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On Eating Animals...

I've been on a bit of a learning high the last few weeks, spending my days studying for my Holistic Nutrition Designation and my nights with a bowl of fruit watching health documentaries. If you follow me on Twitter, you know this as I've been bombarding you with tweets & highlights from these films ;)

Today - I wanted to share some snippets out of my most recent read - Eating Animals. There's a tipping point for everyone, and had I read this book 5 years ago, this would've been mine. A friend of mine at the gym loaned me this book and I read it during 2 weeks worth of treadmill workouts. 

I'm going to spare you some of the gory facts that this book presents about factory farming (some of which I couldn't even read) and instead focus on a few examples of the text that I loved regarding the politics behind the industry and text that I just found plain ol' inspiring. I think the paragraphs I've pulled out below give you a good idea of the author's writing style and will hopefully encourage you to pick up the book yourself!

"We are constantly lied to about nutrition. Let me be precise. When I say we are being lied to, I'm not impugning the scientific literature, but relying upon it. What the public learns of the scientific data on nutrition and health comes to us by way of many hands. Since the rise of science itself, those who produce meat have made sure that they are among those who influence how nutritional data will be presented to the likes of you and me. For example, the National Dairy Council (NDC) has been allowed to become arguably the largest & most important supplier of nutritional education materials in the nation."

"Of course, most people never have to confront the unpleasant fact that animal foods (inc dairy & eggs) involve killing animals. They remain disconnected from this reality, buying their meats, fish and cheeses at restaurants and supermarkets, making it easy to give little or no thought to the animals these foods came from. This is a problem. It allowed agribusiness to shift livestock and poultry farming into unhealthy, inhumane systems with little public scrutiny. Few people have seen the insides of industrial dairies, egg or pig operations, and most consumers truly have no idea what is going on at such places."

"If one cares about the environment, and if one accepts the scientific results, one must care about eating animals. Most simply put, someone who regularly eats factory-farmed animal products cannot call himself an environmentalist without divorcing that word from its meaning."

"To Whom it May Concern at Tyson Foods: I am following up on my previous letters dated Jan 10, Feb 27, Mar 15, April 20, May 15 & June 7. To reiterate, I am a new father, eager to learn as much as I can about the meat industry, in an effort to make informed decisions about what to feed my son. Given that Tyson Foods is the world's largest processor and marketer of meat, your company is an obvious place to start. I would like to visit some of your farms and speak with your company reps about everything from how your farms operate to animal warfare and environmental issues. Given your 'family-centered philosophy' and recent 'It's what your family deserves' campaigns, I assume you'll appreciate my desire to see for myself where my food comes from." (He never heard back from Tyson)

"It might sound naive to suggest that whether you order a chicken patty or a veggie burger is a profoundly important decision. Then again, it certainly would have sounded fantastic if in the 1950s you were told that where you sat in a restaurant or on a bus could begin to uproot racism. When we bother to look, it's hard to deny that our day to day choices shape the world. One of our greatest opportunities to live our values, or betray them, lies in the food we put on our plates."

"As anyone who has been a vegetarian for a number of years will tell you, the influence that this simple dietary choice has on what others around you eat can be surprising. The body that represents restaurants in America, the National Restaurant Association, has advised every restaurant in the nation to have at least one vegetarian entree. They know that if you have a vegan in your party - they dictate where the party eats."

Should you be thinking twice about the upcoming meal of Giving Thanks, this may do it..."All but a negligible number of the 45 million turkeys that find their way to our Thanksgiving tables were unhealthy, unhappy and, this is a radical understatement- unloved. Today's turkeys are natural insectivores fed a grossly unnatural diet, which can include meat, sawdust, leather tannery by products and other things whose mention would probably push your belief too far. Given their vulnerability to disease, turkeys are perhaps the worst fit of any animal for the factory model. So they are given more antibiotics than than any other factory animal."

Here's a link to the recipes I made for our Vegan Thanksgiving if you feel like this may be the year to give the Turkey's a break.

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