People often ask me why I chose farming.
For some reason they take a look at this small frame of mine and can’t imagine this chick has the guts to work on a farm. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen shock in the face of a stranger when I tell him I milk goats…or make cheese…or butcher lambs…or do anything farm-like. No matter who I’m talking to, the fact that I am a farmer (and a girl farmer at that!) finds it’s way into the conversation.
I purchased a wine cooler off of craigslist…to age my homemade cheese. I rummaged through the dollar store…to find plastic bins to grow barley grass for my goats. I called all the meat shops around town to find lard from healthy pigs (and that one ain’t easy!). And let’s not forget the infamous time when I drove my goat in my minivan to her hot date with the neighbor’s goat.
What’s even funnier is that I’ve made some really great farmer friends in the process…and most of them are 60 or older.
Yep, just little ol’ DaNelle.
With some old dude.
I’m not here to talk about the nutritional aspect of whether meat is good or bad for us.
Let’s face it, there are some people who do not think meat is healthy and there are some who think it is. I am on the latter side. I believe that animals (through their meat, organs, milk and bones via broth & gelatin) can provide many nutrients that plants cannot but more importantly I believe that in order for meat to be truly healthy, it must be raised in it’s natural habitat, eating it’s natural diet and NOT ingested excessively. In my opinion, grazing animals should be allowed to well…graze. There is a huge difference between the quality of nutrients in grass-fed, pastured beef & CAFO(Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) beef. The same goes for pastured eggs & CAFO eggs. Not only do the Omega 3 fatty acids rise considerably when an animal is raised in a natural environment, harmful bacteria is greatly diminished. And above all, I think everyone can agree that it’s much kinder for an animal to be raised outside in the fresh air rather than inside with thousands of other animals. Wanna read more about how horrible CAFOs are for our environment, read the book Folks, This Ain’t Normal, by Joel Salatin.
This is why we choose to raise our own meat. I figured (after a period of vegetarianism) that if I was going to eat meat, I’d better learn how to raise and butcher it myself. I didn’t like the idea of being so disconnected from my food and I knew that even if it would be difficult, I needed to see for myself if kindness and farming could go together. My journey to feeling comfortable with eating meat was somewhat spiritual in nature. Many scriptures spoke to me that animals were here for us to care for and partake of.
A newbie farmer learns a hard lesson:
Our very first animal we bought solely for butchering was named Peter. He was an adorable little lamb that had been rejected by his mother and after much coaxing by the owner, was adopted by a reluctant Nubian goat. He came to us at 3 months old willing and ready to eat our entire acre of weeds, grass & clover. Lambs are butchered at around the 1 year mark, and contrary to popular belief, are usually full-grown by this time. Peter spent the spring, summer & fall grazing on our pasture and slowly following in our footsteps. He was probably the kindest animal to ever live, that Peter.
That’s why when butchering season arrived, I choked. I’m not normally one to become so attached to my animals, but Peter was so kind, so gentle, that the thought of butchering him tore at my heart.
I convinced my husband that we should keep him and let him live his life out peacefully on our pasture…
and then 2 weeks later Peter died.
In typical Arizona fashion, the temperature dropped 30 degrees overnight, and it was just too much for our little lamb. Many friends in the area lost their animals to mother nature’s sudden and unexpected turn.
I’ve thought long and hard about Peter’s life and what he taught me.
- I realized that back in traditional times, the loss of Peter would have been much more devastating, especially if he was the only meat that year.
- I realized that I wouldn’t have the luxury of letting him live his life out on our property and purchase meat at the store.
- I realized that Peter probably wouldn’t have lived at all in the beginning due to that mean mother of his.
- I realized that you should always let puppies chew on your ears, no matter how annoying it gets.
- And finally, I realized that if I was going to eat meat, I would need to get serious here about farming.
The next spring we started again, this time with a ewe named Paula, who gave birth to a little lamb we named Peeta. (just because we like to keep names confusing around here).
Peeta was raised by his mother and nursed for 7 months until she weaned him herself by kicking him in the eye whenever he came close. Because we felt bad for the little guy and didn’t want to castrate Peeta, he became so mature that he ended up getting his mom Paula pregnant. You can read the entire soap opera story here.
After that we called the butcher. We wanted to do it ourselves, but we definitely needed to be shown how and here’s what I have to say about my first experience killing an animal for food:
It wasn’t sad at all like I had expected. The best word to describe it was SACRED. The butcher taught us about his Hispanic culture and traditions. The butcher showed us how to kill him fast, how to show respect. He taught us that killing an animal is never funny, that it should be done sparingly, with thankfulness to God for the bounty. What a lesson!
Kindness in Killing?
A couple years back, I saw an episode on Oprah where Alicia Silverstone is talking about her new book, The Kind Diet. Oprah, a meat-eater, asks, “What if the cow is raised on a beautiful pasture with sunshine and birds singing? Would you eat meat then?” to which Alicia replies, “Well, you’d have to show me that cow for me to believe it.”
I wonder if the reason why some people view MEAT as MURDER is really a result of becoming disconnected from our food. Let’s face it, in this modern world it’s pretty rare to come across somebody who’s raised their own animal with love and care and butchered their own meat. Oh sure, we’ve heard of it, we know it happens somewhere far away — but the thought of doing it ourselves? I wonder if we found ourselves back in nature, living off the land, where there are no grocery stores, when we find we couldn’t grow fruits & vegetables year-round, if we could rekindle that connection without disdain.
We would probably realize that what we thought was a natural diet of only plant foods, is really an unbalanced modern interpretation of a healthy diet. We’d soon realized that without the convenience of the produce department at the grocery store, we wouldn’t be able to sustain our lives. We would probably realize that ALL foods — fruits & vegetables, nuts, grains, eggs, dairy & even meat — have their place our human diet. And we’d probably realize that with each sacrifice — whether it be from a plant or an animal — is for the sustainability of our lives.
Does being kind mean we don’t eat anything living? Does being kind mean we need to sacrifice ourselves so that all can live? I’ve often wondered why there has never been a successful traditional society that has practiced veganism. In fact, when Weston A. Price traveled the world in search of traditional diets he searched far and wide for vegans but only found cannibals. I believe our ancestors had more wisdom than we give them credit for. I think their connection to the earth helped them find a balance in their diets. Partaking in all things and giving thanks for the circle of life of which we are a part of.
I understand that this article was mostly about eating meat for health, but we can’t separate health from the environment. Presently, most people don’t raise their own animals and depend on factory farms for their meat and dairy, because not only are most people unable to kill their own animals, but it would be impossible for everyone to raise grass-fed livestock since a good amount of land is necessary and their wouldn’t be enough land for everyone. Therefore, because meat is such a high demand, raising livestock on factory farms is putting a great stress on our environment. It is the number one cause for water contamination, water depletion, air contamination, and deforestation. Many cultures do eat meat, but very rarely (maybe 1-2 times a year), unlike in Europe and the U.S meat and dairy are consumed practically in every meal. Unfortunately, many are adopting this western diet and are increasing their intake of meat and dairy, resulting in an even greater demand. With the increase in population the devastation to the earth will only increase. You mentioned the first time you tried to kill your lamb, Pete, it was very difficult and you couldn’t do it. This is because killing-no matter how humane we think it is, is always a violent act, which inherently and naturally goes against our human conscience. Going against our conscience and believing that as humans we have the right to kill animals, because they are weaker, vulnerable, and defenseless, is what has led to the violence that exists towards women, children, and anyone else who is viewed as weak, vulnerable, and can’t defend themselves. I understand in some parts of the world, very few, people need animals to live, but for the majority of the world, animal consumption is not necessary, especially now that we have discovered that animal agriculture is the main cause for environmental catastrophes (not the only, but the main) and unfortunately it is always the poor who are the first to suffer. So to answer your question, “Does being kind mean we need to sacrifice ourselves so that all can live?” The answer is yes.
Desmond Black says
To be fair, plants are also living organisms. It’s all a matter of perspective. Good luck.
We are on that same journey now. It is hard to love the animals destined for the table, but they deserve no less. Thank you for this post. It helps to see others who are on the same path and finding a way that works.
That I know, very first reference to food made in the Bible, in the book of Genesis, says that after God finished creating the Earth, the animals and Eve and Adam, he told them fruits from trees and plants were their only food… Then they were expelled from Paradise and that’s another story.
Enjoyable article shedding much needed light on myths like the China Study. Cancer is such a complex illness that it angers me when people come up with fast, easy fixes they have no actual evidence to support. I live with a vegan, and I am trying it myself, and we often have discussions about the idea we are supposed to only eat plants. I often cite Eskimo and Masai cultures as evidence to the contrary. I recently watched a doc about how the Inuit used to live and I can only feel great respect for it as I do for those who are going back to raising animals naturally and rejecting the cruel factory farming industry. I too have great respect for vegans precisely because of that and I am now determined not to support such industry for it is cruel, unsustainable and produces meat of dubious quality. Being scientifically minded, I have read extensively about veganism and approach it with an open but enquirying mind. I am not so sure about the many glossy, often rather reach Californians that proliferate and advocate veganism when their accent seems so focused on a lean body. I respect and recommend the vegan society of England for their scientific and invaluable advice on how to be a healthy vegan and their insistence that people must take B12 supplements. They even admit that a mainly plant-based diet eaten with small amounts of meat is the most beneficial. I am saying all this because in spite of appreciating your article, I do detect a certain dose of sacarsm aimed at vegans and their beliefs and it’s important to know that vegans come in all sizes and colours. While I very much agree with the fact that meat in small amounts is beneficial, not wanting to eat it is nowadays a choice, and a wise one if you don’t have access to naturally farmed animals or if you simply decide that killing an animals, however respectfully is done, it’s not something you wanna do. Thank you for your article.
DaNelle Wolford says
Thanks Maria, I agree!
I’ve a vegan friend and the best thing she has ever said to me on the topic is “It isn’t my place to tell other people what to eat. I just want people to stop saying that vegan baking is gross!” – And she’s right, she makes amazing cookies. I am of the mind that so long as what someone is doing doesn’t hurt other people, then that’s their choice. What upsets me is when people (on either side of the argument) shame someone for their choices. What you want to put in your body is your choice, and what I put in mine is mine – let’s leave it at that!
Thank you for your support of small, local farms. We have a small farm and we treat all of our animals with respect – giving them room to run, play, graze, etc. They are happy and healthy, and in turn, we get healthy, nutrient-rich animal products. Anyone who has met our animals can tell you that they are probably the most spoiled goats, chickens, pigs, and steer on the planet.
william lyman says
Eating “good” meat in moderation may be healthy but I cannot in good conscience kill fellow animals to improve my already fine health. After 27 years with no meat I am living proof that eating it is not necessary for good health. If eating human flesh were likewise found to prolong life and improve its quality I would also not be tempted to kill my fellow humans and eat their flesh.
No vegetarian/vegan cultures? I beg to differ……..although I’m not sure if these cultures are completely vegan in the aspect of no leather, fur, etc but yes, there are vegan/highly plant-based cultures!
Hunza of North Pakistan (known to easily live into 100s)
Abkhazia of Russia of Southern Russia (elders tend to live into 110 and BEYOND.)
Vicalbamba Indians of the Ecuadorian Andes
Diets are 90-99% plant based
No offense, but the argument that there are “no vegan cultures ” and the like, is not only a faulty argument but incorrect. There are even more than I mentioned. All it takes is research.
What she said was that there were no VEGAN cultures. All the cultures you mentioned are not vegan. Even the Vilcabamba eat small amounts of eggs and dairy. The Hunza eat butter and raw milk and very small portions of meat and bone weekly. Abkhazians traditionally ate dairy and wild game. I agree that a plant based diet can be very healthy, but to be truly adequate, it must include some animal protein. Even a bit of dairy and eggs adds a lot of nutrition that cannot otherwise be obtained from plants. And I believe, too, that much of the success attributed to these cultures comes from their entire way of life, not just their diets. Also, some of the longevity legends are simply not true.
“The British General and soldiers arrived in the summer during the 1870s as did everyone who traveling to Hunza. This was the harvest season for the grains, fruits, and vegetables from the gardens, and much of the food was consumed raw. Because fuel for cooking was saved to be used in winter for boiling meat and providing some heat for the stone dwellings, very little meat was consumed in summer, and vegetables were eaten raw.
Curious visitors who followed the British soldiers to Hunza Valley years later naturally arrived in summer also, and the summer diet of the people led visitors to assume they were mainly vegetarian and ate very little meat. This was typical of the summer harvest season. Many primitive cultures including cavemen lived in a similar manner, gorging themselves on available fruit during the short season and eating mostly meat for the rest of the year. The people of Hunza differed in that they never had an abundance of anything except rocks. They did not have enough animals to provide abundant meat during the winter because of the lack of fodder. They did not want to kill female animals that were milk producers unless the animal was old or lame.
Other world cultures who have had vast lands of rich, lush pastures always lived an easier life by eating the domesticated or wild animals. Hunza was always the opposite. Pasture land was nonexistent. The animals were kept in pens and fed with gathered vegetation waste from the gardens consisting of leaves, twigs, and grasses. It was a highly labor-intensive culture, but they had no choice. They eventually ate every animal that was born. Most of the males were eaten upon reaching near full size and as fodder ran low. A few were kept for breeding purposes only. The females were killed and eaten when milk production ran low or when they failed to produce an offspring. The oldest females were killed and eaten as fodder ran low during the harsh late winter season. Hunza was never a “Garden of Eden” as falsely claimed in numerous books full of distortions, myths, and lies.”
Thank you so much, Gretchen, for great research.
Jodie Vasichek says
Your stories are wonderful and so remind me of something that would happen to me. We have some acreage here in MT, and my first animals were chickens. We used to be vegetarian, but we have converted to more of a local whole foods diet since then. Even with having only chickens, I have learned many lessons about life and death on a farm. Animals teach us so much, and I am a much different person now than I was a few years ago. Thank you for all your wonderful posts and articles ~ I’ve really enjoyed and learned from them!
Bess Hudson says
We could be twins! Well, almost. I’m an atheist and would never refer to the bible for back-up but still… We moved to onto this property a couple years ago, a house, old barn and four acres. I immediately bought some chicks, before I even had a coop built. By the following year, I was selling eggs, breeding chickens, slaughtering unwanted roosters for the freezer, sheep and wool to spin and knit, plus nine neutered barn cats to keep track of it all. Not to mention a large garden and a new orchard and vineyard. My husband works full time and is a techy so farming isn’t his thing. It’s all me. I even wrestled the sheep and sheered them myself and at a humble 4’11”, that’s no easy feat. I’m packing the van to take my wares to the farmer’s market right now.
We buy pork from a local farmer and exchange grass fed beef and hay from our neighbor for letting him farm our extra acreage. Raw milk comes from a friend. As an intense introvert, I never thought I’d have so many connections but it’s one of the great things about farming, leaning on the next farmer and them leaning back.
People, especially the in-laws, think I’m a little crazy but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
DaNelle Wolford says
I probably fall into your same category, purchasing only well-treated pastured meats, eggs and dairy from an Amish farmer who has served food at the Weston A. Price Foundation conferences multiple times. I made a decision a few years back that zero of my income would go to support animal torture by buying from CAFOs. The bulk of my pastured meat purchases go towards feeding my dog who eats about 2 pounds of it every day. Feeding the dog is my largest monthly expense and required giving up my car to do it (buses work just fine).
I feel a strong affinity for vegans and vegetarians; we sort of find each other at farmers’ markets because they are typically the only ones buying as many vegetables as me. I can relate to their unwillingness to murder another sentient being with eyes.
BUT, what they typically don’t get (or choose to ignore) is that everything we eat is sentient–yes, the fruit, the vegetables, the fungi, etc. (The U.S.’s leading researcher on fungi, Paul Stamets, says the biggest living thing on earth discovered so far is a colony of fungi that cover portions of several states in the northwest and he is convinced that colony is sentient.)
I doubt those any of those beings like getting murdered so we can eat. I do also fault them for paying for animal torture by feeding their own pets meat from animals raised in concentration camps, particularly while they scream at other people for eating animals. I do not accept the argument that they don’t have the money to feed their pets the more expensive pastured meats. Really, how much does it cost to feed a cat?
In the end, all we can do is try to give the things we eat the best life possible. And that includes those sentient beings like fruit trees, annual vegetables (typically through rich organic soils teeming with life) and of course animals.
I should add one more thing: take a look inside the kitchen garbage of anyone buying from the big box or grocery store. You’ll probably find that even among those who consider themselves “poor”, a lot of what they consider edible is thrown out. In contrast, I throw out almost no food. The bones get used for broth, the organs get eaten and the small amount of scrap vegetables get fed to the worms. It seems like such a waste of a life to throw out food so that even more things must be murdered.
Karen W. says
All of this. Excellent.
I eat vegan. I eat vegan animals.
Donna Williams says
“Weston A. Price traveled the world in search of traditional diets he searched far and wide for vegans but only found cannibals.”
Did you mean Carnivores or Omnivores?
As an atheist, I don’t use any scriptures to decide which meats I can eat. The Bible references all kinds of meats that are considered taboo or unclean. I doubt the Bible is a valid reference for dietary choices.
Were taboo and unclean, I believe is what you mean. I respect your beliefs (or rather unbelief), but please respect others as well. One of the reasons God put those laws into place was because they weren’t a good food source at the time, they were literally unclean. It wasn’t just because God randomly pointed his finger at something and said we couldn’t eat it. I realize you don’t believe this, but a little perspective might help.
amanda and bear says
I also LOVE this post! I totally agree! Way to go in raising your own meat! We are trying to buy all of our food locally and hope to have a garden soon. It is even so much more meaningful to spend my money on quality, local foods, than to just buy whatever at the grocery store. I know that our real foods lifestyle will pay off and will benefit my daughter’s health.
jennifer brannon says
Great post… very much in agreement with your viewpoint. So glad to find your blog through the Balanced Bites podcast.
Thank you, and nice to meet you. Hard to find farmer girls that think like me. There is an utter lack of respect for life of any kind in our nation. I blame much of this on our industrialized food system. Don’t kill and eat a chicken, but abortion. It a woman’s right. WoW oh wow!
Thank you, and nice to meet you. Hard to find farmer girls that think like me. There is an utter lack of respect for life of any kind in our nation. I blame much of this on our industrialized food system. Don’t kill and eat a chicken, but abortion. It a woman’s right. WoW oh wow!
Ariana Mullins says
I loved this, Danelle– very well said. We can’t raise our own animals (in our English rental house!) but we exclusively buy our meat from our high-welfare butcher. I am HAPPY to eat meat, when it means that I am supporting people who raise animals ethically. I fear that everyone with a heart and conscience will become vegetarian and farmers who raise animals well and humanely will lose their customer base, leaving only industrial meat.
Tom, Tama-Chan, Sei-Chan, Bibi-Chan, Gen-Chan, Vidock, Violette says
I live in France and saw a link to your post on FaceBook, so came over to read it. Your words resonate so much. I am not a farmer. I have horses, dog and cats, but I am surrounded by rural life. My biggest struggle is endlessly explaining to people that if they eat no meat and consume no dairy, there will be no cows, no pigs and many fewer sheep around. It seems beyond their ability to comprehend that farmers cannot raise/keep animals who have no economic value to them. That is a real disconnect.
Mr. Hendrix says
This is a great article. Since we had our son four years ago, we’ve spent the extra money on farmer’s market veggies and fruit to suppliment the garden I’ve grown for years We also split grass fed cows and pigs with family to assure we’re eating healthy. We buy our eggs from a farm up the street.
I purchase veggies and fruit based on what is seasonal in Ohio.
Everything in moderation is a good rule. Meat included. We are very thankful to the animals who gave their lives so we can eat, and the farmers who raise them. The world would be a better place with more farmers. So would our environment. Backyard hens and grassfed farms aren’t even close to the polluters that factory farms are!
Dr. Julie says
I like how you have approached the topic, and ancient people did eat meat, however, they ate wild meat, not that raised for only one purpose. That is the difference, we have transformed society into one where we keep the life of another creature captive, they cannot have the chance to leave, and this is what is out of balance. Nature has rules, sometimes we eat, sometimes the wolf eats, but it is balance, agriculture as in raising animals for our own needs is slavery, and slavery is out of balance. Ancient teachings tell us to not eat domestic animals, and since the land has become so destroyed, it is not possible for everyone to eat wild, so the next best thing is to avoid meat until the world comes into balance.
Melissa Tregilgas says
Look up Allan Savory’s TED talk on youtube. Might change your mind.
I kind of agree with the Dr.
Maybe it’s just summer, but even though I am a WAPF promoter, I’ve departed from meat at the moment, and it feels like it might stick. Energetically it’s wonderful. Even fish is a stretch. Don’t worry, I still love raw dairy and fresh eggs. I’m actually more likely to eat pate and bone broth, as I feel it is especially good to balance muscle meat madness.
It is clear that everyone here struggles so much with killing animals. Why fight the instinct not to kill? Why torture ourselves? It is interesting to explore our relationship with the idea of needing this or that to live. Sure, maybe in a previous age we might have gone hungry without meat. But the “what if” argument doesn’t stick when there is an overwhelming abundance of all kinds of foods around us. And we still feel we need to kill on top of that? It can be very freeing to cut things out of our diet so we are not overwhelmed, eat less, and most importantly, just eat what makes us feel good and not stress!
That guy Allan not-so-Savory shot a bunch of elephants once.
Kristin Kudreikis says
you should read Joel Salatin’s book “The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer”. Great info on how PROPER animal husbandry (rotational grazing, etc) will actually restore and BUILD the earth. It was fascinating really. I had never thought about how a herd of cattle can actually help restore life to previously depleted land.
In the bible you will read that they ate meat that they raised themselves not only wild animals.
“I wonder if the reason why some people view MEAT as MURDER is really a result of becoming disconnected from our food?” This was an amazing thought/idea.
I have trouble with the meat thing. I am an ‘all things in moderation’ gal but looking at the lambs playing in the field at a farm near our house makes it difficult to eat them. I don’t butcher my own meat but I am pretty close to the source. I still feel removed from it and that in turn makes me feel guilty about eating it. I am working on it and thoughtful posts like yours help me to sort things out a bit. Thanks!
I thought this was very well written, Danelle! Nice work. And I really agree. Thanks!
Such a great article! As a former vegan now meat eater I couldn’t agree more! Thank you for sharing. Something that needs to be heard by so many today!
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pam O'Brien says
I agree wholeheartedly. I believe that we were intended to eat meat (backed scripturally) and am a SAD person transitioning to the WAPF way of eating. (I now seek out grass-fed/pastured meat only, drink raw milk, and render my own tallow!) 😉 But I don’t farm yet [yearning sigh]. I would joyfully raise them and derive much pleasure and satisfaction from nurturing them the way God intended, but butchering time would be the hardest. I get very attached to my animals (eight dogs proves it!). It’s something I’d like to overcome, if ever presented with the opportunity to raise my own meat animals, because I agree that life is sacred and we should be connected to our food in an intimate way. I think it’s what would enhance the respect the animals deserve and would also prove to reduce our wasteful tendencies (the number of freezer-burned grocery-store beef cuts I’ve pitched over the years makes me cringe).
I would definitely have to find a butcher-teacher like yours, though! This was humbling, “The butcher showed us how to kill him fast, how to show respect. He taught us that killing an animal is never funny, that it should be done sparingly, with thankfulness to God for the bounty.” Yes, sparingly, with respect, swiftness, and thankfulness.
You nailed it, DaNelle. Thanks for this post.
I understand your perspective and agree entirely. We unfortunately live in town but we keep up our “Urban Farm” planting all the food we can in planters and keeping hens. It is ridiculous how removed people are! I have had children tell me, “Eggs don’t come from chickens, they come from Wal-Mart”… really? I have had neighbors complain and am currently under the threat of losing my hens because they are a “health hazard” I mean for pete’s sake they poop on the ground and that will give people bird flu! *slaps forehead* We too have also had our first hand at butchering. When we got our birds we found we had 3 roos on our hands, so we kept them until they started getting a bit noisy but big enough to eat and they became Sunday dinner.
As you said, it wasn’t a cruel mean act, there was no flailing, blood squirting, chicken running with it’s head off type scene. My husband wrapped the bird in a blanket, then quickly and swiftly cut, bled, and I took care of the plucking and such which after he gutted. Our 5 year observed this process and learned very quickly, we respect our animals because we are using their life to nourish ours. It is funny but that is the way this world works, everything must consume energy to make energy.
What happened with the geep?
The story about Weston A Price not finding any vegan/vegetarian cultures is a popular one but seems a bit odd to me!!! Used by meat eaters and traditoinal/nourishing/paleo types to prove it’s not a healthy choice but there are ‘vintage’ and current cultures a plenty. For example Buddhists, Jainists, Pythagoreans and Seventh-day Adventists. Some of these groups go back to the 6th century and reasons vary from cultural, religious, health and resource availability.
I am vegetarian but forced to be semi vegan due to intollerance issues with eggs and cows milk (I do have goats cheese and occasionally goats milk). Evidence seems to suggest many health benefits from eating animal products along with many potential health hazards associated with animal products.
At the end of the day I’d like to see less vegan/vegetarian v’s paleo/meat eater angst and bitchyness (not referring to the above article but the blogisphere in general) and allow that we all have different beliefs and opinions. Just sayin…
A very happy woman says
Agreed!!! There are many cultures that are vegetarian/vegan that go all the way back to ancient times. That doesn’t seem to be the argument, or a valid “evidence” of how vegetarians are “wrong”. The point she made was beautiful… “sparingly, sacred”, that matters a whole deal to me, even if I’m not a meat eater. Most meat eaters refuse to see this way, they are VERY disconnected with their food and think it grows in plastic and foam containers at the grocery store. No one cares anymore. I talk to people and they rather not know. And the funny thing is that I rather have more meat eaters like her, here in this post, than the ones I talk to. I personally don’t feel disconnected with my food, i try to grow my food, but living in the city I can’t even own chickens because of restrictive laws, so not everyone CAN ACTUALLY be a “connected to their food” meat eater. And so, judgements need to be put aside. We all want what’s best for our health. We want what’s sustainable for the planet. We want to feed our neighbors who’ve fallen on hard times (haven’t we all?). The hatin’ really needs to stop.
I hate to pick, but Seventh Dayer’s are suffering from the same health challenges for which many meat-eating, junk-food, eating Americans are famous. The religious adherence to a vegetarian diet which includes a plethora of soy products and prepackaged “foods,” is resulting in thyroid disease, obesity, and diabetes. I know this first-hand and I’m very happy that my ex-Seventh-Day Adventist husband made the decision many years ago to buck peer pressure and meat. We’re both in our fifties, eat meat and raw diary, and both healthy without medical intervention of any kind.
Ethical vegetarians are entirely different from naturally ocurring vegetarian cultures, of which there are none.
Michelle Headley says
Speaking as a Buddhist… I’m not a vegetarian. I used to be (near vegan in fact) but it made me ill (I now have 2 autoimmune disorders from it). It is a common misconception that Buddhists are primarily vegetarians. Many (but by no means all) monks and nuns are, as they are aware that eating soy, and not eating meat suppresses their desire for sex. The Buddha himself was not a vegetarian, nor is the Dalai Lama (he tried it and felt it made him unhealthy so he gave it up) and there is no stigma attached to eating meat (except in the west of course).
Tom Harbold says
There is a major difference between vegetarian and vegan. There have been and are vegetarian cultures, but when you look at them, they all get at least some of their nutrients from animal sources, whether that be dairy, eggs, fish, or (in some Asian and African cultures) insects. Pure veganism is a different matter. I am not aware of any traditional cultures that are 100% vegan, because it is almost impossible to be vegan and healthy without supplements that only exist in technologically advanced cultures which therefore allow veganism as a voluntary, ethical choice. Because veganism tends to reduce fertility, there is considerable question as to whether veganism could ever be sustained on a cultural basis, over generations, without the culture in question dying out.
EXCELLENT POINT, Thank you