21 June 2013

Should we go veggie?

We have always been very conscious of our impact on the environment, and taken it very seriously - especially when it came to renovating our home and building our studio, which then followed through to the way we ran our home and business. Recycling, composting, maintaining a low energy consumption, and practising a no-waste attitude.

But when it comes to what we eat, Jay and I have had countless in-depth discussions about our thoughts on going veggie. There are no two ways about it, we really do enjoy eating meat - we have always eaten it - but the biggest obstacle has been to figure out the impact that going veggie might have on our bodies - positive or negative. We never got around to that research before I fell pregnant, and then it was on hold for the well being of baby and I, and since then the breast feeding has put me off still.

When I think about it, we really are huge hypocrites, because we are both the kind of people that are massively against any form of animal killing or cruelty - and this goes as far as saving snails from
getting squashed in the middle of pavements, and ushering flies out the window, rather that swatting them. We are proud of our respect for the creatures around us - after all, what would this world be without them? We all contribute in some way to our environment - I whole heartedly believe that - so I just feel ashamed that we haven't put this into practise with the way that we eat, until now.

Alas, a couple of weeks ago something happened to me, and I think it may have changed me forever. There was a video on Twitter about the reality of slaughter houses, and without even watching it, I fell into the firm frame of mind that I was done with meat. It is true what they say - out of sight, out of mind
- and I think this is entirely to blame for my hypocrisy. Meat eating is so engrained in our culture and everyday life, and I just hadn't been willing to accept the truth about what it really was and where it
came from.

Emotions aside, since I'm breast feeding, I am taking the transition very seriously, and very dubiously finishing up the remaining meat and fish products we have in our kitchen so that there is nothing left.
In my transition, I have been researching this whole for and against meat-eating argument, to figure out what the natural thing really is - are we naturally meat eaters? I feel it necessary to do this, since what
I eat (or don't eat) will affect Charlie and the future children that we have.

Are we naturally vegetarian?

As hard as I find it to accept, the fact is that it is part of nature for a lot of animals to kill and eat each other - it's the circle of life. But what I wonder is, are we part of this? Is it in our nature to be a part of
that chain and eat fellow animals?

I found a lot written about how we have evolved from having much larger jaws, perfectly adapted for plant eating, to much smaller jaws, as they are today, where they have evolved to accommodate our change in diet to meat eating. We have seemed to have had an increasing need for some kind of intervention, to straighten or rearrange our teeth to fit into our mouths as they should, which of course helps to support this theory. Furthermore, we now have no use for our appendix, whose specific purpose was to break down things like grass and leaves.

Theory aside, we are hardly built to hunt are we? We have no huge claws to catch prey with, and instead we have always had to create our own weapons out of materials. No other animal who eats meat does this - they seem to be built for the job - which gives me more reason to believe that we are naturally veggies.

Obviously there are arguments against all of this too, and some parts of these got me thinking...

What about evolution?

So we know that all animals adapt and evolve. It's natural. So does this mean that the fact that we have evolved to eat meat is a natural thing too? Our bodies have changed to enable our change in diet, and so I wonder if this is reversible? Is it good for our bodies to do a u turn? It's not only our jaws that are said to have evolved, but the way that our bodies deal with food too - breaking down and absorption.

I wonder if we have become so advanced with our world domination, that it is hard to say what is natural any more. We look at other animals and their behaviour and study it as natural - but natural to what?
We control species with culling and pollute the air we breath, and that really doesn't feel like natural behaviour. I think that we have to take responsibility for our intelligence and use it to do better.

Is it all just a big contradiction?

We were watching Springwatch the other night, where a weasel was invading a birds nest and snatching the chicks away for food. Chris Packham then went on to say how difficult it is for us to see things like this, but that it's all just natures way, and the weasel probably had babies of it's own to feed. It really made me think about the fact that we find this kind of thing so hard to accept, yet we are more than happy for a lamb or a calf to be taken away from it's mother and slaughtered so that we can indulge.
We don't even need it to survive like the weasel did, since there are so many other foods out there that cover the same vitamins and minerals found in meat and fish.

This whole contradiction has been recently highlighted by people like Jamie Oliver, who is always keen for people to really think about where their food comes from, and how it gets to their plate, and this is
the really key thing here I think. If we all did this, I think that the vast majority of us would be veggie.

It is true that animals seem to have become a product to us - we selfishly control their lives to benefit ourselves. We capture, intervene with breeding, steal away young and shamelessly take lives. So is
this all just a product of the hugely greedy species that we have become?

Debate open!
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