It’s my Blogaversary!
Wow, Goodmotherdiet is One! I can’t believe how fast that year went. It has been so much fun! I have learned a lot and not just technical stuff like how to make recipes print or create a photo mosaic (my newest accomplishment). I have learned a lot about Me. They say life is a journey and we learn as we go. I started this blog as a fun way to keep myself busy and because I had this little germ of an idea that cute little animals were my friends, not my dinner and maybe I should choose lentils over lamb. Well Goodmotherdiet has definitely kept me busy.
My favorite thing about this blog has been connecting with friends, both old and new, from my little town of Mill Valley, CA to Canada, UK, Australia and Sri Lanka (to name only a few of the 98 countries you come from). Thank you to all of you for reading and for your support. I especially love when readers send me photos of the GMD recipes they have made for my “You Made It!” page, so keep those coming along with your comments!
In lieu of a recipe, I thought it appropriate to recap my year. So how did it go?
June of 2013 I hatched a crazy plan to not eat meat for a year, partly as an experiment but mostly to see how it felt to take a moral stand. I specifically chose to not eat mammals, who give live birth and nurse their young, because I strongly identify with them as mothers (hence goodmotherdiet). Being a mother is the most important job I’ve ever had and when I watch wild and domestic animals try to care for their babies, I’m struck with the realization that we are all trying to do the same job.
November of 2013 my son, Eric, sent me a link to WordPress.com. I created a domain name, picked a background and goodmotherdiet.com was born. I published my first blog post on November 25th. I thought it would stretch my culinary repertoire to create recipes for Meatless Monday and Wheatless Wednesday, and it certainly has. What I wasn’t expecting though, was the profound change it would have in my thinking.
An interesting thing happened at about the one year mark, a time when, in theory, this experiment could be over. Instead of diving into a juicy burger, I also stopped eating chicken and other winged creatures. It just didn’t feel right so I followed my gut. (pun intended)
Here is what I have come away with in the year but first I want to point out that I ate meat for over 50 years so this is a reflection of my journey and not a condemnation of anyone else’s choices.
- Eating organic and as close to the earth is the way to go – better nutrition, better for the environment, less chemicals.
- Forget the food chain. Our practices towards animals don’t make any sense. We pamper our pet animals and we are outraged when people abuse their pet cat or leave their dog in a hot car but we turn a blind eye to our domestic animals like cows, pigs, sheep and chickens (to name only a few) the vast majority of which, live horrific lives in cruel and inhumane conditions, ending in brutal slaughter, or even worse, being skinned or boiled alive, all in the name of profit. I have learned that cows have best friends. Pigs are social animals and have the intelligence of a 3 year old while the average dog is as smart as a 2 year old (and I love my dog). Like I said, it makes no sense.
- Remember when we were all up in arms and boycotting the veal industry because of the cruelty of the living conditions and small cages? Well, unfortunately all factory farmed animals (which are the great majority) are raised like that now, spending their entire lives in extremely confined spaces, barely able to turn around or in some cases, barely able to move at all. There is a reason this is all done behind closed doors.
- Labels like ‘Cage Free’, ‘Free Range’ and ‘Natural’ are almost meaningless and intentionally misleading. The industry knows that people are compassionate and want to buy the kinder, more healthy option. Unfortunately, it’s mostly marketing. ‘Pasture Raised’ animals are the only ones that really have any access to green pastures so the picture of the ‘cage free’ chicken pecking away in the garden – may not be what you think.
- I realize that not everyone is ready to give up meat and I would not be as averse to eating meat if the animals were allowed to live a more natural life and they were treated humanely, even in death, as much as that is possible. Animals deserve better. Luckily, we get to decide. We vote with our pocketbooks every day in the market. Buy ‘pasture raised’ and avoid the CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation or factory farmed meat). It’s better for us and the environment but mostly it’s the more compassionate choice for the animals.
- Meatless Monday is a great start. It’s a small step with a great impact.
- Even though I don’t buy meat, I do buy animal products like eggs, milk and cheese from pasture raised hens and cows. I am a big proponent of supporting local small farmers who are making the effort to raise animals the ‘right’ way. If it is profitable for them, maybe more will follow and prices will go down as a result.
- I actually like eating mostly vegetarian food. It’s more interesting and certainly more colorful. (My skin loves it too.) I didn’t go meatless for any health reasons, although extensive studies show a meat free diet to be healthier. I also like feeling good about my choices.
People often ask me if I will ever eat meat again. I honestly don’t know. The reality is that once your eyes are opened they can’t be unopened. They can be closed but that is really just a choice to not see. The book, “The Fault in Our Stars” is filled with wonderful thought provoking quotes but the one that really stuck with me was Hazel Grace’s explanation for why she is vegetarian. “I want to minimize the number of deaths I am responsible for.”
Climbing down off my soapbox now. Thanks for a great year! More delicious recipes to come…
http://www.farmsanctuary.org/learn/factory-farming/ (Factory Farming)
http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Science/story?id=771414&page=1 (Is Your Meat Smarter Than Your Pet?)
http://www.meatlessmonday.com/about-us/why-meatless/ (Meatless Monday)