The Meat of the Matter

Even though this is a couple of years old, I enjoyed writing this way too much not to re-share it. Bring on the controversy!

After reading about a New York Times essay contest, I spent maybe 10 minutes trying to think of an angle I could use to write about why I think eating meat is ethical. This was their prompt…”Just tell us why it’s ethical to eat meat.” The rules specifically state not to talk about organic versus local, personal choice or preferences. A tough question, now made tougher, with a 600 word limit to boot.

Approximately 3 minutes into the thought process, I started wondering how I would finish the essay while staying within their “guidelines.” Seven minutes in and I started to ask myself why I was even considering validating my eating habits to a panel of biased judges. At the 10 minute marker, I decided my thoughts on the matter would be better received if I just shared them with my own readers. So here it goes…

steak

Why I Believe Eating Meat is Ethical

Ethics have always played a huge part in my life. I am personally ruled by my heart and try to live by what I feel is right and moral. Any movements outside of the principles of my conscience can send my whole life spinning out of control – awakening unnecessary anxiety and the ever-useless emotion of guilt.

I have considered that I actually apply ethical value to my dietary habits, albeit in a roundabout way. I am extremely passionate about health and nutrition; I place very high value my personal health, as well as the health and well-being of my loved ones. If I were to eat something that I know to be toxic or bad for me, it would be outside of my personal values and ethics. Therefore, eating something that I know to be good for me is well within my ethical standards.

I completely understand someone’s ethical decision not to eat meat, and will get along fine with those who have made this choice, as long as they are not trying to tell me that it is the healthiest choice. In fact, I would probably be a vegetarian if I thought that it was even a remotely healthy option for me. I absolutely hate the fact that an animal has to die in order for me to get valuable nutrients.

What upsets me even more is the way that over-farmed mono-crops are destroying our land and topsoil. So many animals may have made their homes where that corn or soybean field now lies. What I truly hate is that we are depleting the environment of everything it has to offer, in order to produce more and more, faster and faster. It seems a very fine line to me.

What further devastates me are the hormones, antibiotics and grains used to raise cattle in unhealthy and unsanitary conditions, in order to mass-produce conventional beef.

Because of this, I choose to buy my meat from grass fed, humanely raised and slaughtered sources. I believe in working with the environment and following the natural order of things wherever possible. I I believe that the value of the nutrition in meat is worth some sacrifices. I will even go cliche` and call it the “circle of life.” This is simply part of what I need in order to keep my mind and body in prime working condition. I want to be an active participant in this life and I want to enjoy my time on this earth as much as possible.

So is eating meat ethical? As long as I value my personal health and well-being, then it is the very core of ethics. Slowly killing myself to save an animal is what seems unethical.

This really is just one of those tough questions there will never be a concrete answer for, as long as we are graced with freewill. I can only hope that we apply common sense and self-education to our choices. Please share any thoughts on this?

Thank you Mark Sisson, for the heads up on this, and the chance to be heard!

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Guacamole Deviled Eggs

eggsTried these out for the first time today, make adjustments or additions to suit your own tastebuds. Let me know if you find any delicious modifications!

  • One dozen hard boiled eggs
  • 1-2 Avocados
  • 1-2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika (+ more for sprinkling on top)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • crushed red pepper – to taste
  • juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon

Cut eggs in half. Mix yolks with avocado and all other ingredients, whipping with fork until smooth. Fill egg halves and sprinkle with paprika.

Lessons in Love

I think it was four or five days ago when Kevin said something along these lines: “Our anniversary is next week…and we didn’t request the night off or anything.” My reaction was something like: “Wow, it’s like this Wednesday right? Or is it Thursday?” It is crazy how life seemIMG_9520-2s to run away from us sometimes. I have noticed that over the years I seem to care less and less about celebrating my birthday. But I honestly don’t think anniversaries should fall into this category! So I would like to take the time on our nine year wedding anniversary to share some things I have learned (and am still learning) about love over these years.

Love is not something you fall in and out of, it is a choice you make every day. The love we have for our spouses can only become unconditional love when we choose to put them in the highest priority, second only to our relationship with God.

When you put your spouse in this postion, above kids, above friends, above activites, EVERYTHING underneath that relationship benefits and falls into place. (Easier said than done, as demonstrated in the opening conversation.) This is the relationship that sets the standard for our children for the rest of their lives, and I fully intend to continue to grow and be the best wife I can be so Charlie can learn from this. I try to remind myself of this everyday.

The grass wouldn’t be greener on the other side if you took care of the lawn you already have. Nurture your relationship! You have to spend time together to grow together. Learn from each other, don’t say things to intentionally hurt the other and don’t engage in hurtful conversations that arise. Don’t be afraid of change! If something is not working, work to change it! (Move the sprinkler, so to speak.)

But don’t try to change them. Any changing that will be done is not in your hands, it is in Gods hands. I pray all the time for patience and acceptance, and my belief in the power of prayer has made all of the difference in the world.

And now dear readers, feel free to tune out…but the rest is for my husband:

Kevin, thank you for always being there for me over the years. I have seen the furious devotion you have for me arise in even the darkest of times. I know that you truly love me with all that you have!

Thank you for always supporting me through some of the crazy ideas I have had over the years. I know I am one stubborn girl and there are always the things you have fought me tooth and nail on from your end, but you have never tried to stop ME from trying and that has made all the difference. (How can we ever forget the bakery “career”…epic fail…)

Thank you for making me a mother! Since our daughter has entered the world, I have felt the happiest times of our marriage and gone through one of the darkest times of our marriage. That little light in the center of our world has been more incredible than words can ever describe and I know that whatever trials enter our life we can always endure together, as a family.

Thank you for being such a great father! It has been incredible to watch you with Charlie. There are so many stories I hear about how some fathers won’t change diapers or are not even really involved with their kids at such a young age. You are the exact opposite and I am pretty sure I have fallen even more in love with you over the last six months.

And lastly for now, thank you for being YOU. You make me laugh, you make me smile, you always keep me on my toes, you make me crazy, you helped make me into the ME I am today.

Let The Sun Shine

sun

“Keep your face always towards the sunshine  – and the shadows will fall behind you.” ~Walt Whitman

These days I find myself frequently longing for a morning to sleep in, but between the evil plans of the pets and the baby…well this doesn’t happen much anymore. I often find myself laying in bed thinking about how much I hate 5:30 a.m. (especially on weekends), but at least grateful that the sun is up. Summer is my absolute favorite time of year. In light of the season upon us, I decided to take a moment to discuss getting the maximum benefits from what the sun has to offer.

One of the main reasons that the “flu season” comes up during the winter is because we are not getting enough sunshine. Or rather the vitamin D that comes with it. This directly affects our immune system. Vitamin D is necessary for optimal health, but there are very few food sources for this vital nutrient; so we evolved to absorb and use the suns UVB rays to produce it.

Unfortunately, modern society has us terrified of the sun. Most people spend all day inside with artificial light, and then when we do get outside, we layer on clothes or sunscreen to “protect” ourselves from the sun. Most of us know that vitamin D plays a role in keeping our bones and immune system healthy. We also now know that it plays a role in reducing the risk of things like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and depression (seasonal depression in particular). There are approximately 20,000 genes in the human genome and Vitamin D controls over 2,000 out of them. So this means a deficiency in Vitamin D3 affects over 10% of the genes in your body. 


Let’s take a quick look at Vitamin D3’s links to our immune system and cancer.  One of the major players in cancer cells getting out of control is apoptosis (normal or programmed cell death). Cancer cells are always present in your body, but they are kept in check by how well our immune system functions. When these cancer cells begin to evade apoptosis and don’t die, they grow out of control, causing the cancer diagnosis.

Enter Vitamin D3, the guy is in charge of the P53 gene which is in turn responsible for causing apoptosis (cell death). A deficiency in Vitamin D3 affects this normal cell death, helping to create cancer. In fact, most cells of our immune system, (including macrophages, dendritic cells, T-cells, etc…) have a vitamin D receptor on their surface. This means that these cells NEED vitamin D. In order for the immune system to function properly, keeping cancer cells in check, these immune cells have to find vitamin D3 first! A deficiency in Vitamin D3 lowers the immune system allowing cancer to get out of control. Unfortunately we humans have become significantly deficient in this nutrient, (which is actually a hormone) because we try to obtain it all from food and supplement sources.


The fact is, unless you are eating a ton of wild caught salmon or knocking back a couple of tablespoons of cod liver oil every day (which I wouldn’t recommend in this dose…), you are probably deficient in vitamin D. Are you for sure deficient? The only way to know for sure if to get your blood vitamin D levels tested. Personally, I am opting to save a buck, assume that I am deficient, and take advantage of proper supplements and the free sun exposure whenever possible. The trick is to be smart about your sun exposure and supplementation.

Humans are meant to get sunlight, not to get sunburned. We just have to learn to be smart about it! Gradually increase  your exposure, and cover up if you feel like you are getting too much sun. The suns rays are designed to alert us when we are getting to much sun and certain sunscreens can turn off this alarm system, allowing us to bake under the deep penetrating UVA rays for longer than we normally would. Optimizing your diet will also in turn, help optimize your skin condition. Our sun protection is also meant to work from the inside, out. For more information on this topic, check this post from Mark Sisson. He gives great details on how your body can work to naturally protect you from sunburns.

A few tips for getting vitamin D:sun salmon

  • Supplementation – make sure you are taking D3, not D2, and research the source of your supplements! (Taking it along with fat will help your body put it to good use; so take it with fish oil and/or meals.) This is especially important in the winter, when exposure to natural sun is limited. 
  • Go for wild caught salmon, not farm raised. If buying canned, buy it with bones in it. 
  • Weather permitting, spend at least 10 minutes a day outdoors, letting the sun hit your skin. (Longer if you are darker complexioned)
  • Read/research your info, question everything and never stop learning!

•Note:  The information on this blog is for informational use only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any medical conditions or to take the place of your physician. Always consult the appropriate health care professional when you have health problems that you feel might require professional attention, or when adding supplementations, while taking existing prescriptions. 

References:

http://robbwolf.com/2011/09/03/let-a-little-sunshine-in/

http://www.wellnessandprevention.com/index.cfm/2011/7/14/Sun-Exposure-Cancer-Preventing-or-Cancer-Causing

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/8-natural-ways-to-prevent-a-sunburn-and-sunscreens-not-one-of-them/#axzz1wRgvedFL

http://www.westonaprice.org/cod-liver-oil/cod-liver-oil-basics

Charles, Majors, DC