I Am Going to Eat Meat. Deal with It. ~ Alexandra Grace

Via elephant journal
on May 4, 2012
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I don’t actually mean to be that harsh. But I would like to see the proselytizing vegans tone it down a little.

What I mean is, I am tired of hearing these peace-loving-yogi-vegans ripping into meat eaters as if we had single-handedly driven a herd of cows off a cliff. Here’s the thing: if any of you are in a relationship, you know exactly what berating people gets you. Ignored. Or a headache. Or both. So let’s try a different approach, shall we?

At this point, I anticipate that any vegans who are reading this (1) have already moved onto another article, (2) have already begun to formulate more anti-omnivore commentary, or (3) are actually still reading this! For the third of you who are still reading this, thank you! And please consider a few things the next time you encounter a chicken-eater (and by that, I mean an omnivore).

First, let’s consider how difficult it is to make dietary changes.

And to make this easy, I’ll use myself as an example. I have been struggling with losing weight for several years now. I have recently been making some progress, but let me tell you: it is very difficult to make an overnight change to something you have been doing for any great period of time.

Having been a cupcake and cheeseburger eater for the past 28 years, it’s not going to stop immediately because I saw a picture of a live, wingless chicken or video of a pig being slaughtered. (I cannot give you a comparable comment for cupcakes. I know sugar is bad, but cupcakes are delicious.)

I need time.

Anyone who has decided to make a change like this needs time. I have decided to make the change, eventually, towards being a vegan. As my first step, I have decided to stop eating pigs. I’ll get where I’m going eventually. But it won’t be today. I’m still eating cheeseburgers today.

Second, let’s consider the [passive-aggressive] nag-factor.

There are people who have not decided to be vegan or vegetarian yet, and they’re not going to because some of you are too annoying. So let’s consider changing your approach. For example, some people have already decided that this is the circle of life and cows are here because we are supposed to eat them. How do you think you’ll reach those people?

Showing them a video of how the cow is killed would be like showing them a video of how their car is made.

Who cares, just get it done and then I’ll drive the car (or eat the burger). So maybe for those people, the approach should be sharing information about healthier choices that might include vegan options. Or maybe show them how delicious vegan food is and that there are many options that taste similar to their animal of choice, but with less saturated fat [and death]. My point is, there are many reasons why different people have chosen to ignore you. And that brings me to my final point.

The yoga factor.

Remember that love and peace and respect thing? Let’s try, just for a day to start, meeting people where they are. I don’t think my darling fiancé has any intention of being vegan, and I honestly don’t have any intention of converting him. But maybe he’ll take a bite of my vegetarian corn dog and not spit it out. That’s a start! I’ll take it!

What I mean is, you should be the vegan. You. Live by example. If someone asks, share the reasons why you’ve made that choice. Share your meal, share a recipe, share some information. You don’t have to watch a cow being slaughtered in front of you, you should write to your congressperson, you should protest, you should blog, and tweet, and do whatever else makes you feel satisfied with advancing the cause.

I respect your right to do that, I respect the cause, and I hope to be a part of it one day. But I’m not there today, and I’m ok with that. You should be too.

Alex is figuring it out. By day, she is an employment lawyer; by night, she is a yoga teacher trainee. And all the time, she brings a child-like curiosity (but an adult-like commentary) to everything she encounters. Having fallen in love with yoga over the past three years, Alex hopes that her sense of humor, honesty, and open-heart will encourage new students to find the joy she has found in yoga.



Editor: Tanya L. Markul

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71 Responses to “I Am Going to Eat Meat. Deal with It. ~ Alexandra Grace”

  1. __MikeG__ says:

    Yep, me too. You probably have received, as I have, the "OMG your a vegan" stare across the dinner table. Respectful questions are OK but I there are way too many people who react with hostility.

  2. alexandragrace4 says:

    That makes sense and I agree with you; I'm sorry I misunderstood! Thank you so much for reading the article, and for sharing your perspective.

  3. @Suri_k8 says:

    Hi Mike , i think there might be some evidence to the contrary , these are just a couple of examples , i will post it in 2 parts …I know you like science so here:
    Meat Eating Behind Evolutionary Success of Humankind, Global Population Spread, Study Suggests
    ScienceDaily (Apr. 20, 2012) — Carnivory is behind the evolutionary success of humankind. When early humans started to eat meat and eventually hunt, their new, higher-quality diet meant that women could wean their children earlier. Women could then give birth to more children during their reproductive life, which is a possible contribution to the population gradually spreading over the world. The connection between eating meat and a faster weaning process is shown by a research group from Lund University in Sweden, which compared close to 70 mammalian species and found clear patterns.
    Learning to hunt was a decisive step in human evolution. Hunting necessitated communication, planning and the use of tools, all of which demanded a larger brain. At the same time, adding meat to the diet made it possible to develop this larger brain….. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/1204

  4. @Suri_k8 says:

    This is part of the conclusion of the study and the link to the study
    "The critical link between time to weaning and dietary profile adds to the general notion that the evolution of the hominids – and that of Homo in particular – was associated with a change towards higher-quality diet. Specifically, it has been proposed that with a given metabolic rate a large brain could have evolved only if another metabolically expensive tissue, such as the gut, would be reduced in size. But to maintain an energy intake sustaining that metabolic rate despite a reduced gut size, food quality must have been improved [41], for example by increased meat consumption. Our model suggests that the contribution of carnivory in this evolutionary context was to shorten the duration of lactation and suckling despite the overall prolongation of development associated with increased adult brain mass [14]. The resulting decreased interbirth intervals and increased rates of reproduction must have affected population dynamics profoundly. Our findings highlight therefore the emergence of carnivory as a process fundamentally determining human life history and evolution."
    Impact of Carnivory on Human Development and Evolution Revealed by a New Unifying Model of Weaning in Mammals http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.13

    This is from Pinker's The Better Angels Of Our Nature.
    "Our ancestors have been hunting , butchering , and probably cooking meat for at least two million years, and our mouths ,teeth and digestive tracts are specialized for a diet that includes meat.(1) The fatty acids and complete protein in meat enabled the evolution of our metabolically expensive brains, and the availability of meat contributed to the evolution of human sociality.(2)"
    (1) Human carnivory : Boyd & Silk , 2006; Harris 1985, Herzog 2010; Wrangham 2009a
    (2) Carnivory and human evolution : Boyd & Silk 2006; Cosmides & Tooby, 1992 ; Tooby & DeVore 1987

  5. john says:

    i guess if you are a HOLISTIC nutritionist then there would be people who are better off with meat in their diet and those who benefit more without

  6. john says:

    agreed no one size fits all……many factors heritage, geography, current health condition, season, activity level, etc.

  7. __MikeG__ says:

    I'll check these studies out. One major problem I see is that Pinker is using the complete protein myth. Complete protein was first proposed in a book called Diet for a Small Planet which was written by a sociologist. The complete proteing myth was later debunked through experiments and was retracted by the author herself.

    I don't see how our undersized, weak and dull canines could be considered "specialized for eating meat". We have canines because most mammals have canines. Without knives humans cannot tear into hide and flesh. The digestive tracts of carnivores are shorter than ours. That is because carnivores evolved to eliminate digested meat before the fats are absorbed in the blood stream. Our long digestive tracts are a major reason why humans have so much heart disease from meat. True carnivores have stomach bacteria which kills all the harmful organisims found in dead and decaying flesh. Humans require fire and cooking meat because we lack the proper stomach/intestinal bacteria.

    I'm not convinced by these studies, there are too many assumptions and holes in the conclusions. But I have been full of shit too many times in my life to dismiss all the findings out of hand. I think I'll need to improve my knowledge of nutrition and challenge myself to see if confirmation bias is screwing up my perceptions.

    Love and hugs.

  8. @Suri_k8 says:

    Lol , I love your honesty , and you might be right about the "Pinker" studies , the plosone study that I linked to mentions some other studies that are not useful for the same reason , I´m guessing they are talking about the same studies .

    Knives are definitely needed to cut and skin hoofed animals but birds and fish get really tender after cooking them you only need a knife to take the guts out…shellfish and crustaceans can be eaten without the use of a knife … Also most non-animal sources of protein need to be cooked or fermented , specially pulses… not nuts though …. and the same applies to grains (cooked or baked in the form of flour) some tubers and roots also need to be cooked . Insects are eaten raw sometimes but usually are roasted or fried .

    Teeth are the hardest parts of our bodies , they are even harder than bones .
    This is from Neil Shubin's Your Inner Fish : A Journey Into The 3.5 Billion Year History Of The Human Body
    "Human mouths reveal that we are all purpose eaters, for we have several kinds of teeth. Our front teeth, the incisors , are flat blades specialized for cutting. The rearmost teeth , the molars, are flatter with a distinctive pattern that can macerate plant or animal tissue. The premolars , inbetween , are intermediate in function between incisors and molars."…..fascinating book by the way.

    Anyway it is impossible to be 100% bias free , both of us should do some more reasearch on this subject in order to get a clearer idea of how diet influenced our evolution…or not ..8D

    Take care buddy!

  9. Macyglitters says:

    LOVVED the article! Especially the part about the amazing fiancé!! You are amazing for taking a stand on something and completely standing behind it!!
    Work it LG!!


  10. Clare says:

    Your article reminds me that everyone is on a journey (sorry to be cheesy) and most vegans/vegetarians were not born that way, but came to it our of choice. As a vegan, i really do try to stay reasonable. I never offer my opinion to strangers, and will only drag out my soapbox when asked. However, once a person recognizes the amount of suffering, the scale of the atrocity before them (my words, my feelings on the subject) it is so hard to stay polite about it all. We have past the point of politeness regarding so many social injustices, and that is a good thing. So yes, as a witness to death, as a witness to pain, as a witness to the subjugation of the innocent, we tend to get upset. The fact is is that it is rarely helpful to anyone, and that is why I do my best to simmer down, yet can totally sypathize with those who will not witness such pain quietly.

  11. Provoked says:

    Exactly Phillip – It's not an inconsequential choice because there are 3rd party victims at stake. They are the ones who suffer because of our "choices".

    I am not going to hold doors open for physically challenged folks… I'm not going to pick up trash blown on my lawn… I'm not going to care about impoverished folks… The list could go on and on about things that I could say "deal with it". But that's not the way to make a better world. Nonhumans count. They need the voice and hearts of ppl who do "deal with it" in a compassionate manner. The right choices are quite easy – And more compelling than ever…

  12. Dylan says:

    Maybe you should eat your cats after you "toss em around , crush them …sometimes disembowel them and then leave them to die slowly and very painfuly [sic]" because they are a scourge on the earth. That way you can still eat meat, don't have to support factory farms and let the lizards and mice live their lives.

  13. GreenThumb says:

    As long as humans enslave, torture and exploit non-humans and cause unnecessary, prolonged suffering – WHO you eat will always be other's business. If you don't want anyone to care, eat some Kale ; )

  14. wendy greem says:

    been a veg/vegan for hmm, 40 years now..yoga practitioner just as long. healthy as an ox. i don't bash people that eat meat, but will teach them why it's important to eat a plant based diet. may i suggest, since you seem to be open minded about the subject (kudos!)…go on retreat where meat isn't on the menu and education is for dessert. give yourself the opportunity to try veg/veganism with quality support. we offer raw food yoga retreats in the rainforest. everyone is transformed…you may be as well…that would be very empowering. http://www.wendygreenyoga.com om

  15. Lisa says:

    Hmm, holistic meaning I work with a focus on nutrition but also taking into account career, relationship, exercise, spirituality, etc. I will not deny anyone who feels called to work with me, and I would never impose a diet that feels oppressive to any client; but I am committed to working with this particular group of people b/c I am passionate about environmental sustainability, and to me, a whole foods, plant based diet is the most effective way for an individual to achieve this.

  16. Emily says:

    Great article! It IS tough hey?? I made the move to become veggo last year, and at this stage I still eat fish, eggs and dairy, but I'm getting there. With a history of disordered eating I may never go full vegan, but you know what – that's my own personal choice! I still buy ethically, and I don't think anyone else has the right to tell me what I can and can't eat.

    Thanks for this 🙂

  17. ashley says:

    u clearly did not balance your vegetarian diet properly. meat is not meant to be eaten, by anybody. it cant be properly digested in the human digestive tract (which is long and meant to carry roughage only, not putrefying diseased flesh) not to mention it causes heart disease and cancer. so sad that u couldnt find fruit and vegetables for carbs and protein. thats where the energy comes from. carbs! ur energy came back after eating a can of sardines? im guessing u were a junk food veggie. doritos is vegetarian, kitkat, smarties, birthday cake. thats not healthy food. thats cancer. so is sardines is a can. enjoy.

  18. ashley says:

    i am a vegan. a raw food vegan. my diet is raw fruits & vegetables. some nuts and seeds, and cooked quinoa from time to time. my diet is perfectly balanced, i am never weak, never low energy. im a runner, strength trainer and a devoted yogi who practices daily, and completed full teacher training. i never ever get sick, no colds, flu, headaches, stomach aches…i havent even felt queezy in years. none of that. my skin is perfect, as is my digestion.
    my reasons for being a vegan are, most importantly for the sake of our animals and our earth. humans are equal beings. it is not our right to kill other beings. it is also not the cycle of life. if it was, humans would crave raw bloody flesh, bones, skin hair and fur, the way a lion devours a freshly killed zebra. THAT is life cycle. but we dont crave that at all. it repulses us. we humans were built to live on fruit and veggies that smell and look beautiful to our senses. food that replenishes itself when picked 🙂 nature gives us fruit and veggies ready-2-eat 🙂 just pick your apples ad go… not much processing required. to consume meat, you need to raise animals, deplete our rain forest and natural land to house them, transport them, slaughter them, process and package… then season, marinade and cook them. that is not natural. that is detrimental. not only to the animals we share our earth with, but to our earth and the human body. meat in the body wreaks havoc and causes harm. cancer, heart disease, ulcers. meat is loaded with antibiotics, hormones, growth hormones, disease, ammonia, dioxides and bacteria.
    the treatment of the animals during "processing" is horrific to say the least, and is goes on every single second of every day for billions of animals around the world. torture, abuse. they cry, they feel pain, the see and smell blood. they know when they are next in line to die. they hear each other scream. and for what? burgers and steak for humans who choose to enjoy ignorance to the pain and suffering they are causing? no way, not fair.

    its a shame that it will take "time" abandon such lifestyle. i advise anyone that eats meat, to please rent the movies Forks Over Knives, Food Inc, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead, and Earthlings.

    Earthlings can be watched for free at Earthlings.com – and it could change your life.

    please, for your own sake, re think this life style.

    so much love for all beings. animals, universe, humans, vegans, meat eaters… all.


  19. You are not a vegan, Love, you are just trying to cover up your eating disorder (Max, waitress in 2 broke girls) You may laugh now, this is meant to be a joke :-))) Andrea

  20. Noelle says:

    You might enjoy some of the articles here: http://www.carpevegan.com/?page_id=352