This question has been on my mind for a long while. Why do we love bacon, red meat, and dairy products? Do they have sentimental feelings associated with them, like “I love hot dogs, because they remind me of Word of God Community Picnics? I understand that the very best foods are fresh, local, and mostly consist of green things. What I am trying to understand more, and maybe you can help me out with this….is that there is all this recent emphasis
(see Forks Over Knifes- a documentary concerning the recent “China Study,”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_China_Study, and “Vegucated” http://www.getvegucated.com/)
on giving up animal products, and so, because I do see the facts, our family has gone vegetarian, and dairy-free, much to the chagrin of my cheese loving offspring (except for Zingerman’s Cheese!! Love u Aunt Aubrey!), but meat isn’t missed too much yet. And I think if we are lucky to get a deer or two this season… we would definitely eat up some venison. I thought I could just buy organic meat and feel good about it…until I saw “Vegucated,” which turned me onto the reality of slaughterhouses. They are, for the most part, under regulated, and unsanitary. I think as Christians we have a moral obligation to try to support the farmers and growers and bakers who are doing things “RIGHT,” we each have our own small part to do to honor all of Gods Wondrous Creation!! My brother and sister-in-law – Hilde and Charlie Muller run Laughing Tree Bakery off of their rural farm on the west side of Michigan. They are role models for all foodies!!
So my question for you, dear reader is: WHAT SHOULD WE EAT?? While surfing the net, I came across a book called “What Would Jesus Eat?” by Dr. Don Colbert. He says that Jesus ate what he called the Mediterranean Diet: fruits, veggies, grains, nuts, and fish. The Bible talks about food enough to give us an idea, there was Wine at the Wedding Feast in Cana, the Parables Jesus told about the Grain, and the Leaven, and we know the Jewish people cared greatly about the treatment of all different sorts of things concerning food, and sanitation. Jesus never ate a fancy ham for a feast, because pork was on their list of “no-nos.” Jesus ate the traditional Passover Meal with his disciples at the Last Supper, together with Bread and Wine. We know from Luke 24:42 Jesus shows he’s not a ghost by eating a nice breakfast of broiled fish and honeycomb. Jesus probably ate lots of leavened and unleavened bread, other whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and olive oil. So is that enough for me?
I have to say, I really do love turkey at Thanksgiving, and ham at Easter, and burgers and brats all summer long, and if you EVER show me a plate of chicken wings, I will have a very difficult time saying “no!” Even with my now enlightened brain full of the awareness of mistreated creatures being packed in factory farms, irradiated, genetically modified, hybridized, and altogether nasty. It still smells good. And most of you are probably thinking, that’s fine for you, but I can’t afford to put so much emphasis on what I eat, it’s too expensive, and I don’t have time to slave away in the kitchen for hours and hours everyday.
Ok. I get that. I will not think any less of you if you choose to eat whatever it is that you are eating. I just beg you to not let health be a hindrance to you enjoying life to the full. Jesus came so that we could have abundance, to love our families, to have children, to grow old watching our decedents blossom into witnesses of Gods love for his people! If you are over weight or prone to heart disease or cancer, eating a more plant-based diet may increase your chances of surviving long enough to see your great-grandchildren! Personally, I am very much looking forward to being a old woman, and telling stories to my relatives, they will marvel at my words, and hang onto my pearls of wisdom! My beautiful Grandmother Stella is 92 or is it 93? I can hardly keep track, but she helped my eldest do a report on World War II recently, and boy did I learn something! Talk about a Victory Garden! That life is something so far from the extreme amount of food we have access to today!
I was also inspired to learn that we really don’t need meat. The nutrients in vegetables are often superior to the nutrients in meat, because with the exception of Vitamin B12, all the nutrients found in meat are the same, only they have been predigested for you by an animal! I watched a film called, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead,
which really inspired me to bust out my old juicer! It is a documentary about Joe Cross, who is 100 pounds over weight, and he decided (with the help of a doctor) to go on a 60 day juice fast. He only had juice! It was truly a great idea. And bonus for sleep deprived mamas, the veggie juice gives me so much energy!
Maybe we will never know what Christ ate, or what his favorite foods were, but one thing is for sure: it probably was pretty simple. I encourage you to think of greens as your friend, and turn to plants for your next tasty treat!
This is a friend, Abigail Stauffer! Check out her out!!
Yay for such thoughtfulness! I’m always so encouraged to read stuff like this- thinking about how to eat ethically can be so exhausting sometimes, and I’m glad I’m not alone. ❤
That said, I almost went vegetarian (and probably would have gone vegan), but my research pointed me in a different direction. We eat lots of fresh veggies, lots and lots of greens (in everything), soy-free pastured eggs, raw dairy, and pastured local meats. I found a lot of compelling reasons to support those few ethical meat farmers- it's good for not just my body but also for building up the soil. Ruminants are a huge part of how we're going to rebuild the land, I think. Anyway, have you read "Nourishing Traditions"? That book helped me to understand the nutritional role that animal products play in our diets. We often see arguments breaking down nutrient profiles and saying "but carrots are so much higher in this vitamin than in beef!" or something like that. However, the human gut evolved in a much less straightforward way. For instance, did you know that you're much more likely to absorb the nutrients in that side of vegetables if it is paired with a hunk of good grass-fed butter? There's a host of factoids like that I found to confirm that we do, in fact, need some meat/animal fat to be healthy. In order to make peace with the ethical side of it, we end up planning and buying and choosing lots of things differently. We budget for meat all year and buy it all at once and store it in a deep freezer. Also, this is kind of an inflammatory title, but another interesting book is called "The Vegetarian Myth" by Lierre Keith.
I know you've come to these conclusions thoughtfully, my only motive is to give you some of the same info that I've come across and see what you think about it. I feel pretty confident in my conclusions, but I'm always open to learning more and shifting if I find I need to. If you read those things and have new insight or criticisms, I'd love to hear about it. Ultimately what I think we SHOULD eat is a varied diet that is good for our bodies and good for the land. That might be different depending on who you are or where you live, but I think that's the most ethical way to go about it- never compromising one side or the other too much.
OH, and just to make this the longest comment ever- I worry about modern grains, too. The grains that people used to eat were SO different than the ones available to us now. Industrialization really changed what was favored and grown to the extent that our bodies hardly recognize them. In my limited research about that, it seems like they have the potential to really damage people's health now if not chosen and prepared really carefully. So that's another consideration we have that would make it difficult for us to go all veg.
Thank you, Grace, for your awesomeness, I really appreciate you taking the time to explain where you are coming from! I have been meaning to read nourishing traditions for a while now, and I think I will take you up on that and see what’s to be learned! You are clearly a great mama for putting so much forethought into what you feed your family. I am up for trying the vegetarian thing, and I like being dairy-free because we definitely have some sensitivities going on there. I heard two excellent things from a dear farmer friend this week at homeschool co-op: she said I should consider visiting local slaughterhouses if that is my only contention with eating meat, because the place where she takes her sheep to be slaughtered is very well run, and according to her: the best in Michigan. So….if I can afford to buy locally raised awesomely slaughtered meats, I may re-consider, but then comes the issue of nutrition, which is still a stale mate for me, the China Study is a pretty clear marker that the more animal products we consume, the shorter our lifespan. That truth is echoed in scripture, where the Israelites didn’t eat meat until after the flood, at which point they started dying sooner…. I will keep this conversation open, though, and I will re-post after reading Nourishing Traditions! Thanks for the brain food! xoxo
❤ YOU ABIGAIL STAUFFER!!
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