The winter holiday season is a good time for family to get together and share in the stories and foods of their history. This was ever so evident to me during the past Thanksgiving meal when I, one of the elders in my family had the task of explaining why I chose to be a vegetarian. This was an important opportunity for me because I realize that they only way to break any behavior pattern is to get the younger generations on board and I had all of their attention.
Of course I could have given many reasons for my decision ranging from spiritual to ecological, but in the end there is just one simple answer. I want to live and I believe that meat kills. So no , I am not a vegetarian because the bible says eat herbs or because the 10 commandments say don’t kill, although I do think these are good reasons to refrain from eating meat. I am not an animal rights advocate or a nature freak out to save the planet, although I do think these are good reasons also. My decision is much more basic and derived from basic survival instincts.
Ironically this was not new information to my extended family, I haven’t eaten pork for many years and have been a full vegetarian for over 5 years now. So I didn’t eat meat last year either and nobody asked about it...so what changed? This Thanksgiving was different for my family because just two days before, my older sister, if you can call a 15 month difference older, was diagnosed with tumors on several organs in her body. She had moved in with the daughter who was hosting, for the first time, the family Thanksgiving dinner and it was under these conditions the question was posed to me. “Why don’t you eat meat?”.
My personal journey to vegetarianism started about 20 years ago when I saw an experiment where they put a piece of pork in a closed jar and left it to sit in the sun for a few days. When they opened the jar there were worms in the pork! Yep little nasty worms and that was enough for me. I was already limited in my intake of it cause I thought it main the house smell like urine, but I did enjoy an occasional pork chop and barbecue ribs was the ish. Still after the worms, I was cool on pork and kept it out of my home and kids. No I’m not a black muslim or jew, I just think swine is a nasty scavenger and want none of it.
Beef lasted much longer and I was once known to put away a nice piece of steak cooked medium well, no pink of course. I was cool with cows until they started going mad! I was like, if everybody else all over the world is refusing to eat meat from the USA, something must be up. My suspicions were confirmed when, on an extended vacation in California, yeah the home of the “happy” cows, I actually went through the inland empire and saw the cows. Field after field of them lined up in rows and their heads were stuck out of slots in a wire fence while they ate some kind of grain. Now mind you this was in the middle of the desert and it was over 100 degrees and no shade. Trust those cows were not happy!
Just before I was leaving their was yet another beef related illness and meat was recalled from stores all over the country. Another wake up call for me, no more beef! Okay, so I can live on chicken , turkey and fish, although no one in my household liked fish except me so I didn’t have it often. I mainly thrived on chicken and learned to cook it a hundred ways. Chicken wings was my passion! SO what happened to the poultry? Truth is I kind of grew out of it like a kid grows out of a hating vegetables phase. By the time I stopped eating meat altogether I had already starting exploring a healthier lifestyle and had learned a lot about foods that heal and foods that kill. When I made the decision to live giving up my chicken wings was a no brainer. Later when I found out there were steroids in chicken wings I knew I had made the right decision. In addition to meats there are a whole array of foods that I have cut from my diet to maintain good health. They include;
- Margarine and other hydrogenated fats
- refined salt, Table salt
- Chlorinated Water
- MSG - Mono Sodium Glutamate
- Hormones - MILK
- Food additives
- Sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup, chocolate and other foods containing similar concentrated sweeteners
- refined oils
- baking powder
- Junk foods (hamburgers, pizza, hotdog, nachos, …)
- fried, smoked, grilled foods
- Soft drinks - Coca Cola, Pepsi, Soda pop
- Alcohol drinks
Now I had to explain to my family why these foods kill and how I know this is so in a way that they could personalize it and take it to heart, so I made it personal. What better way to do this than to call on the ancestors. I feel lucky that I was able to grow up knowing my great grandmother who lived until she was over 90 years old. She lived with my grandmother, her brother and his wife, and my mother’s older brother. I remember when we were kids we thought it was strange that they all lived together like that, but that was how it was when families had migrated from the south to northern states, they stuck together.
They also ate a lot differently than we did at our house, not because they didn’t have money cause all of these adults worked and there were no kids in the family but us, but they only ate meat on special occasions. There was always a big pot of vegetables though and sometimes it would have a piece of pork in it for flavoring, but no portions for everyone to eat. Buttermilk was also a staple and they cooked everything with it...we kids hated it too. Even at our home with out parents, although we always had a starch, vegetables and meat at every meal, everything was always freshly home made. No canned foods or boxed mixes, they cost too much, everything was hand made right in our kitchen.
The point of telling my family how we ate when we were kids was to point out that three generations of our family who lived in that house all lived to over 90 years old while my parents and even my fathers mother who stayed with us after she got older, died in their 60’s. Even more , my sister, now sat in the very house we gathered in, the matriarch of our family with her body riddled with tumors at barely 50. Now I have always been one to pay attention and it seems obvious to me that those who ate less meat lived longer so that’s the way I choose to go as well.
When we know better we should do better. That means not watching our family die one after another with out understanding why. The old I eat the way I do because my family ate like this becomes lame when all of those family members are dead. It is up to parents to teach their children how to eat to be healthy so that they can enjoy a long lifespan. Science says man should live to about 72 on average and with today’s science this is more and more the norm for people in good health, unfortunately that is not a large portion of food guzzling Americans.
This blog is intended to help people understand how food choices are what determines much of the experience we call life. Ironically there is an easy explanation for every illness in the human body and often simple cures for those ailments can be found in natural food products. The entire medical industry is basing their profit on us getting sick from something we have eaten. Stay with me on this journey and together we can explore the truth about food and learn how to eat to live. Join me for the next segment of Education before medication when I tell you how the foods listed in this blog today are killers and what foods will heal the damage they do. Until then.....