Saturday, February 16, 2008

Vegetarianism?



As an "ex-vegetarian", I often find myself questioning the small amounts of meat that do make it into my diet. I wonder if a lot of my "meat guilt" stems from being raised by a momma who loves all animals dearly. After eating half of a hamburger today, I felt a little ill. Did I feel ill because my body simply doesn't like beef? Or did I feel ill because of my internal meat monitor? Hmmm...

I then happened upon this article. Interesting. I know absolutely nothing about the author, and I can't even remember where I saw the link to it from.
I don't eat pork- and I can think of a million reasons as to why I would never touch the stuff. But beef I have allowed to sneak its way in. And now I am rethinking that. I definitely don't want to cause any controversies over what a person should eat or not- but this has just been weighing on my mind.

Here's another link on how beef cattle affect the environment.

Really I'm just left with a big yuck feeling about the whole process- which makes me think I'm probably headed back to a beef-less diet. And I think I'll be the better for it.

I do love my organic milk and organic yogurt though- but I feel a lot better about how they treat their cows.

9 comments:

Caroline said...

Hey Lauren Christine! I'm ciseaux on the Sense & Sensibility Forums.

You make some v. interesting points in this post. I'm a strict vegetarian myself (basically vegan, though I don't necessarily avoid ALL animal products in clothing, &c) and this grew out of health and animal welfare concerns. I feel that, as a believer, I should not support cruelty in any form as much as possible, which includes cruelty to animals.

As for Horizon organics (I used to drink their milk in the past), I think you'll find in researching their products that they are not helping with issues of cruelty. The dairy cows are still kept in perpetual pregnancy to produce milk, their calves are still taken away from them, and so forth.

If you want to discuss veg*nism sometime, you can always send me a pm on S&S and I can give you my email!

best,
Caroline

Tilly said...

Thanks for sharing Lauren! This is really interesting to me right now...not because I'm a vegetarian, but because I've been on a big "kick" lately to switch to more local (or at least U.S. made) things, and less Wal*Mart dependency! :) It's a long, slow process that is taking lots to learn about, but so far we're enjoying it! We were able to buy about 1/3 of a grass fed cow from a family at church, and that has been wonderful!! Not only cheaper than it would have been from a store (assuming we could have found it!), but it is *SO MUCH* tastier! There is a local family who sells raw milk...we're thinking of getting some starting this spring...it's more expensive than regular milk, but doesn't have all the "yucky stuff" in it, plus it's raw! So I figure that if we're going to buy milk from anywhere (I do use powdered for baking/cooking) that it makes sense to support local businesses and get a better product. We've also just joined a sort of co-op for veggies...you buy a share of their summer crop, and get a brown paper bag full of fresh veggies every week, all summer! Again, locally grown, organic, and comparable to buying the same veggies, but at a much higher quality! I'm rambling a bit here, but I just wanted you to know you're not the only one out there who (for whatever reason) questions the main stream ideas on consuming! :)

Sommer said...

This was really fascinating Lauren! I've always been leary of the "feed-lot" and commercial beef, but apparently never enough to research my options. This really made me start thinking.

I may begin looking around for more locally available products(esp. meat and milk).

Thanks again!
Sommer

Amy said...

Hi, Lauren!
My family buys local grass fed beef, too. Tilly is right, it does taste so much better than feed lot beef. And it's so much more humane!
We've also bought raw milk (which tastes better than homogenized, pasteurized milk), but we recently stopped because it's too far to drive.:(
We raise our own chickens for eggs and let them free range.

Another thing to look into is the bad qualities of soy products - I don't know if you use them, but if you do, you should read The Whole Soy Story.

Thanks for the interesting post!
Amy

Anonymous said...

Lauren Christine, my daughters and I have enjoyed "lurking" on your blog and getting to "know you." Setting up your first home and honoring your husband is a good example. However, we hate to see you make such a life-changing decision without doing additional research! If you believe that animals are treated cruelly (I have not researched this), the first thing to consider is whether it is right to give up meat eating entirely, or rather to support farmers who are using good stewardship in the way they raise their beef. It is evolutionary thinking that has taught us that eating "other" animals (because to them we are all animals) is "wrong." The truth is that God Himself gave meat for us to eat after the flood and even commanded the sacrificing (killing) of animals for use in worship of God in the Old Testament. Eating mutton was required for Passover, etc. Surely this would be considered "cruel" to most modern folk. Although a Christian must not be cruel to animals, it is evolutionists who believe that this is "equal" to cruelty to people. By saying that taking a calf from its mother is "cruel," one must think that cows have the feelings of people. They do have instincts to protect and feed their young, but the young are not being taken to starve, but to be raised. We often, for example, take kittens or puppies from their mothers so that we can provide a good home for them. So, I have a great deal of respect for Christian farmers who are using Christian principles to raise hormone-free and ranged animals for healthy meat consumption. Health-wise we are much better off eating some protein through meat products.

Just some thoughts to consider.

Caroline said...

Greetings again,

Just to comment the following comments--
There are differing schools of thought on soy; many studies have shown that soy protein IS beneficial to humans. For a debunking of the "soy is poison" idea, see: http://foodrevolution.org/what_about_soy.htm

To the anonymous poster who said that God gave us meat to eat -- this is true, that after the fall, meat was added to vegetables as a food source. I would never claim that meat-eating is a sin! HOWEVER, the Bible does not require Christians to eat meat. Look at the example of Daniel, who refused the king's food for a time and ate only vegetables.

Also, saying that one should not try to prevent cruelty to animals because animals "do not have people's feelings" is logically unsound. Just because a dog is not a person, does not mean that I can beat and kill it. Watching any footage of factory interiors will show incredibly awful treatment of animals, regardless of the fact that there are not humans.

I agree that different people can have different nutritional needs, but plant protein is just as good as animal protein! I am a healthy, fit, happy person, who has not eaten any animal protein for much over a year. : )

Anonymous said...

Caroline, you are absolutely right! Just because animals are not humans is not a reason to be cruel to them. In fact, my first post says, “Although a Christian must not be cruel to animals…” But my point is that if animals raised for meat are treated cruelly, then the proper response would be to ask if they can be raised for meat without treating them cruelly. And, in fact, some farmers are doing that very thing. Does it not follow that we should support those farmers, especially since raising beef responsibly means higher prices? The “cruel” practices are usually done to keep prices cheap. Yet, those who are concerned about this do not always patronize those who are raising them responsibly and thereby helping to change the market. (An aside, when we started buying organic products, including meats, the prices were so high that it hurt! But since the market for such products has grown, the prices have been coming way down. In our small but significant way, we supported these changes. There are more free range chickens today because of the support of this market by families like us.)

The issue about whether we should eat meat or not is unrelated to those cruel practices unless you want to argue that we shouldn’t eat “that” meat, in which case you have a valid point. But not eating “any” meat is another matter entirely and one usually rooted in evolutionary principles even if we don’t personally realize it. There, of course, might be nutritional reasons to avoid meat – allergies, inability to process protein, etc. And with some effort, one can eat healthily without meat or dairy products. It sounds like you are in this latter category and I applaud you for making decisions to further your health.

So this is my last comment on the subject. I just wanted to clarify that I agree that Christians do not promote cruelty to animals, although they are careful to define their terms well, and they are careful to not unwittingly promote something worse unwittingly.

If you think about it, these practices are exactly the same ones at issue with buying cheap Chinese made products (WalMart, Dollar Store, and unless you’re careful and intentional, nearly every other store), except that the cruel practices are done to people, not cows. (Notice that no one seems to warn that we should not wear shoes because of the cruel practices used toward those who make shoes in China. Many of us warn that we should be careful about where our shoes are made…the same as I am arguing regarding meat.)

Leigh said...

Hi Lauren!

It is so interesting that you brought this topic up because I have been thinking about it alot. I have never eaten pork (I follow biblical dietary laws), but I do eat beef. I don't crave it too often, but I am concerned about how the animals are treated.

Thank you for the post and links!

Take care,
Leigh

NatalieS said...

This is an interesting question, because my father-in-law raises grassfed beef. Due to the drought he has had to supplement with hay, but if you were to go down to the farm you'd see a bunch of cows out there roaming around and eating grass. If you can get it local the quality of the meat it very high and the price is often low. Yeah you get about half a cow, but ours is maybe $5-$6 dollars a pound and lasts about a year -probably more for you. I also buy cage free eggs and free range chickens because they're healthier, and I feel better about their conditions.

There are plenty of wise reasons to limit your meat consumption, but I think when we're talking about what we should eat or drink we need to come back to Colossians 2:16-23 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, [4] puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

I know by your demeanor that you are a humble and pious young woman who I would love to know better, but if nothing else that passage makes me really consider everytime I want to make a "do not touch" pronouncement (as so many of us herbal, organic types love to do.)

 

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