If you are buying non-organic, non-grass fed or pasture raised animal products – you are eating factory farmed meat grown in a contained animal feeding operation (CAFO).
CAFO’s have dominated the animal agriculture industry, and raise hundreds of thousands of animals in extremely small spaces that restrict animals' ability to stand up or turn around. These animals never see daylight and must be given hormones and antibiotics to make them grow fast and to keep them alive in horrendous conditions that would otherwise kill them.
If you don’t believe this is a serious enough issue on its own to change the way you shop, I dare you to watch some documentaries like Forks over Knives, Food Inc. or any number of other ones that are often free on Netflix if you have a basic subscription. These films will spell it out for you, quite graphically (so beware with young kids).
I’ll take a chemical burger with a side of antibiotics, um, no thanks!
Meat, dairy and eggs from factory farms are pretty much what you find being sold in stores like Safeway, Albertson’s, and Lucky. Also, if you eat fast food whether it’s McDonalds, In and Out, or highly advertised Subway, you’re still getting the lowest quality meat and dairy products that are filled with toxic additives. Unfortunately most other restaurants, unless they specifically tell you their meat is grass-fed or organic, is having you dine on many chemicals, growth hormones, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals. You are also ingesting the #1 thing I recommend everyone avoid like the plague: the GMO feed the animals were raised on. Yes, the highly subsidized corn and soy grown throughout the US is given to cows and other animals to fatten them up – and guess who gets fattened up next? You! Too bad the US government isn’t subsidizing fruits and vegetables so farmers could grow good food cheap, and our country could be fed nutritionally (that's another article topic).
Guess how much water it takes to make a pound of beef.
The ridiculous amount of water required to grow animals for meat and dairy is yet another reason to truly reconsider how you inhabit the planet. It takes 650 gallons of water to make a pound of cheddar, and a staggering 5214 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef – the same amount of water required for a full year of seven-minute showers! Our largest American underground water source (the Ogallala Aquifer) will run dry at the current rate of consumption by approximately 2050.
Eating Less Meat vs. Driving a Prius
Livestock production is severely affecting our environment and outweighs all the carbon transportation exhaust on the planet by a third.
Livestock produce carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases that are even more polluting than carbon dioxide. For example, livestock are responsible for creating nitrous oxide which is the most ozone depleting substance. They create 65% of the nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide has a global warming potential 296 times that of carbon dioxide and contributes to acid rain. If you want more facts and to see where I came up with these figures, read Healthy Eating Health World.
If you're going to eat animal products, spend more and buy less of ONLY organic, free-range, grass-fed options (including dairy and eggs) that are available at your local farmers market, Whole Foods or Good Earth.
If you don't know your butcher, get to know him / her! Ask questions about how the animals sold for meat were raised: did they get to be outside? All day or for an hour? Is the outdoor space a small concrete area or a grassy pasture? You’d be surprised, even for "cage-free" egg-laying hens, and other animals labeled as pasture raised – how little time and space they actually get outdoors to peck on bugs and do what they naturally do... You may also be surprised by how little your butcher knows about how the animals were raised.
Here's a side note, lots of people are worried about not getting enough protein, watch this video with Dr. T who comes and lectures at the clinic and you can ease your mind. Other helpful reading is The China Study.
Another option, improve your heart and arteries, reduce your risk of cancer, lose weight, lower blood pressure, balance blood sugar, and improve overall health by simply reducing or completely eliminating the animal products you eat.
Other things you can do to reduce the amount of animal products in your diet:
- Eat meat once every couple of days instead of 2-3 times a day
- Substitute your daily probiotic yogurt with raw live sauerkraut
- Drink a green smoothie with kale or spinach in it for protein and calcium instead of dairy
Community Health Challenge
Go vegan as an experiment and see what happens after 30 days. Make sure you eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and don’t make the mistake of substituting the meat calories for simple carbs! Keep a journal and track your energy, moods, outlook, weight, and health conditions... and then post on our Facebook page or comment on this blog post about your results!