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Jen's thoughts

I’m So Hungry I Could Eat A Cow!

I mentioned I was going to start talking about vegan and vegetarian foods. But first, I want to start off by saying I’m not a vegan. I’m not a vegetarian. I’m also not a meat-eater. No labels, please.

We are so disconnected from the food we eat that we don't think of cows as where our beef comes from.

We are so disconnected from the food we eat that we don’t think of cows as where our beef comes from. (photo from A Cute A Day)

What I am is someone who is making conscious choices about each meal I eat. I don’t choose to eat meat for today. But I have eaten meat in the past, and I may choose to tomorrow. I’m taking it one day at a time, much like an addict in recovery.

I was once vegan. And it drove me insane.

Veganism is like a religion. I could never seem to get it right. Not eating meat or dairy was not enough. For one, there’s the sugar thing.

Oh yeah, most sugar is a big No NO for vegans. Why? Because natural sugar is not white; processing makes it white by filtering it through the charred bones of animals. Think about THAT next time you eat a sweet.

When you say chicken, do you think of KFC, or does this image come to mind?

A mama and her chicks (photo from Self Sufficient Me)

And some vegans believe honey is a No No because it’s made by bees, while others say it’s OK because bees are insects.

There’s the leather debate. Vegans don’t buy leather. But is it OK to buy leather second-hand? If you already have leather shoes, is it OK to wear them?

There’s the debate about animal companions. Some vegans believe a “true” vegan doesn’t have pets because they cannot be fed a vegan diet. OK, there are some vegan dog foods available, but I never tried them and you should NEVER feed a cat a vegan diet. Cats can go blind without the nutrients received from meat.

And then there’s the whole issue of eating out. Truth is, many restaurants STILL don’t have even one meal on the menu that is vegan, especially here in the south.

If I was going nuts trying to figure out what is acceptable and what isn’t, you can imagine what those around me were going through.

The Pork Industry is bombarding us with bacon. But they never mention the pigs that give their all so you can eat up.

The Pork Industry is bombarding us with bacon. But they never mention the pigs that give their all so you can eat up. (photo from Wikipedia)

Today I make conscious choices. I have vegan mayo (no eggs) and margarine (heart healthy!) in my refrigerator, but I also have cheese that was processed on a farm committed to humane practices. I’ll be attending a conference for work in a few weeks, and I requested vegetarian meals.

When I get that desire for a hamburger, I talk it through. Do I want a burger because my body wants meat, or have I succumbed to another clever marketing campaign by the processed food industry? Will a substitute, such as the sweet potato burger, suffice?

I see that as a much better way to eat. Before, I never once thought of the animals that provide the meat or how they are treated. I just wanted meat, and the cheaper the better. Now I am thinking about what I’m putting into my body, and what the impact will be on me, and on the world around me.

Next time, I’m going to talk about my love affair with cheese.

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About rumpydog

I am a malamute that was rescued by her. I live with June Buggie the cat. I blog about animal welfare and responsible care of companion animals at rumpydog.com. You can follow me on Twitter - @RumpyDog. And don't forget to LIKE my Facebook page! Thanks!

Discussion

59 thoughts on “I’m So Hungry I Could Eat A Cow!

  1. We heart cheese too!

    Posted by Animalcouriers | August 12, 2013, 6:26 AM
  2. Oh dear cheese…a soft spot of mine..love it..we do most of us try and make the right choices it is not always easy either.Have a get day and lovely pics 🙂 Fozziemum

    Posted by fozziemum | August 12, 2013, 6:37 AM
  3. One of my bipeds doesn’t eat meat and we try to think about what we buy.
    We’re cheese addicts!

    Posted by Clowie | August 12, 2013, 6:50 AM
  4. This is Purrime Ministerettes. Mom is addicted to cheese.

    Also, she knowing someone who says that when you nom meat or a fishie, you destroy Planet Purrth and you hate anipals. Mom no wants to has anything to does wiz that purrson. While Purrime Ministerettes is against anipal cruelty in hooman food industry, we is also against ideas that goes to extreme. Terrorists also go to extreme. Just meowing.

    Posted by Shiva & Jaya | August 12, 2013, 6:54 AM
  5. On July 12th, 2006, I was diagnosed as Type II Diabetic. I spent 10 hrs. in the emergency room, bordering on Diabetic coma. I had been in glycemic shock for over a month. I ignored the ADA and my endocrinologist’s advice, and created my own high protein, low carbohydrate diet. It and exercise allowed me to go off medication, and I have been free of the disease – and all pharmaceuticals – for the past 4 years. I am not a vegetarian, nor am I Vegan. I do feel some guilt over eating meat and other animal products, but I make the choice to do so, placing my own survival above that of the animals I eat. Animals in nature eat other animals, and the Earth would not be able to survive, were that not so. Eating is merely the act of converting one form of DNA into another. All life forms must eat, and all life forms – including plants – eat other life forms. With that said, there are sources of meat and other animal products – including cheese – where the animals are well cared for and not abused. Again, this is more important to me, for my own well being, than for theirs – but I see their welfare as an added benefit.

    Posted by bitcodavid | August 12, 2013, 6:59 AM
    • We each must choose what is right for us.

      Posted by rumpydog | August 12, 2013, 7:13 AM
      • Agreed. And we can make positive choices that help our causes, while at the same time, making compromises. I applaud what you’re doing for the animals, and wish you the best in your pursuit of an animal free diet. But don’t let the Vegans dictate to you. Do your research and pick what works best for the whole you. Animal lover, and animal.

        Posted by bitcodavid | August 12, 2013, 7:36 AM
  6. This is such an interesting post for me because I’ve always had an ethical struggle within myself about eating meat. I stopped eating beef 16 years ago, after vacationing on a working farm and seeing how frightened those enormous, beautiful cows were of humans That tipped the scales for me. I tried going vegan but ended up getting anemic because I could never manage the right balance of protein from other sources. Now that I’ve changed my lifestyle to live by an anti-inflammatory diet, I automatically gave up sugars, dairy, carbs, etc and not only feel much better but also feel better about consuming so many fewer animal products. Yes, I do still have to eat poultry and fish in order to keep certain levels up in my body, and I don’t particularly like doing that, but I do shop Whole Foods so I don’t pay into any industry that doesn’t treat these animals as humanely as possible. I still have that ethical struggle brewing inside me, but unless I can dedicate tons more time to veganism (which I doubt will ever happen), I have to resign myself to doing what needs to be done for healthy living. And I could never live without a pup in the house!! Great, thoughtful post Rumpy.

    Posted by raisingdaisy | August 12, 2013, 7:30 AM
  7. My staff tried it to eat no anipals – they eat no meat, but fish (that’s like meat too – just different LOL). They think it is better to pass on meat, because it contains more antibiotic and weird stuff than a whole drug store. We saw it on a pig farm in our neighborhod what they feed their animals – it’s disgusting, really.

    Posted by easyweimaraner | August 12, 2013, 8:25 AM
  8. Behave !! 😉 xxxxxxxx

    Posted by willowdot21 | August 12, 2013, 8:41 AM
  9. I’ve been vegetarian (yes a label) for more than 20 years. Once it got past 20 I stopped counting. Mostly these days I am vegan (and we spent a fair few years before being vegan) although he is vegetarian so I tend to describe myself as that. Who cares which I am. Not important.

    Started off not eating meat for heatlh reasons and it shifted to animal ethics. Why am I eating animals when I don’t need to? A plant based diet is sound, good for me, good for the planet and good for animals that aren’t treated badly to be reared and slaughtered.

    I only heard about the sugar thing recently, although not an issue for me as I loathe anything sweet. But some of it isn’t processed like that, apparently.

    Honey, I thought was a straight no for vegans, but again as it is sweet, irrelevant for me.

    Leather. Big no for me. You forgot to mention wool and silk btw. Leather goods seriously subsidise the slaughter industry. I no longer have any although I have yet to throw out a few wool and silk items.

    Eating out? We don’t. We do get take aways from time to time. Indians are pretty veg*n friendly. But I read about vegan restaurants in America and just drool. Maybe more in the north and California but you have some seriously good places to eat.

    A couple of posts:

    http://wp.me/p22GQH-oh

    http://wp.me/p22GQH-hI

    I’ll save the cheese link for your cheese post …

    Posted by roughseasinthemed | August 12, 2013, 8:43 AM
    • I don’t think sugar is as much an issue in Europe as in the US. But yes, there are many things to consider with an animal-friendly lifestyle.

      Posted by rumpydog | August 12, 2013, 9:11 AM
    • There was a wonderful vegan restaurant in Chattanooga Tennessee. It was so nice to be able to order anything on the menu and not have to worry.

      I have learned to find Seventh Day Adventists in my community and ask them where to shop and eat. Many are vegan or at least vegetarian and can always steer me right.

      Posted by rumpydog | August 12, 2013, 9:14 AM
  10. Interesting post. I’ve been a vegetarian on and off since I was in high school. Sometimes I eat meat, sometimes just fish and poultry, sometimes no meat/fish/poultry but I do eat eggs and dairy products. I’ve never made the leap to vegan – I think it would be too difficult because of all the gray areas (sugar, honey, gelatin, etc.). And then there’s the whole leather, wool and silk thing. Where do you start? Where do you stop? I like your approach – one day at a time, one decision at a time.

    Posted by Vicki Stringfellow Cook | August 12, 2013, 9:25 AM
  11. A lot of food for thought here. I have been reassessing my own diet recently too, but it’s to do with wheat.

    Posted by jmgoyder | August 12, 2013, 9:27 AM
  12. I was raised on a family farm. We cared about and for our animals but they were there for eventual consumption – fact of life. I have no problem chowing down on a a nice T-Bone, BUT make it medium-well please. I want that meat cooked! ;0

    Posted by Kay Lowder | August 12, 2013, 9:32 AM
  13. My mom tried to be a vegetarian once before becaue she felt very sorry for animals, but after several months, she couldn’t bear being vegetarian…so she stopped it…..she doesn’t eat lots of meat but she needs some….
    Wow!! Cheese…*drools* That is one of our most favorit food! Can’t wait for the post!

    Posted by eripanwkevin | August 12, 2013, 9:42 AM
  14. Being vegan really does sound complicated. I definitely couldn’t go that route. Give up cheese? No way! Vegetarian? Maybe. I choose to take a middle road. Our family doesn’t generally eat beef or pork because it is rare and expensive to find free range options. But free range/cage free chicken and eggs are in. So is seafood. We generally drink almond milk rather then cow milk because I know how commercial milk cows are treated. But there aren’t many humane alternatives for cheese, yogurt, sour cream, or other dairy products.

    Posted by ILoveDogs | August 12, 2013, 10:03 AM
  15. Everything is alive. Even plants which do respond to stimuli and have some awareness according to research. It’s probably considerate/wise to live mindful of life – maybe that was easier when it was a rural society and people raised their own food.
    Now it seems there are those who will think – and those who really don’t care.
    Some will choose local food providers who care for not only their animals, but also their fields. They see it’s all connected.
    Some view life as sacred. These consciously honor and thank any thing that dies so another may thrive and live.
    Then there are those who don’t care and consume without a thought and leave trash behind them.
    It’s all about how life is seen by the individual. You do what you can do.

    Posted by philosophermouseofthehedge | August 12, 2013, 10:11 AM
  16. Beware vegetarians – eating out requires detective work! I occasionally join friends for lunch at one of two old school Mexican restaurants. On Friday, I looked over the new menu at one, and they had a vegetarian tostada – hey, sounds good! But I asked about the shell, after all how do they make chips, crispy taco shells and those bowls for tostadas, they deep fry them in LARD. The waitress told me that yes, the shell was cooked in lard for the vegetarian tostada! What??? I was online Saturday and looked to see if anyone else was bothered by the restaurant making vegetarian offerings using meat products. Oops, it turns out the other Mexican restaurant we go to offers a vegetarian burrito nicely filled with beans cooked in LARD.

    I am hardly able to avoid lard, being a vegan would involve constant failure!

    Elephant

    Posted by Elephant | August 12, 2013, 10:56 AM
  17. What TO and NOT to eat is a very Pawsonal issue.

    Posted by Frankie and Ernie | August 12, 2013, 11:10 AM
  18. choice is a good thing…conscious choice…

    Posted by Savannah's Paw Tracks | August 12, 2013, 11:55 AM
  19. I could never live off a vegan or vegetarian diet. I don’t like most vegetables. I like most fruits, but a fruitarian diet is completely unsustainable. I always think about the meat I consume and wonder how the animals it came from were treated. It truly puts me in the midst of an ideological crossroad.

    Posted by Alejandro De La Garza | August 12, 2013, 12:49 PM
  20. Leave the cow alone… get some stick or long grass… I hear they are good for you!

    Posted by agatapokutycka | August 12, 2013, 12:51 PM
  21. Having chickens in the backyard has given us a whole new appreciation for where food comes from. And for free range eggs. 😉 Then last year I read Dr. Fuhrman’s book about eating green. Changed our mindsets even more. Then I fell off the wagon. Now we’re doing green smoothies once a day, sometimes twice. It’s not a belief in being vegan or green. It’s being health conscious. Not wanting to be 60, in WalMart, riding a hoveround because I’m to fat and sick to walk around the store. I’m okay with small amounts of meat. And dairy. But being educated about what goes into my body is a big deal.

    Posted by FleaByte | August 12, 2013, 3:00 PM
  22. Cheese is a magical food!

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake

    Posted by Genevieve Petrillo | August 12, 2013, 3:22 PM
  23. I can’t do vegan either – my body packs it in, but once again awareness and information leads us towards the answers… and if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem as Celi says. It’s crazy to go on being sold and eating crap at the expense of our bodies and animals just so bloody big corporations make shareholder mega-dividends. One day at a time is the only way to do it, so true. I learn as I go along but I was just commenting on the weekend that we need a degree in shopping and eating. The best I’ve come up with is farmers markets, and getting to know the producers… And research on the net as to good companies. I found Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollen to be very helpful in understanding the backstory to Corporate Food. I’m hoping Celi I’ll write her story too. But really, it’s gotten to a ridiculous point that consumers have to do so much due diligence as an antidote to Big Business’ thoughtless endless profiteering.

    Posted by EllaDee | August 12, 2013, 3:32 PM
  24. I had to laugh when I heard about the “flexitarian” movement (eating less meat, more grains/veggies). I was raised that way. I eat meat occasionally, but it’s not an every day thing. I don’t do it for ethical reasons (tho, the first time I cooked a whole chicken, I didn’t eat meat for a week after), I go by what my body craves. Most of the time I don’t even realize I haven’t had any meat. I don’t drink milk ‘cos I don’t like the taste. I love ice cream, tho. I’m working on eating less processed foods over all. I have much respect for people who won’t eat meat or any animal products. Not something I could do, but I’m not going to say I’m right and they’re wrong either.

    Posted by heidi | August 12, 2013, 4:51 PM
  25. I had to eliminate all dairy for ten years while I was nursing and pregnant with my kiddos. Now, I am enjoying cheese and ice cream again, though in limited quantities. They really are delectable!

    Posted by awootton | August 12, 2013, 5:19 PM
  26. I was vegetarian for many years and found that becoming a vegan was easy, it’s been banned to whiten sugar with animals bones in New Zealand where I live, also in Australia we use coal char, so I just buy food from these two countries, and I can live with myself knowing no animals are being killed because of me. I don’t miss meat or dairy products.

    Posted by Romola | August 12, 2013, 5:30 PM
  27. I don’t know that I’d ever do the vegan or vegetarian thing, but recently I decided that I don’t want to eat pork. I guess that’s a super small step. First, I was reading some articles about how pigs are treated, butchered, and such. And then some other gross stuff came up like how pigs taste like human and how pigs will eat anything, including humans… and that worms live in pig meat but it’s safe for us to eat because we are cooking the worms to a proper temperature so they won’t infect us. Ew. But there are still times I forget, mostly when eating out but that’s not too often.

    Posted by Ann "Paws" Staub | August 13, 2013, 3:11 AM
  28. Due to processing of cheeses and injections in meats, I have found myself being very careful as to what I eat. Even vegetables have had corn additive injected into them so my reading is endless when I shop. I am sitting here with hives from head to toe because on of my students used a shampoo by Garnia that has a corn syrup additive in it and I touched her hair while teaching her. I have had to get a shot again. Being careful what goes in you body is just one step…what goes on it is another…<3 your articles.

    Posted by TammyeHoney | August 13, 2013, 6:28 AM
  29. I guess it is all a personal choice and a healthy eating choice. I eat meat in very limited quantities, I buy local and thus know how the animals are raised and butchered. We eat beef maybe twice a month. We eat lamb once a week, chicken once a week and fish once a week. We do not eat processed foods and we do not eat white sugar (again because of dietary restrictions). I love cheese, but can only eat limited quantities. I love coconut milk ice cream and sherbert, satisfies my craving for sweets.

    I think it is more an issue of being mindful of what our body requires to be healthy.

    Posted by Valentine Logar | August 14, 2013, 7:36 AM
  30. Your article hits really close to home for me. I was a vegetarian for twenty years. Though I had always maintained that if I became pregnant, I would listen to my body. Turns out my body, while pregnant, is a heartless and cruel mega-carnivore. It remained after my son was born. Long before I even considered children, I began wondering what I should do about the meat thing. I was torn between morals and biology. I did research in every avenue I could find. I knew all of the moral implications, but confirmed my health concerns. I know that many people raise healthy and thriving vegan children. I know that I am not that kind of mom. I do my best, but would never be comfortable that I was covering all bases with our son, especially since he had a really rough go of things and lived for a month in NICU. By the time he was eating solids, he was very underweight. Anyhow, I also had concerns about him not being exposed to the bacteria in meat at a younger age, as it would be much of a shock to suddenly be exposed to it as a 10 year old. As with every decision I have to make for him, I was sick about it, but reached a compromise. He eats a very healthy, mainly vegetarian diet. He has lean meats or fish occasionally and I am about the same. My husband is a vegetarian, so it would be very easy to do so. But I don’t. Like you, I think about my meat choices, and why I am craving them and make the most responsible decisions I can but I no longer see things in black white. I think that any effort to reduce meat consumption is a good one. I think that instead of eating beef at every meal, try eating it once a week and spend the money you save on healthy, well-cared for beef.

    I love animals and have devoted my life to their care, but I am also a mom who gets tired (well, lazy) and ends up with easier-to-obtain protein. I’m sure there is a name for a traitor like me, but I’m not interested.

    BTW-continuing to adore your blog! And your dogs!

    Posted by Writer/ Editor: Carrie B | August 14, 2013, 12:32 PM
  31. This is a fantastic post that I totally relate to. I’ve talked on my blog quite a bit about my efforts to move toward a vegan lifestyle. I call myself a “flexitarian.” I mostly eat vegan. I occasionally eat cheese. About once a month like clockwork (imagine that!), my body DEMANDS a double cheeseburger from IN-n-Out. Only that will do. But if that’s the only meat I’m eating in a month, I’m happy with the good I’m doing for animals and for my health. I look at it as more of a choice than a struggle…I suppose because I allow myself the occasional indulgence when it really counts. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Posted by well minded | August 14, 2013, 12:58 PM
  32. thanks for writing this. I’ve been vegan for the last six months and I feel great, but I don’t think it’s for everyone. I’ve had friends who were vegan but found themselves tired all the time. In the end, I think if you eat in a way that is respectful of animals, then that’s good enough. I know of people who always get their meat from ethical farmers and I think that’s great.

    Posted by humanrescuesdog | August 17, 2013, 4:15 AM
  33. I’ve been vegetarian for the last 3 years, and really admire those who adhere to veganism! I have found vegetarianism to be very easy, but have struggled in the past with trying to eliminate dairy. I eased in to vegetarianism by changing my perspective about food. Inspirations were “The Sexual Politics of Meat,” “Skinny Bitch,” and “Eating Animals.” Thanks for casting light on this subject!

    Posted by midwestkite | August 17, 2013, 12:31 PM
  34. Great post! Thank you for the mention about how sugar is processed…I had no idea!! I made the switch to a vegetarian diet about a year ago. I can relate to the struggles you mentioned with the vegan diet, as it can be quite stressful to figure out what actually constitutes a vegan diet. I try to go vegan as much as I possibly can, but I don’t stress out if my coffee shop does not have almond milk or my grandma makes me a dish with eggs as one of the ingredients. I also don’t feed Taylor a vegan diet for health reasons. This is why I consider myself a “vegetarian” as opposed to a “vegan”.

    Posted by Jessica | August 18, 2013, 11:22 AM
  35. It’s paradoxical that on a page headed with a picture of a mother cow and her calf loving each other that so many posters here talk about their love affair with cheese. Cheese is the cause for this mother/child relationship to be torn apart when the calf is barely a day old

    The western world is slowly ditching red meat and replacing it with cheese. Check out
    these statistics‎ and see that US cheese consumption has increased fourfold from 7.7 lbs/year in 1950 to 29.8lbs/year in 2000. Remember that every pound of cheese has many (like over 10) pounds of milk.

    Dairy is in every way more harmful to cattle than beef farming but because people don’t see the blood they find it hard to make the connection. There is at least as much suffering in a pound of cheese as in a pound of flesh.

    I’d love to know about how people reconcile animal welfare with cheese production. (Nothing snide here, just genuine inquiry).

    Posted by theveganofaus | August 21, 2013, 7:02 PM
    • I think it’s that old “out of sight, out of mind” problem. I know I’m guilty of it. And it’s also what we’ve been taught. It’s hard to undo years of thinking about the food we eat. That’s why the brow-beating of some abolitionists will never bring about the change they want.

      Posted by rumpydog | August 21, 2013, 7:11 PM
      • Thanks for being frank. Appreciated.

        A few logical questions if you care – in no way intended to be ad hominem. Do you not think that:

        1. Since you personally do know about it, know that it’s a taught (rather than default) position, and you claim to care about animal welfare, you are (even more) morally obliged to forgo cheese than those that might be uninformed? And in denying your moral obligation you might in fact be more logically and morally inconsistent than others?

        2. The cynicism of “it will never change” is in fact a force in itself that is stopping change? So if anyone want’s change then this attitude must be abolished first?

        3. If you treat any -ism (like veganism) as a religion that you “must get right” then that is largely a personal concern rather than a general concern about animal welfare? Whether sugar or honey or whatever else might get past your radar does nothing to make less significant the massive amount of harm caused to dairy cows and their children in the obtaining of cheese?

        Posted by theveganofaus | August 21, 2013, 9:03 PM
      • Here is a question for you. Do you believe that being all preachy is going to change people’s minds? Or is it, as I believe, that you do more harm to animals by causing people to become more deeply entrenched in their beliefs that their animal consumption is acceptable?

        Posted by rumpydog | August 21, 2013, 9:39 PM
  36. No I don’t think that being preachy can change anyone’s mind. I do think that someone who is ready to change their own mind can be affected by an impulse generated or information gathered by someone’s preaching or similar.

    I don’t follow how you can make the general claim that I cause people to become more deeply entrenched in their beliefs. (Nor what is preachy about my questions – I’m just asking questions, not providing answers). I’d be happy to find out.

    Posted by theveganofaus | August 21, 2013, 10:25 PM

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