attacks, cancer, strokes, migraines, etc. by changing how you eat simply because you’re not open to change. For the sake of your family and friends and your own health, please don’t walk out of the room if someone you know is watching a documentary like this. Please don’t turn a blind eye. You can keep promoting the vicious cycle of giving animals an inhumane life by eating their byproducts or eating the actual animal. I hope this post or these documentaries also opens up your heart. If we stopped eating meat and drinking dairy milk and eating chicken eggs (which I didn’t talk much about in this post) and even better stopped eating the animals themselves, we would promote wellness for animals and stop supporting food corporations. Animals like cows, pigs and chickens are the same as your dog or cat or parakeet or your wife or kids at home. At the end of the day, we all have brains, hearts that beat and and experience feelings like love and fear.
I hope a bell rings in your heart and mind and that you’ll think about how you can help stop the vicious cycle of killing animals. It’s better for their health and also better for your health too. If you wouldn’t eat or drink from your own wife or dog, then why would you drink from a cow? Really, why not go visit a dairy farm, get down on the ground and drink directly from the cow’s udder? After your thirst has been quenched, take a taser and stun the animal and then stick the knife deep inside it. Following the slaughtering of the cow, grill it up in a pan and eat it for dinner. Would you do that to your pet or your wife? No I’m guessing not. And you’d never do that to the cow directly because that would be too difficult or painful or worse even, inhumane. Instead you’ll drive to the grocery store and pick up a gallon of pasteurized cow milk and a package of sirloin steaks because it’s easier to let someone else do the dirty work. It’s too difficult to watch the slaughter happen right in front of your eyes. And surely it’s disgusting to drink right from the cow’s udder. You’d probably rather drink it from a glass. Right?
I was no different than you. I ate steak and drank cow milk and ate eggs and never thought about what was really in my food or the animals I was hurting. Watching documentaries like “Food Matters” opened my eyes to what was in my food which made me switch to mostly organic foods. I went to a party at Christmas time that served nothing but vegan food and was meant to open some awareness to veganism and show that you won’t miss anything by going vegan. It showed me that I could still enjoy the food I was eating before, in a different way of cooking. In February I officially tried going vegan for two weeks. Then I had planned on switching back to my old ways if I didn’t enjoy it. It didn’t take me that long to get used to the change. I liked it so much that I switched to being a full organic eating vegan. My vegan journey took me a while to get to. I didn’t just switch over night. It took a lot of research and took me coming to a lot of realizations that the meat I was consuming and the dairy I was drinking wasn’t good for me.
Going vegan has not only opened my eyes to eating a plant strong diet eventually it opened an awareness to the animals I had formerly eaten. I felt more compassion for animals, the ones I have as pets and the ones I will never eat or drink from again. Veganism is about eating plant based foods but it’s also about respecting the lives of others. It’s been a process and journey and didn’t happen overnight which is why I say you have to be open to change and giving a lifestyle like this one a fair chance. My change started in October of 2011 and it’s taken me 5 months to get to where I’m able to write this blog post for you today. Once a bell dinged inside me, a light came on and I started to become more aware of food in general.
I hope this information makes a bell ding inside of you, opens your eyes and heart to animals and also your own health.
If you respect the life of your pets and your wife or husband, then why not respect farm animals? How are they any different from us? I encourage you to just give this a little thought.
With love for you, your family, your health and well being, your animals and all other animals out there, this blog post is dedicated to you!
Well said Sara!
Ok, here’s my two cents. Your objective would be to have more people become more open minded and at least take some steps towards a plant based diet?
To do this, you go for the “shock” value.. eating your pets and drinking your wife’s milk. “This is outrageous!” the reader thinks. But, they read! You’ve got them hooked. And while they are hooked, maybe they will leave with one or two thoughts that will lead to a new habit.
But, there may be a danger to this as well. You don’t want to be viewed as an “extremist”. You don’t want to be the preacher on the street corner asking people if they are ‘saved”. Like the street preacher, you have really good motives!! He wants to save souls! You want to save lives, or at least make them healthier. Still, most people don’t do well with what they view as extreme positions.
And there is already a certain “militancy” about being a vegan to begin with. For instance, no honey! Do you know how many products use honey? Yes, you probably do as you read labels. Still, oftentimes, it’s not about reduction in consumption, it’s about all-out prohibition. If I cut my animal eating habits by 50%, I would still be considered by the hardcore vegans to still be an omnivore. I would, instead, much rather be thought of as half-vegan! Alas, that is not an option…
So, in converting the masses, a lighter touch may be needed. So how do you do that? How do you take all that you know and present it in a fun, entertaining and less shocking way? Perhaps that is the topic for a future blog.
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Thank you so much for your response to my post. I’m glad you found my blog touching. Thank you for your advice!
It’s great that you are passionate and excited about learning more about where your food comes from. Not many folks in this country are willing to actually act upon those feelings. Our food system has definitely grown far from the mom and pop, backyard, red barn type of food production that many folks relate to their previous generations or books we saw as young kids. But that change doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I have a bone to pick with this documentaries you mentioned because they are out for the emotional pull, taking snapshots of food production systems and narrating them to shout a message that is not accurate.
I am a farm kid from Arkansas, grew up on a family farm, raising cattle, hogs, chickens, and horses. Most all of my meat and many vegetables came from my family’s pastures and gardens or we bartered with our neighbors. So I understand how awesome fresh, local food is compared to the items found on the shelf of a grocery store. But I also know what happens in “factory farms”. I’ve been there, worked in several cattle feedlots and these documentaries picturing animal conditions completely misrepresent what happens across the board.
I could leave a lengthy comment sharing my experience, but I do that in my blog on a regular basis and am always up to post questions directly from readers, so please send me some if you’d like. agricultureproud.com
Bottom line, I know that there are some conditions like represented in these films, but they do not represent the entire livestock farming community. We care about the animals in our care, the conditions in which they live, and the ultimate quality of the food that ends up on customers’ plates.