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by Lauren Lilley
in Blog

Recently, I watched a couple of documentaries- Forks Over Knives and Vegucated. I have to admit that I am quite impressionable, and these particular documentaries really got to me. I have decided to cut out most meat from my diet for 3 completely different and equally important reasons.


1) The way animals are bred, fed, harvested, and slaughtered for mass production is despicable. I saw videos of cows, pigs, chickens, and sheep being treated as if they were machines. They were tazed, thrown into scalding water, dragged by one foot into the slaughter rooms...chickens that were boys were thrown live directly into a grinder because they had no use for male chickens. The government standard for "Free Range" chickens is technically 3 cubic feet per chicken. You put anything in a 3 foot space and tell me if you think that is "free range".  I'm not stupid, and I realize that these are documentaries and are geared at making you believe one particular thing. The problem is, I do believe in the mass livestock industry, this is how it really is. You can definitely find meat from animals that aren't mistreated, but you have to do your research. I will give some tips on that at the end of this post. I simply decided that I would no longer invest in an industry that thinks this treatment is OK. It isn't, and I won't be a part of helping the livestock industry prosper until I know more about where my food is coming from.

2) The impact on our environment is real, and it's devastating. The burps and poos of cows and pigs gives off methane gas which is harmful in mass quantities. Not only that, the carbon emissions from factories, plants, farming equipment, transport, etc. used in the raising, feeding, and butchering of livestock have a larger impact on the atmosphere than cars! The...ahem...waste products from these livestock are stored in vats called lagoons, and sometimes they spill over and pollute natural streams and lakes. There are more pigs in North Carolina than there are people. I have no problem with the consumption of meat in a natural sense, but this breeding, injecting with hormones, feeding animals grains that they are not meant to eat, it is wrong and it's harming the earth way more than I realized.

3) There have been links between disease and animal protein- based diets. In the documentaries that I have watched, people who switched to a plant-based diet had improvement in cardiovascular health, have conquered diabetes, and have even beat cancer when the odds were against them. Asian cultures that are mainly plant-based have shown that they have less cardiovascular disease than other, more prosperous countries who eat more meat. When the Nazis took the livestock from the people of Norway and the Norwegians no longer had access to meat, their cardiovascular disease plummeted. There's no explanation for it other than the fact that they were no longer allowed access to meat products.


So as far as my dietary decisions, I see no reason to not give a flexible vegetarian diet a shot. It's been about 2 weeks since I stopped eating meat. I have eggs, milk, and fish, but no beef, chicken, pork, etc.  I feel completely different! I've lost about 6 pounds, I don't need to take any medication to help me sleep well, I have more energy throughout the day, and my workouts are more intense! I'd highly recommend giving this diet a try, if not for the environmental and humane reasons,  do it for the health benefits! When I do want to eat meat, I go to Whole Foods, where they have a rating system that tells you the grade of meat that you are purchasing! This way, I can ensure that the meat that I eat was humanely treated and raised in a way I find appropriate. Check out the documentaries I watched, and see what you think! Leave your comments below!

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