Eating Is Murder

I grew up weeping at rodeo’s. I cried when King Kong fell off the Empire State Building. My friend had a Doberman and I was sure the dog was starving because I could see its ribs and I insisted that my parents buy dog food for the poor animal. I couldn’t watch nature documentaries because in the end, the mama bunny would lose its babies to the coyotes. And I didn’t grow up in Greenwhich Village where my hippy liberal parents would have praised my sensitiveness. My dad would sometimes scratch his head in wonderment, but he was never mean and he never teased me. Much. But yeah, I was sensitive.

Maybe it’s because I’m a writer. I could imagine the tragedy playing out when the coyote ate the bunny, the lone rabbit, alone, missing her children, pining under a cold sky.

But I still ate meat. And I didn’t think much about the sorrow, the horror, the inhumanity that is the meat industry. If you eat meat, something had to die for you to do so, and someone else had to kill it and someone else had to butcher. You are eating flesh that was once alive, but is now dead and cooked.

Factory farming is wrong. It is a holocaust. It is unsustainable. And I’m sure there are people who could tour a factory farm and then eat at the next McDonald’s and not care. I am not one of those people. The reason why I flirt with being a vegan\vegetarian is that it is sustainable and nothing had to die for me to eat. Yes, broccoli did give its little broccoli life for me to eat, so yeah, part of life is killing other things to eat, but I would imagine the broccoli stalks around the one I harvest aren’t sad for the life of their fallen brethren. I’ve never heard an orphaned broccoli cry.

I went hunting this past week. I helped hunters shoot animals from hundreds of yards away. I helped them spread apart the legs, cut out the anus, disembowel the animal and then hung it up to bleed out. I helped kill a doe, who was still lactating, and a young buck, in his prime. Both are dead. I held the buck’s warm heart in my hands and watched the dark, dark blood drip across my skin. When I kill my first deer, next year, I will take a bite out of the heart because that is what my father did when he killed his first deer.

This is not a happy story. Killing, death, the sorrow of the hunt, these are hard stories to tell. And it’s a crime that we are a society of carnivores but only a fraction ever really understand the horror of killing to eat. If you find hunting deplorable, I would suggest you evaluate your consumption of meat.

And that’s why I’m hunting. I have eaten meat all my life other people have killed, and if I’m to eat meat, I need to be a part of the killing. Yes, I feel bad. Yes, I am still sensitive. Yes, when I saw a fawn on the road, lost, confused, because most likely, her mother had been shot, I felt terrible. But even with the trauma, that fawn is going to have a better life than the millions of animals now being processed through the holocaust engines of the factory farming industry. If I feel bad enough, maybe I’ll stop eating meat. Until that happens, I’m a hypocrite if I don’t at least kill and butcher one animal. Yes, it’s symbolic. No, I’m not saying everyone who eats meat needs to hunt. I’m saying I need to do this.

The irony is that all the meat we eat is ruining our health. Yes, I’ll quote the famous China Study, where the closer you can to eat a vegan diet, the more likely you are to avoid some of the major diseases we have. Raw vegan is the way to eat, but it’s a big commitment. Meat is easy, fills you up, tastes good, is a nice source of quick protein, but in the end, it’s a bloody business. But now I understand the story more, and like I said, it’s a hard story. A hard story to tell.

Zealot in the Buffet Line

I was at a Juice Plus event, and I was talking to a food zealot. Man, I love zealots. Of course I would. I like intensity, high drama, and conflict and those things follow zealots around like hounds tumbling after a poodle in estrus.

So I ask the zealot something that bothers me. I have a hard time being “that guy”. The guy who orders a salad. The guy who doesn’t eat the cookies when they are passed around. The health nut, whack job guy. I’ve never been a man’s man. Never. Ever. Ever. I just can’t turn off all my emotions and grunt and watch sports and scratch myself. I can do some of those things, some of the time, but I can’t do them all at once. Not stoic enough. In my next life, though, Clint-frakkin-Eastwood.

So I ask the zealot the question, “How do you handle being ‘that vegan guy’?” And he said something very interesting. He said that he does it for other people, to be an example, to be the change he wants to see in the world. Yes, he does it for himself, to be healthy, to live longer, to perform in his life better, but in the end, it’s so he can foster a healthy environment for other people.

I really wish it was easier to eat better. Even if there was tons of social pressure to eat well, we’d all still hit Taco Bell and gulp down donuts, at the same time, burrito donuts, hmm, because that food tastes so good and is so fun. Eating rotten is fun and rebellious. Hurray, donut burgers.

In my environment, there is social pressure to eat poorly. So maybe, if I can be the example, if I can be the guy who orders a salad, who skips the cookie, who risks being labeled whacky, I can help other people make the hard choices when it comes to food.

Fear is for Suckers and Stupid People

That’s it. I’m done with fear.

In other news, my daughters love the word “stupid”. Everything, everyone, everything, has a percentage chance of being labeled as stupid.

“Eat your brussel sprouts.”

“No, they’re stupid.”

“I would have you know I graduated summa cum laude from de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne,” the brussel sprouts reply.

“You’re stupid.”

It’s all stupid. Albert frakkin’ Einstein? Stupid. In the end, if you call everything stupid, you sound, well, stupid.

My daughters, of course, don’t realize this. At times, I question their genetics. For example, when my eldest was around three or four years old, she refused dipping sauce for her carrots. The reason? “The dipping sauce is too dippy.” A direct quote.

Being a parent is stupid.

Which leads me to fear. I’m done, as I’ve said above. Done with fear. Today I did something I’ve spent two years dreading, fearing, panicking over. Two years. I brought smoothies to my friends at Flex Gym, which is the coolest gym ever in the history of the world. If Spartacus worked out in Denver, he’d go work out at Flex Gym. Hercules? Same place. If Daniel Boone was looking to get his sweat on, he’d head over to Flex Gym.

Why was I afraid? Well, I was making the smoothies with Juice Plus protein powder, and yes, the discussion of Juice Plus would happen, of course, and I’d get all nervous and salesmeny. I don’t like salesmen. They’re too salesmeny. And they’re stupid.

And what happened today? We had a good time, they were appreciative, I had fun, and I met some new people. A woman named Louisa. How many Louisa’s have you met in your life? Yeah, I know, awesome. She was named after Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women. And we talked oxidative stress, phytonutrients, free radicals, fruits and vegetables and spinach. A lot of people don’t like spinach because it’s too spinachy. And stupid.

So fear is stupid. Two years fretting over nothing. Did they think I was salesmeny? Probably. But who cares? I had fun. I gave people a chocolate-strawberry-spinach smoothie. They thanked me. It was delicious. Their cells thanked me. Less oxidative stress. And it was no big deal.

So, what else in my life do I blow up out of proportion because my head tells me to be afraid, be very afraid? Well, faxes and blogs, and both of those things I’ve conquered, as I’ve mastered the smoothie.

To quote the famous (and handsome) Aaron Michael Ritchey, “What is fear if not a challenge for us to be true to our better selves?”

Guy quotes from his own blog. How stupid.