These days I eat meat. I was a vegetarian by personal, not parental choice for 18 years. Then in 2019 I actually went pretty much vegan, kind of by accident, from July through to October. I had it in my mind to extend to full veganism purely on the basis of research I’d done on how plant based diets heal inflammation in the body. What I discovered in this personal experiment is that veganism, even vegetarianism actually made me unwell.
A balance of meat based meals & plant based
I believe in eating what is right as a balance of your beliefs and what is right for your body. Not eating meat was making my autoimmune condition flare up badly and in October my blood results showed my condition to be the worst it had ever been. The problem I discovered was that all the main source’s of vegetarian and vegan proteins disagree with my system. I have a high sensitivity to soy, beans and legumes causing greater inflammation in the body, intestinal weakening and thereby a flare up of the negative symptoms of my autoimmune condition. Since I have moved back to eating meat my health has improved substantially again.
The thing is that eating meat or not has always posed a quandry for me personally. I have no problem with people choosing to eat meat. I am of the belief that humans as a species are primarily (not all) carnivores the same as a lion is a carnivore, it is in our nature. To be clear, I am also totally fine with anyone choosing to be vegan or vegetarian, it’s just not right for me. There are, I believe, right and wrong ways to produce meat and therefore right and wrong ways to purchase meat both from a health and ethical point of view. This is a key part of what I needed to get my head around.
The mass meat market is bad. The focus is on high volume and low price and that leads to terrible standards of welfare and drives a bad economy by making meat that has come from animals raised, cared for and slaughtered with respectful ethics seem ‘overpriced’ when they are not. In my mind its crazy that anyone should think price is the defining factor to drive an industry that utilises life to sustain life. It is a reflection of how distanced we have become from the food we consume to think price is a good thing to rate meat on. Having grown up in the countryside, knowing the reality of where meat came from is part of why, for me, vegetarian/veganism has always been a pull. I love animals and I can’t bear to see one in pain or think of them killed. I cry if I think I hit a mouse on the road. Yet I have no disagreement with hunters who hunt to provide the food on their plate, so long as it’s done respectfully. If we all still had to be that close to the meat process, well I’d be in trouble. Laugh at me if you feel like it, I don’t mind. Call me a hypocrite I have thought it of myself but I’m certainly not alone in these thoughts.
“Buy less, buy quality, buy fair”Me – unless someone else has also said it, in which case them as well!
What I know is that without meat I become ill and if I become so ill, like I did then I am no good to anyone. What I have realised wholeheartedly is; as consumers we have the greatest potential to positively influence the meat industry. I know not everyone can afford farm fresh, grass raised, organic meats all the time. Although sometimes its not as expensive as we fear. I know that we currently consume more meat than we need to and much of the cheap stuff is produced and then wasted, which is a disgrace. So if we all consumed less, yet spent the same amount of money on meat we could afford to buy meat that was raised with more ethical husbandry, and as more people buy that meat you start to turn a whole industry. The farmers utilising strong ethical & wellbeing practices, who are looking after their animals with respect, and providing a more nutritious end product, are suddenly getting more business and then you might see some reduction in prices whilst welfare standards are lifting. In my opinion the price should never come back near some of the current levels; a living creatures life has been given to provide food on our plate and that should be worth more than a couple of £ or $.
So if you are vegan or vegetarian and find some of my posts off-putting, I understand but hope you understand why I choose to follow this diet. If you do eat meat – do your research, find out which local butchers give full traceability, if you can visit one of the farms do so, if you know a local farmer that produces their own meat for direct sale to the consumer, get in touch. And remember, even if you can’t make a 100% change in your buying habits – each time you choose to buy meat with high standards of welfare, you are helping to make a change to the industry. Also remember, that as a meat eater it adds great variety to eat a few meals without meat, it also allows you to save up your cheap meat money ready to buy that better meat for the next day.
“Vegetables are super delicious, it’s just that most of us weren’t brought up to cook them that way!”Definitely me