Sunday, July 01, 2012
I've been a vegetarian since I graduated from college in 1978. My decision to became a vegetarian was based on ethical reasons rather than health reasons since I don't believe in killing animals to eat them. I actually put on about 50 pounds when I went vegetarian. This was partially due to veering toward more unhealthy food and many high carb and caloric foods such as eating a lot of cheese sandwiches, pastry, pizza, ice cream, etc...
My weight has been up and down on the scales since then, but mostly up and I've really had to struggle hard to lose weight. I believe that I've always known that if I really want my weight loss to hold and not yo-yo up, that I really need to have a fundamental change in my eating habits. My complete love of pizza, cookies, ice cream sundaes and pastry has prevented me from even trying to make this necessary fundamental change in my eating habits. I guess that I'm one of those people that live to eat rather than eat to live. But something happened about a week ago that is getting me on that track of healthy eating.
I've raised my two children as vegetarians. My wife doesn't eat beef, but she does eat chicken. One afternoon, my daughter who has just graduated from college exclaimed that she is very sad about some things she heard/read about. She exclaimed that the dairy industry actually imposes much cruelty on the animals. I didn't want to believe this, so I did the research myself. I tried to find anything which would dispute this claim, but I couldn't find anything. Typically the male calves are either slaughtered for veal or raised to be sold for beef. I certainly wasn't happy to hear this, but what really broke my heart was reading about how the calves are typically taken from their mother at birth and both the mother and calf would wail in complete sorrow over the loss of their baby or mother. Sometimes their crying will go on for days. Also, in some farms, the calves are slaughtered 20 ft. away from their mother. There may be some very small family farms where these actions don't go on, but this would certainly be the exception rather than the rule. The result of this is that I have become a semi-vegan. It's very difficult to know whether or not a product is vegan, so on some occasions, I'm sure that I will eat some food that contains dairy products and I'm not sure that I can give up my twice a year drive to get pizza at my favorite pizza place 2 hours away. But you never know, I may be able to give that up as well. But as a minimum, I will most likely be 90 to 95 percent vegan. It's already started to get easier. Now when I walk through the mall and see that Dairy Queen or walk through the ice cream and yogurt section of the grocery store, I think about the pain that occurs with the separation of mother and calf, and I lose any interest that I had in making a purchase. Eating healthier isn't the reason that I'm eating vegan, but it's definitely bound to have a life-long benefit to my health.