Wednesday, June 20, 2007

And so I met my "meat. . ."

I’ve been getting a lot of questions recently about the way I eat. I like to say “the way I eat” more first of all, because I don’t really like labels of any kind. Any label evokes some sort of stereotypical image, when each experience, in reality, is different for everyone. Each experience really can’t be labeled. Anyway, the questions range from the common “protein” question to whether I’d eat chocolate assuming it was made from all plant-based ingredients, which was just cute and made me laugh. I’ve been asked why I don’t eat any animal products. So, I’ve decided to write a blog aiming to answer, hopefully, any possible questions that may arise. First, I’ll share shortly how I came to choose to eat the way I do and why and then I’ll put together a fact list because short facts are fun and easier to read.
I have always been sensitive to animals, from a time when I was extremely young. My family had to divert my attention from road kill because I would get heartbroken at the sight, and they were sure I would someday get into a car accident swerving off the road trying to avoid an animal. I think that it has been something that has always been in me, as I remember sitting at the dinner table when I was little mentioning not wanting to eat meat. I was obviously too young to go buy my own food, and was influenced by the things my parents would say. And the man of the house was a hunter, unfortunately, and was the least supportive of my statement. He said a bunch of typical things like, “It’s dead, anyway,” and lectures along those lines and read me the whole “Protein Act,” which I now am thankful to know is a myth. But I was a kid and that is what was put on my plate every night and my family’s words pretty much washed over me I guess. I eventually lived on my own and, no, didn’t immediately change my eating habits. I was playing around with it one summer and then it was the late spring after that when, on myspace, I received a chain letter talking about “bonsai kittens.” It included these very graphic pictures of cats stuffed in glass containers with a feeding tube placed through them so they stayed alive, but remained their entire lives growing so that their skeletons would form into the glass containers that they were in. The images were horrific and I cried for hours. I was shaking. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to do something. I wrote to PETA. Eventually, I found out, thankfully, that it was an urban myth. Sick urban myth it is.
They soon sent me a free kit and a DVD was included. On this DVD was "15 Reasons to Become Vegetarian" and "Meet Your Meat." (I also later found the movie “Earthlings” by Joaquin Phoenix, which I find to be more in depth, thought provoking and educational, albeit heartbreaking.)

I realize that animals have the same nervous systems as we do and watched the way they castrate and brand cows, rip the skin off their faces while they are still alive, the way they burn chickens’ beaks off and the way they scald pigs alive while they scream. . .and felt it. What if we were put through that? I still feel bad that I ever put their flesh in my mouth. It makes me sick thinking about it and the fact that I supported that industry. After I decided to stop consuming meat, it obviously opened me up to learning about the lifestyle and it became a passion. It is something I read about constantly and have come to realize that the benefits and pros far outweigh anything else. A little before a year after I stopped eating meat, I stopped eating animal products all together. As a side note, a big positive to me is (not only am I thinner and eat tons) that while I used to have a habit of getting sick at LEAST once a year, I don’t get sick anymore. I’m far more healthy and alert and energetic. And, seeing the benefits, my boyfriend, who was once an avid fan of the carnivorous diet, stopped eating meat. I amazes me each and every time this once huge meat fan who would try to challenge me raves about how much energy he has and how much healthier he feels. I just giggle because I already knew it. Plus, it makes meals fun and interesting. Before, it was boring and limited. Now it seems there’s so many vast options and creativity and everything. I’m always finding something new. Anyway, here is a fact list followed by some highly recommended reading materials. . .

-Consuming animal products causes premature aging, as meat especially is an oxidant.

-A vegan diet, being cholesterol free and pretty much free of saturated fat, reverses heart disease.

-In every package of meat, there is poop.

-Milk contains perchlorate. That is the “big word” for rocket fuel. Yes, rocket fuel.

-Not only does milk contain growth hormones and antibiotics, and who knows what else, but it also contains blood cells and pus.-Meat is a rose-colored euphemism for the same thing you are: flesh. Animals accumulate dangerous chemicals in their flesh and fat (which meat-eaters consume), including dioxins, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides and even the most toxic forms of arsenic.

-Eating meat and dairy makes you fat. Numerous studies have shown that meat eaters are far more likely to be overweight than vegetarians and vegans tend to be slimmer than vegetarians.

-A low-fat vegan diet prevents and helps to prevent a long, growing list of diseases, including and not limited to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis. . .

-Eating meat is eating second-hand protein. . .protein originating from plant sources that the animal consumed to make its own protein.

-Too much protein, especially animal protein, can impair our kidneys; leach calcium, zinc, vitamin B, iron and magnesium from our bodies; and cause osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer and obesity.

-High amounts of protein can also damage tissues, organs and cells and contributes to faster aging.

-Eating a vegetarian diet actually provides twice the amount of daily needed protein.

-Consuming meat is consuming fear and pain.

-Studies show eating meat and dairy causes impotence. Think cholesterol and clogges arteries. That doesn’t only apply to the heart.

-Veg people are not only healthier and slimmer on average, but live longer as well.

-Animal protein promotes cancer.

-According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, veggie people are about 40 percent less likely to get cancer than meat-eaters regardless of other risks such as smoking, body size and socioeconomic status.

-Animal products have no fiber, which binds toxins and fat to help be eliminated from the body.

-Animals in the wild rely on nothing but what they are naturally equipped with - strength, speed, teeth, claws, jaws, etc. If you look at your paper thin fingernails, your flat and blunt teeth, your tiny jaw and everything else, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how stupid you’d look going after some animal and trying to claw and bite into it.

-Carnivores have acidic saliva meant to break down the flesh of carcasses; we have alkaline saliva not designed to do so.

-Carnivores have extremely short intestines for fast elimination. Our intestines are around 11 times our body length and therefore too long to digest meat properly. It must rot in the human intestines, therefore causing such illnesses as colon cancer.

-Of all the toxic chemicals found in food, 95 to 99 percent come from meat, fish, dairy and eggs.

-Because think about it - you’re eating a putrefying corpse. Once something dies, it immediately begins to rot. Furthermore, the only way a human can digest meat is by it rotting in the intestines.

-Eggs come from a chicken’s vagina. Really think about what this is. Plus, they are almost all cholesterol.

-We are adults now. None of us suck our mom’s tits anymore - would we suck a cow’s? We are the only animal that continues drinking milk as adults and we are certainly the very only animal that drinks another animal’s milk.

-There is no such thing as fat-free milk. Milk is fat. It is designed to help grow a calf into a 2,000 lb. cow.

-By the time we are around 2, we lose 90-95 percent of the enzyme lactase, what is used to help digest milk. Obviously this is for a reason. . .like all the animals in nature seem to know by instinct, we don’t need it anymore because we don’t need milk anymore.

-Undigested lactose (milk) due to the absence of lactase and the acidic nature of pasteurized milk encourage the growth of bacteria in our intestines and therefore cancer because cancer cells thrive in acidic conditions.

-Cholesterol can cause impotence. Vegans don’t consume any cholesterol.

-The grain used to feed animals could be used to feed hungry people. This grain is essentially enough to end world hunger.

-Every three seconds a child dies of starvation somewhere in the world.

-1,000,000,000 people in the west gorging on meat & dairy leave 1,000,000,000 to waste away and 3,500,000,000 teeter on the brink.

-Slaughterhouse workers have among the highest rates of injury and illness in the country, and working in slaughterhouses seems to dull people’s sense of compassion.

-Leaving animals out of your gut is the single best thing you can do for the environment, which obviously benefits everyone.

-The animal agriculture industry is the leading cause of pollution - more than all automobiles combined!

-More than half of all water used in the U.S. is used to raise animals for “food” (yes, quotes).

-A vegetarian diet requires maybe 300 gallons of water per day, while a meat-eating diet requires more than 4,000 gallons.

-Cattle-ranching is the number one cause of Amazonian deforestation. In Central America, two-thirds of the rain forests have been cleared primarily to raise cattle.

-Raising animals for “food” requires more than one-third of all raw materials and fossil fuels used in the United States.

-The meat industry causes more water pollution in the United States than all other industries combined.

-More than 10 billion animals are raised and killed for “food” every year in the U.S. alone; they have to eat, and their waste has to go somewhere.

-20 vegetarians can live off the land required by one meat eater.

-If they continue to clear American forests to raise cattle at the present rate, in 50 years there will be none left.

-1 acre yields 165 lbs of “beef” or 20,000 lbs of potatoes.

-Pressure on land due to meat farming leads to soil erosion 6 billion tons a year in the USA.

-If everyone went vegetarian, up to 90% of land used for animal farming could be taken out of production and used to replant woodlands, leisure activities, etc.

-Between 1966 and 1983 alone, 38% of the Amazon rain forest was destroyed for cattle grazing.

-Overgrazing by cattle is destroying the land & increasing desertification, nearly 430 million acres in the USA alone has suffered a 25-50% reduction in yield since first grazed .

-An inch of topsoil takes 200-1000 years to develop - yet in the USA they have lost around 1/3 of their prime topsoil in 200 years (around 7 inches) due to animal farming.-Land will be lost due to rises in sea level due to global warming due to animal farming.

-The destruction of the rainforest by cattle farmers is destroying the lungs of the planet & reducing the worlds capacity to replenish our oxygen supply.-The 1,300,000,000 cattle in the world emit 60,000,000 tons of methane per year (methane is a greenhouse gas & leads to global warming).

-It takes 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat while it takes 2500 gallons to produce a pound of “meat.”

-Bloody waste water and the excrements of farm animals end up in our rivers, and from there into the seas.

-Nitrates and pesticides used on crops grown to feed livestock end up in our rivers.

-The water used to produce 10 lbs. of steak is equivalent to the average consumption of water for an entire household for an entire year.

-Aquifers (stores of underground water) in the San Joaquin Valley in the US are being drained at the rate of 500,000,000,000 gallons a year to produce “meat.”

-Meat and dairy farming uses billions of gallons of oil to run tractors, fuel ships and lorries (to move animal feed and animals), pump billions of gallons of water to irrigate fields and run slaughterhouses, power refrigeration units to prevent the corpses from decomposing, and to power sewage plants to try to clean up some of the pollution produced.

-A pound of “beef” takes a gallon of oil to produce.

-Euthanized pets are sent to rendering plants and are ground up and fed to cattle. Just like second-hand protein, you’re eating people’s cats and dogs by proxy.

-Other dead cattle are also sent to rendering plants and fed to cows.

-Animals know. They scream and kick and piss themselves in fear being sent down the slaughter line.

-Cows can feel their skin being peeled from their bodies. Pigs, who can’t even swim, scream and kick as they are dunked alive into 140-degree scalding water to remove their hair. Birds still fight while their heads are being dragged through scalding water. They all feel it. They feel the burns. They feel their limbs being cut off. They feel it just as much as you would and cry and scream just as much as you would.

-Animals love their babies. They actually mourn and cry and kick in frustration when their babies are separated from them.

-To keep animals alive in the extremely unsanitary conditions in which they are forced to live, farmers pump them full of antibiotics. -Fishing with drift nets and other modern nets weakens and destroys ecosystems by indiscriminately killing billions of sea creatures and disrupting the sea bed.

-Each year 15,000,000,000 land animals are slaughtered for food and an unknown but much larger number of sea creatures, including thousands of dolphins caught accidentally.

-Chickens are crammed into battery cages with up to three other birds and are unable to even spread their wings or stand up.

-Chickens are debeaked without anesthetic to try to prevent them from pecking at each other in the unnatural conditions they are forced to live. Their beaks, which are indeed sensitive and full of nerve cells, are burnt off with a hot razor.

-Because of the modern methods of growth hormones and artificial lighting, many chickens actually outgrow their bones, so their spines break in half and their legs become fractured or broken.

-Cows and pigs are kept tethered in stalls just large enough to fit them on concrete or slatted floors - they can not even turn around.

-Fast production and problems with stunning practices means that animals get their throats slit while still conscious and are dipped in scalding water (to loosen feathers, fur, bristles, etc.) again while fully conscious.

Recommended Reading:
-The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D.
-Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
-Foods That Cause You to Lose Weight by Neal Barnard, M.D.
-The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer and Jim Mason
-Healthy at 100 by John Robbins
-Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won’t Eat Meat by Howard F. Lyman


Carra said...

Hello, I read your blog and I love it. I was wondering if youd mind if I'd print it out so I can spread the word?
I recently became a vegan, and I was a vegetarian for a year and a couple odd months.
Thank you for all that your doing ^_^

I think it's phnemominal.

VeganJacks said...

Wow! Thank you so much! I'm so happy to know when someone's reading - I didn't know for sure if anyone was. I recently started this blog but I feel it's important for people to know they are being lied to in the name of profit. It's sad and it's wrong. And I am absolutely honored for you to print it out and pass it along. Thank YOU. :)

Andre Smith said...

Thanks! Well done with the site! I loved your point about us being just flesh so what's the point of eating more of the same! I have stopped drinking water now as I have discovered that humans are 60% water and no longer water my vegetables as they are almost entirely made of water.

Anonymous said...

Good evening

Looking forward to your next post