Typical conversation with one of my friends over lunch, at the gym, on the tennis courts, in our homes…
Friend: “Did you see the news today? Can you believe that prostitution ring scandal at the local country club?”
Me: “Yes, I totally believe it; but I can’t believe the news reports about the pink slime in our meat! This is shocking after the recent news about the “poop” in our chicken supply? How utterly ggggg-ro… Before I can get the word “gross” out of my mouth, this is the usual response I repeatedly get from just about everyone I know…
Friend: “SHUSH! BE QUIET! I DON”T WANT TO HEAR IT!”
Me: “Are you kidding? Why wouldn’t you want to hear about the dangers of the ‘foods’ you are putting into your body? You really don’t want to know?”
Friend: “No, I don’t! I can’t just change everything!”
Me: No verbal response. I make a gesture by raising my hand up in the air indicating “never mind, the conversation is now over.” However, I thought you might enjoy knowing the thoughts which subsequently pop into my head…
My thoughts: “Who asked you to change everything? Or anything? Don’t you, at the very least, want to make informed choices and be conscious about what you are putting into your body? You are a strong, wise, experienced, intelligent person (FYI, often a doctor, lawyer, or other highly educated person). Do you think I am trying to convert you into becoming a “vegan?” (Oh, that “dirty” word again!). I am not; but when pink slime and poop is found in the nation’s food supply, I consider this to be big news! Don’t you? You stay thin, play tennis, go to fancy gyms, spin, eat salads (with chicken and salmon), read novels, watch the news, think, love and live. Why would you have such resistance to hearing simple truths about what you are ingesting on a daily basis?”
Those are my thoughts.
My opinion is that many people are emotionally connected to the foods they have become accustomed to eating. Their eating habits and beliefs about food started at a very young age. Haven’t we all seen the “oh, so cute!” milk mustache commercials with shining stars such as Susan Sarandon wearing milk mustaches (Susan Sarandon; c’mon, really? Isn’t she a huge advocate for peace? Whad up with that?)? Anyway, hasn’t it been drummed into our heads since birth that cow’s milk is a wholesome health food? And that cows are raised for meat on beautiful fields where they freely and happily roam around the countryside until they are killed for meat with as little pain as possible? And that our fish are caught from clean blue oceans by men using fishing rods and wearing yellow raincoats and cute hats?
There are cultural norms in our society and I get it. I really do. I understand that it is hard to change what we were erroneously taught our entire lives. I also attended public school and studied the food pyramid charts with meat and dairy at the top just like everyone else did. However, with so much information at our fingertips, I can’t help but ask myself the obvious questions. Why do we continue to ignore the overwhelming updated scientific evidence pertaining to nutrition? Why do we turn a blind eye to the horrors of factory farming, the damage to our environment and the many other problems associated with eating animals? At what point did all reason, logic and science go out the window? How did we become so disconnected as a society that we don’t even want to know the scientific and factual truths about the so-called foods we eat everyday?
I have no right to be judgmental. I was 49 years old before I opened my eyes to the nutritional science and far reaching implications about the foods I choose to eat. I do not believe that I am morally superior to anyone else; but when the overwhelming evidence was before me, I walked out of the darkness and into the light. I was open to learning something new which was extremely important. I woke up from my unconscious state of mind. What will it take for others to do the same? Will it be too late? Before I became vegan, I do not believe that I would have covered my eyes and ears if a more educated friend pointed out that pink slime was in my meat or that my chicken was contaminated with poop. I believe that I would have been grateful for this essential information. Is “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” really the only choice to be made? What do you think?