Other Ways to Help Animals – Mindful Eating Habits. My Internal Struggle- to go Vegetarian or Vegan?

Life. Life has a way of keeping us busy, in good and “bad” ways. Even those “bad” ways, are good, because they challenge us in different ways. My goal with this site was to stick to my goal and write a certain amount of blog posts, per week. Life caught up with me this last week or so. Busy in a good way, by living life and experiencing things. Finding something worthwhile to share and write about.

This week, specifically yesterday, I had an internal struggle with myself. I was at the grocery store, buying what I had on my list to meal prep. Sounds harmless, right? The goal was to buy ingredients for making tacos this upcoming week. I was also debating what to do for lunches, at work. I kind of craved sandwiches, deli meat and all. I decided to go with a healthier and more satisfying option, ingredients for a salad. I have this go-to salad that I never get sick of. So I put the necessary ingredients into my cart and carried on. I then started buying the ingredients for the tacos that I still stuck to doing. It wasn’t until I got to the meat display section where I stopped and starred at the long wall full of meat. Pork, chicken, beef, lamb, duck, and so forth. That’s when I had my internal struggle.

I stood there wondering what lives these animals had prior to hitting the slaughterhouse, where they came from, how they were treated prior to arriving to the slaughterhouse and once arriving. I watched others aimlessly stop by and pick out a package of meat, set it into their carts and walk away. I wondered, how did it seem so easy for them to pick something and walk away without feeling anything for the sacrifice given to enjoy this food their family would later sit around the table and eat? I stood there for a solid 5 minutes, debating if I even wanted to eat tacos again. If I could do something without eating meat. Worrying about how these animals were treated up until their deaths. Wondering if I could make a difference, by no longer eating meat. I picked up a package of sirloin ground beef, placed it into my cart, walked away and just stared into the cart as I continued to shop. I bought the meat. I left the store and drove home and it is sitting in my refridgerator.

I reached out to some friends and told them about my struggle. The majority of them were like “don’t think about it, but do whatever you think is right – even if it means changing your diet habits”. Most of them mentioned they don’t think about it when they pick out meat at the store, or have it on their plate, or as they are eating the meat. I’m not saying they are wrong for their eating habits and I would be a bit of a hypocrite if I did, because I still do eat meat. My concern now is, what kind of life do I want to live? Do I want to go completely “extreme” and stop eating meat? How could I do it? Would this diet be suffice for me? What things will I miss about it? And then, I stopped being selfish and realized, I was thinking only about how this would impact me. I should be thinking about how will this impact the World? How will this impact the animals?

That is when I decided to start exploring new options for eating. I know it will be a struggle and a change, but with anything in life, we can’t just quit cold turkey (pun intended?). We’ve got to work towards it. If we believe strongly enough in something, we can set our minds to it and do it. So, why am I bringing this up in this blog post? Well, the goal is to think from a variety of difference ways on how we can improve the lives for animals, make it better, and/or save them. This applies to all aspects. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person for eating meat. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person for not volunteering at your local shelter. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person if you aren’t open to fostering an animal until they get their forever home. It just means we need to be more conscious about how we’re impacting animals and Earth.

You can continue to buy meat, but when you do, be grateful for the life that animal gave for you and your family to consume and enjoy it. Also, take the time to learn about how these animals are treated prior to arriving to the slaughterhouses. As social media continues to grow, as well as media outlets, we gain more visibility into the realities that are going on in this World.

Example, did you know the FDA is responsible for ensuring slaughterhouses obey certain health rules, while also the treatment of animals? Does it happen? No. A lot of things fall through the cracks. I cannot begin to tell you the countless articles I’ve read and videos I’ve seen where animals have been poorly treated prior to their life ending. There’s no need for that. They are suffering enough by being put into cattle trucks, transported in poor conditions, overcrowded and then slaughtered to begin with. There’s no need to mistreat an animal. Examples: fox farms – there was a video/article I saw where this man would molest these male foxes, just to get his “kicks” and artificially inseminate female foxes. I’m not saying this is what’s going on around the World, but things like this do happen. People can be that disturbed and take advantage of the “power” given to them.

Another example? cows hung up by their back legs and while still alive, their necks slit – so they bleed out into this gutter and the cows are there squirming and begging to be saved, as these slaughterhouse employees watch and even laugh. Another example? Veal. These calves are literally ripped away from their mothers at birth and put in these small, only a few feet wide pens, chained up to avoid any exercise and social interaction. They never get the chance to grow up. They are killed before they reach 8 or 9 months old. The idea is to avoid any activities and allow their muscles to get too tough, which in turn gives you that veal you so greatly enjoy on your dinner table. Another component of this you may be interested in… the majority of male calves are either selected for this “life” and/or are killed immediately on the spot. Most farms don’t see a point in raising male calves, only a select few for later on breeding and then they are the first choice for being slaughtered for the meat you see in stores. Did you know that most meat you purchase in stores comes from bulls? This is because most farms desire keeping female cows to produce large amounts of milk and continue to give birth to calves for your veal needs.

I know this is a lot to take in and I’m not telling you to change your ways. I’m just asking you to change your thinking. Become more mindful about the realities that are going on prior to purchasing a thing of meat. Be more grateful for the lives sacrificed, in order for you to have “dinner” on the table or “breakfast” on your plate. If you do in fact, feel strongly enough about how these animals are treated prior to being slaughtered, you can either fight against these issues, share the information, or stop supporting the sales of meat, by not purchasing yourself. You can easily get the protein needed, while also other nutrients, through other non-carnivore ingredients. Again, this is all entirely up to you, but I just ask this of you – be mindful and be grateful. The rest will follow.

With that, I bid you a good day and hope you are finally enjoying what Spring has to offer, after a long winter. We recently just celebrated Earth Day, so I hope you also take the teachings I mentioned to you above and are both mindful and grateful for the Earth, its’ offerings, and ways we can show our support and appreciation for each breath we take.

If you have questions, concerns, or feedback, please know I am open to hearing it. Leave a comment below and share this post with your social network, family and friends. Happy Sunday!

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