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Sunday, March 18, 2012

So, I'm a Vegetarian Now.

I never thought that I would, but in the last few months I started eating wayyy less meat. I'll have fish on occasion but otherwise I've been getting creative with making meatless foods with a good degree of success. Vegan recipes are helpful although I am not vegan. I still eat eggs as well as yogurts and cheeses in small amounts because I'm lactose intolerant. I try to make these things organic because it if I'm going to eat animal products, I would like them to be of a little higher quality.

Why the change? I was always into the different effects that natural food has on the body, and have been researching and reading about such for years. From there, I eventually found my way into documentaries about our food and the business of it.

After watching how animals and food were being handled in factory-farms, I felt a little squeamish. Not because of any emotional or physical stress on the animals (although, that's upsetting an upsetting symptom of high meat demand) but the fact that my meat could be dirty or contaminated with germs and a ridiculous amount of grossness. Between unsanitary conditions, animals being pumped full of who-knows-what, arsenic in chicken feed, and my fruits/vegetables being genetically modified, I was skeeved out, man. Totally skeeved out.

Food Inc.
Food Inc. was a really good watch and gave me a look into how Perdue and other popular food companies do their thing. After watching that (among other food related documentaries), I didn't feel comfortable about where my consumables were coming from and how they were made anymore. In fact, I didn't know anything about where they came from and how they were made. As do the majority of the population. We just buy our food, and eat it, trusting that those who handle it are doing things "right".

I'm easily paranoid about my health these days. I watch everyone get more and more sick, and take more and more pills that curb symptoms but not heal problems every day, and I feel like we are doing something wrong. Cancer is on the rise, and our life expectancy is actually going down from it's peak due to cancers, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other ailments. "Coincidentally", this rise slowly began after processed foods and GMO's have been introduced into our society. I can't say that I am a fan of foods being enhanced with vitamins (like Folic Acid) or chemicals because the only way to see the effects on a population long term is to expose the population to it long term. To me, that doesn't sound like a sound solution.

So now we are in the long term, and things are looking kinda "meh" don't you think? Stomach and colon cancers are on the rise. Is it natural, or could it be from the food that digests in it? There are a lot of questions, little answers, and many people who will argue that it's too inconclusive. While that may be so, that doesn't mean that we should keep consuming certain food items until there is conclusive evidence. By that point, it will be too late to reverse many negative effects. 

On the other hand, if it turns out that the food is 100% safe, I won't feel like I wasted my time eating fresh, unmodified foods, because hey, better safe than sorry, right? Plus I feel great!

 There's way more evidence showing that processed foods and animal products are screwing us up, so sorry, meat. I can totally live without you. Eating healthy will either lessen my risk of health problems, or do nothing, but it sure as heck won't increase my problems, and I'm down with that.

If something gives you peace of mind, go for it. Don't feel like society is a certain way and you are going against the grain for making a positive decision towards YOUR health. Just because the majority of people do something, doesn't make it the best. It just makes it "the norm".

damp, dark and dirty Perdue chicken house
I know that people are very attached to their meat eatery. This week there was an article on a red meat study that showed how it increased risk of premature death. This is not new. We already know that red meat and processed meats like bacon and fried foods have fat and raise cholesterol, and that "news" isn't phasing people anymore. People will over eat, get over weight, and have their heart attacks to suit their taste buds, and to feel like they got the most out of life. Eating cholesterol laden food = a fulfilling (but short) life, apparently.

We already know which foods are bad for our diets. People are going to commit suicide to food related problems if they think the taste is worth it no matter how many warnings you give them. So where are all the mainstream news reports showing that meat has antibiotics or how animals are kept in gross conditions and given hormones that deform them? Where are the reports on how feeding farm animals non-traditional feed gives them diseases and tumors... which are packaged and consumed by the public? Why aren't they making a bigger deal about THAT? We know about fat and calories. But what about what's not on the label? Hey, can't skeeve out the customers with the truth, right? Thats bad for business. People will eat fatty foods, but no one wants to eat a sickly, deformed, dirty, tumor chicken. And with good reason!


e-gad, really?!
Take mechanically separated meat for instance. That stuff needs have a PSA posted everywhere! Gross me out the door. Did you know that anything that has mechanically separated meat in the ingredients (such as chicken nuggets and hot dogs) are treated with ammonia? The ammonia cleans the meat because its a low quality. They use cheap, leftover animal parts like intestines and fatty scraps which are susceptible to e coli and salmonella. Nothing really natural they can use to kill those germs, so in goes the ammonium hydroxide. Nasty. I use to use ammonia to clean my toilet. McDonald's and Taco Bell only banned the pink slime last year, but school lunches and many products in the supermarket still use it. >> PINK SLIME ARTICLE

Are "recommended levels" of certain chemicals and ingredients that are "harmless" in small amounts really harmless? And do we expose ourselves to more than the recommended level on a daily basis?

Hey, I may be an advocate for healthier living and eating, but I can only tell you how great I feel and how successful I've been so far. It's up to you to do the research and decide for yourself what changes (if any) you would like to make towards your health. Research meat, salt, sugar, sugar substitutes, GMOs, and look into medical studies and journals that are not published or archived because they show that natural eating, living and vitamin taking has had more success in curing ailments and diseases than traditional medical treatments (My thoughts on medical conspiracy is a whole different blog entirely).

taste the rainbow

Nature creates foods we can use to reduce our risk of health problems without putting an adhesive strip on it like prescription medication does. You may think I'm nuts, and that's cool, but I still advise you to at least look into the foods you are putting in your body right now and what complications or problems it can give you if any. Just get informed and if you chose to do nothing with that information, cool, but at least you know what you are consuming on a different level now. I don't think everyone the whole world should go vegan, but make educated steps towards less meat and better health in general would do you and the world some good! Awareness is always good to have.

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