Friday, July 25, 2008

The Road to Avoiding Carcass...

I must admit I am a bit of a vegetarian cliché. I picked up a random chick book called Skinny Bitch, and 2 days later gave up the carne asada. A lot of people ask me how I could give up meat, which is arguably the center of most American meals? I thought it would be hard too, but it just wasn’t. After reading about the filthy and inhumane ways animals make it from the factory to my plate, I lost all joy in chomping on other creature’s extremities. When I am tempted by a chicken mcnugget, I just picture a nasty fat chicken with its legs crippled by its unnatural weight. Beak sheared off, feathers sticky and putrid with drippings from the birds above it, thrown whole into a grinder and oozing out the other side as a “nugget.” If you are interested in learning more about the filth and cruelty of meat eating you should check out You can also read Slaughterhouse by Gail A. Eisnitz, and I dare you to ever look at steak the same way again…

So once I had been educated I made the decision to not eat any form of meat. I no longer cook with eggs or milk, but love cheese with a passion. I never said I was perfect! Having NF2, there is of course always a catch. If you learn one thing here let it be that NF2 has a way of affecting every outlet of life. When you do not eat meat you rely on soy to get most of your protein. Soy however acts as nature’s estrogen, the isoflavones in the soy connect with estrogen receptors in the body the same way the hormone itself would. Meningiomas, one of the most common tumors that result from NF2, grow when fed by estrogen. There is recent anecdotal evidence that consuming large amounts of soy could in fact contribute to tumor growth, both meningiomas and breast cancer. I have discussed this with several different doctors. My neurologist immediately asked me, “Did you read Skinny Bitch?” HA! He is obviously up to date on the most pertinent medical information… actually he has a health conscious wife who roped him into going vegetarian after reading the book too! His advice was to eat meat, I told him that was simply not a possibility anymore. We compromised… I take whey protein everyday now, which is an animal product, and only eat soy in minimal amounts. I hate the idea that I am ingesting whey daily, but if it’s me or the cow, the cow is going down! Another doctor let me know I would have to ingest massive amounts of soy to trigger estrogen reception. What it comes down to is that there is simply not enough research on the soy issue to make a definitive decision. When I eat soy there may or may not be a risk involved. When I ingest meat I know for a fact my body is bombarded by hormones, steroids, and poisons. The answer seems simple enough for me!

***I feel compelled to note I am not a doctor and cannot speak for anyone else on the issues of diet, nutrition or soy. These are the decisions I have come to for myself after reading and speaking to my own doctors. I encourage others to research for themselves as well***


Suzanne said...

Wow, first of all, let me say I love your column, I found it on Kadie Prescott's.
But! Stop the presses on the meat thing. I don't buy meat fromt he store either, but don't call all farmers horrible. We raise beef, hogs, chickens and goats the natural way, out in sunshine, letting them eat grass, good feed and have space to run. We (and many others) feel that happy animals and most importantly animals that are well taken care of, taste better! =) So, with that said, try a farmer's market, good meat is a little more expensive, but totally worth it. You are also supporting your local farmers who can deliver a wonderfully wholesome and nutritious meaal.

Olivia Hernandez said...

Personally I feel as humans we have evolved past the need for meat, regardless of how they live out their lives farm animals are still murdered an masse while nutritious options are readily available. Farm animals pollute the water system and eat enough grain to feed every hungry child on earth. Do you have a link to this cruelty-free farm for other meat eaters who would are interested? Its good to know there are are some farmers trying to make a change!

Suzanne said...

Again, some large corporate farms pollute waterways, etc. My husband and I wouldn't know about that however, because we follow guidelines written by our county. Also, we aren't big at all. Most small farms and ranchers are much more beneficial to the land than one might think. As small scale farmers, we promote wildlife by leaving stands of grain and untouched acreage for them to thrive in, many of us are trying to find ways to bring back migratory song birds etc.

I think before anyone has the right to judge anything/anyone, they should do their homework on every aspect of farming. Not just large corporate farms who give a bad name to everyone. Believe me, us small guys don't like them either!

There is much more damage done by people who feel they need to build new homes and contractors who feel they need more sub developments,ie, Highlands Ranch, CO. At least with farming, we can reuse that land every year, again and again. When someone builds homes, you won't get that land back to do anything with as far as sustainability wise, again.

Now, I could debate this all day, but I know what I know, I live this everyday by being a small farmer. It would be like me saying you and all other charities keep your funds from all your charity work and go shopping with it. We both know that's not true, but there are some people who might go and say that to get people upset. Or if I were to say, all people with tatoos are trouble makers. Isn't that ridiculous?
Olivia, you and I are both in occupations that will always be needed. You are trying to find a cure for a devasting illness, and I'm trying to feed people with my meat, my garden and my crops. We are and will always be in demand.

That's great that you can live on whey. I personally like my home grown chickens that eat bugs they find in the dirt, weeds and corn I throw to them each day. I used to work on a dairy and I can gaurantee dairy cows are the most "throw away" animals out there. Mistreatment is severe...on large farms that don't care. Again, go to your local farmer's market and you can meet farmers, ask what their procedures are etc. They even let you come on the farm. AND, they have the best artisan cheese out there!=)

I'm hardly trying to pick a fight, but I really encourage you to look outside the box before you judge. It's very demeaning and upseting to us small guys who are trying to do the right thing.

As far as finding a place to find "good food" talk to your local chamber of commerce, they will have the days when the markets are open. Usually once a week.

I have to go, I'm making some zucchini bread with veggies from my garden, and the veggie waste will go to my pigs who think there is nothing better than zuchinni peelings!=) Good luck and much success with your charity.

Olivia Hernandez said...

There will always be a debate between veggie and meat, and neither side does much but try to dissuade the other. I stand by my decision, and respect that you run your farm clean and stand up for yours. "Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." ~Albert Einstein

Suzanne said...

Thank you for your respect for the way we as a family farm. I also respect you as a vegetarian. Meat or veggies, I still get money in my pocket so it doesn't matter to me what you eat.

But, I might add ignorance for the majority is a very sad thing. Your negative blog about farmers is feeding that ignorance, and I stand by that.

Courtney said...

Thanks for that wonderful visual, Olivia. lol
Yes, organic meat can be bought, but when it's "a little more expensive" than the already over-priced torture meat we find in the supermarket? No, thanks.
Gas, healthcare, college tuition....meat?
Not all of us are blessed with a 50 acre spread and as a felllow veggie and NF2er, I can completely understand not wanting to put toxins in the body, especially if one is on a budget.

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