Saturday, December 31, 2011

What is 2012's New Year's Resolution?

I woke up this morning and realized that a year (just shy of 1 day) has passed since I made the decision to start a New Year's resolution that many would never consider and actually stick to it. Some of you may not know, but my 2011 New Year's resolution was to not eat meat from a factory farm - something that my family and I have come to describe as "happy meat." For those that don't know, this whole idea began after I watched "Food Inc." - a documentary that opened my eyes to how our food gets from the farm to our plate. I will spare you the details, but as an animal lover and a very emotional person, I realized that by buying and eating these products, I was saying that what occurred at these factory farms was ok - and it's definitely not! 

I was hoping to keep this blogging thing a monthly endeavor so that I could document my progress the whole year. Well, as life tends to get in the way, things began taking priority. Sad to say, I let things like TV and pure laziness take over. To those who looked forward to my posts (if there any of you left!), I'm sorry. I honestly love expressing my thoughts and feel somewhat let down that I did not continue posting. That being said, I hope to post more in 2012 - maybe I should make it one of my New Year's resolutions???

2011 brought about new beginnings in my life. As if changing my diet wasn't a big enough change, I became a college graduate and one of many searching for a full-time job. I had hopes and dreams that I would find a job in the Nashville music industry and be on my way to a long-lasting career in Nashville by this time. Well....that didn't happen - not yet at least! I did find a job and move to Nashville late August - something I've been wanting to do for years now! Yes, it's not the "dream job," but I like what I do and who I work with and for. I absolutely love the city life - the big city lights, the fast-paced lifestyle, the music scene (and man it's good here!), the beautiful scenery and architecture, the fact that there's always something to do or somewhere to go, etc. I could go on and on about why I love Nashville! I guess I'm officially a city girl now!

2011 also brought about new struggles in my life. This new "diet" I adopted was something that required some research, extra money, and long talks with Lindsay, my sister-in-law, who's a vegetarian. I realized that buying non-factory farm meat was something that I'd have to seek out. I found a list online that listed meats that came from factory farms vs. meats that did not. Needless to say, the meat that did not come from factory farms was very short. I realized that only Publix (not all of them though), Whole Foods, Earth Fare, and Trader Joe's were my options for this type of meat...and as many of you know, it's super expensive! Therefore, my focus turned to only eating that meat when I could afford it, which left me with fish as my only means of protein. This ended up turing me into a semi-vegetarian as I like to say. I began eating a lot of Morning Star and Boca products and actually liked them! I began seeking out more and more vegetarian recipes, and before I knew it I would go weeks without meat. It became something that I realized I didn't need. 

I will say this, though. It is very hard to make sure you're getting the right amount of protein and vitamins. I almost fainted in the shower at the beginning of the year, and I came to realize it was probably due to me not getting enough protein. I also began craving sweets, which I never did before this year. I found out that was probably due to a lack of iron and B12 in my diet. Needless to say, it was a struggle to figure out everything...and still is! It is so worth it, though. As of January 1, 2011 I can proudly say I have not consumed any meat from factory farms! For the first time in my life, I was able to stick with a New Year's resolution, and not only stick with it but make it something that I want to do the rest of my life. I had lost passion in my life. Between school and work, I really just felt like I was going through the motions of life. Since I've adopted this new diet, I really feel like I'm making a difference, and it feels great!

So now the big question is what's my 2012 New Year's resolution? Here's a few I've thought up:

1) Finally get down to a healthy weight
2) Exercise
3) Blog more
4) Buy local fruits and veggies
5) Get a job in the music industry
6) Get a hobby and stick with it

I know - it seems a little boring, but I made such a big step with last year's resolution. I think I'm due for a little boring in my life! : ) To end things, I just want to say thank you to those who listened with an attentive ear during my long talks about why I'm doing what I'm doing and for going out of their way to prepare food for me that I could eat. You guys seriously made this process so much easier for me, and I really appreciate it. Happy New Year everyone! Here's to hoping 2012 will be full of resolutions kept!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dog: The Other White Meat

Read Article First: Dog: The Other White Meat

First, let me apologize for falling into the usual bad habits of a blogger of not posting! Yes, it's been 4 and a half months since I last posted. My excuse is...I'm looking for a job as most recent college graduates are. Besides a week long beach trip (Thanks Dad and Gayle!) and a six-day trip to Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival (WOOHOO!), I've been hitting the job grind as some might say. One more excuse: I didn't want to write something if I had nothing to say. That, I'm sure, can be really torturous to read!

Back on point: I found this article and man, did it hit home for me. I've been trying to convey this idea to many people but never could find the words without saying, "We should eat dogs!" which is soooo not what this article is about - or what I believe. See? I'm retarded when it comes to finding the right words to convey a controversial subject.

As many of you know, I'm a huge animal lover. I see cows running, and I will laugh about it for days. I see peacocks in the middle of a field in TN and almost run off the road because it's so odd and amazing to see a peacock in close range. Oh, and I cry when I kill things accidentally with my car. Two weekends ago I killed a bird while driving down the road. Just this happy little bird flying along, enjoying his day, and BAM! No more happy bird. I know, I's the circle of life (cue Lion King music), but I couldn't help but worry about the bird's fellow companions or family that may be waiting for it to return home.

I obviously have a very strong sentiment (some may say way too much sentiment) for animals, so it would be obvious that I would not want people to eat dogs. Dogs are one of my favorite animals. They are there for you when you're sick, upset, angry, depressed. They literally are man's best friend. Not to mention how each individual dog always has it's own personality and can make you laugh for hours on end with the crazy things they do. So why would anyone want to eat such an amazing creature?

Well, look at a pig or a chicken or a cow the way you look at your dog. All are intelligent creatures. All have mothers and fathers and siblings. All have true feelings and thoughts. All feel shame, pain, fear, loneliness, love. Why, then, do we turn a blind eye to the way they are treated? Oh that's right - because we eat them. That obviously means that they're just a piece of meat and nothing else.

If people could just see or hear what goes on in factory farms, I promise you many would never want to touch that food again. It really is a disgusting industry, and yet the U.S. government says it's a perfectly legal practice. There have even been states that are trying to pass a bill stating that undercover agents of animal rights groups who infiltrate factory farms disguised as workers should be prosecuted for their findings. This is yet another way the government and the food industry are trying to blind the public's eye to what really is going on behind closed doors. The only reason they choose to do things that way is because the government and the food industry does not provide the public with the information of what really is going on when a steak makes it from point A (being the animal) to point B (being your dinner plate).

It's ludicrous to judge certain countries for eating dogs when we treat the animals we eat here in the United States the way we do. We're really no different from them at all.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

5-Step Animal Welfare Rating System Now at Whole Foods!

Whole Foods is starting a new program in their stores to inform the consumer through a new rating system of exactly how the animal they are about to purchase lived their lives. I'm so excited to find this out because as many of you know, I only eat animals that lived their lives happy and natural. I can't wait until I'm able to head to Nashville to check this system out! Here's to hoping that this system will begin to be the norm instead of the alternative!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Food Matters Official Trailer

Food Matters

Okay, so I'm going to have to get back up on my soapbox and talk about yet another documentary that I just watched. I know - NERD! Seriously, though, I've found a love for documentaries because inside these hour and a half gems of film you can find information that is not being readily offered to you. Actually, a lot of this information is being purposely hidden from the general public because it would hurt one industry or another.

I recently watched "Food Matters." For those who have Netflix, it's available to stream to your computer or TV. It's not even a full 90 minutes, so you should watch it when you get time. I highly recommend it. To tell you more about the film, I went to the film's website to get their description:

"With nutritionally-depleted foods, chemical additives and our tendency to rely upon pharmaceutical drugs to treat what's wrong with our malnourished bodies, it's no wonder that modern society is getting sicker. Food Matters sets about uncovering the trillion dollar worldwide 'sickness industry' and gives people some scientifically verifiable solutions for overcoming illness naturally.

In what promises to be the most contentious idea put forward, the filmmakers have interviewed several leading experts in nutrition and natural healing who claim that not only are we harming our bodies with improper nutrition, but that the right kind of foods, supplements and detoxification can be used to treat chronic illnesses as fatal as terminally diagnosed cancer."

That's right - cancer. In this film, there were many doctors who have been treating patients for 25-30 years with high doses of vitamins (mostly vitamin C) and nutritional therapy - mainly a high fiber, vegetarian, organic diet. Many of these patients were terminally ill cancer patients who had tried chemotherapy, surgery, radiation - all the "treatments" modern medicine can offer for this disease. Within months, these patients had reversed their cancer...some were completely cured. And that's just cancer.

The whole film embarked on this quest to not use pharmaceuticals. We live in a society where there's a pill for every illness. Yet, studies have shown that nutritional therapy and the use of vitamins can prevent and reverse many illnesses. Of course, these studies are not published for the public to see because then the drug companies would be out of business. These therapies are not even being taught to doctors, so they don't even know how to prescribe natural healing because medical schools think this type of therapy is a crock. Let's face it - there's no money in being healthy!

Another incident I found interesting was the use of antidepressants. Everyone knows that antidepressants don't make a person better. The side effects alone sometimes make the person suicidal. Yet, psychologists continue to prescribe them. In one incident, one of the doctors from the film had a patient who was a wife in her mid-fifties who was seriously suicidal-depressed. Her family came to him, needing answers for why she was not getting better after being on Prozac for some time. He told them about his research he had found from previous doctors (one being the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous) using Niacin (vitamin B3) to treat depression. She began taking 11,500 mg of Niacin a day. She was not depressed anymore. Yet, once her therapist found out, the therapist suggested that might be harmful and suggested they not do that form of therapy, so they stopped. She was right back to being depressed again.

I know...that much of Niacin in your body can make you sick right? Well, not at all actually. The cancer patients I spoke about above were receiving thousands of milligrams a day of vitamin C, and the only adverse affects were thirst and head wooziness. No nausea, no hair falling out, no sickness.

Just to offer up some statistics that I took from the film: every year, 106,000 people die from complications with prescribed pharmaceuticals. Over a 23 year period, only 10 people have allegedly (not proven) died from too much vitamins. So, over a 23 year period - 2,438,000 die from pharmaceuticals; 10 from vitamins.

What this film is trying to show is that we're doing it wrong. Even with the type of medicine we have these days, more and more people are getting sicker each year. There's no denying that. Thankfully, there are people out there who are going against the grind and realizing that we don't always have to do things the way they're always been done. It's definitely something to consider the next time you get a common cold. Go see a doctor, or eat really well and take a load of vitamin C for a couple of days. I, for one, have seen the effects eating well can have on your body, and I'm not even eating everything organic like I should.

Okay, I'm off my soapbox now. Hope you all have a great rest of the weekend! Oh and for those interested, I included some links at the bottom for more about this stuff.

Gerson Therapy (cancer treatment spoken about in this film):

Food Matters website:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

1st Month Anniversary! has been my one month anniversary of not eating factory farm meat. I am proud to say that I am 100% positive I will be sticking to this - dare I say - lifestyle choice. I have never felt better in my life physically. I also have no guilt when I do decide to eat meat because I know that it is coming from an animal that was treated humanely, was fed the right diet, and was not pumped full of hormones or antibiotics. Not to mention that I've lost 5 pounds since I began this diet! Woohoo!

I decided this was going to be my New Year's resolution and figured I'd keep it up as long as I could. I knew that I wouldn't be able to have meat any time I wanted, and I was really worried about that drastic change. However, I can honestly say not eating meat every day really hasn't fazed me. I know I could never go full on vegetarian or vegan because I do love me some steak! : ) But, through this way of eating, I've found a solution to eat what I want without guilt but also what my body needs.

As hard as it was to be made aware of how food gets from the field to the plate (I can assure you - it's not a pretty process), I feel in control of my life now because I get to choose what I put in my body instead of just relying on the food industry to have the consumer's best interest at heart. I'll let you in on a big secret they don't want you to know - THE FOOD INDUSTRY IS ONLY CONCERNED WITH MAKING MONEY. PERIOD. They do things the cheapest and quickest way possible, which never fares well for the animal/crops or the consumer. Like I've always said, I'm not going to preach or try to change anyone's mind. I do, however, urge you to do your own research, so that you will be aware of how things go on and you can make your own decision. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sustainable Meat

In light of the Taco Bell lawsuit (see link below), I figured I would add a list of brands that you can purchase that practice sustainable farming - meaning that the animals are humanely raised, they are free-range, either pasture or vegetarian fed, no antibiotics/hormones, and the animals are allowed to socialize and interact with other animals. You'd be surprised how much an animal's stress (i.e. horrible living conditions, horrible diet, abuse) can affect the meat they provide.

Here are brands you should not buy because they come from factory farms where all of the above is not practiced:
  • Hormel
  • Tyson
  • Foster Farms
  • Jimmy Dean
  • Smithfield
  • Oscar Meyer
  • Louis Rich
  • Farmland
  • Eckrich
  • Premium Standard
  • Butterball
  • Banquet
  • Libby's 
  • Healthy Choice
  • Hebrew National
  • Armour
  • Slim Jim
  • Perdue
  • Farmer John
  • Jennie-O
  • Staag 
  • SPAM
  • Hillshire Farm
  • Ball Park
  • Valley Fresh
Here is a list of brands that practice sustainable farming:
  • Shelton's 
  • MBA Brand
  • Coleman
  • Niman Ranch
  • Diestel
  • Applegate Farms (found at Trader Joe's and Kroger so far)
  • Five Dot Ranch
  • Eel River
  • Organic Prarie (found at Kroger)
As you can see, there are a ton of really popular brands that practice factory farming. It's because it's cheap and allows for the most amount of meat to get out the quickest. I'm not trying to change anyone's diet, but I wanted to provide you with the information in case you decide to change any aspect of what you eat. 

Link for Taco Bell article: