More Food Inc + Some Thoughts On Why I Went Vegan

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on October 22, 2009

Greetings!

Great discussion going on in my Food Inc post. I love that we can talk about issues like this! So inspiring and thought-provoking.

Yesterday Eric asked me to send him a grocery list so he could pick up a few things on the way home from work. I made a note beside the milk that he needed saying:

Eric- please buy organic cow’s milk this week….you deserve it.

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I wasn’t sure what he would think, but I would soon find out.

Well he got home and there was no organic milk to be found. I asked him about it and he said, ‘It was $9 dollars, there is no way I was going to pay $9 for milk. I have been drinking non-organic my entire life and I am fine.’

It was definitely not a victorious mission I had!

I said, ‘Wow that is expensive, but you know what? I do think we can afford it. All we have to do is a make a cut-back in another area.’

For example, the milk he currently buys is $4 for 3 bags of milk. So we need to find $5 a week somewhere to make this work.

Eric has gotten into the habit of going out to buy his lunch lately (mostly out of laziness of not packing his lunch like he had been doing). So this morning, I got up a bit earlier and packed him a lunch. We saved about $8 just by doing that today!

I handed him the lunch and I said, ‘Here is a savings of $8. We can now afford organic milk.’ ;)

Another thing I wish the movie had touched on were the current regulations for organic food products. I am going to look into the Canadian regulations and see what I find.

Obviously, I realize that there are many families who can barely afford to put food on the table, let alone buy organic. And yes, we are definitely privileged to have this choice. One part of the movie that really saddened me, was the family who had to choose between paying for their dad’s diabetes medication or buying healthy food. They ate fast food every day because it was all they could afford due to having to spend $150 a month on his medication.

It is such a catch-22. Many people cannot afford to eat healthy, however the current food system, with its’ heavy reliance on animal-based products, is in large part the reason why there is so much starvation in the world. There are currently 840 million people going hungry this very second.

This is a fact that many people do not want to accept:

The more meat we eat, the more people there will be that will go hungry in the world.

Many of you ask why I decided to go vegan. When I read this statistic it was without a doubt one of the most powerful convincers for my decision:

It takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of edible animal flesh. According to the USDA and the United Nations, using an acre of land to raise cattle for slaughter yields 20 pounds of usable protein. That same acre would yield 356 pounds of protein if soybeans were grown instead—more than 17 times as much!

Raising animals for meat consumption is not energy efficient! If you think about it, it really doesn’t make sense that we are giving all of this grain to animals, only to kill them and eat them, when we could ‘cut out the middle man’ and just all eat grains and be able to feed the entire world. That doesn’t even get into the fact that cows are supposed to eat GRASS and not grain to begin with!

If everyone on Earth received 25 percent of his or her calories from animal products, only 3.2 billion people would have food to eat. Dropping that figure to 15 percent would mean that 4.2 billion people could be fed. If the whole world became vegan, there would be plenty food to feed all of us—more than 6.3 billion people.

[Source]

I believe that going vegan was one of the best things I personally ever did. I have always felt so powerless in trying to help the global crises and I always felt like there was nothing I could do to make an impact. Now I feel otherwise. I’m not saying it will be right for you, my best friend, or even Eric, but it was right for me. I am not writing these posts to try and get you to change your lifestyle; I am just trying to increase awareness about the issues that desperately need attention. Before I started to look into these issues, I honestly had no clue about them. Knowledge is power and whatever you decide to do with that knowledge is up to you.

On that note, for those of you who are participating in Project Feed Me, the next two food items are now up. Visit Natalie’s page for more information. It is not too late to join Project Feed Me either, we are only in week two. Week One’s 2 items were 2 cans of chili. Please help us feed hungry families by participating today!

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Lastly, I would love your help in naming my new Glo Bar. I created this Glo Bar this week and it is quite possibly my all time favourite bar. I just fell in love. It is a dark chocolate roasted coffee bar and it is intense, aromatic, and energizing.

I asked for your help on Twitter yesterday to offer one-word suggestions for a name and I compiled a list of most of them for you to vote on:

Also, the Healthy Halloween Chocolate Lovers Packs are no longer sold out- I just added a couple more on the cart.

Have a lovely ‘Office’ day! ;)

PS- ANDY rules!!!! Eric and I saw Hangover last week and Andy was SO SO SO Funny in it. I loved that movie!

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

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Ellen October 22, 2009 at 7:11 pm

for me, a strictly vegan diet is just not feasible, but for all the reasons you mentioned, i aim to eat as close to vegan as possible. i eat limited amounts of animal products in general, but i never cut out an entire food group. the more plants, the better, except for soy! thank you for sharing your perspective.

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Jil October 22, 2009 at 7:14 pm

The Hangover is such a funny movie!! But on a serious note, knowledge is power and the more I learn about things like the food industry in america, etc. the happier I am that I don’t eat meat often — I do eat it…but on rare, rare, rare occasions.

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Heather October 22, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Great post! But wow, I had no idea organic milk was so expensive there! Craziness. Do you have the option of buying from a farm that would possibly be cheaper?

I always enjoy reading about what made people decide to go vegetarian/vegan. It’s always amazing to me when that lightbulb goes off. Congrats to you!

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Jolene October 22, 2009 at 8:18 pm

I am so excited for the new bar!! I think it should be enlighten because coffee and dark chocolate make you smarter … in my opinion LOL :-)

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maria October 22, 2009 at 8:48 pm

It is a sad, sad catch-22 for sure. It always pissed me off that cheap foods were so terrible for you, and yet healthy foods are terribly expensive at time. It’s ridiculous.

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Lisa October 22, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Did you catch Oprah today? She had a vegan chef on that she calls the best vegan chef in the world. He made cream out of raw cashews. I am not a vegan but this definitely intrigued me!

http://www.oprah.com/menu/food/menus/20091015-tows-tal-ronnen-vegan

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angela October 23, 2009 at 11:29 am

I have been wanting to see Food Inc for a while now and with your posting about it I need to get to the movie store! I tried going vegan and found that it wasn’t quite right for me. I still don’t eat much meat (only organic chicken occasionally and fish) and have cut back severly on dairy. Have you read The China Study?

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megan October 23, 2009 at 11:50 am

I no very little about veganism, or any of the social issues involved, so I might be wrong here. But if all meat/dairy was converted to organic, wouldn’t there be less to go around altogether? Wouldn’t that then raise the prices of everything, making it harder for poorer families to eat healthy? Plus, I still don’t understand how fast food is cheaper than oatmeal, rice, potatoes, carrots, etc. However, I haven’t been able to see the movie, so maybe I am missing something. I have nothing against veganism. I currently eat meat a few times a week, but I am just trying to understand everything. Thanks!

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Brianne October 23, 2009 at 4:00 pm

I recommend you read nourishing traditions- also have you ever looked at anything from Dr. Weston Price? There are many sides to the story and I for one have been vegan and back again and I now do not believe it is right for everyone. You should look into some local humanly treated meat for your hubby. $0.02

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CC October 23, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Laura is absoslutely right. Lack of food is NOT the cause of world hunger and most grazing land is unsuitable for farming. I’ve been reading all of the comments and I can’t help but shudder at some of the statements being made. Often we read the vegetarian/vegan side and assume it must be true because it supports a very noble cause (in my opinion), but we forget that perhaps this information, too, can be slanted for our own agendas.

I was a quasi-vegetarian (fish/seafood occasionally) for a long time, but not for any of the reasons cited above. I wanted to reduce my carbon footprint significantly and I couldn’t/wouldn’t give up my car so I made a life change that was the equivalent. Unfortunately, I, like another reader, do not absorb non-heme iron and since I am currently pregnant, it is pretty darn important to me that my body has the right nutrients. No way am I putting my baby’s health at risk to make a stand. No way would I allow someone to tell me I could have a healthy pregnancy on a vegan diet if I put in the effort with some of the challenges my body faces. Vegetarian does not work for everyone all the time. After the birth, I may go back to pescatarian, but I may not. I will make the choice that is right for my family and I.

I always read the comments and concerns of vegetarians and wonder if everyone buys organic cotton clothing. Pesticides used in cotton growth certainly hurt farm workers. And if our closets did not house an insane amount of clothing (many people have more clothes than they theoretically need to meet their basic needs – not all, but many), that land could be used to grow food. Just a spin on the same argument.

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CC October 23, 2009 at 5:21 pm

By the way, thank you for a lovely thought-provoking blog. Often your “written smiles” lift my day.

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Brenna October 23, 2009 at 5:28 pm

I wholeheartedly support your choice to go vegan, but I do feel that I need to clarify something you mention in this post. I was born and raised on a working cattle ranch and my family continues to live there and run a sustainable, largely organic cattle operation. Although it sounds nice to compare the acreage it takes so support one animal through it’s nutritional life to the production of a grain such as soybeans, some land simply is not suitable for that type of agricultural activity. The acreage grazed by our cattle is quite arid- not ideal farm ground by any stretch of the imagination! I only eat meat if I know where it came from and can trust that the animals were treated humanely, but I think it’s important to note that sometimes using land for grazing is in fact its highest and best use. I can’t wait to see Food, Inc. by the way- I think it comes out on video Nov 3rd! Thank you, as always, for the intelligent and thought provoking post!

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