+Less Meat: "+Sean P. O. MacCath-Moran Since I had my heart attack and 4-vessel coronary-artery-bypass-graft a year ago this week, I have modified my omnivore diet to a great extent. Instead of meat at every meal, I usually have it two or three times a week now. I still eat eggs, but only Sunday mornings and yes, usually with bacon. I like angus steaks much too much to forgo them totally. Fish is my favorite food and have it as often as we can find fresh seafood."
Well - I'm glad you're still with us, +Less Meat -- heart attacks can be tricky business, and bypasses are no joke!
Before I respond though, I should probably give a little background so that where I'm coming from on all this can be better understood, eh?
I grew up on a farm in northern California, being instilled with a love of animals, of cooking, and of cooking animals. I ate them every day without fail, and at an early age I developed quite a bit of expertise in preparing their body parts. In addition to raising, killing, butchering and eating various "food animals" (e.g. cows, pigs, chickens, goats, etc.), I was also raising and caring for various "non-food animals" (e.g. ponies, dogs, cats, etc.), with our primary activity being the breeding, raising and training of Morgan horses in Dressage.
My father was a large animal veterinarian, and tagging along with him gave me the opportunity to also see how factory farms (i.e. "CAFOs") look from the inside. Of further note though, I've been to many different farms in subsequent years, some large, some small, some factory level, some family level, and I am intimately familiar with what happens there, be it terms of nutrition, animal psychology, or the abuses that can and do happen.
I went vegetarian (and then vegan shortly thereafter) about a decade ago, and began learning (scholastically and anecdotally) about all the ways in which living on a plant-based diet is superb for my health, makes a tremendously positive impact on the environment, and soothes my soul and consciousness. I also discovered that all of the tastes, flavors, and textures that I grew up learning to love can be had easier and less expensively by using plant-based ingredients. My love of cooking and eating has not diminished and is fully satisfied, while my love of animals has grown deeper and richer -- now that I'm not engaging in such deep cognitive dissonance in order to interact with them.
So it is, +Less Meat, that I tell you with great confidence that all of the ways you enjoy animal's bodies and discharges can be had without requiring the suffering and death of any beings. I had a scramble for breakfast this morning that would have rivaled and surpassed anything I'd made in my youth in terms of texture, presentation, and flavor, and it costs a fraction to make while being orders of magnitude healthier. I regularly turn tofu in to steaks, serving them up directly, putting them on sandwiches, grilling them outdoors, and all while having and honest preference for them while not having to worry about what my food might be doing to my heart. Using dulse, chickpeas, and all the usual spices and mixes, I regularly create fishy tasting sandwiches, ocean-steaks, and the like, never concerning myself over what heavy metals or other poisons may have been included in my meal.
At the end of the day, switching to a plant-based diet is never about losing the flavors and experience you've loved, but is only about learning new habits. Withal, for the sake of your health and happiness, I strongly encourage you to consider expanding your pallet in order to adopt options that are quantitatively "better" for everyone involved. There is a world of awesome food out there, and less you participate in the killing and eating of animals, the longer, happier, and healthier you'll live. =o)
If you'd like for me to recommend resources for cooking, or for easy to digest (hee hee) peer-reviewed studies on the health aspects of this, or any other topic, please feel free to call on me at will. I've been actively engaged in advocacy for a few years now, and have quite a collection of items to offer. =o)
This post is one in a series in which excerpts of discussions on veganism from other threads are reposted (or paraphrased) for the sake of expanding the conversation. As always, your thoughts and questions are welcome. See the full collection via the #spommveganchats hash (or perhaps with a more robust search, such as goo.gl/JoxZC).
(for anyone requiring/desiring more context, the original conversation can be found at goo.gl/8UdlU)