I am not a vegan or vegetarian. I want to be and I was for 2.5 years. I actually think eating meat is ok, and hunting your meat is even better. Would I be able to kill an animal with a gun, bow or knife? Probably not. I don’t think all humans should be vegan but I personally would like to outweigh some of the demand. I believe our society eats way too much meat and the demand that we place on the farmers has forced the process to be streamlined to unsafe measures for the animals and for the environment. The amount of waste produced from one chicken lot or one feed lot is unbelievable. The effects of this waste is easily seen in our water quality. Ever heard of eutrophication? In simple terms, one of the causes is from animal waste (feed lots) entering our water sources when it rains causing an over abundance of nutrients. This over abundance causes a bloom of phytoplankton in the water which takes up all of the oxygen. Fish need oxygen so many times it results in a huge die off of fish and other animals. That is just one example of the water quality issues intense farming of animals creates.
But like I said, I eat meat. I am a hypocrite. I have a reason. Since I was 12 years old I have had health issues. I went to doctors and they told me one thing or anther and I always thought I was on the right track to getting better but I never got better. I got worse. After 13 years, lots of pain and misery, 5 colonoscopies, an endoscopy and sigmoidoscopy I got an accurate diagnosis. Finally at age 25 I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. I then went through the drug stage. Doctors put me on several different steroids and drugs. I didn’t respond well to them and went through all the side effects of steroids. 2.5 years of drugs and still horrible. The next treatment was called remicade. That’s right remicade, a drug that has to be given as an intravenous drip with monster side effects. I was shocked and scared at the thought of sitting in a hospital getting a drip and feeling even worse. At this point I had it. I was sick of doctors passing each drug onto me and figured there must be some other way. I then did one of the things I think I do best… Research. I went to the book store, libraries and searched the web. I started reading all kinds of information and found that there was a diet that seemed to work for hundreds of people! I thought if it can work for them, it can work for me. So I bought the book, printed out my can and can not eat list and unloaded my apartment of all the NO list.
The diet is hard. No carbs. Which means, no rice, no pasta, no beans, no sugar, no oats, no soy, no potatoes, no nuts. Basically you are starving out the bacteria that breaks down discacharides forcing their numbers to decline. I won’t bore you with more of the details, if you are interested or know someone that has stomach issues (Chron’s, celiac, diverticulitis and many more) I highly suggest this book and website, it saved my life. www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info
The book suggests you go on the diet for one year and then try adding things back in. I did the strict diet for one month back in March of 2009. I read the backs of all my food items and didn’t touch it if there was a hint of any sugar. I basically ate plain white chicken and beef and spaghetti squash and some other veggies. Let me tell you as a gal growing up with bread everyday and a fond love of rice and pasta, this was hard. Especially in the beginning the feeling of full is much different (or nonexistent) than a full from carbs. You don’t get that euphoric happy blood pulsing full. But I did wean myself off of all medicine and can control it all through diet, just as thousands of others have too. Another must know about website: Adam’s website. But how many more suffer through the hospitals still?
So what can I do?
- I make the best decisions I can on the kind of meat I do buy, within my budget. I try for 100% grass fed beef and all natural organic chicken. Many times companies can place grass fed on the label but in reality they are started on a grass pasture and transitioned to the feed lot to finish. Honestly the “simple truth” brand from Kroger has helped make life a bit easier as it isn’t ridiculously expensive. But as they say, you pay a larger price now or you pay your health bills later. Either way you pay!
- Sustainable seafood – There are some kinds of seafood that is better to purchase than others due to overfishing, bycatch, habitat destruction from fishing methods and farming. The Monterrey Bay Aquarium in California has gathered tons of information on the fishing industries and put together a Seafood Watch Guide. The guide can be downloaded from the internet or even better you can download the free app on your smartphone!
- Make up and other beauty products. I use the cruelty list from PETA to find companies that are not testing on animals. Peta list. I was recently enlightened about the question of companies of which their final products are not tested on animals but their individual ingredients are. Making it nearly impossible to find a company that is truly cruelty free. UGH! Does every company have to get around everything?! But non the less I value PETA as extremists and being extremists comes with a passion to fight the companies that they believe are harmful to animals. So for now, I will continue to use and value their list.
- I don’t buy animal fur or leather materials. With all of the synthetics out there I find it easy to stay away! Although I wouldn’t be surprised if companies sneaked in animal parts to my shoes or other clothing. But the synthetics come at a price as well… they are mostly made from petroleum products… OIL! So what is worse?
This is also to say, as most, I do make mistakes. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about trying to do the best you can with what you have and being conscious of the problems. I am a firm believer in every little bit counts. If we all made a few decisions differently we would collectively make a large difference. So maybe your way is, you buy one package of chicken a week or month that is organic, you only buy organic eggs, you are a vegetarian, or you do meatless Mondays. You make your own decision.
So there it is… My most honest post. This is something that eats me alive daily. After the 30 day strict diet I have been able to add a few items back into my diet and have survived almost 4 years just with an altered diet (mainly no rice, pasta, lettuce or beans). But I cheat, and for the past few months I have cheated way to much landing me with many days hugging the porcelain thrown. So I have decided to again do the strict diet for 30 days. As I enter only my third day of no carbs/sugar and my body begs and pleads for just a taste, I am reminded heavily of my emotional battle. This post refreshes me and will probably be something I come back to read when I am “dying” for some chocolate or bread!