Choosing What's Best- An Animal Products Dilemma
Updated: Apr 23, 2018
Choosing what is best for you-for the environment-for animal welfare-and the farmers usually makes for a really hard decision.
In the most recent years of human history people have suddenly found themselves surrounded by food choices, many of them far from their original form and we are confused to say the least. We have really started to lose the connections to our food, where it comes from, how it is produced, and what is involved in getting to us.
Aside from nutritional and dietary theories making it difficult to choose or know what is good, every person is also a bio-individual* This means that each person's biological needs are different. We have all evolved our bodies to adapt to different climates, regional foods, availability, and scarcity.
Some people can thrive (at least for a portion of their life) on a plant only diet, and others need to eat meat and other animal products to thrive. It is worth recognizing however that meat is not a very sustainable product in our world, the way it is conventionally raised and produced.
My Personal Choice
For a few years in my 20's, because of all I had learned about the meat "industry," I decided to become a vegetarian. I could not bare the thought of being a part of such an unethical, inhumane, chemical laden, profit driven system with with such inhabitable conditions. I thought that I was doing my part by avoiding it all together. And for a short time (about two years), I felt really great...probably because I was getting a lot of the "bad stuff" from animal products out of my system. But then I started to not feel so great. I noticed my fingernails and hair were getting weak and my energy levels we're low- really low. My iron levels also plummeted and I was borderline anemic. All of a sudden my body said "nooooooo mooore of this, you need something!"
About that time I started going to a acupuncturist who also specialized in applied kinesiology. It took him about 5 minutes to conclude that the 1 thing I needed to do was go home and eat a grass-fed steak a day for a couple of months! I took his advice finally began to feel restored and nearly everything improved. My nails and hair got much better, my energy levels restored, but the best part was I began to feel strong again, and much more grounded.
Throughout my past couple of years since then I also learned in books and in my courses about how our gender, our age, our heritage, and even our blood type can play a role in the types of food and exercise our body accepts (or rejects) as nourishing or damaging. This is what I mean when I say we are all biologically different. When I learned that I was a type O, everything started to make sense! O blood types were the first to come about in the evolution of man (and woman.) At that time the only thing to do was chase down your food- and that meant that it was generally- meat. There were some berries at that time, but not much else. And that was the diet they evolved to not only survive, but also thrive on.
Next in history came the A's almost as soon as the agricultural period began and people relied less on chasing down their meat, and more on tending their crops; A's tend to favor a primarily plant based diet. Later came the B's who descended from people who began to migrate to northern climates and relied more on animal products such as dairy to survive. the AB's were the last to arrive in the history of our evolution. AB's have adapted to accept more foods and lifestyle choices than any of the others, but they are rare; less than 5% of the population are AB types.
The blood type theory is only part of a matrix that may explain the puzzling question about why paleo works for some people and a vegan diet works for others. In any case, for whatever reason the long term vegetarian diet didn't work for me- I was thankful that I took time to pay attention to what my body was saying. A couple of years later I got pregnant, and luckily at a time when my body felt really nourished. The only thing I craved when I was pregnant was red meat- and I ate a lot of it during that time. I don't like to think about the way my pregnancy might have went had I not listened and nourished my body like it needed to.
I do not still eat a steak a day, but I have re-incorporated meat, along with eggs, and some cultured dairy back into my life, but not without caution. In doing so, I began to discover a new world of farmers and producers that truly care about what they are doing. They care about the animals, they care about the environment, they care about nourishing others, and their own families.
We are certainly not floating in $$$ around here. I choose my groceries on a budget, with care, and generally what's on sale just like a lot of folks But- when it comes to what we put into our bodies, my family looks at it as if there is no better investment than our own selves. When it comes to choosing food consciously for my family, I have a list of priorities, and one is all about this subject.
Conscious Food Choices
We will do our best to only consume animal products that were humanely and naturally raised
We will consider where the food comes from and how it it grown
We will choose foods as close to their whole form, as local and as seasonal as possible
Follow the 90/10 or 80/20 rule. We will have treats occasionally and just enjoy ourselves socially 10-20% of time, but make good choices when possible 80-90% of the time.
What does it mean to me that the animal products we consume are humanely and naturally raised?
It means that the animal is born into and is raised in a natural environment. That it is outdoors eating food provided by nature; chemical free grass to give it calcium and vitamins and bugs to give it protein and nutrients. It also means that the animal has full access to roam around in the sun and absorb vitamin D to make all of its vital functions work well to stay healthy. Humanely means that the wellbeing of the animal has been considered, like given shade, protection from elements, and clean water.
Imagine what the energy of the animal is like when it is full of peace and contentment rather than fear and suffering. Imagine how animals feel they eat whats found in their natural environments. Imagine the difference in a life full of all of this versus a lifetime of chemical feed, pain, antibiotics, confinement, growth hormones, illnesses, and inhabitable conditions.
Why is this all so important to my family?
We, as conscious beings care about our environment and other beings. We also choose to care very much about what we put into our bodies.
Food becomes us- it becomes our blood, our thoughts, our emotions. The quality of the food we eat is determined by many things, but when it comes to meat, yogurt, butter, cheese, and eggs that my family consumes, I want to make sure that the energy from those animals is good energy. I want those foods to nourish our bodies and not damage them. I want to know that our actions are as carefully considered as we can make them.
LOCAL OPTIONS! If you're in the Cedar Valley or Iowa-
I want to give a nod to these awesome producers that I've come across, and I love their products.
Jóia Food Farm is exactly what I was looking for. These guys are doing everything right in my opinion :).
An amazing producer for eggs (and organic produce) that you can find at the Cedar Falls Farmer's market is Kaiser Farm.
I hope to discover more grass-fed, organic, and raw dairy options nearby but for now my family loves Kalona's Greek yogurt!
*Disclaimer: this article is not meant to sway anyone's opinion about food choices. You, as an individual, can and should choose to eat exactly what is best for you.
*Bio-(i)individuality is an Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) term that is taught in the courses of their program.