Cows Are Friends, Not Food

Cows Are Friends, Not Food.

I won’t bore you with a long retelling of my struggles and failures with food and weight loss. Suffice to say that I have one and it’s pretty much the same as everyone else’s.

Since June 1, 2020 (about ago 4 months as I type this), I’ve again been using Weight Watchers to track my food intake and physical activity. Because of knee problems I’m not as able as I once was to do long hikes, but I do get a few times a week with my dogs without feeling like there is hot glass grinding in my joints, so that’s enough at the moment.

Since June 1, I’ve lost about 20 lbs from my all-time high weight.

But none of that is really the subject of this blog. It’s merely subject-adjacent.

Last week, I was looking for a new documentary to watch and I came across What the Health? on Netflix. Then I looked up more on the film’s maker, Kip Anderson, and watched his previous documentary Cowspiracy.

(And since writing the first draft of this blog, I’ve also watched The Game Changers.)

While the documentaries went into more detail that I could have recalled off the top of my head, I don’t think any of the information was completely new to me. I’ve watched other documentaries with similar arguments. I knew that the livestock, dairy, poultry, and big-agri businesses were bad for all the reasons.

Cows Are Friends, Not Food

And after a lifetime of reading books on diet and nutrition, I knew that generally eating a lot of plants was healthier than not doing so.

But the problem is that zucchini doesn’t provide the same kind of dopamine hit as a burger and milk shake. Plus it takes more time and effort to acquire. And I’m lazy, so I like my dopamine gratification to be as as possible.

But what got to me this time and stuck to me like a burr under my saddle — and this is what this blog is really about — is when someone in the documentary said, “You can’t be an environmentalist and still eat meat.”

That got to me.

Not that I think of myself as an “Environmentalist.” Capital-E Environmentalists are the ones out there in the Greenpeace Boats harassing the oil tankers. They chain themselves to bulldozers. They live on tree platforms for months to prevent logging or deforestation.

I don’t do stuff like that. I do give money to wildlife conservation. I volunteer time and energy to citizen-science projects and clean-up efforts. I buy annual passes to state and federal parks and refuges.

I love wild, natural places, plants, and animals. I hate that so much of our beautiful natural spaces are being polluted, plowed up, and paved over. I hate that species are going extinct at such a ridiculous rate that you’d think we’re doing it on purpose. I hate it that animals are made to needlessly suffer for human benefit. I believe climate change is a clear and present danger and poses a threat to everyone in the world.

So… I guess that makes me… an environmentalist.

And my continued consumption of animal products means that I’m contributing to the destruction of the environment, the needless suffering of animals, and the problem of climate change.

And therefore, if I eat animal products, I’m not living with integrity.

It’s probably impossible to live in a developed country in the 21st century and not contribute to some degree in the myriad of bad things that we’re doing to ourselves and the world. But choosing to eat plants and eschew animal products … I can do that.

And science says that will help me lose weight, be healthier, and live longer to make more art and watch my grandchildren grow up.

I gave up alcohol a few years ago. I’m currently weaning myself off caffeine, too.

And now, I’ve begun the transition to veganism.

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