To eat or not to eat meat – what’s right for you?
My sister decided to become a vegetarian at the age of 11. I admired her for this choice but I thought it was merely a phase, however, 14 years later she is still a proud veggie. Throughout the years I never really understood her decision; she was an obvious animal lover but vegetarianism seemed so inconvenient. Everyone around us ate meat and my dad would need to cook an extra dish especially for her at dinner time. Even our restaurant choices would always need a veggie menu option.
During my studies to become a Health Coach I was introduced to 100 dietary theories from raw, plant-based, high/low carb, high/low protein and meat-containing diets. It certainly confused me! There are strong cases for and against eating meat so I explored this vegetarian culture. My first thoughts were ‘what will I eat instead?’ Animal meat is a protein and so I’d need to substitute this with other forms such as egg, soy, beans, grains or nuts.
Boring! I was craving a juicy steak just thinking about it but I still gave it a go. It lasted a week until I was shopping in a deli for olives and ‘accidentally’ picked up some Parma ham from a taste plate. Oops!
I was annoyed with myself and began thinking ‘should I really be a veggie’? I was brought up on meat, my ancestry is English and Polish, they were meat eaters; it’s in my blood I tell you! But was it? My blood type is A and this type is more suited to a plant-based diet so I tried again. However, this time I was struggling when dining out. Eating a separate veggie meal to my friends at dinner was ok but in an Asian restaurant where it is common to share dishes, I found myself giving in and agreeing to order meat dishes – once again I was back to square one.
Soon after I was introduced to a PETA video called ‘Meet your Meat’ and watching this 10 minute video is heartbreaking. I’ve always been aware some animals are treated badly, hence the vegetarians, like my sister, can be so passionate. However, this video sent chills up my spine. How can human beings treat animals in this way? You only have to look at your pet dog or cat to see that each animal has a personality, feels real emotions and pain – they love, cry, are happy, sad and they can be frightened too. Who are we to treat life in this way?
I forced myself to watch this video twice to ingrain the images in my mind. Afterwards I made a decision never to eat meat again but still those niggling voices in my head said ‘but you enjoy meat’, ‘you crave it’, ‘you don’t really like tofu’! These voices are what brought me to my final decision – I have chosen to eat a plant-based diet but listen to what my body desires. If I have a craving for meat, my body is telling me that it needs this form of protein; therefore I choose ‘pasture-raised’, organic meat. I must know where any meat I eat comes from and that the animal was treated humanely. There are enough farmers who treat animals with the respect and dignity they deserve. As a consumer, when I buy produce from these small local farmers, I am voting for them over factory farms.
Are you experiencing the same dilemma I had – to eat or not to eat meat? Comment bellow to discuss what foods are best for your body. We shall look at your lifestyle, blood type, ancestry and beliefs to choose the right diet for you.
In the meantime, I would recommend preparing yourself and watching this video – ‘Meet your Meat’. We are sheltered from the horrors of factory farming and have the right to know where our food comes from. You are what you eat, so imagine what it does to your body when you eat the meat of an animal who has been frightened and beaten to death.