The Meat Dilemma – But what about the animals?!

When I was 15 someone told me that someone they knew lived near a slaughterhouse and a pig farm. The slaughterhouse would come pick up the pigs every 2 weeks. Apparently, the pigs would start screaming the night before, because they knew they were going somewhere bad. Now that story is probably completely false, but it hit a nerve. I researched what kind of intelligence pigs had and decided to stop eating pork. I haven’t eaten pork since I was 15. I’ve watched Food Inc., which also struck a chord. Watching chickens get turned into pink sludge for McDonald’s chicken nuggets got to me. (The reason I don’t recommend pork at the beginning of an elimination diet is because Dad is sensitive to it, and I’ve read it’s not uncommon to be sensitive to pork but not to beef and chicken. It’s not for any reason but that).

What do you do if you’ve chosen to be a vegetarian or a vegan for the sake of animals wellbeing? 

I’ve been asked this question a number of times, so here goes.

1. How sick are you? Are you overweight? Are you exhausted all the time? Do you have an autoimmune disorder? Do you have severe acne? Are you mentally ill?

  • Caring for animals and how they’re treated is important. But it’s not as important as caring for yourself. From what I’ve read, (and a huge amount of anecdotal evidence including completely changing my dad’s and my life), meat is necessary to be healthy. You can’t replace it with other sources of protein without making yourself sicker. Soy is off the table completely (and even harder on men), dairy isn’t an option, and legumes are incredibly difficult to digest and likely to cause problems. So what are you going to take care of? Your body? If not, why don’t you deserve it? Why shouldn’t you be treated as well as you can be treated? If you have severe depression or an autoimmune disorder I don’t think there should be a doubt about what you need to do. Your diet is potentially killing you. Do you deserve to suffer and die to avoid animal suffering?
  • From my dad’s book, “treat yourself as if you were someone you are responsible for helping”. If your best friend was sick, or even wasn’t in as good shape as they could be, would you tell them to keep suffering or to eat what’s good for them? If you had a kid who had an autoimmune disorder, would you keep them vegetarian for the sake of the animals? Hopefully not. Why don’t you deserve the same treatment?

2. Be aware of where your meat comes from

  • Buying meat that comes factory farm is completely avoidable. I stopped buying meat from factory farms shortly after I stopped eating pork. It was SLIGHTLY more expensive, but it made me feel better. The way they treat animals in factory farms is horrible. There’s no question about it. The answer isn’t to not eat meat and suffer health problems, the answer is to get your meat elsewhere.
  • Find a Mennonite butcher and buy from them. They’ll usually do larger orders of meat to save money as well.
  • Find a local butcher and buy from them

3. You can avoid factory farmed meat AND save money

  • This requires a bit of work. Find a local butcher (or google “1/2 a cow” or “1/4 of a cow”. You should be able to purchase a large quantity of grass-fed antibiotic and hormone free beef at an equivalent price to factory farmed meat. You may need to invest in a deep freeze to do this.
  • Buy cheaper cuts. Chicken is cheaper than beef, and if you’re concerned about price, eat chicken. It’s still better than not eating any meat.
  • Avoiding factory farmed meat isn’t just about the wellbeing of the animals, it’s also not going to be as high-quality meat (hormones, fed corn, etc.)

4. You can always go back to being a vegetarian/vegan

  • Do the elimination diet, reintroduce beef and chicken, and see how you feel. After a month, make up your mind yourself. But you can’t do the elimination diet without eating meat.

5. Doesn’t meat cause heart disease and cancer?

  • No. It really doesn’t at all. I don’t have time to get into that (comment if anyone needs information about that or if I should make a post about it). Follow Shawn Baker on Instagram. He’s constantly posting studies linking meat to health, and showing studies that have been done badly and that ending up coming to the wrong conclusion (and harming people). He’s more on top of the research than I am.

6. Animals on farms wouldn’t really exist if we didn’t eat them

  • This feels like a cheap point, but I’m going to make it anyway. If everyone stopped eating meat, we wouldn’t have cows and chicken. They’d be eaten by carnivores and wouldn’t exist anymore. Hell, we’ve already killed off the mammoths by eating them all. Is it better that we don’t eat them and they don’t exist?

If you avoid factory farming, I don’t believe that there’s anything morally wrong with eating animals. In fact, if you’re harming yourself by not eating meat, I think there’s something morally wrong with that. If you are unable to avoid eating factory farmed meat because of cost, or where you live, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Factory farming is horrible, but if that’s what you need in order to be healthy, that’s what you need.

 

TL;DR

  • You deserve to eat healthily, and avoiding meat is probably killing you
  • You can avoid factory farmed meat and save money doing it
  • If you’re worried about animal suffering, buy from butchers and farmers and avoid factory farmed meat (1/4 of a cow saves money)
  • Chicken is cheaper than beef. If that’s all you can manage, start with reintroducing chicken into your diet.
  • You can’t do the elimination diet and see a really positive change in your health without eating meat. (That being said, removing grains, sugar and cutting out dairy would help, but it won’t fix all of your issues, and you need to eat more than that!)

Reminder: I am not vetting comments. I am randomly going on the blog when I have time, responding to the ones that are most recent (at the top), and then doing it again later. I’ve had questions about where people’s comment are  – I’m not ignoring you, I just can’t keep up. I enjoy the comments! If you have comments or concerns about eating meat, post below and I’ll try to get to them.

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27 thoughts on “The Meat Dilemma – But what about the animals?!

  1. Nick says:

    I heard for mineral organ meats and shell fish are great. Are there any inflammatory reactions to these? Or do these also need to be organically to get the benefits?

    • Jeroen says:

      All meat is “organic”. In fact most “organic” products are far worse when it comes to contaminants as compared to their “regular” counterparts as the quality standards are far lower for it, there is basically no check on what’s in them except for the “honour system” of calling yourself an “organic farm”.

      Mind, this isn’t always the farm’s fault, but for example “organic” fruit often has extremely high concentrations of chemical pollutants on it. Whether those are sprayed by the orchard operators or blown in from elsewhere (like the orchard being downwind from a chemical plant) can be hard to determine, but that same fruit would likely be illegal to sell were it from a regular orchard.

  2. Pig says:

    I am not saying it doesn’t work but it certainly not ethical.
    If you think pigs are different from the rest of the animals; try thinking for yourself.
    There is not one good diet there are many.

  3. The long-term solution, I believe, is meat grown in a lab.

    I think both are valid points – killing any living being is cruel.
    Humans evolved to survive, not to be nice. But our consciousness itself is evolving. We are living longer than what we were “naturally” designed for.

    And so is our population.

    There are already a few startups and scientists working on using genetic engineering to grow naturally identical meat in a lab.
    Why grow a living animal just to kill it for its meat, when we could grow identically beneficial and healthy meat directly, without using a life to do it?

    • This is what I think. The problem with the scientific method is its intrinsic dependency on reductionist thinking. Nothing better exemplifies this than Schrodinger’s cat experiment.
      Let’s try lateral thinking instead.
      What about all these questions?
      How does the fake meat taste?
      What are the congenital side effects?
      What makes you think that “our” consciousness is really evolving?. Look at the current political situation. Think again bucko. All pun intended.
      What would the fake meat do to our society as a matter of stratification and dynamics? This is a vague question that invokes the same concerns Jordan has about social experiments affecting society and having disastrous effects.
      Have your even fathom what is like to have nothing to eat, not because it isn’t available but because it’s imposed on you?
      You’re coming from the point of view of the 10% of the population with the positive perspective of a relatively rich person compared to the rest. What makes you think you really know what you’re talking about? Because you belong to a rich society?
      What will happen when all that nonsense gets politicized? Would it turn into yet another gun debate?
      How would Cultural Marxism intervene and use it to produce subversion and impose Totalitarian measures?
      I know this sounds resentful but it’s on purpose to disturb and try to shake the world view we have constructed around our habitual experiences and all the things we take for granted.
      Look, Isaac Asimov dealt with all these questions decades ago and as far as I’m concerned he didn’t really solve the problem in his imaginary world. But I still have some reading to do. How does the foundation ends?
      And growing animals to kill them is what we do. Only because we’ve become soft and let very few deal with it to the point it has become sometimes a monstrosity doesn’t mean that a pretentious sense of moral superiority is going to save us. In the contrary it will put us against each other for yet another way of Waring.

      My alternative is to offer the possibility of growing your own food and focusing on what we need but instead of using technology to free our time and handle our own nature we’ve hidden behind it and become its slaves. We work longer hours than ever before just to mantain the dumb machines that are supposed to help our society and that combined with our ignorance if its own shadow and greed is the main problem we have to solve. Our dilemma is existential, not logistic.

  4. D L says:

    I recommend looking into Dr. Gundry’s work on lectins. The book “Plant Paradox” details which foods contain these inflammation causing lectins. Basically the nightshade vegetables. It is the diet I felt best on. I decided to go back to the way I was eating before (mainly because I am only working PT and want to get rid of all the food I shouldn’t be eating, but don’t have the means to just throw it out or donate it… some of the food has been opened and they won’t take it at a pantry). I will be back to the lectin free diet soon.

  5. Jan S says:

    Interesting to see this comment.
    I too have a habit if keeping a stock of food and trying to finish it before beginning a new trial.
    I have been loosely using Gundry’s lectin free recommendations.
    Some positive results however I have been loose with it for the same food economy reasons you state.
    Another aspect is – I am dealing with two pages from his book before I go ahead and buy it and live in Australia. Being a “developing” country I know foods by there common, botanic or nicknames. many foods recommended from USA are brands so when I do this scientifically it will be using the foods I do know only.
    addicted to swiss cheese as well that has a mucous building effect.
    I look forward to your findings, and sharing mine. 😀
    Jane

  6. Sean says:

    “5. Doesn’t meat cause heart disease and cancer?

    No. It really doesn’t at all. ”

    My doctor who is a much more qualified expert than you disagrees.

    • Based on the educational investment on the nutritional component for achieving an MD, that “much more expert” belief may be a reckless assumption. Nutrition recommendations made by non expert MD’s in even recent decades have drastically changed. They are often regurgitating what they have been “fed” themselves.

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