LIFE ON THE GREEN SIDE

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  • June 8, 2013

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for awhile, but I didn’t really know where to begin. I still don’t know, but I feel like I just need to write it.

Many of you have realized that over the past several months we’ve changed the way that we eat. It’s come about from many things, and I think the best way to explain will be in sections. Health, compassion and spiritual. I’ll talk about each one and hopefully you’ll be able to see what we have learned.

Health:
Eating a nutrient rich, plant based, whole foods diet has many nutritional benefits. To name a few, reduced saturated fat, protein, more fiber, increased antioxidants and phytochemicals. One concern that many people have with vegetarian or vegan diet is that you won’t receive enough protein. Protein is good for your body no doubt. But the typical American diet actually contains too much protein from the high levels of red meat consumed. Also it helps to prevent disease. Diabetes, cancers, arthritis are all seen in lower levels in those that eat a plant based diet.

Compassion:
Many people don’t realize the price that is paid to get their meat and dairy at a low cost. More than 90% of the meat and dairy produced in the United States  is by factory farming. Animals that are raised for food, (cows, pigs and chickens, etc) are not covered by the same anticruelty laws that apply to pets. Why do dogs and cats have so much protection, when cows, pigs and chicken receive no protection? If our pets were treated the way that these “food”animals are treated, there would be an outrage. But they really are all just the same, and deserve the same rights.

“Do we, as humans, having an ability to reason and to communicate abstract ideas verbally and in writing, and to form ethical and moral judgements using the accumulated knowledge of the ages, have the right to take the lives of other sentient organisms, particularly when we are not forced to do so by hunger or dietary need, but rather to do so for the somewhat frivolous reason that we like the taste of meat?” – Peter Cheeke.  

When we first started our journey, we started on solely plant based. No added oils, fats, animal products etc. We did that for a few weeks…and it was hard. We then turned to a strict vegan diet. If animals are being harmed even producing dairy and eggs, we didn’t want to take part in that. (Side note: When I was younger I didn’t understand veganism. I didn’t get why vegans wouldn’t eat animal products. I thought, well, they aren’t being killed, so what’s the problem? The problem is that even though these animals aren’t being killed (at first) they live in terrible conditions and often are so pumped with hormones and antibiotics to grow fast, and to produce fast. They aren’t provided healthy environments or healthy diets, so why should we expect healthy products from them?) So we were vegan for several months. Yes once in awhile, we would “slip up.” But every step forward we took, was a huge one.

There were two things that we missed. First milk. After doing some more research, I decided that if I know that these animals were being treated fairly, and living happy lives, then I would be okay with using what they are producing. (I also researched lactose intolerance. I found a store in North Orem that sells Raw milk. (I’ll be doing another blogpost about Raw Milk soon.)) I found out which farm the milk comes from, and did research on the quality of life that these cows are living. Redmond Heritage Farms, located in Redmond Utah, is where our milk comes from. The cows are pasture fed, and are free to roam where ever. They live happily.

Second is eggs. We found another local farm, in Provo, Clifford Family Farms. Their chickens are free to go where ever, inside the barn and out. They live happily too. (Side note: many people get cage free or free range eggs, thinking that the chickens are free to roam where ever they want. In most cases, this is not true. Free range means no cages. Most free range chickens are raised in a dark barn (to increase egg production) with less than a square foot of space per chicken).

Animals are Gods creations, and deserve to fulfill the measure of their creation.

Spiritual: (this is my personal interpretation of scripture)
I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And inside the Doctrine & Covenants it explains that herbs and fruits of the season should be consumed.

10. And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man-
11. Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving. 
16. All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yeildeth fruit, whether in the ground or above ground-

And then there is a promise given…

18. And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall recieve health in their navel and marrow in their bones;
19. And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
20. And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.

Why wouldn’t you want those blessings? But you may think…what about the verse about eating meat sparingly?

12. Yea, fleash also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly. (This is usually where we stop and say, okay, meat’s good. But in verse 13…)
13. And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine. 

So, my understanding is, God doesn’t want us to use it. Only in times of winter, cold, or famine. I don’t know about you…but I have never seen those in my life. We are blessed now with warm houses, and grocery stores on every block filled with produce all year long. I don’t believe that there is a good reason for ME to consume animals.

To wrap this up I want to be clear that these are all things that I have found for MYSELF. I do not judge, or think poorly of those who decide to eat meat and use animal products. Everyone has their own choice, and I am choosing this way for myself.  I just hope that as I respect others personal decisions, that they will respect mine.

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  • Nikelle Bird says:

    Amen. I agree completely. And seeing as how my life does not currently conform to my beliefs, this is solely a weakness of the flesh. I am so proud of you both. Thanks for sharing.

  • Nate and Al says:

    Thanks Nikelle! Love you!

  • I loved this. We buy raw milk from that store in Orem too! My brother and his family have tons of land they live on and have a cow for milking, ducks and chickens for eggs and raise meat rabbits to eat. I'm crazy jealous of their set up. I want it! Also, in our ward out here we just had a Sunday school lesson on the word of wisdom and we read through those verses you put up here. I don't think I've ever heard that last verse-about how meat should not be used-before that Sunday, isn't that crazy. I leaned over to Morgan and was like, what does that mean and why is it never talked about? I don't know if Morgan would ever not eat meat, haha, but that scripture seems pretty straightforward to me. Good post, I loved reading it!