Why Vegan-ISH?

When I was about six or seven I made a choice not to eat veal after I learned how horrific their short little lives were.

I was basically a vegetarian for most of my life, but not hardcore about it. I went through phases.

I would occasionally eat chicken and turkey, but it ‘creeped’ me out, so I didn’t eat it that often. Once or twice a year I would have a cheeseburger and feel like crap after. Maybe once or twice a year I would eat a steak and again, be totally debilitated after, but I never really thought that much about it.

The choice not to eat veal was an animal cruelty issue, but the choice to not eat, or infrequently eat, other meat was more based on how I felt during and after eating it.

It wasn’t until after I started blogging and researching topics for my blog that I discovered how bad eating meat is.

Here is what I wrote in Spring of 2010……”To be vegan would be fabulous, but for me, not realistic ………yet. For now, I do occasionally give the kids chicken and turkey – no read meat. We also eat dairy. When I do give the kids meat or dairy products, I’m very careful what brands I purchase. It’s our responsibility as consumers to make sure those animals are treated humanely. It we don’t buy eggs from non-free range, free roaming chickens, producers will have to start letting their chickens roam. For those of us who are still consuming animal products, let’s do so in a humane and responsible way. Ask questions, demand higher standards”.

So, here’s what’s changed. I now know that no matter how much a dairy farmer loves his cows, it doesn’t hide the fact that the poor cows are continually inseminated to keep them making babies so they will produce milk. Their babies are taken away from them within a day of being born. Cows have been found miles away from their barn to find their baby (and they do know exactly which baby is theirs). The males are taken to crates to be raised as veal. Not allowed to walk, move or barely eat. They often get ill because they are so hungry they eat their own excrement. And forget about eating meat! I didn’t eat that much before, but after watching Earthlings (which I highly recommend), I could never eat another piece of meat.

Another reason I am vegan-ISH, is that milk consumption gives me “the willies”. We are the only species to drink another species lactation. GROSS! I remember an old babysitter of mine complaining that the other mom she worked for would pump her milk then give it to the sitter in a bottle to feed the baby. She could feel that the milk was still warm and was really disturbed by that. She’s not the only one who thinks that’s gross. People in this country go crazy about women who nurse their babies “too long”, and many people think it’s “unnatural”. Yet, those same people drink milk from a cow? Grown men and women all over the world are essentially still nursing, only it’s not their mommies milk, it’s a cows. I mean, really think about that for a second because it’s crazy.

Meat and dairy is not only bad for animals, it’s terrible for the environment. The international meat industry generates roughly 18% of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions—even more than transportation—according to a report last year from the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Much of that comes from the nitrous oxide in manure and the methane that is, as the New York Times delicately put it, “the natural result of bovine digestion.” Methane has a warming effect that is 23 times as great as that of carbon, while nitrous oxide is 296 times as great.

Finally, meat and dairy consumption is also awful for our health. First, the obvious risk of contracting salmonella. Chickens are kept in such horrendous living conditions that salmonella is a huge risk I’m not willing to take. Meat and dairy products are pumped with antibiotics, steroids, and growth hormones that we later ingest. Girls are now reaching puberty as early as 8! Animals also release cortisol and adrenalin before they are painfully milked and slaughtered. We then ingest that as well. We take in all of their fear and pain. Even if you don’t believe that we are consuming their energy (which I do), you must at least realize we are taking in the chemicals their bodies produce. I feel a lot more relaxed since I gave it all up. I truly feel a huge difference. Take some time to read, or read about, the China Study. The links to cancer cannot be ignored.

This one page could easily turn into a book, so I’m going to stop now. The bottom line is there are a million reasons not to eat meat and dairy and not that many to continue eating meat and dairy. Maybe you think it tastes good, or it’s convenient, but for me, those reasons just doesn’t outweigh how harmful it is to animals, the environment and our health.