On my morning run by the lake in my neighborhood, I encountered two ducks. A beautiful, white duck was sitting on the side of the road, its head tucked neatly behind her wing taking a morning nap, and a male duck stood nearby as if protecting the her. When my feet plowed by, I was amazed at their serenity. Mind you, I was running right next to them, not walking slowly as if approaching an unknown canine. And yet, they weren’t afraid of me. And I thought, “That’s exactly how it should be.”
Yesterday was Earth Day. In my opinion it should get more credit than we give it. A good start would be a day of service, like we do on MLK Day. In honor of Earth Day, albeit a day late, I’m going to stand up on my soap box and write about a controversial topic that so many people wish to avoid. I’m going to write about it because it has such a direct impact on our planet, and in the lives of every human being, and yet most people don’t see the connection. I’m going to be talking about eating MEAT.
I am now two weeks into my fully vegan lifestyle, after being a vegetarian for nearly two years. Actually, it would be more accurate to say I was MOSTLY vegetarian, as my children still eat meat and I couldn’t bear to throw away uneaten food, knowing that some innocent cows were inhumanely slaughtered for that hamburger. So, yes, occasionally I would finish those last few bites of cheeseburger left on my son’s plate. But that was not a regular occurrence. And I continued to eat seafood as well. Before I get too far, let me be clear: I grew up a meat eater. I was raised on steaks, McChicken sandwiches, and meat-lover’s pizza. I was a carnivore through and through. I remember in my younger days saying that I would be a vegetarian as long as I could still eat chicken. Now I look back and shake my head at my naivete. If only I knew then how easy the transition to veggies would be. I will probably always crave the taste and texture of meat, because that’s the food I grew up eating. But it is not the food I choose to die eating.
This post not going to be loaded with scientific facts because, honestly, I don’t have the time to do the citations. You can do your own research. But the fact is, the meat and dairy industries are the largest contributors to greenhouse gases. That’s right, boys and girls. Your Prius does much less for the environment than your diet does. And climate change isn’t the only issue. Look at all the food recalls that make headline news. Where do E. coli and Salmonella come from? Out the rear ends of your steak, bacon, and Chicken McNuggets. It’s such a problem that even fruit and vegetables can’t escape contamination.
And don’t get me started on the health implications of eating all that saturated fat and excess animal protein. Just about every life-threatening disease out there can be attributed to a meat-based diet. Don’t believe me? Read The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, or if you’re too lazy to do that, watch Forks Over Knives.
Look, I’m not telling anyone to give up meat. In a perfect world I might try, but this isn’t a perfect world and I know many of you love your bacon. But at least try to cut down. At least a little bit?
Links for more information
- How Meat Contributes to Global Warming – Scientific American
- Another article about climate change and meat-eating
- How the meat industry has bought the government that regulates it
- Meat Consumption and Cancer Risk