I’m a carnivore. I have often proclaimed this as a joke, but am only half joking when I say it. My dad was a deer hunter and he provided us with venison, rabbit, duck, ruffed grouse, woodcock, and whatever other elements of Nature’s bounty were available up on Drummond Island. I LOVE MEAT.
In paying more attention to my body as I age, (I’m 53) I am noticing the effect certain foods have on me. A gutful of beef tends to feel like the proverbial load of bricks. For that reason, I started cutting back. My fondness for whole milk has evolved to 2% to match what my Dad drank while I was his primary caretaker. This year, I gave it up almost entirely, switching to almond milk. 2015 has become the Year of the Smoothie. I had always read that one should ingest at least 4 servings of green veggies a day. Green is important, but FOUR SERVINGS? I mean, come on.
Along came the Smoothie. This year, in the spring, I decided I had to start turning away from so much sugar and so many carbs. Into the blender went one experiment after another. Now I have honed it to something I can live with, and even look forward to. First, in goes all the green stuff. If I can’t get it fresh, I use frozen. Just a tablespoonful will give me the daily requirement of that particular green. Kale. Green Beans. Peas. Broccoli. Then I throw in the fruit. Blueberries, so important. A few strawberries to taste. The all-important banana, which adds the sweetness to make it palatable, plus the required potassium. I also like to add a bit of sweet potato and carrots, both of which add more natural sugar. Then, dump in the almond milk and blend. Each day I kid myself into thinking I’m having a strawberry banana shake. When I want to change it up, I might add some honey or some other fruit. I throw chia seeds and-or flax seeds into the glass to make it a little chewy.
Some days the smoothie combo isn’t as delicious as others. I’m still blundering along. But always, always, there is the gratifying feeling when the good nutrition hits. My stomach thanks me. As the weeks went by, I discovered myself having more energy — the ambition to go outside and move around more. Even better, fifteen pounds came off in the six weeks that followed.
Cut to last night when I was flicking through Netflix, looking for something new to watch. A documentary caught my eye. “Cowspiracy – The Sustainability Secret“. The only name attached to it that was familiar to me was Leo DiCaprio, who is producer. I suspected it was about methane emissions.
Let me preface this by saying I have been sporadically following scientific posts about global warming and the pending extinction of a number of species who share our earth, with something of a subdued nausea. I hate what happens to dolphins in Taiji but happy that it led to, “The Cove” and public awareness. I hate what happened to Cecil the lion, but happy that it opened the public’s eyes about the “lion mills” in Africa. Now it’s time for another big red flag, and this time it’s about cows.
“Cowspiracy” made my hair stand on end. Cows are taking over the earth. Literally. They are eating what could be used as human food, consuming more water than any other industry (eating one hamburger uses as much water as showering for two months), producing irrevocable amounts of methane, and trampling our natural resources, including the lungs of the earth — the rainforest. Agriculture is a mess and the conditions the poor cows are kept in is just horrific. Fossil fuels are one thing; but it’s cows that carry the majority of the blame.
Naturally, the responsibility now falls on us. Whether there is still time to change the world remains to be seen. But the goal has to be to stop consuming animal products. Yep… This means no more cheeseburgers. No more milk. No more — GASP! — ice cream!!!
Thanks to my smoothie habit, I am already heading down this road. But the thought of convincing millions of Americans to change eating habits just boggles the mind. Heck, they won’t do it for their own health. Why should they do it to save the planet? No immediate gratification there!
I don’t want to run down the American public. But I’ve already gotten vehement responses when I even suggest the sacrifice of red meat. People love beef. The thought of giving it up makes them angry.
So…. I can live by example and say that smoothies are good. I’m losing weight. I feel better. I have energy. We have plenty of vegan alternatives in today’s world. But what I will do, and what I can propose to others, is to just try it. Just graduate your habits by trying something different. Take it one day at a time.
I’m not 100% off beef yet. But I’m getting there. If I can do this, anyone can.
Addendum: Several hours after I published this post, I had a response on Twitter from LA CHEFS Column, saying the film is propaganda by animal rights groups and doesn’t portray accurate statistics. They provided this link to a review by Stephen Zwick.