Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Which products I buy and don't buy when it comes to food, at least any food item that either comes from an animal or is an animal is one of the things I'm probably the most inconsistent with. I just can't seem to figure out where I am.
Ages 0-16 - I ate the very typical middle class American diet. My mom cooked the meals. Eating out was considered a treat. A dinner was the typical protein of some kind, a starch and a vegetable. I ate eggs and cheese and meat. Meat was a bit rare because I just never really liked it but I still ate it a little.
Ages 16-21 - Vegetarian years. I still ate eggs and dairy. My diet was absolutely terrible and unhealthy. I ended up at my highest weight ever.
Ages 21-current. The consistently inconsistent era. I know what I feel and believe from a moral and ethical standpoint but that doesn't always mean I follow through with it.
What I believe: I do not have an issue with eating a product from an animal or an actual animal if I know the animal was raised and lived in a humane way and was slaughtered humanely.
It took me a long time to figure this out and even now I feel a little funny putting it out there. That line alone can open a huge can of worms. I'm sure many people believe there is no actual humane way to slaughter an animal and that any cow we use for milk cannot live in a humane way. I grew up in the country and know plenty of people who farm. It's not the product I have a problem with, it's the methods.
For years, I thought I needed to have the vegetarian label. Eventually, I figured out I wasn't doing it in a healthy way. I dropped the label. It worked, I got healthy.
I'll never be the type of person that goes to a restaurant and orders a huge steak. I just don't like meat enough to have a huge hunk of it. A large chunk of my meals end up being vegetarian because that's what I prefer, but not all. I do enjoy a sandwich that may have chicken on it and eating a bowl of soup made with chicken stock isn't so bad either.
But, I end up feeling guilty again. I follow a trailer with a cow and stare into the cow's eyes driving down the highway. And, I start to avoid beef. I take a back road and pass the turkey farm. I see turkeys packed in a building looking out the one small window they have. And, I stop eating turkey. Pretty soon, I'm resorting back to my old eating ways where I just eat crackers all day and realize that isn't healthy. Any time I eliminate animal products completely, I eat really, really unhealthy.
So, I try to change the cycle again. I go back to what I believe. I buy milk and butter locally knowing what farm it came from and feel OK about it. I buy organically pastured chicken, organically pastured beef and eggs from a local farm and I feel OK about it. They don't stare at me like a crazy person when I show up to the farm and ask where the animals are slaughtered. Guess they are used to that sort of thing.
But, then, there's other items. Maybe yogurt. I like yogurt. I found some locally but it just wasn't for me so am I a hypocrite for buying the regular yogurt at the regular grocery store? I prefer it over of the others. Maybe I need to stop eating that. Cheese - tried that locally as well but honestly preferred the stuff at the regular store.
Then, some days I may want to make something for dinner and I don't want to have to deal with the whole frozen chicken that I bought at the local farm. It would be easier to go pick up some chicken breasts at the store. Or, I get lazy and want to go to one store, not five different places for the weekly food. So, I cave. Or, I go back to the almond milk...and the crackers...
And, I get confused again.
Anyone with me?