Friday, November 11, 2011

Why I Don't Eat Meat & Cow Dairy

federico stevanin /
I thought it might be helpful for your healthy eating thinking if I tell you why I don't eat meat and cow dairy. Readers of Healthy Journey Cafe know that my health journey includes discovery of colon cancer in 2008. It set my world spinning. After my world slowed back down, I settled with my diagnosis—a genetic defect that statistically assured I would continue to battle colon cancer.

Settling didn't mean I gave up. Instead, I became determined to do everything I could to beat the diagnosis and prove that my healthy diet choices had kept me safe from a more serious discovery in 2008 and healthy diet choices would win the genetic battle.

I read Nature's Cancer Fighting Foods by Verne Varona to learn what I should eat and what I should avoid to fight cancer.

After reading the book and studying more on the Internet, I concluded I wasn't going to eat meat. Here's why:
  1. Multiple studies recommend not eating meat to avoid cancer, especially of the colon.
  2. Cooking meat produces mutagenic cancer-causing chemicals called heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
  3. Animals are fed food that is genetically modified and contain antibiotics.
  4. Animals are injected with hormones to make them grow faster and produce more milk. 
I live in California and travel Interstate 5 to/from Southern California on occasion. In fact, this week we returned from seeing friends in SoCal. The route includes a drive-by of the infamous feed lot that wafts its pungent aroma for miles—you smell the feed lot before you see it. Cows are crowded into fenced areas devoid of any green. There are cows standing and laying in brown, dirty pens as far as the eye can see. They're there to get fattened up for slaughter (3 and 4 above). This type of farming is called factory farming.

Now, doesn't that make you re-think eating meat if you want to be healthy? I'm not saying give meat up like I have, but be more selective in the meats you choose to eat. I encourage you to support small/local farmers who let their animals graze on the kind of food they were meant to eat.

As consumers, if we make healthier choices in the foods we select, eventually we'll be offered more choices at better prices. For example, look at all the farmer's markets popping up everywhere. We asked—we got. 

I do eat wild-caught fish. Since it's wild caught, I avoid all the man-induced harmful additives. But they could have mercury, you say. I choose fish that are found to be lower in mercury and high in beneficial and essential omega-3 fatty acids.

Have you thought about the affects factory farms have on our food?


  1. I have driven by this and the smell was awful, it has to be one of the sadest things ever. I'm surprised more people driving by don't became vegetarian just from seeing it.

  2. Hi Denise (I assume you would be the sis driving by), I believe people don't make the mental jump that they are driving by (and smelling) what may someday be on their plate. Thanks for stopping by and chiming in.