by Louise Kuo Habakus
The ethics of eating meat
I eat meat. I don’t eat a lot of it but I know I need it to be a regular part of my diet. I’ve tried being a vegetarian. I love vegetables (and legumes) but they’re not enough for me. I’m starving. When I eat grains for complete protein, I end up compensating and then I’m not comfortable in my skin. My digestion slooooows down. I gain weight and look puffy. I’m more tired. My joints hurt. And my blood sugar feels erratic.
I would not have been attuned to this, however, if my family hadn’t gone through strict dietary intervention for healing. We managed, and then eliminated, our boys’ severe colitis and other related health issues by first removing gluten and dairy, and then adopting the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. (This was about 12 years ago, before the explosion of information and support about GAPS and Paleo.) I was blown away by the transformational role that food. I enrolled in an integrative nutrition certification program, which affirmed the ideas of bio-individuality and food as medicine. It’s intuitive, really. Not everyone needs the same medicine.
I have a few friends who desperately wish they could be vegan — they try so hard, but every now and then they sheepishly “succumb” because they crave it and feel so much better afterwards. But they feel it’s wrong.
I have other friends who are vegetarians themselves but reluctantly prepare meat for family members.
As I wrap up Level 1 Kundalini yoga teacher training (and start on my prenatal certification), I’ve been thinking about meat… specifically, the ethics of eating it. Kundalini yogis don’t eat meat. Our studio is vegetarian and I’m pretty sure all our teachers are. If someone isn’t, no one is talking about it. Do yogis have to be vegetarian?
What does it mean to be conflicted about the food we eat? We already struggle so much with the pesticides, GMOs, preservatives, dyes, sugar, corn syrup, flavor enhancers, texturizers, and much more. It feels so… heavy to add “the meat issue” to the load. Shortly after posting about the meat farm on my Facebook page, juxtaposed with my profile pic in kundalini white, I realized that I needed to address it somehow.
And then my girl, Kelly Brogan, MD, did it for me. Yes!!! Read her latest post: On Being Right and Eating Animals. You might also enjoy Valeri Sewald’s Meat Me, A Former Vegetarian. Oh, and there’s this article from The Star that the Dalai Lama — who tried being a vegetarian in the 1960s — eats meat, too.
Medical dogma helps no one, and there are myriad paths we take to discover what and how we’re meant to eat.
Looking for healthier, more responsible meat?
So… we re-inaugurated our food co-op this morning with the first delivery from Wrong Direction Farm. I’ve been looking for a closer relationship with the farm that raises and butchers our meat and poultry, without sacrificing our standards — organic, soy-free, humane, free range, human scale, relatively local, with a more varied and far less expensive selection than Whole Foods:
- grass fed, grass finished beef (Devon and Angus cattle) with no cheats, like feeding sugar or other concentrates; grazed on fresh pasture during the green season and on hay (cut and dried grass) during the winter
- pigs and chickens on pasture and in the woods for most of the year, and in greenhouses and hoophouses with lots of wood chips and hay bedding in the winter, supplemented with certified organic grain, whey, and fruit/veggie trimmings
- no chemical or pharmaceutical interventions
- organic and by definition GMO-free — they are not certified organic but their practices would pass organic certification
Wrong Direction Farm is on 100 acres in the Mohawk Valley in Canajoharie, NY, which is about 235 miles (3.5 hours) due north of my home in Central NJ.
I have no financial stake in this whatsoever… I’m just interested in making this more convenient for my family and other families. I want to directly support farmers with integrity by helping to cut out the middleman. We’ll have a few months to see if we can make it worth their while to add us to their stop so please forward this to friends and family.
Inquiries and logistics
The process couldn’t be easier. Orders and payments are processed online and Wrong Direction Farm handles all inquiries and concerns. You can reach Dave at 518-588-2633 and Rachel at 518-928-0019). You can also email them at email@example.com.
The farm delivers monthly on Fridays at 8:00 am. From June 10 through November, 2016, they are on a schedule to deliver every 4 weeks so they are aligned with CSAs. The schedule is available on their site.
Unlike many meat CSAs, you can order whatever you want and they have both bulk and small quantity options. The first step is to create an account here and place your first order.
When doing price comparisons, don’t forget to pay attention to weight. For example, bacon is sold in 1 pound packages versus 8 oz in stores. If you’re interested in sharing quarter/half beef or half/whole hog shares, or sharing bulk ground beef or pork, work out the arrangements with your friends or comment below to connect with other co-op members.
Since it can get very hot in the summer months, I recommend that you arrive very close to delivery time so you can get your food into your freezer. If you’re not able to pick up in the morning, you can either drop off a cooler with ice packs the night before or you can make arrangements with the Perozzi’s to purchase dry ice. Unfortunately, I don’t have space to store your meat for you.
If you haven’t participated in one of my co-ops before, get in touch and I’ll let you know where to pick up. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or PM me on Facebook.
I’d love to hear your feedback and ideas. Share recipes!
I’m hoping to add raw dairy, organic maple syrup, and a veggie/fruit CSA option, too. Comment below if you have requests or resource suggestions.
Meet the Perozzi Family