But the greatest thing in life is eating bacon…

My response:

So your greatest joy in life is eating bacon. Food is amazing… but to say that excitement of the tastebuds is the greatest thing in life is interesting. My greatest joys in life, include, falling in love, laughing and playing with friends and family, adventures in new places and cultures, rare moments of bliss in connecting with nature, soaking in or creating beautiful music or art, helping someone in need — just seeing their happiness. Coming home after a long time… a few things that suddenly make food seem completely dull in comparison. May you also experience the greatness of deep joys of the heart.

Life is much more than this sense pleasure our modern world has become accustomed to chasing after.  

But what if I just have my own cow, without any implication to the rest of the world?

Where does the food come from to feed the cow… where do the babies go that you must breed to have cow milk… how do you justify the water consumption of the cow… just so you can have a little bit of animal protein when plant protein is just as good?


But I like meat…

most people don’t become vegetarian or vegan because they don’t like meat. Luckily there are some amazing meat alternatives these days, where you can enjoy the texture without contributing to the brutality of the industry. Gardein is an excellent brand with many choices, tofurkey, or make your own from jackfruit, portobellos, eggplant, coconut, tofu, seitan, tempeh, beans, nuts, seeds or some combination


But why do you want to change me and my values…

I never said that. If clean water, clean air, full forests, healthy bodies, enough food for everyone are not part of your value system, that’s fine, you are the only person who can define your value system. There is nothing really more to talk about. I share about our food choices and their effect on our surroundings because yes, it matters to me. What we eat collectively creates the world we live in. People will make their choices, as long as people are aware of the consequences, that’s really my aim in having these discussions. My goal isn’t to change your value systems, my goal is share just how destructive some of our habits actually are. That’s it. I’m all for people having homes and employment despite what they eat. Absolutely. Everyone deserves a fair shot. I just also think that information should be spread about how our choices affect others.

But isn’t there some way to raise animals sustainably for consumption?

Not really. The level humans have already messed with ecosystems through animal breeding and care taking is far beyond any other activity that we’ve done so far.

As long as we are depending on animal products, the situation becomes more complicated because we are self managing a system that is largely unnatural– reproducing them more than they likely would otherwise, growth of numbers without natural predation, confined spaces that radically transform contained plant species and soil structure.
If we were to tear down our fences, and boundaries between homes, it might be a better way to raise animals… going with someone who herds them from place to place.. however in India that’s been done and it’s not been working for them, soils are degraded, plant species are few and many places are barren, so they end up feeding goats and cows trash.  It’s also unnatural because we use species outside of their natural habitat.  To me it boils down to, the unnaturalness of managing, breeding and living off of arbitrary species outside of their natural habitats  in confined spaces– especially at the expense of our health, ecosystem health and unnecessary suffering to the animals. No matter how you slice it, over the long term, with our human population it doesn’t fit that well.
Animal sanctuaries are something that I do like to support, because these animal industries do leave behind many sentient victims. In these situations, the animals are not being bred, but allowed to live out their lives free from abuse.  The number of animals in sanctuaries pales compares to animals on farms being bred.  But these living situations are still largely unnatural, they compact the soil, eliminate plant species.. it’s the nature of the game. If you have a large enough plot of land, this can be minimized with something like rotational grazing that allows soils a rest from the constant packing. It’s a common feature that in animal fields, from the weight and movement of these large herbivores they often create hardpans under the soil.  Trees are always a plus, but they also take away from ground space for easily accessible plants, which economically, may not give the same returns for the space in terms of food for the animals. Unless it’s a type of tree that animals are happy to eat, and managers are able to harvest leaves in unreachable places for the animals.  The more space an animal has, the better off the system will be, however large tracts of land, can promote the issue of deforestation, which happens regularly in the US, because of ‘grass-fed’ cattlehttp://www.worldwatch.org/node/549, http://www.pnas.org/content/111/33/11996 . Some large herbivores instinctually won’t enter forests, since it’s harder for them to see and escape threat. Maybe if the animals have no where else to go, they could become accustomed to it. I think pigs are pretty good in forest settings however, they are notorious for digging up roots and overturning soil. Which can be a good thing if you are getting ready for planting, but again, the most natural thing is for them to have access to large tracts of land, enough land that the forest floor can rejuvenate, while they wander around.  For 1 cow you need about 2.5 acres of land.  It comes with the rest of the problems however, water supply– 2,000 gallons of water goes into a gallon of milk. Animals are taxing on the environment, they are because we are breeding them in exceedingly unnatural supply, which they wouldn’t have gotten to that point in the wild.
Of course the smaller the animal, the less impact they will have on vegetation and soil, per amount of space given.
Otherwise to most sustainably consume animal products, if humans could learn how to hunt the weak and the sick from abundant populations of local animals that would probably be the least taxing on the environment– or already dead like roadkill.
But why cause unnecessary suffering when you don’t need to? Or damage your health by consuming animal products when you don’t need to.  There’s just no reason…. experiment more with vegan foods, arbitrary texture is not a good enough reason to  sacrificing our health, the planet and other animals… and those textures can be found in plants!! It’s really only about texture because, meat is typically always prepared with plants for taste.. and minerals, like salt and pepper.

But they taste so good tho

I can’t tell you the number of times, I’ve gotten this one, so i know I have other responses to this question floating around this website.

Yesterday, this was the response I gave for this.

well at least you are honest about it. It seems impossible, but the reality is, there are actually some pretty amazing meat free products that many people can’t even tell the difference. I have vegan friends who secretly use faux meat in food, that they make for their family, and their family raves about how good it was– they couldn’t even tell that it wasn’t meat! All it takes is a little effort to find an alternative. And the benefits are well worth it, lbs drop off easily, cholesterol falls to healthy levels, medicines like allergy medicines you thought you needed, suddenly are not needed any more this is only to name a small fraction of the health benefits — to reducing taking out animal products.”

Their response:

To each there own. It’s sad how some animals are tortured yes. I understand why you are vegan. I just like meat. So I don’t think about it!

My Response:

I guess, but ultimately we are all affected by the choices we make collectively. Our taxes go to subsidize meat, which otherwise would be way too expensive for regular use. And the environmental impacts of these choices, also effect our drinking water, soil quality and air quality. This has implications on our health, and even more implications for our childrens health, as they have to grow up in the world we leave behind. I see for you it’s about taste. I’m just expressing, why this is so important for me to talk about. Especially as meat and dairy are the reasons why we have such issues with heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity today. It’s hard to see the suffering, when there is a pretty easy way out.”

Well I tried veganism and it didn’t work

I was actually the most unhealthy that I’ve ever been on a vegan diet. It was a really hard decision

to veer away from plant foods, but not everyone can be healthy on a vegan diet.  Nice thought though.———————————————————

Here is my response to someone who said something along those lines….

 I guess I disagree with the statement that it wouldn’t work for everyone, it’s like saying, not all pandas thrive on plants.. of course they do! Of course you had your personally experience, and that section of time that you chose particular vegan foods did not work for you, and I can whole heartedly respect that. I’ve personally been on a vegan array of foods in certain periods of my vegan eating, that did not suit me. However with experimentation and research, it’s easy to get on track and pick up your health with solely plant foods. Saying veganism doesn’t work for everyone is an unfortunately common fallacy proclaimed by those who haven’t had much exposure to plant based foods and how they work in our bodies, in combination with the assumption that there is only one version of veganism. There are hundreds of versions of veganism, in fact, there are probably as many versions to plant based diets as there are people on them. However if there’s not the adequate intake of a variety of different vegetable material and legumes, and whole foods which is very important, of course it is very possible that there could be nutritional inadequacies. However blaming the plant based diet, is incorrect, and can be misleading since when a plant based diet is done correctly can be the healthiest diets for humans. With more and more doctors becoming vegan and recommending vegan it is becoming easier and easier to learn what foods on a plant based diet supports the health the best. Granted, in this society, it’s more than easy to cave to the society’s perception of plant based and what it means, it’s easy to give up when most others aren’t doing it, don’t know anything about it, and largely are terrified by it. It’s easy to cave to the ideas and the compulsions of the masses.. however it’s healthy, possible and completely doable to leap out and experiment with eating plants only. If it doesn’t work, it’s completely doable and possible to learn, research and tailor it, until it does. One of my favorite authors is Gabriel Cousens. he is in full support of the myriad of ways to be a plant based eater. He talks about how some do better with more fats, some do better with no fats, and on and on. I love this approach because, through his guidance, I felt less guilty about experimenting on my own, and trusting the process. Now I’m three years in, and couldn’t be happier. I hardly get sick and when I do, it’s nowhere to the degree of illness that I would be when I was vegetarian. Anyway, thought I’d share. All the best. Only here to encourage and support.