I’ve long considered going pescatarian as I’ve never truly had a huge affinity for meat, but love fish. I figured I could easily give up chicken, and keep eating the chicken of the sea. However, after staying in one Friday night, and partaking in a Netflix and chill kind of evening, my ignorance was shocked beyond belief.
We’ve all heard what goes on within the meat industry, but we tell ourselves an array of stories to keep doing what we want. Ignorance is bliss after all.
My bliss was shot to shit once I bit the bullet, and watched Cowspiracy on Netflix. I could go into detail about what goes on within the documentary, but the truth of the matter is, you should just go and watch it.
Cowspiracy was the catalyst, and Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, was the closer.
I could no longer act like I didn’t know what happens within factory farms, which is where 99% of our meat comes from, and I decided it was time to make a serious life change.
I don’t know about you, but I’m someone who tries to live a really healthy life.
I recently went sober for 50 days, I exercise almost every day, and I watch what I eat. I consider my body a temple, and I try to honor it in as many ways as possible, so when I finally took the dive into the deep end of figuring out what’s really going into my body, I was shocked, disgusted, and frustrated.
Thus, I’ve decided to give up meat, and here are 10 reasons why:
1. Poop, Shit, Dookie!
In his book, Eating Animals, which I highly recommend, Foer states, “farmed animals produce more than 130 times as much waste as the human population --- roughly 87,000 pounds of shit per second.”
This shit is the leading cause for global warming, out numbering all transportation combined, and there basically is no waste-treatment infrastructure to deal with this.
This shit seeps into rivers, lakes, and oceans and is 100% affecting our bodies as well as the planet.
When the FDA did a test based on 5,280 samples of pork chops, ground beef and ground turkey they found that 90% of the samples, and 95% of chicken breasts were contaminated with fecal bacteria.
We are literally almost always eating shit when we’re eating meat.
2. We’re eating CATS & DOGS.
Every year millions of cats and dogs are euthanized in animal shelters, and then processed into food for our food to eat.
Did anyone else know this?! How did I not know this?!
“We are subsequently eating dogs and cats that just aren’t cute enough to be someone’s pet. Almost twice as many dogs and cats are euthanized as they are adopted.”
That’s not to say that all of them are made into food for our food, but knowing this fact, I could no longer be a part of the problem.
3. If I can’t stomach what's happening then it shouldn’t be in my stomach.
After reading multiple books, watching multiple documentaries, and educating myself in various ways, I found myself disgusted at what I learned. With each new fact I read, image I saw, or video I watched, I literally felt ill because there’s so much we ignorantly avoid educating ourselves about.
If you can’t watch a baby chick get shred up because it is deemed “useless” as a male, a cow become completely deformed because of the hormones it’s being pumped full of to make milk, or pigs be slaughtered in the most inhumane way than your ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s simply ignorance.
For the record, a cow has to be pregnant, or at least it's body has to think it is, to produce milk, which is something a lot of people don't realize.
4. Meat doesn’t mean healthy.
There’s no absolute fact that says you have to eat meat to have a healthy body, it’s a tale that we’ve been fed, literally and metaphorically, over years and years.
I was part of the problem, and didn’t even realize it.
Up until recently I found myself explaining to my clients the importance of consuming meat protein because it would help build and maintain muscle; however, there are plenty of other foods super high in protein that can support the body’s numerous needs when it comes to the protein.
Lentils, tofu, black beans, quinoa, and a number of other foods contain high levels of protein, and can make your plate look even more delicious.
5. You are what you eat.
Or so the saying goes.
Well, I’ve decided I don’t want to be a dead piece of meat. I’d rather be a vibrant, rich, and healthy vegetable.
When you think about the fact that we’re eating genetically modified meat that isn’t coming from the farm on the range, but a warehouse packed full of sick animals, it makes sense that as a society we’re getting sicker, heavier, and are on a massive health decline.
I get that you can be a fat vegan, and a completely healthy carnivore, but why add to the risk. Two studies done by Life Extension Magazine reported, “people who consumed very little meat showed an average life-span increase of 3.6 years.”
3.6 years can be the difference between seeing your kids get married, traveling to numerous exotic places, and is an additional 3.6 years you get to spend with your loved ones.
I’ll take it.
6. You aren’t eating what you think you are.
When Bill Niman of Niman Ranch was forced out of his own company because his board wanted to do things more profitably, you know something is up.
You know something is ever more “up” when Bill Niman says he would no longer eat meat from the company he once started.
I use this example because Niman Ranch still claims to be a “natural” meat ranch, which I know a lot of people will argue is an effective way of still eating meat.
However, what I want to make clear is that language like “natural, cage-free, free-range, etc.” are all words that are completely meaningless when you know the guidelines behind getting certified to use these words.
We are being duped in more ways than anyone could ever imagine.
I love fish. Like a lot.
But when I found out that 145 other species are quickly becoming endangered because of the bycatch, the action of catching other species while fishing for one, I could no longer justify my love for sushi.
For every one 1 pound of shrimp caught, 26 other pounds of other sea animals were killed and tossed back into the ocean.
All different type of dolphins, whales, stingrays, sharks, seahorses, albatrosses, and numerous other animals are all regularly killed when fishing for tuna.
We’re overfishing our oceans, killing some of my favorite animals to the point of extinction, and wrecking havoc on our ecosystems because we have become beyond gluttonous.
8. It’s all about the Benjamins.
Money, money, money.
Big business knows what they're doing, and knows that they’re producing disgusting, diseased, and in many cases deadly products, but they don’t care because they’re getting richer and richer.
Animals are being genetically modified and artificially manipulated to grow faster than ever, which causes serious health risks for the animals and you.
However, this doesn’t seem to be a big enough problem because it keeps costs low low low, and nothing is being done to stop this.
The faster the turn around, the higher the profit, so who cares how shitty the product is, especially when it’s going to be made to smell fine, look fine, and taste somewhat how we expect, by the time it gets to your plate.
I would compare it to the cigarette industry, but everyone knows smoking will kill you.
What everyone doesn’t know is how fucked our meat industry is.
9. Meat isn’t what it used to be.
The meat today is a crappy knockoff of what meat was 20 years ago.
Farmers aren’t going to lose their jobs because they already don’t have jobs. Farms today aren’t going to disappear because real farms are already gone.
The connection between farmer, land, and animal is a romance written in the past, and has been stomped to death, the same way chickens have been reported to be on countless occasions.
Yes, I went there.
Sure, you can buy meat from specific farms that are explicit about their humane practices and environmentally conscious ways, but the thing is not everyone can.
To further the problem if we were to actually produce all meat in a sustainable way than the land we would need for animals to sustainably graze would leave no where for majority of our large world's population to live.
Every second an acre of the amazon is destroyed to make way for crops to be grown to feed our food, not other people. Say what?!
The demand for meat is rising globally as countries like China and India start to eat more and more like us. The price for sustainable meat is not sustainable to anyone’s wallet, and greed is still the largest deciding factor of how legislation is written around food labels.
As of March 21, 2016 the United States government has passed a law stating that companies no longer need to label what country our meat is coming from.
Does that sound completely backwards to anyone else?
10. I was ready to change my way of thinking.
I want to be crystal clear, I’m not looking to scare you into making the change I consciously have decided to make, but I do want to share what I have learned, which is fucking scary.
After knowing the facts, and understanding how all of this was affecting my body, the environment, and animals all over I realized I wanted to make my own difference.
What this really meant was changing the way I thought about eating.
In my mind, a meal was supposed to have meat as the main attraction, vegetables as the sides, and maybe something else as the extras.
However, this isn’t the only way to eat, but it was the way I was trained to eat.
Once I understood that I needed to reprogram the way I thought about eating everything clicked, and I was able to find myself feeling satisfied, full, and a lot more vibrant for back of a better word when it came to my mind, body and soul.
My skin has been the best it’s ever been, my body feels more agile and less achy, and while everyone I know is getting sick, I have remained in tip top shape.
Yes, you could argue all these things are the result of many other variables, but the truth is nothing else in my life has dramatically changed.
Remember that this is bigger than all of us.
It isn’t about one single issue, it’s about the decline of our environment, which politicians told us wasn’t happening at one point. It’s about the fact that chickens aren’t even considered animals when it comes to animal rights laws. It’s about the fact that you're consuming things you don’t even know about.
Would you blindly trust someone to watch your children? Would you blindly trust someone to perform surgery on you? Would you blindly trust someone to be your boss?
So then why are you blindly eating the meat that is put before you?
You may chose to never look deeper into all of this, or you may start to do some digging for yourself, after all the choice truly is yours.
Regardless of what you chose to do, remember: be mindful in your choices, ignorance isn’t bliss and 3.6 years is 1,314 days, 31, 536 hours, 1,892,160 minutes, and 113,529,600 seconds.
So the next time you wish you had more time, remember you can, just put down the hamburger and pick up a spicy sweet potato and green rice burrito bowl instead.
Change is scary because it means facing the unknown, but the more you taste the unknown, the more you realize meat wasn’t that great to begin with.
If nothing else, just some food for thought.
Be on the look out for a lot of healthy vegan/vegetarian recipes in the near future!