Chances are you’ve had times when something in your life changed completely. Whether it be a belief, a behavior or a habit.
You learned something that shifted the way you view a situation… forever.
Such is the case with me. In 2018, I swore off meat from my diet.
Truth be told, not eating meat was a very foreign concept to me. I was a carnivore from the time I ate solid foods.
I’ve been a meat eater from way back. I don’t recall a time when meat wasn’t something I consumed at least once a day.
Growing up, Sunday dinners at our home were a special occasion with a huge meal consisting of roast beef, mashed potatoes, salad and a side of vegetables being the standard menu.
It is with great fondness I remember Sunday dinners.
Fast forward to today…
Although I’ve given up meat for short periods of time, mostly to give my digestive tract a break, I was never 100% committed to the decision… until now.
My decision to do so didn’t happen lightly. I had watched a few documentaries, read several blog posts, watched influencers in the plant-based and vegan space talk about their personal journey and even read a few books on the topic.
One documentary called Food Choices had a profound impact on me.
The common thread in each film is how much our health has declined due to food choices. Each film showed how much water, land and food it takes to get one pound of beef, chicken, bacon or whatever type of meat we consume on our plates.
As well, each film producer showed how quickly we can reverse negative impacts to our health by adding more plant-based foods to our diet.
Priding myself on being very healthy for a woman in my sixties, I incorporated juicing and green smoothies into my daily routine quite some time ago. Yet, I intuitively knew there was more I could do to improve my health on all levels including mind, body and soul.
Until I watched back-to-back documentaries about how detrimental eating meat actually is, I had not hit the point of no return in making a final decision on giving up meat … for good.
The facts are shocking. With the world population growing beyond what our resources can sustain at the current rate of consumption, there are key factors we must consider when choosing what to eat (or not).
A Few Considerations
With an ever-increasing number of adults and children joining the ranks of obese individuals, we must take responsibility for the choices we make. The fact is, many diseases, such as Type II diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, are a direct result of obesity.
Obesity is a direct result of the types of foods consumed and how addictive food manufacturers have made processed foods as well as the additives to meat and dairy.
With water in dangerously short supply in many areas of the world, most people would be shocked beyond belief at how much water it takes to produce one pound of beef that ends up on the dinner table.
According to Pete Ortiz and the research he has done, “It takes 1,800–2,000 gallons of water to produce every pound of beef that we eat. That’s enough water to fill a 10×10 pool, take over 100 showers, or wash 50 cars. It only takes the average family a few minutes to eat a pound of beef, but it would take almost an entire week to use the amount of water that went into creating it.” Full article How Much Water Does It Take to Produce a Pound of Beef? | House Grail
If these facts weren’t enough, the thing that took me over the line is how truly inhumane the actual process is that the animals must go through to become a meal.
Times Have Changed
One thing to keep in mind is how dramatically things have changed with how animals go from farm to table. What used to be relatively humane treatment, is now beyond deplorable. Not that killing animals is actually humane, but all things considered, in the past it was not as brutal.
According to Peta.org, “On today’s factory farms, animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy, windowless sheds and stuffed into wire cages, metal crates, and other torturous devices. These animals will never raise their families, root around in the soil, build nests.”
There’s a good chance some people will balk at information from PETA, claiming they are too radical. Yet, you don’t have to go too far to find lots of proof to find out how severe the cruelty to animals actually is.
A piece that appeared on the PBS site gives more detail as to the cruelty animals face for us to satisfy our desire to have meat as part of our diet.
Another excellent resource is the book, Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust written by Charles Patterson. Hands down, this book is the most impactful I have read. It’s not an easy read and I can assure you, if you read the entire book, your perspective will be forever changed. CLICK HERE to learn more about the book.
The Blinders are Off
When I took off my blinders and got honest about how unaligned I have been, I had one of two choices; ignore the information or make a change…fast.
The fact that I’m an animal enthusiast and into animal rescue on the one hand, and love eating meat on the other, I made the decision to stop eating meat … for good.
My individual decision won’t end the climate crisis, fix the world water problem, end obesity or stop the inhumane treatment of animals forever, but it will allow me to live in alignment and integrity with my love of animals.
Additionally, my choice to be visible and vocal about the benefits of a plant-based, vegan lifestyle, has, and continues to, influence the decision of others who were considering this change.
You see, there are many ways to do our activism work. Mine happens to be through my writing, speaking and podcasting.
Whatever your reason, now is the time to take a stand. We are so close to the point of no return.
For some, it could be about the animals. For others, the environment. And for still others, about their weight and health.
According to the most recent data on http://stateofobesity.org/rates/, adult obesity rates now exceed 35 percent in four states, 30 percent in 25 states and are above 20 percent in all states. Louisiana has the highest adult obesity rate at 36.2 percent and Colorado has the lowest at 20.2 percent.
The fact is, an increase in a plant based diet would dramatically improve these numbers.
Globally, agricultural production accounts for 92 percent of our water footprint. In the United States, meat consumption alone accounts for a whopping 30 percent of our water footprint.
The amount of land required to produce one pound of meat compared to one pound of plant-based food is astronomical.
Livestock production requires enormous amounts of energy. We put far more energy into animals per unit of food than we do for any plant crop. The main reason is that cattle consume 16 times more grain than they produce as meat, so right there we have 16 times as much energy just to grow those crops, just so we can waste them on livestock.
But the energy use doesn’t end there. The livestock themselves take energy to process beyond the energy that goes into their feed. And then there’s refrigeration, including during transport, necessary for meat but not for grains and beans.
Source: Energy Use and Global Warming
If the previous information is not enough to convince someone to at least consider making changes, the lack of compassionate care for the animals likely will.
It sure did for me. This is the main reason I decided to write this post. I want my community to make informed choices about what they eat, their health and the love and care of animals.
The fact is, the amount of cruelty to animals is beyond comprehension. Out of all the documentaries I binge watched, the one that left the greatest impression is Vegucated.
All the films gave excellent insights into why going meatless is a great idea, Vegucated went way beyond this.
They showed actual slaughtering of cows, chickens and pigs. There was also footage of treatment pre-slaughter.
To read or hear about something is one thing. To see it is something completely different. Once you see something it’s difficult to make the images go away.
Truth be told, I don’t want to forget the visceral feeling I got watching in horror what, up this point, I had no idea is as bad as it actually is.
I can promise you this; if you have the willingness to put an hour aside to watch Vegucated I seriously doubt you will ever view eating meat the same way again.
CLICK HERE to watch.
When We Know The Truth, There’s No Going Back
It’s easy to continue a behavior if we don’t have all the information, but once a truth as been revealed, it’s difficult to continue “business as usual.”
Becoming aware and making appropriate changes allows us to live our lives with more purpose and passion. Without a doubt, my commitment to the animals and raising awareness around our health choices has increased.
I have crossed a line that I cannot go back on. I encourage you to take as much responsibility for your own health, peace of mind, care of the planet and the well-being of animals as you possibly can.
We can no longer rely on others to do the right thing. The right thing begins right where you reside.
Please share this post with others who love animals and need to know the truth.