Monday, October 31, 2011

I'm A Veterinarian Cuz I Don't Eat Meat

"There's no food in your food."  - Joan Cusack in Say Anything.

"I think this horse has turned..." - O Brother, Where Art Thou?

This post is brought to you by Food, Inc, FoodMatters, The Omnivore's Dilemma, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, several other books/magazines/documentaries, and my own conscience. Any resemblance to your eating habits is entirely coincidental. 

First of all, yes, this will be a slightly serious blog (scramble to get out now if you must, Chicken BobBabyPants) and no, I am not giving up meat and going vegan.  Although if the payoff is to have Shania Twain's rocking abs, then I may reconsider.

But I am going to try to change the way I eat and shop and cook and I need you guys, my little sweetie muckins, to keep me accountable and maybe even join me in my journey.

I don't mind eating meat.  I'm an animal lover as much as the next gal; I have my doggy, Mr. Milo Farts-A-Lot, and I've had horses and chickens and kitty cats, but I'm not hypocritical about killing and butchering and eating Bessie the bovine.  I love all meats really; besides the boring ol' chicken breast I've had goat, bear, bison, alligator, lamb, octopus, and I don't really turn up my nose at anything someone feels like cooking for me.  After all, I don't understand why us white bred (or is it bread? haha!) Americans will snarf down a hamburger or a chicken nugget but make gagging sounds over other animals.  Have you ever looked into a big old cow's brown eyes?  They're stinking adorable.  Chickens are snuggly little fuzzy cuties.  If you can eat that you have no business getting all appalled at munching on some lamb chops.  But that's not my point.  Where was I?  I have no idea.  Right.  


After living the last year in a group home where we ate only meat people gave us or the food bank sold us I have been more diligent than ever to get that @#$#%^ out of our system now.  We were eating frozen chicken that didn't come with labels.  Just huge unmarked fowls from some nameless factory.  Rolls of ground beef (or horse, who the heck knew).  Anyway, it gave me the creeps to eat it but eat it we did.  You put enough Rooster sauce on something and it's gonna be tasty.

Now that we're back to being able to shop the way I want, I still haven't made that leap to buying organic meat.  It's so unbelievably expensive!  No, wait.  It's not.  It's just that compared to the mass produced nastiness you can buy for a couple greenbacks a pound, it's expensive.  But have we really sunk so low, folks, that we would buy steak at the Dollar Tree?  

I'm not kidding.  They had it last week.

After learning that our chicken we buy is soaked in chlorine to get the bacteria to die and the beef is treated with ammonia for the same reason, I'm not sure I want to eat it again.  There's so much feces in our meat that I'd like to quit thinking about it now.  I mean, I'm a mom; I've dealt with poop on epic levels.  But I draw the line at eating it.  You do know that you have to cook meat to certain temperatures not because it's dangerous to eat the meat itself under cooked, but because you need to kill off all that lovely poop so you can eat it and not get sick.

I knew about soybeans and corn and GMOs.  I knew about organic dairy and I've been buying that for years.  I knew about free range chickens and I much prefer handing over my wrinkly dollars bills to a neighbor down the road for eggs.  But I've buried my head in the sand, so to speak, about the meat.

Now I'm not really talking about going vegetarian.  I love a medium rare steak.  I love chicken.  A meal without meat feels incomplete.  But I certainly can't afford to feed it to my family of five seven days a week.

So what Mike and I are proposing to the girls is to be meat free four days a week.  And on the three where we can have it, it'll be the good stuff.  This will be harder for them at lunch because I'm going to stop buying nuggets and fish sticks, which is their lunchtime staple food.  What about lunch meat?  I'm gonna assume that mechanically separated animal parts smooshed back together probably isn't super natural.  Who knows how many different turkeys are smashed into one paper thin slice?  We can't have peanut butter remember, due to G's allergies.  No one cares for the almond stuff.  There may be a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches in the Williams' future.  Ideas, please?

Is it really so bad?  Well, you could ask the workers who work at these plants (only 13 in the nation and they control the whole industry.  Fifty years ago there were thousands.  Isn't that weird?  How powerful are they?) but most are illegal and aren't going to talk to you. 

Sometimes I think that a hundred years from now, scientists are really going to shake their goatee-d heads and mutter about our stupidity.  Why are we questioning the onslaught of cancers and autism and ADD and diabetes and all of these maladies that are so on the rise, it's disgusting?  I can picture them saying as they nibble on a real tomato and not the kind that's been unnaturally ripened with methane gasses, "can't believe our ancestors couldn't figure out they were killing themselves...raising money for cures while they consumed huge quantities of pesticides, bleaches, GMOs, antibiotics...what a bunch of morons..."

Am I overreacting?  What do you think?  Does Tyson deserve our respect as long as their chickens are pumped full of so much food their legs can't support them and they've never seen daylight?  I have a soft spot for sister had a brood as a kid and they all had names.  She also had a chicken hat that she wore in public just to humiliate me but that's another story for another day.

So what do you think?  Should Mike take up hunting?  Is organic milk not enough, should we go to raw?  Can we do this pseudo vegetarianism?  Will I lose weight?  Will I become an annoying person who refuses to eat at other people's houses and has weird restrictions that really make everyone want to smack me?  Will I have to wear patterned tights and put my four year old in a sling and only shop at fair trade markets?  Will I have to brew my own beer and go to story time and march in protests?  Will I start looking at clothing tags next?  I don't look good in patterned tights and Birkenstocks...  Will I start hanging out with the recyclers?  Cuz I stink at recycling and I think they'll vote me off the island eventually.  I have zero desire to own an electric car.  Can a liberal eater still vote Republican?   

Who's with me?

Criminy, I really want a flippin' hamburger now.   Get it?  Flippin' burgers??  HAHAHA!


  1. Yes, you can support any candidate you want and still eat healthier. I want a bumper sticker . . . "I eat organic and vote Republican" or "I support the Constitution and non-GMO's" "God Bless America and thank you for my grass-fed beef!"

    A couple meal ideas: Quiche (or egg pie if you don't like French) is a great breakfast, lunch and dinner. Wild caught fish dredged in milk and then a coating (cornflakes, parmesan, and seasonings), make great natural fish sticks. Bean chili and baked potatoes make good lunches too. Smoothies and zucchini bread. Veggie tray and pita chips with hummus. Egg salad sandwiches .

    In heaven, all food will be good for you and nothing will make you fat either. No allergies, no reactions, no "trans-fat" or MSG, just pure goodness. Until then, anything on this fallen earth will be sub-par.

    We all have to choose which "food hill" to die on each and every day but be careful not to replace the true gospel with any other gospel (healthy food, home-educating, etc.)

    These are some of the things I've been learning as I walk the road. I now eat whatever I am served when I am someone's guest - and I try very hard to resist even looking at the label. :) If my body is healthy, it will flush out the bad stuff pretty fast. I only donate food that I would fix for my family. We buy a special side of grass-fed beef every year. I purchase foster farms chicken, not Tyson (slightly better). We buy raw milk, but use "cheap" cheese. We buy free range eggs and eat "mostly" organic produce. I avoid MSG and hydrogenated oils. I'm starting to avoid food dyes and corn syrup. I'd like to eliminate nitrates, trites, sulfites, etc. It is a mishmash of slow and steady improvement over time - with major and minor setbacks as we go. I still hate gardening and plan to do it only if the apocalypse mandates it. :)

    There is one person's perspective. :) Just be sure that you bring your own bag if you shop at Whole Foods. . . :) You don't want to stand out TOO much. :)

  2. I'm a lurker. You have no idea who I am so take what I'm going to say however you want to. I went through this same "What do we eat, what's trash and how in the world can I pay for it?" A couple of years ago. I was also desperatly searching for the solution to my energy fatigue issue that refuses to show up on DR's tests. I was really stressing out over the food delimma. I don't want diabetes or cancer anymore than the next gal. Well God led me to see, for us anyway, to let it go and do the best I can. That means a balanced diet of regular food. Honestly I really wish I could just jump to the nearest(4 hours away) whole foods mart and buy what ever tickled my organic fancy. But I'm stuck is super rural-ville on food stamps and no way or growing or raising my own stuff either. We are just as healthy as the family we know that does the whole foods-raise your own stuff thing. My personal inner wondering is "Is it our mondern tinkering with foods that is causing our poor health or is it the effects of so meny millenia of sin degrading our genes and the like?"

  3. I for sure have to pick which "food hill to die on!" And I doubt I'll ever be super strict about it. Especially at pot lucks and other people's houses and those times when I have guests and I can't afford the organic ribs, etc. Throw some mechanically separated meat parts on the grill, baby! We do what we can when we can: good milk and cheap cheese, yep! Organic milk for the kids but el ghetto half and half for my coffee. Whole grain brown rice but occasional white pasta. Extra virgin olive oil but Crisco makes better pie crusts. I've just never approached the meat dilemma before and now I feel like now that I know, I can't pretend I don't.

  4. Ok... Can I tell you what we did? I'm not trying to say this is the only way, but I do believe it's the best way, and I'll tell you why...

    We stopped eating meat. We chose January 1st, BECAUSE it was an easy date. We did it for three months. THEN, we reevaluated...
    We had exceptions... If we ate at someone's house, or at a restaurant, we could order meat. But at home- no meat...

    Melyssa, it literally changed our lives. I can't even tell you. It cleaned out our bodies in amazing ways. Again, I can't even tell you...
    Now, we eat meat probably 4-8 times per month, depending... but we are more in tune with us and we learned how to save serious money, in the process...

    If you need vegetarian recipes, i have AMAZING ones... Some really, really amazing ones!

  5. I absolutely loved reading this post! And I LOVE my amazingly organic friends who all taught me the benefits of it years ago! Especially AFTER Sadie got cancer. Boy, can't go back much now. I am surprised at how easy it has been to go without much meat at all. Of course we still eat some of it as well and even buy the veggie meat sometimes (lots of soy so probably not high on the priority list for most people) and we actually like the flavor tons better. However, no meat works just fine as well. Good dishes to make without meat? Loved Lorna's quiche idea and I know you make a killer one. Also veggie stir fry (throw in tons of broccoli, onions, red peppers, bok choy, cabbage and GARLIC and you will be in heaven! The kids just made it today for cooking group!). Enchiladas and many other mexican food ideas although you will ingest a ton of cheese with those (higher cholesterol). Pisole is a great Mexican soup that you can make without meat. Go to all and look for veggie recipes there. Lots of grilled cheese, yes! Also, pasta works every time. Genesis has an amazing recipe for pesto basil made with spinach, sauteed cucumbers, pistachios, etc. One of my favorite meals. Love you and can't wait to see you and enjoy a good burger together whenever that may be! :0)

  6. Go Melyssa! :D Eating healthier is always a good choice, and supporting organic growers/ranchers is, too! My diet has changed several times over the years, from growing up vegetarian to occasionally vegan, to 100% raw vegan for a year (best diet in the world, probably, and I was 25 lbs lighter than I am now, but man, is it hard to stick to!), to pescatarian (vegetarian plus fish, which is mostly how I eat now) and gluten-free, and ocassionally dairy free, (again, very hard to stick to, as cheese is my weakness!) and now I will even eat the occasional piece of turkey, but I'm still not a fan of chicken, beef, or all other animal products (besides sea food), which I pretty much avoid.

    But as for recipes, I have a bunch of ideas for you, because we pretty much eat vegetarian/vegan through the week, and eat our cheese and fish and sometimes turkey (and my husband will have the occasional steak) on the weekend. We eat a lot of Mexican food, Italian/Greek food (made with gluten-free noodles, of course), and East Indian and Asian food, and of course American. Tacos are kind of our main staple, but Mexican pizzas, enchiladas, tostadas, nachos, tamales, tortilla soup, Spanish rice and beans, southwest salad, and black beans, rice, and fried plantains, if you want to go more South American, are some of our favorites. Now for the Italian/Greek food: Tuna afredo and spinach pasta, 3 bean salad, baked ziti, Greek salad, falafels and hummus (it's hard to find gluten-free falafel, but sometimes they have them at Costco, seasonally), spegetti and falafels (instead of meat balls), and lasagna. (Did I mention that cheese is my weakness??) On to East India: Kasmir spinach, lentil soup, shish kabobs, egg and chick pea curry, vegetable cury (curry is very anti-cancer, by the way), and Dahl. Asian favorites are: fried rice, stir fry, chow mein, sushi, miso soup and edamame. And American dishes (without meat? Who knew!: Chili cheese fries (made with vegetarian chili), black bean soup and corn bread, vegetarian gumbo (substitute beans for meat), veggie burgers or salmon burgers, baked potatoes with green beans and salmon, mac 'n' cheese with broccoli and veggie burgers, pumpkin soup and stuffing, and split pea soup. Hope that helps get you started. :D Lots of organic love!

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