I'm no hero- true vegetarians are 'carbivores' by definition- and if the diet is based on starch-heavy items suchs as grains, we all know the consequences.
I have considered adopting meat several times since my diagnosis- it would be a heck of a lot easier for me to get protein without worrying about carb overload, or wondering about if all the blather about the evils of soy are really true.
I don't know how the farm animals in Scotland are raised, but in America the animals are fed growth hormones, huge amounts of antibiotics, and other medications. Chickens are housed in overcrowded cages, and fed their own waste products mixed in a slurry of shredded newspaper and antibiotics. Meat inspectors are few and far between, so carcasses are rarely tested for E.coli and other contaminants. Fish ingest mercury dioxide and other water pollutants. I was part of a study that tested the milk of nursing mothers who ate fish caught in the Great Lakes ( in New York- from lake Ontario) and you wouldn't believe what we found there in large amounts. Children in the Philippines go into early puberty as a consequence of eating beef that had been fed growth hormones. And there have been cases of humans getting 'mad cow disease' from eating contaminated beef. I have toured slaughter houses and I'm sure that the average chunk of American beef is additionally laced with stress hormones- those cows know the sledge hammer is swinging down on their buddies as they wait in line. They cry out in distress. I'm not a member of PETA- I have no problem killing lab rodents or using animals for legitimate scientific research, so I'm not being an alarmist here.
As a biochemist I know that a lot of those toxins become part of the flesh of the animal, and consequently, are eaten by humans. Vegetables (with a very few exceptions) do not take up and store fertilizers, pesticides etc. Those contaminants are found on the outside of the plant, and thorough washing, peeling, and steaming eliminates the problem. Bacteria and fungi can be washed away with soap rinses. I grow and preserve a good number of my own vegetables, and I belong to an organic coop where I get boxes of veggies (that I can't or don't grow) every week during the growing season.
I inquired locally- and I couldn't find any sources of meat that I could be sure would be chemical free. I can get eggs from a nearby Amish farm- but even the meat sold to the public at the Amish markets is not antibiotic free.
Back to the liver- I agree that is it rich in nutrients- largely because its function is to strip anything useable by the body and send it back into the circulation. But it is also a collection point for toxins and I try really hard to limit my toxin ingestion.
I am glad that you thrive and have seen improved health since leaving the vegetarian lifestyle and I hope you continue to do so, but until the issues I mentioned are resolved, I'm sticking to veggies
Post Edited (gelchick) : 12/28/2007 5:09:14 PM (GMT-7)
Sandy, I think you summed up the inherent dangers of a vegetarian diet very well. It was certainly a problem for me finding sufficient good quality protein and simulataneously trying to limit the quantity of carbohydrates that almost inevitably become staples of a vegetarian diet.
I would be alarmed at someone who wasn't uncomfortable with the practices of industrial farming, all the way from inception to slaughterhouse. Having said that, there is now a growing market in free-range and organic meats and eggs here in Scotland that is great in quality and a whole lot easier on the conscience. These animals have a good quality of life, they are fed organically, given space to roam and forage, and often spared the stressful long-distance haulage to industrial abbatoirs. It's heavier on the pocket of course, but unless one's income is very limited, it's a totally false economy buying cheap food. As with so much in life, you get what you pay for!
I felt fortunate to be a veggie throughout the BSE / CJD debacle here in the 80s and 90s and I doubt whether real lessons have been learned by the intensive farming industry. But consumer power is maybe the best way to address these issues, so I'm comfortable to be a carnivore-with-a-conscience!
All the best,
Post Edited (metres) : 12/31/2007 1:20:12 PM (GMT-7)
Post Edited (gelchick) : 12/31/2007 3:58:38 PM (GMT-7)
Post Edited (gelchick) : 1/2/2008 11:14:27 AM (GMT-7)