Earth Day – What if your food choices meant less suffering?

It’s quiet and time to think. I’ve had this thought running around in my mind for a couple of days, particularly with it being Earth Day today – 12:30 am.

For years I’ve practiced different ways of eating. When I was young I was a vegetarian for many years because it felt ‘right’. I didn’t really understand why, but, it was because of the animals. I grew up on a farm, caught fish and cleaned them for dinner, my parents were hunters so every fall there were deer hanging from our big maple tree in the front yard, I watched my dad shoot a cow right between the eyes and skin it so we could have food. And, I knew how to use a gun to learn how to hunt, but, I could never hunt, I couldn’t kill a rabbit or deer.

When I was little I spent time with a big steer in the meadows. It is such a vivid memory and I was so little and he was so big, yet, I would go out to see him as he was resting in the afternoon sun and cuddle up to him, sitting by his neck. As he would chew his cud I would pet him and talk to him and he quietly listened.

There was Beauty, our Guernsey milk cow, who was so beautiful and as she stood in the barn with her head locked gently in her stall to be milked, she would chew her cud and I would talk to her. I loved her big brown eyes and her gentle face and she would always lick me when I petted her. I loved the roughness of her tongue as she gently licked my arm.

When you grow up on a farm you learn that animals are here to eat and, yes, I ate them, it’s what I was given to eat and I was told that other children were starving so I had to eat what was on my plate and I obeyed.

But, as a young woman something bothered me about eating meat and I decided that I didn’t want to continue. So, that was my first nine year hiatus from meat, I was a vegetarian, I didn’t really know about veganism at the time.

Then, I gave up vegetarianism and began eating meat for a number of years, it was easier, the world, particularly the United States, ‘forces’ the need to eat meat upon it’s population. It’s a practice that has been handed down through the generations, and we must remember that as children we were not given a choice, neither were our parents, it is what we were taught.

However, the food industry has grown so commercialized that cows, like I knew, enjoying life in the pasture and chickens who were allowed to socialize and feed freely during the day aren’t raised in that manner anymore. They are commercialized with no humanity or understanding of their spirit. They are fed diets that pollute their bodies, and, in turn, ours. They live under circumstances that no being should have to endure and are killed with no compassion for the pain of dying. Happy California cows are rare.

The only way this can change is when people, not corporations, make choices that do less harm to animals. Less harm means eating less animal protein and planning some of your meals around a plant based diet. Now, of course, I would like to see more plant-based eating and a lot less animal consumption, but, I also understand the ‘addiction’ that we suffer from when it comes to eating meat and the power of corporations in selling us this addiction.

So, do what you will with this ‘food for thought.’ Perhaps you feel the need to comment on this idea or maybe you think someone you know would be willing to read this article. But, for many reasons I will continue to write about the many reasons that more of us need to practice plant based eating. Hope you’ll continue on this journey with me.

Enjoy Earth Day, Love and Care for this Beautiful Planet and ALL Beings – it’s all we have!

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