Happy Meaty-Beefy-Porky-Chickeny Grilling Season! Have You Met Your Burger?

This is not a “pro-vegetarian” or “pro-meat” post, nor is this a plea for one group to convert to the other.

I’ve always been in a constant state of “I don’t want to eat meat, but boy is it ever tasty!” I’ve also read many blogs & articles on the topic of “to eat meat, or not to eat meat”… This one I found on the WordPress dashboard today mentioned a good book to read, and also had some comments on it that guided me to a great article in the New York Times website…

I’ve come up with many recipes to replace my favourite meat dishes, a meat-less meatloaf being my favourite. I’ve also made vegetarian chilli, various desserts, and many, many main course dishes sans-animal products.

With this being said, I am currently eating meat at this point in my life. Sort of… Not often, as it does quite the nasty number inside of your stomach, but I definitely cannot call myself a “vegetarian”. I went a few months without eating any, and I was really proud of myself. But much like a new non-smoker being surrounded by smokers, the temptation was there. Going out for my sister-in-law’s birthday dinner at an amazing restaurant in downtown Toronto made me realize that “cutting” certain new things out of my daily intake is not desireable. {Yes, I’m aware that I don’t need to be eating meat to be trying new things.} I love trying new foods and recipes, and let’s be honest here… Meat does tastes good, though I’m sure many vegetarians/vegans/raw foodists will disagree with me on that.

In previous years, I have gone 1-2 years without eating meats, eggs or dairy. Again, this was short-lived. I don’t quite consider it a failure, but it’s just a back and forth process that I’ve been dealing with my whole life. When I was younger, it was more because I couldn’t fully digest meat. Now, it’s become more of an issue that as I’m chewing my tender steak, I’m picturing the cow being slaughtered in amongst a bunch of other cows, vomit, blood and excrement. Not the best image to have in mind when eating, but I’m sure it wasn’t such a great image for the cows either. Maybe I will be leaning more in the direction of “vegetarian” for the most part…

This article mentioned here in the New York Times says a lot about ground beef and E. coli. It starts off about a story of a girl, and the health disaster that was a result of E. coli poisoning… The one part {on page 4 of the article} that really gets to me says:

The food safety officer at American Foodservice, which grinds 365 million pounds of hamburger a year, said it stopped testing trimmings a decade ago because of resistance from slaughterhouses. “They would not sell to us,” said Timothy P. Biela, the officer. “If I test and it’s positive, I put them in a regulatory situation. One, I have to tell the government, and two, the government will trace it back to them. So we don’t do that.”

Do I even need to express how much this bothers me? The slaughterhouses actually wouldn’t sell to these people if they wanted to do more tests for bacteria that could potentially HARM people eating these foods?! I encourage any of you out there to read this whole article. It’s long, but it’s a good read. Among many other things I’ve read on this topic, this particular article has really given me the urge to stop and think about where I’m getting meat from if I AM going to be eating the stuff.

I recall walking through the North Market at the St.Lawrence Market this past weekend, and being disgusting by seeing dead pigs hanging in the display cases that the Ontario butchers had with them. But really, what is more disgusting? Seeing the pig dead in front of you, and purchasing part of that pig to take home and cook, knowing that it’s JUST pig that you’re eating… Or going to the grocery store, and buying a pre-packaged blob of “ground pork”, knowing that you don’t actually know what’s in that package. Or even worse, learning what IS in that ground pork you’re about to cook and feed to your family... Obviously, for vegetarians, the disgusting part would be eating the meat in the first place. But this is for those who eat meat…

I know this is a change from my normal happy-go-lucky food posts filled with recipes and a mini-story, but I’ve been doing too much thinking about this whole “meat” thing, and it’s left me feeling not as hungry lately to be completely honest. At least, not for meat. Maybe this is just one more thing bringing me into not eating meat. Who knows… If the article published in the New York Times didn’t do it, there’s so many other things that could/probably will…

Here is a video with a documentary on where the animals are kept before being slaughtered, and many ways that are used to slaughter them. At about 29 minutes into the video, I could feel myself about to throw up, and had to stop watching. If this is the way that all animals are treated and killed for meat, I feel as though this video may very well have marked the ending point of my meat-eating days for good. If you have a weak stomach, I would normally advise against watching… However, it may be a good idea to face the realities of what we’re eating.

Again, I strongly encourage anyone out there who hasn’t already done so, to DO your research to find out just exactly where your meat is coming from. I don’t promote “meat-eating”, nor do I promote “vegetarianism”, as these are personal choices that can take a lot of time for some of us to make… Choices that make an impact on the world as a whole, yes, but a decision that one must come to on their own regardless. But you do have a right and a responsibility to know what you’re putting into your body.

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8 comments on “Happy Meaty-Beefy-Porky-Chickeny Grilling Season! Have You Met Your Burger?

  1. Great post! I think it’s great that you’re at least aware of the issues and make an effort. I also agree that people need to do their own research and homework and make an informed decision instead of relying on stereotypes and biased information that we get inundated with. Be your own health advocate because no one else will! 🙂

    • Thanks 🙂
      It’s so true, that people really need to read up on this stuff and see/hear things for themselves. I’ve heard so many different things from so many different people, that it can really get confusing when trying to figure out what to do with this…
      I think it also makes it easier for people to make choices on this when there’s websites out there that provide the proper information on meat eating/food sources/etc. The only problem is that I worry that some of them don’t quite offer true information… But again, that’s where the research will come in.
      I’m still shocked about the whole testing of meats, and how some suppliers won’t allow the companies that they sell to re-test it themselves… It’s one of those whole “what do you have to hide?” kind of situations… Quite disturbing…

    • I took a quick glance at this… Couldn’t play the videos on my phone, but will definitely watch them later when I’m at home.
      Great link, thanks! Definitely worth checking out..

  2. Thanks for this post, Nikki.

    As you point out, it’s important to take an honest look at where our food comes from, what impact it has, and what’s actually in it. I was vegan for a long time. Then, for health reasons, I reluctantly returned to eating animal products, including flesh. For me, knowing where those animals come from has been an important part of the journey.

    I want to know those farms and also those woods, as I have become a hunter.

    • I’m sorry to hear about the health issues that caused the need for change from being a vegan. I know how hard it is to even become a vegetarian, and how tough of a decision it is… So to have to go back, has got to be hard…
      It’s definitely good to know where they come from, and after more things I see, I can’t even grasp the concept of eating meat right now, even though I had chicken last week…
      On the blog that I mentioned in this post, a commenter posted a link to a video documentary on meat, where it comes from, how animals are killed… It’s deifnitely not for the weak of heart, so if you watch it, watch with caution:

      http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6361872964130308142#

      I got to about 29 minutes before almost throwing up… It’s hard enough for me to walk into the meat section of the grocery store, but I think I’m going more in the direction of no-meat, hopefully for good this time.

      It makes me wonder, if I know a butcher/farmer here in Ontario, would I be able to know the exact process that THEY personally use for killing their animals for food production? Some of the methods in that video were absolutely horrifying to the point where I was in tears and had to stop watching… Hunting, I couldn’t imagine doing. I can barely kill a spider… It reminds me of one part of the video documentary, it said that if we all had to kill our own meat, we’d all most likely become vegetarians LOL… For me, that’s 100% true hahahahah, so I wish you luck with the hunting!!

      • Yes, I saw that video link over on that blog post, too. Really horrifying stuff.

        For me, hunting was a way of confronting the fact of eating flesh again, though I was only eating chicken and fish at the time. I didn’t know if I’d have the stomach for it. And killing a deer always leaves me shaken.

        If all we had to kill our own meat, I do think more of us would be vegetarians. But I also think we’d all be more mindful of animals and their welfare; we’d understand them more deeply and wouldn’t treat them as mere meat. (Also, if we all had to grow our own food, we’d realize that even organic vegetable farming has its own impacts on animals. That was tough for me to come to terms with.)

        I get chickens from a local couple who run a small CSA operation in their backyard–grass, trees, etc, none of the horrors of a factory farm. They are both former vegetarians as well.

        • I think that’s a great way to confront that fact… And some cultures even ensure that they use EVERY last part of the animals that they kill, and only kill the quantity of animals that they will be able to consume. (When some grocery stores, end up throwing out SO much of the meats that go bad… Just imagine how many animals that was if you add up wasted meat from every grocery store in JUST North America…)

          I do agree that it would cause people to be more mindful of the animals, I’d hope at least… And hopefully it would be a quicker death..

          The idea of growing your own food is such a good one, I am so anxious for us to have our own backyard later this year as we’re planning on growing some tasty fruit and veggies come spring! I still have to do a bit of research on how to grow organic at home, I’ve been told by a few people that we will even have to buy a certain type of soil to lay in the ground for it to even be considered “organic”.

          I’ve definitely got to find a place like that around here if I’m going to be cooking/eating meat… I’m sure Toronto has places like that somewhere, at least close to Toronto.

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