Have you ever watched the gross food documentaries on Netflix. You know the ones I’m talking about….. ( Vegucated, King Corn, Farmagedon, Forks Over Knifes, Hungary For Change, Foodmatters )…. Well about 9 months ago my husband went on a documentary kick. We sat and watched every single one we could find…
I am not embarrassed to admit I was very ignorant about where the meat I was buying, cooking, and preparing for my family came from. I always knew about the poor treatment of large farm animals but never knew to what degree until then.
I was completely thrown off the ship with out a life jacket when we started watching all these movies. Shocked by the poor treatment especially of cows and chickens. Disgusted by the amount of drugs given to these poor animals just to make the grow larger than their bodies can handle so the farms make more money of a single head.
I learned about a cattle farm in American where the cows are literally walking around in tiny pens with no grass insight. just pure muck and feces. These cows were so large many were just laying down in the muck. These videos showed deceased animals in the pens bloated with their legs sticking straight up, making it clear they have been their for a while. I watched while a slaughter-house put a LIVE cow into a vat of boiling solution. The amount of mistreatment in this industry is astonishing.
I saw footage of a chicken farm where they were kept in tiny cages of 2-3 animals in each. They had grown so large they could no longer bear the weight of their massive breasts on their tiny legs. Just laying on the bottom of the cages, feathers worn off from the wire mesh bottoms. Some with extra beaks and toes, some with broken beaks and missing body parts.
In many of these documentaries they showed the sheer VOLUME of drugs given to the animals on a daily basis. Antibiotics and growth hormones in large quantities. In some cases fed to the animals daily through pellets in their food. It never dawned on me until seeing these movies that cows are not meant to eat corn and dry food from barrels, and yet the farmers are happily feeding this to the animals for the sole purpose to make the animals grow fatter and fatter.
Until this point I have always been a meat and potatoes kind of gal. I grew up eating steak, burgers, and pork 7 days a week. BUT a good portion of that was wild game from my dad’s hunting trips (elk, deer, caribou). After watching these movies I could not bring myself to eat the meat I had in the house (all store-bought). I found myself giving it to friends and neighbors so it wouldn’t go to waste, and the lives of the poor animal that were sacrificed to feed a family would not be slaughtered in vain. We went 8.5 long months without cooking meat in our house. When I say meat I mean any type of animal flesh, beef, poultry, fish, or pork. We learned so much about staying healthy as vegetarians. My husband and kids would eat meat while at my in laws house for dinner, but that was the extent of it. I can honestly say I have had flesh 4 times since the change. All 4 times being chicken, 2 of those times were organic grass-fed. I can honestly say I don’t miss meat.
We have enjoyed so many ‘veggie burgers’ in the last multiple months that the thought of eating an actual beef burger turns my stomach. My husband has always had issues with beef, the majority of the time when he eats it he gets awful stomach cramps and winds up on the toilet just hours after eating. Our kids have never been a fan of beef always eating around it in meals and picking burgers apart, they will however smash on a veggie burger always asking for more! Since making the switch we have not had that bogged down tired sleepy feeling after eating, always finishing our meals feeling better, and more energized. So for us to cut beef was SIMPLE! (Pork and fish were never our favorites so it was not a stretch to ditch that either. )
Now chicken. OH how do I love thee, let me count the ways. Chicken was the hardest to kick for us. But we did it, instead of ‘weaning’ we just went cold turkey … ha turkey… I can say at first I really did miss chicken. I went the first 4 months without eating chicken and when I got my first bite after that, it didn’t taste the same. Since then chicken has just not tasted as good as before.
I will admit I do miss the hearty meals that you get when eating meat. BUT I do not miss feeling bogged down and bloated. I PERSONALLY cooked chicken (Organic, because lets face it after all I’ve learned I may never full go back ) last night for the first time in 9 months. Cooking meat is something I do not miss not one bit… the juice gets all over, and then I feel like I need to go on a cleaning spree after to make sure nothing gets contaminated. I have always hated touching raw meat, something about the texture and the noise it makes has always turned my stomach. While we all sat and ate I noticed my kids not enjoying it near as much as the ‘veggie chick’ we have grown accustomed too. ChubChub only ate 2 bites of hers, The professor ate maybe 4 bites, before they devoured their corn, beans, and salads.
Now on to the big question. Will we ever go back? Honestly no, I do not see us ever going back especially to beef or pork. The biggest reason being the way it upsets Thumbs’ body. Now knowing how to find other sources of protein for our family I feel much more confident in leaving it behind! Fish has never been something we like around here and I can honestly say I have never even cooked fish so again that one wont be around either. Now chicken, because of the high cost of organic, I will probably only buy it on sale or a few times a month. Thumbs told me he missed chicken, so for him, as long as its organic.
This year Thumbs plans to go deer hunting, he asked if I would eat and prepare it for us, I replied, “GLADLY!” wild game is far cleaner than anything we can get elsewhere. Plus I was raised eating a lot of game so it is a love of mine! With deer hunting season upon us now I just sit and wait anxiously for him to get us 1-2 deer so we can freeze it and have meat for the next year!
This puts us in an awkward spot, you can not call us vegetarians anymore, because we will be eating Venison, and some organic chicken. I can’t say we are meatless either, I guess beefless would be a word we could classify with right? Maybe naturalists would be more suiting. What do you think?
What is your opinion on the meat industry? Have you gone vegetarian before, are you now? Share your insights in the comments below!
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