Saturday, January 10, 2009
The Vegetarian Verdict
For most of you reading this- you are aware that I am a picky eater when it comes to meat. I do not eat red meat- and haven't in since high school. This is with the exception of during my pregnancy when I craved hamburgers (this might have something to do with my crazy weight gain)! I also have went on meat free periods several times in the last 10 years. My first aversion to meat was in high school. It had nothing to do with health or animals but soley on the fact that the texture made me sick. Then I started early in college reintoducing turkey and chicken into my diet. After having Ivy my health became important to me. Not only to lose the baby weight but also to model good eating habits for her and I wanted to feed her stuff that was going to provide her with good health and few dangers. I had read enough about the horomones in red meat and the connection they have with early onset puberty for our daughters. Seriously, have you been in an elementary school lately? The 5th graders look like they are 15! I talked to the pediatrician and she stood behind me in the healthy choice I made to have Ivy be raised red-meat free.
Then came the second stike against meat. I am a strong believer that food is poisoning us! This came to light when a childhood friend was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 23!!! She is healthy and I again became strongly aware of the danger food can present to us. I started reading up and again confirmed my decision to be without meat. I never know for sure if it is the cravings or the inconvienence that makes me eat the white meat again, but nonetheless it happened. And chicken was again introduced into my diet, along with Ivy's. As you read my journey you see that it always has to do with the health or the risk factor associated with meat, not for any other reason.
As of last week I had eliminated any fear I had about chicken. I had read several articles about the arsenic in chicken and determined that it wasn't a risk factor. All of this changed when I read the article titled "Fowl Play" in the latest issue of Self Magazine. This was not an article promoting the vegetarian lifestyle. It discussed bacteria that commonly makes people sick, took you on the chicken journey (sans the abuse), and basically recommended buying organic chicken, being ultra careful what you eat at restaurants, and to keep the cooking area clean. You can read the article from Self magazine here. They had NO idea that they were going to lead me on what will probably be my final quest to vegetarianism!
I started asking some questions of people that I know are vegetarians and reading more about the pros to going veg. As I have said, being a vegetarian was always inspired by health and not any other motivation. I had even said if the animals could motivate me (and sadly, I said if I cared that much) that would be it! I would be sold! So then I clicked on a link on my fellow blogger friend, Jackie's blog. That led my to some very disturbing video. You can see the PETA investigation videos here. I watched about the way they treat animals and I was appalled. The next day I thought about it some more but went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch.... and was done with my nuggets early because of the thought of those poor animals. I knew it sealed the deal when I went to the Melting Pot and they bring you meat to cook. I could only eat the salmon, lobster, and shrimp (I will continue to eat fish products). I knew that what I saw I could not ignore. I knew that the health had now bumped to second place and I was horrified by the animals. Greg could tell I was really disturbed and started doing his own investigations. After many conversations I have fully decided I will not support the inhumane treatment of animals and Greg is going to try the vegetarian lifestyle as well. Totally his choice... this is a first time for him!
We hope that through this journey we develop some healthy changes (it will eliminate chicken fingers and fries!) and we can raise our children this way until they are old enough to decide for themselves (I always speak of many children who don't yet exist). We hope to provide each other with support when sometimes our culture doesn't lend itself. I am committed to trying some new recipes, even though we really didn't cook much meat before. We are excited about this change in 2009.
Please know that in blogging this I do not judge anyone for eating meat! I really mean that! I simply am sharing my story and allowing you to read more if you are interested. I also would love for Ivy to read this someday... as it may give her a clearer picture of how our decision was made.