Downshift…


Preying for change…

I’ll begin this by stating in clear terms; I have no problem with the killing of, or the eating of animals.  So long as those animals have been raised humanely by organic methods, or have been caught in the wild by methods which will not significantly reduce populations or threaten the species, I’m good with it.  Man has been eating other animals almost from the beginning, as animals have also been eating other animals, including man.  All who are born, are born as a potential snack.

What I can no longer do, what I am no longer willing to accept, is to eat animals raised inhumanely, sustained callously, and slaughtered brutally.  Between the callousness of their surroundings, the hormones and antibiotics they are reared with, and within the filth they are raised in, high volume animal farming is something I can no longer support.

Shake up in the cabinet…

As I have cleared the last of my farmed meat from my freezer; beef, chicken, pork, and shrimp, and as I have used my last egg given by a caged chicken,  I now begin a process that will have me obtaining most of my protein from plant-based sources – even if those sources contain GMOs.  I would rather eat genetically modified soy curd, than an inhumanely raised chicken, or farmed or threatened fish. Or to put it more succinctly, I would rather have more GMOs in my diet, than OMGs.

As I can access and afford it, I will also include protein derived from un-caged chickens, unchained dairy cows, grass-fed and humanely slaughtered beef, bison, and whatever game and fish I catch, or my friends are willing to provide to me.

This is not a stand against eating Bambi.  If Bambi is in the right place at his wrong time, and ends up on my dinner table, I ‘m down.  This is a stand for how I believe we should conduct ourselves as a species, and as the stewards of this planet.  I am no longer willing to accept the way many corporations raise, slaughter, distribute, and market animal food sources.

BambiII

Guess who is coming to dinner…?

Sensationally speaking…

I understand the video below is social media sensationalism at its best.  I also understand that it’s real – nothing seen in it has been contrived.  These, and similar methods of animal processing are all around us, and have been for decades.  It is only social media that has many of us seeing red for the first time, over seeing red for the first time.  Seeing this video was simply the final push I needed to take this personal stand I have been on the verge of for more than a decade, but have selfishly resisted.

Judge Not, Roy Bean…

In this decision I am not passing judgment on anyone else, nor am I advocating similar actions by others.  The complexity of our food system – of our society has expanded to a point where answers and truths can no longer be established by outside sources.  In this era of increasing complexity, I truly believe that the best answers and the best truths we can depend on must come from within.

Sadly, people are certain to judge me on this decision.  There will be jokes cracked, social media friendships threatened, more than a few snickers.  That’s on them, not on me.  Though I don’t believe I will waiver on this, as I have not wavered on not owning a vehicle, I certainly won’t attempt to predict the future – I consistently suck at it.

 Restaurant not impossible…

Though I expect making these changes might offer some challenges in the beginning, I’m not too concerned about the adaptation process.  My weak link though, will be in restaurants. I eat out often, sometimes several times a day.  Most everything I eat in restaurants I have deemed acceptable until now.  That definition has changed.

Most of what I order in restaurants has been chicken or egg based.  My friends may roll their eyes as I add tofu or textured vegetable protein to a garden salad at the local diner.  Perhaps not as much if I just thrown a little ground bison that salad, and call it good.  We shall see.  Regardless, eating out will need to be modified.

Did somebody tell me that the restaurant chain, Chipotle, offers tofu...?

Did somebody tell me that the restaurant chain, Chipotle, offers tofu…?

The hustle to keep up the muscle…

Lastly, as a lifelong weightlifter, bodybuilder, and weekend athlete, I have raised myself to be the ultimate carnivore.  I have eaten red meat most every day of my adult life, often by the pound, with a belief that animal protein, beef in particular, is a requirement for strength, energy, and forging a tasty aesthetic.  This is going to be tested to be sure, since my bodybuilding aspirations remain intact.

If my strength, energy, and aesthetic suffer for a lack of feedlot beef, farmed fish, and caged eggs, my soul certainly will not suffer.  In these days, and in these times, my interest lies much more with soul-building than with bodybuilding.  Be well… rc

 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Please check back in two weeks to see what happens when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there is this by The Alabama Shakes. Enjoy…

26 responses

  1. Glad to see someone else saying something like how I’ve felt for a while. I don’t LIKE that my diet kills animals, but whether they die matters less to me than HOW they die and how they live.

    I had two cats in my life who I loved and love like crazy — but when they killed things, they didn’t have the ability to do so kindly. I’ve seen pictures of cats in the wild eating gazelles that aren’t quite dead yet. They don’t have the ability to make sure their prey feels little pain or fear. We do. Humans alone among all predators can ensure that our prey feels as little pain and fear as possible. It’s almost our obligation to do so at that point. These creatures are sustaining our existence; it’s the least we can do for them.

  2. Good for you, Roy! I have been ‘mostly’ vegan for 6+ weeks…I will eat an occasional egg or chicken, but mostly vegetables, fruit and grain. There is plenty of protein other than meat, but if I eat meat or meat product, I insist on organic. My turning point came from my son who turned me onto http://forksoverknives.com

    Eating out is the definite challenge, but it can be done and you will do it! I am proud of you and your stand!

    Lisa

    • Thanks for taking the time Lisa. Nice to hear you chime in. As hard as it is to admit, Forks was another big push for me in this direction. It just took a few pushes.

      I’m going to guess that a pizza with meat on it might find me some day, and I’ll partake guilt-free. But I won’t be ordering a rib-eye in the local pub anytime soon.

      Hope the winds are fair, and skies are clear for you and Capt. Frank!

  3. Tempah to the rescue! You’re setting a high bar for your old friends but I like the challenge…keep up the great work – and thanks for the heartfelt birthday wishes!

    • Agreed Douglas. In fact, Trudy has been pushing the Tempah on me for years. Now I’m ready to listen.

      As far as the birthday wishes go, it was a lot of fun recalling those memories.

      “Roy Cohen! Is that you?”
      “Mr. Thompson…?”

  4. I’m sincerely curious to hear how this goes for you, Roy! Especially considering your fitness goals!

    When I was a teenager, I discovered PETA. Some might accuse this organization (and others) of sensationalism, but when you are shown things as they are, I would rather call it the truth!

    I was a vegetarian for about a year. Well-intentioned people told me I would have deficiencies. Based on my blood tests after a year, I did not have any!

    I started eating animal products again when I got pregnant, “just in case”. Now I still have some, but in small quantities. I’ve never liked meat, which makes it easier. I do, however, love fish and seafood…

    • I tested this last year Julie, for one month. I wasn’t ready then, though I did survive the month.

      I’m ready now. My life has changed more in the past 12 months than in the past 20 years. any things have led me to this which is why I feel it’s time.

      Shit, maybe I’m finally growing up. I mean, I’ll still make balloon animals from surgical gloves and stuff…

  5. Have you read “Animals Make Us Human” by Temple Grandin? It’s an extremely insightful book about animal behavior in general and how to raise farm animals humanly for food. I also loved “Animals in Translation” and Thinking in Pictures” which she also wrote but aren’t about fair treatment for animals but about how autism helped her to figure out animal behavior and what it’s like for her to have autism. They are very good.

    • Hi! Just wanted to chime in in agreement with Deborah re: Temple Grandin! Fascinating story! I almost came back to CA this year, Roy, as she was the keynote this year at the conference I was at last year. I wish I could of..just wasn’t in the cards. :)

    • Yes, I am familiar with it Deborah. In a not-so-far stretch, having Stroodle in my life has truly shaped the way I feel about animals and pain. He’s the Bombdiggity for a reason :-)

  6. I am for whatever a person want s to do – f you feel this is right for you, more power to you – that is my opinion. Honestly, if I had the money, I would shop at different places – food & nonfood & buy certain food from certain places… unfortunately bills don’t let me do that right now… As for bodybuilding – I have heard both sides – those that are fine & others that went back to meat eating for better strength & energy. We are all unique so eager to hear how this goes for you.

    • Thanks Jody. Both Bill Pear and Andreas Challing were world class powerlifters and bodybuilders on lacto/ovo vegetarian diets. Rich Roll is one of the premier endurance athletes on the planet and hes a vegan. It happens :-)

  7. Consumer demand drives the producers- it has gotten this way because we were ignorant and did not ask- how did this get to my plate. Check out local meat CSAs- you can get humanely raised meat, get to know your local feed shop ad see if anyone is willing to do a cow share- harvest it via a local butcher, get a couple chickens- eggs at home- San Diego has lifted many of the band against them due to public outcry but not published it much- ask. Goats are easy to milk and keep, friendly, entertaining and their fresh milk is amazing. One community I know of in France came together and financed a small goat dairy for a couple who wanted to return to the traditional way of cheese making- that couple now has a dairy and makes cheese and provides fresh milk to the community. The goats are very happy. Support the people who do this, you get the food you want raised in the way you want. Win-win- we can pray for change but it happens faster if we pay for it.

  8. I’m sure you were waiting for some criticism. Well, here it is. Not directed to you. But to myself. I live in the heartland, yet I don’t like steak…at all. I’m what some would deem a freak of nature. But I do like the crap meat…hamburgers, hot dogs, and the like. I don’t want to see exactly how they’re made. I’ve heard how they’re made and I refuse to watch the video you posted because I would literally get sick. I would see the faces of those innocently and inhumanely butchered in my dreams. But how big of a hypocrite am I when I will likely eat out at a restaurant later this week with my family? Perhaps someday I will grow up too. Until then, I will at least keep reading your insightful posts.

    • Make no mistake Heidi, I love a good rib-eye, kielbasas, and tons of gooey cheese melted over all kinds of things. McNuggets…? McYes!

      But this is where I am now. A long path, and more than a few people and situations led me here. I have a lot of making up to do….

    • Thank you Diane. This one I am taking very seriously. IN the bog picture, I don’t care at all if this, or how this affects my fitness level. Any concern I might have is superficial.

      I think my fitness level might suffer slightly, but only time will tell. In truth, I think it may actually help the longevity of my fitness level. After all, I will be clearing my body of some tings which may help sustain me longer. Time will tell.

      This is one that will be a good trade off, even if I do lose a step.

  9. I eliminated most of the problem by stopping eating any meat or meat produced product other than food of the sea years ago.

    I am fine with others eating meat as you said, it’s quite normal in nature, but I feel minimizing it is better for the whole planet and an evolved choice.

    The need for kindness to all living things cannot be over-stressed.

  10. After I read your post here, I found this article in the fall issue of UU World, a periodical I receive as a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church. It’s titled “Our Animal Contradictions” by Kimberly French. It touches on the theme of your post and has an interesting and insightful message. Here’s a link if you or any of your subcribers would like to read it: uuworld.org. You click on the current issue which is Fall 2013, and then choose the story.

  11. Pingback: Smooth Pavement… | Contemplative Fitness

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