As a teenager, I worked at a grocery store and became exposed to all kinds of foods, and not all of them good for me. The store usually smelled of freshly fried chicken and french bread. I regularly visited the bakery to get cookies, and often took snacks home to enjoy, things my Mother would not buy. I remember feasting on a bowl of ranch dip and potato chips thinking it was probably one of the yummiest things I'd ever eaten.
A few years later I had had enough of living under my parents roof, and rented my own apartment. The freezer was not frost-free and was so full of ice I could not pack it with groceries or get the ones out that I already had in there. In my newly found freedom, I relished the fact I could buy any sweetened cereal I wanted, so I had several boxes on hand. Dinners often consisted of cereal and milk. On nights that cereal would not do, I walked to the local sushi joint.
Living on my own, I tried all kinds of foods, things my Mother never would have served. I developed a serious love affair with Mexican food. And Chinese food. And pizza, pepperoni of course. I used to snicker when ordering an "eight inch Italian" at a local sub shop, stuffed with processed meats like salami. I loved it all. There was a tiny voice in the back of my mind telling me, "you probably should not eat meat, you love animals" but I quickly thought of something else and ignored that voice.
Fast forward several years later and I'm in a great relationship with a wonderful person. One day we took a trip to the bookstore and I was perusing the diet book section, looking for that next quick fix that would forever solve my weight problem. I stumbled across a book called, "Skinny Bitch." At home I was on the couch, loving the funny way this book was written, telling me "if you want to lose weight, you need to exercise you lazy shit" I laughed and enjoyed the honest no holds barred way the writer wrote the book. Then I got to the chapter about animals.
I was totally unprepared to read this chapter and to this day I believe this book has forever changed my life. The book told of the incredible cruel ways animals are treated and eventually killed, just to end up on our plates. I was especially moved by how pigs are treated. It told of how pigs are beaten with heavy pipes to submission, how workers cruelly abuse the animals. Workers find amusement and pleasure by slicing off their snouts, ears and tails while still alive and laugh when they respond in screaming pain. It made me mad. It made me feel ashamed to be a human being, and it made me cry. I looked up and told my partner, "I don't think we can eat meat anymore."
This is just my story. There are so many reasons you should consider taking the No Meat March challenge. Not only will you be doing good things for your health, and the animals, but there are tremendous effects on the environment. Enormous amounts of water, electricity and food is used to raise animals for their eventual slaughter just to end up on a dinner plate. More meat is consumed than ever before because of "improvements" that have been made in the meat industry. These improvements include the use of antibiotics and hormones. These chemicals become part of the animal, and eventually part of the humans that eat the animals. It's no wonder that so many kids are developing sexually at earlier and earlier ages. I was one of those kids. It was terribly painful and embarrassing to go through. When we get sick, people take antibiotics that sometimes don't help because of all the antibiotics that are already in the foods we eat. So we wonder why we are needing stronger and stronger antibiotics to fight off infection. You hear of people getting food poisoning, from things like salmonella and e coli. This bacteria is from feces that make it into the food supply. And it's not just the feces from one cow, it's from many. In an effort to 'clean' the meat before it is displayed at the store in a pretty package, it is dipped into toxic chemicals like ammonia. Do you want to eat ammonia? Chicken feed is often laced with arsenic. We are feeding unnatural foods to animals to make them fatter so is it any wonder that we are a nation struggling with obesity?
Giving up meat for an entire month may seem extreme, but think of it as a challenge. You will be amazed how much better you will feel, how much less you spend at the grocery store and how easy it really is. Don't be like me and ignore that little voice for years, take action now to forever change your life and make a difference in the world and the earth we are leaving for those of tomorrow.