When asked in the past if I ate meat, I used to say “No.” When pressed whether this included chicken and fish, I said “Yes.” Now when the question comes up, I say, “I don’t eat animals.”
In 1974 I stopped eating animals after reading Leo Tolstoy’s essay describing his visit to a Moscow slaughterhouse. Before that, I was, I regret, an avid meateater. I did not make the connection, before Tolstoy’s essay, between “meat” and animals. That essay, “The First Step,” changed everything. I instantly became one of those people who, in the words of former chicken slaughterhouse worker Virgil Butler and his partner Laura Alexander, “could no longer look at a piece of meat anymore without seeing the sad face of the suffering animal who had lived in it when the animal was still alive.”
Picturing the face of an animal in a piece of meat after Tolstoy’s revelation, I felt sick of meat, and now I am sick of the word “meat.” Why?
“Meat” versus “Flesh”
Philosopher John Sanbonmatsu writes in "Why 'Fake' Meat Isn't": “Only in recent decades have we come to associate the word ‘meat’ exclusively with the flesh of animals. The word derives from the Old English mete, for food, nourishment or sustenance.”
But do we in fact associate the word “meat” with the flesh of animals in modern industrial society? I think we do not. The word “meat” in contemporary experience is separate from the animals the “meat” comes from, whatever its association with animals and their flesh at a time when raising and slaughtering animals was an integral part of everyday life on farms and in cities and towns.
Unlike “meat,” the word “flesh” conjures more readily the fact of a once living creature. While the meat from an animal is indeed dead flesh, it evokes less an animal’s body and more just food, whatever the food’s origin. “Flesh” is more complex and inclusive by comparison. By standard definition, it is “the soft substance consisting of muscle and fat that is found between the skin and bones of an animal or a human.”
Consider further that in the Bible, “flesh” is not just a synonym for meat; rather, it encompasses living creatures, seemingly of all species, as in Isaiah 40.5: “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”
Forgetting “Meat” is Dead
So detached from the animals from whom “meat” is obtained are most people in modern society that I believe few even think about meat as something that is dead. What starts as the conscious employment of euphemism by exploiters and market manipulators morphs through conventional usage into a nearly or completely unconscious linguistic and perceptual event, similar to how the animals are transubstantiated literally into edible products called “meat,” divorced from living creatures and the violence that meat represents.
An article in the February 1, 2020 issue of TIME magazine, "How China Could Change the World by Taking Meat Off the Menu," says that “Until recently, the primary motivation for people to shun meat was concern for animal welfare. Not anymore.” This article provides an encouraging look at the growing appeal of plant-based foods in industrialized countries. But, I wonder, when were the majority of people motivated to shun meat out of concern for animal welfare? Animal rights activist Cynthia Cruser wrote to me that the article “mentioned animal welfare only once, and referred to it as some irrelevant passé subject which has been replaced by really important matters.”
Animal Welfare, Animals’ Rights, Animal-Free
Indeed, the term “animal welfare” is itself a euphemism, akin to a dead metaphor, “which has lost the original imagery of its meaning by extensive, repetitive, and popular usage.” But the euphemism “animal welfare” is not only dead: it’s a lie that reduces the animals and their human-caused misery to an abstraction that amounts to nothing more at best than abusing animals less abusively, less traumatically, less horribly.
Those who speak approvingly of “animal welfare” compound the problem by defining it illogically as treating the animals “more humanely.” But you cannot treat animals who by definition are being treated inhumanely, “more humanely.” Animal welfare is an institutionalized term referring to animal use that, as such, precludes the animals so used from truly faring well.
Even the term “animal rights” can obstruct the animals from view. For this reason, Veda Stram, managing editor of the All-Creatures.Orgnewsletter and website, has proposed a shift from speaking of “animal rights” to saying “animals’ rights” in order to keep the animals in sight.
Of course, we can’t always avoid the term “meat” in our advocacy, but we could say flesh a little more often than we do, and we could put the animals into discussions of food more frequently. That said, it’s wonderful seeing the words “vegan” and “plant-based” appearing more and more often on food, household, and personal care products. Time was when these terms never appeared in a supermarket.
In addition to “vegan,” “plant-based,” and “plant-powered,” I like to call vegan products animal-free. This puts the animals into focus and links them to the concept of liberation – their liberation and ours. “Free” conveys a welcome release from all sorts of captivity: Animal-free, egg-free, dairy-free, meat-free sound inviting, compared with “eggless,” “meatless,” and the like, which evoke blandness and deprivation.
Knowing Where Your Food Comes From
Thinking about putting the faces of animals back into the “meat” as an escape from euphemism and the dissociation of meat from animals, I’m aware that this project is also that of people who, in the opposite direction, enjoy slaughtering their own animals. Such people describe their pleasure in turning a living creature into something dead. They refuse “not knowing where your food comes from” and tout their liberation from such ignorance.
Similarly, the belief that “if slaughterhouses had glass walls, we’d all be vegetarian” is contradicted by people who prefer to select their own animals to be killed in front of them or behind a blood-spattered curtain in a live or "wet" animal market. They are not deterred by the sight or smell of suffering or the cries of the animals being slaughtered. Asked about it, they state a preference for this experience over buying meat in a supermarket.
One Day, All Flesh May Be Free
There is no shortcut to getting the majority of people to care enough about the animals who suffer and die for food to stop eating them on that account alone, whether the animals are visible or invisible. It’s exasperating, but we cannot succumb to frustration. Rather than give up, we must realize that the journey toward animal liberation has only just begun, and that we must stay the course in pursuit of the day when all flesh will, with our persistence, we hope, see this glorious day together. – Karen Davis
Love him or hate him, The "Joker" wins his 18th Grand Slam... on the heals of Federer (who has won 20) Incredible stuff for this plant powered athlete, and the quest to overtake Federer and Nadal is well within sight. Tennis fans must be living the dream getting to witness three living legends all at once.
Plant-Based Tennis Pro Novak Djokovic Wins Record-Extending 9th Australian Open
Plant-based tennis pro Novak Djokovic has won a record-extending ninth men’s title.
The star was victorious in the recent Australian Open – where he defeated Daniil Medvedev (7-5 6-2 6-2).
Reports say Djokovic’s 18th Grand Slam win puts him just two places behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the men’s record books.
Novak Djokovic’s plant-based diet
According to Essentially Sport, Djokovic said: “I’m very pleased to be plant-based and play on this level now for four-and-a-half years. There has been a lot of criticism also. You know, people around me didn’t really think that I could do that.
“It’s a lifestyle. More than just a diet because you have ethical reasons as well. Being conscious of what is happening in the animal world and you know the slaughtering of animals and farming and everything.
“There is obviously a huge impact as well on climate change that people maybe don’t talk about as much. It’s more than a performance for me, it’s a lifestyle. Something that I’m really proud of and hopefully that community grows.
Djokovic added: “Hopefully I can inspire other athletes that it is possible to be plant-based and to recover well, to have strength, [and] to have muscles.”
Hopefully I can inspire other athletes that it’s possible to be plant-based and to recover well, to have strength, and to have muscles.”
Is Novak Djokovic vegan?
Djokovic has publicly spoken about the benefits of a plant-based diet several times. However, he has stated that he doesn’t refer to himself as ‘vegan’.
“I don’t like the labels, to be honest. I do eat plant-based (food), for quite a few years already,” he said. “But because of the misinterpretations of labels and misuse of labels, I just don’t like that kind of name.”
Most modern primates eat mushrooms, so early hominids likely weren't just making blind guesses. According to Paul Stamets the most common mushroom on the African Savannah is Psilocybe cubensis growing out of the dung piles of herbivores. Make of that what you will....
12 Incredible Benefits of Getting More Greens in Your Diet
1. Support Optimal Brain Function
Want to support memory and reasoning as you enter your golden years? Eat your greens! A recent study published in Neurology found that those who ate the most leafy greens each day had slower rates of cognitive decline compared to those who ate the least.1 In fact, the greens-eaters had the memory equivalent of someone 11 years younger! This was even true after adjusting for other factors including lifestyle, education, and overall health.
2. Fight Belly Bloat
If you struggle with bloating, whether caused by diet, hormones, gut infections, or other digestive issues, there’s a secret ingredient in leafy greens that could help. Potassium, a mineral and electrolyte found in abundance in greens, is essential to keep an optimal fluid balance in your body. A diet high in sodium (often due to an overreliance on processed foods) can trigger or worsen bloating, and must be kept in check by adequate potassium intake–roughly 4,700 mg/day according to the USDA’s 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines.2 A single cup of cooked spinach contains a whopping 840 mg of potassium to get you well on your way to meeting your daily requirements.3
3. Make Your Skin Glow
Beta-carotene, the plant pigment that we normally associate with carrots and other yellow-orange veggies, is also hiding in leafy greens. Think of leaves changing color in the fall. As they lose chlorophyll (the pigment that makes them green), you can see the red, orange, and yellow pigments those leaves contain underneath. It’s these vibrant colors that are also responsible for the amazing health benefits of leafy greens.
Beta-carotene can give your skin a youthful glow and even works from the inside-out as a natural sunscreen, protecting your skin from harmful UV rays!4 Kale is one of the top sources of beta-carotene, and research shows that cooking, juicing, or dehydrating greens helps your body better absorb this carotenoid.5
4. Relieve Stress
For a natural way to relieve your stress, start every day with a big green smoothie! Leafy greens are an excellent source of folate, which helps your body produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.6
Plus, the magnesium found in green leafy vegetables can help support optimal vascular health.7
5. Support Bone Health
All those “Got Milk?” ads might have you believe that drinking milk is the only way to build strong bones. However, research has shown that milk consumption has no protective effect on fracture risk and may even increase the risk of hip fractures among women.8 That’s yet another great reason to ditch dairy for good! Instead, you can get plenty of calcium for supporting optimal bone health from dark, leafy greens. Green veggies such as broccoli and kale also contain tons of all-important vitamin K.9
6. Support Healthy Aging
Are you looking to age healthfully? Who isn’t? Greens have the power to delay the shortening of telomeres, the protective caps on our DNA that shorten with age.10 Once its telomeres are completely gone, the cell dies. Broccoli sprouts, in particular, seem to have a superb ability to preserve telomere length.
7. Improve Inflammatory Response
Though this may be a no-brainer, I want to re-emphasize how important it is to support a healthy inflammatory response in order to protect yourself from a battery of chronic illnesses. Leafy greens contain antioxidants and polyphenols, the disease-fighting compounds found in plant foods.11
8. Help Balance Sugars
Eating a serving of leafy greens with every meal can support appropriate blood glucose levels. Even just including a little over one extra serving of greens daily can make a big difference!12
Not to mention, if you have a thyroid condition, dramatic swings in blood sugar encourage your body to convert more T4 to Reverse T3, the inactive form of thyroid hormone.
9. Support Optimal Gut Health
Do you struggle with leaky gut, food sensitivities, or autoimmunity? If so, getting more greens into your diet could help. A recently discovered gene known as T-bet that gets switched on by cruciferous veggies such as broccoli or brussels sprouts instructs precursor cells in your intestinal lining to produce innate lymphoid cells (ILCs). ILCs protect your body against gut infections and inflammation, control food allergies and intolerances, support a healthy immune response, and seal the leaks in your gut.13 They also protect your body from bad bacteria, while the fiber in greens feeds your good bacteria, making leafy greens an all-around great choice for anyone dealing with gastrointestinal distress of any kind.
10. Tame the Toxins Taming the toxins is an essential component of The Myers Way®, and one of the easiest ways to do this is by getting more greens in your diet. Greens are expert detoxifiers, thanks to chlorophyll–the pigment that makes greens…green! Chlorophyll-rich foods such as spirulina, chlorella, parsley, and alfalfa bind to heavy metals and toxins in your blood and carry them out of your body. Chlorophyll also helps cleanse your liver to support your body’s natural ability to detox, and supports immune function to keep toxins from collecting in your body in the first place!14
11. Boost Digestive Enzymes
As I always say, you aren’t what you eat, you’re what you digest and absorb. Digestive enzymes are critical for breaking down and absorbing the nutrients from our food, so if you are deficient in these enzymes you are likely to experience all sorts of gastrointestinal issues including bloating, constipation, reflux, and nutrient deficiencies. Leaky gut it one of the biggest culprits of enzyme deficiency, as well as inflammation from food sensitivities, chronic stress, genetics, and aging. Raw, leafy greens are one of the best foods you can eat to support your body’s natural ability to produce digestive enzymes.
12. Support Your Immune System
One of the most promising benefits of greens may be their ability to support your immune system. Greens such as moringa leaf can support a healthy response to oxidative damage.1516 Studies specifically tout the benefits of cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, arugula, and kale.17
The Best Way to Get More Greens Into Your Diet
While it’s ideal to get these incredible benefits from real, whole foods, not all of these foods are commonly available, in season, or grown in optimal soil, and it can be difficult to get enough of them from diet alone. That’s why an organic greens powder is a great option to have on hand for when you’re just too busy to prep a big salad or smoothie, or when you’re looking to stay healthy while on-the-go or traveling.
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