“A man is ethical when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellow men, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help,” by Albert Schweitzer.
I have struggled recently with my love for all creatures. I have in the past attempted to become a vegetarian. I gave up beef and pork for a year, but I had a lot of health issues and I never felt well. I tried again to give up beef. I was anemic in a very short time. I have trouble eating soy and wheat. I am allergic to most raw vegetables and a few cooked ones. I can eat no melons and only cooked bananas. I have tried to eat organic meats to alleviate the toxins and harsh living conditions of the creatures I am consuming. I realize I am only able to eat meat because I don’t have to kill it or watch it be killed.
Having taught earth science I know the major impact that raising cattle has on our planet. I would have my students keep track of their water use for the day. They gasped when they came in the next day to convert those numbers to gallons and I told them how many gallons of water they used if they ate meat. Most of them had a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea that it takes thousands of gallons of water to put one pound of beef on a dinner table. Here is a post I found at Vegetarian Times which does a great job showing the impact of a meat-based diet on the environment.
I realized last night after reading Linda’s post on the treatment of chickens and the 100 billion dollar farm bill (MSN) passed by the US government that continues to support meat industries more than the need to feed our starving poor — that I couldn’t pursue love unless I pursued it from and for all living creatures. It is obvious that my government doesn’t get IT. Instead of taking the 100 billion dollars and giving the money to the starving poor to grow their own organic vegetable gardens, plant a fruit tree or raise their own chickens — the money is being given as handouts and again to grow more corn NOT to feed to people as corn but to give to livestock and to turn into things like high fructose corn syrup.
So I learned a while back that I can’t MAKE anyone do anything they don’t want. I can only control myself. I choose not to support this unloving, greed-based, environmentally devastating system of “food” production. I have watched too many documentaries such as Food, Inc. to be able to ignore the suffering of other living creatures for the pleasure of my palette.
Today’s Intention: Go vegetarian.
I know this will take time. I need to relearn how to shop and cook and think about food. I need to find foods that I am not allergic to. I have no friends or family in my physical life who are vegetarian so this will be an interesting adjustment. I know some changes will be relatively easy: order broccoli and mushrooms in my omelet instead of ham or leave off the pepperoni on my pizza. The hard part will be finding enough fruits and veg I can eat in a small town where apparently few people eat organic let alone vegetarian.
So if you have a favorite recipe without wheat or soy send it my way or any advice how to successfully transition to this new way of life — I would love your help.