Thursday, September 6, 2007

One Million Chickens

So this is what has been on my mind as of late (other than raving lunatics who, as suggested by Sane Elaine, need to come with warning labels)...

At the library the other day -- as I was picking through the cooking books to find some campfire cuisine info -- I came across a book entitled Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson. It's been a great read so far, and I've gotten to the part of the book where the author starts to give recipes. They all look so amazing! I can't wait to try a few (or all) out. The author is great and isn't confrontational at all about trying to sway the reader about a Vegan diet. However, I assume if you're strongly opposed to vegans, you wouldn't be reading the book in the first place. But there was something that swayed me -- a tiny fact embedded in the book's first chapter: Americans eat one million chickens per day. That's a lot of chickens! Can you imagine? I'm sure that the nation's many fried chicken chains are what consumes most of it. But in a nation that goes through that many chickens in just one day, imagine how many cows, sheep, pigs, or fish for that matter we must go through. There's no way that our nation can process that many animals in a humane or clean manner. No way. The math simply does not add up. One look at Upton Sinclair's The Jungle is enough to send me running to the toilet. And while I'm all for the ethics in following a diet devoid of animal products, I'm even more turned towards it because I'm a squeamish person.

So what's one to do when interested in Veganism, but married to someone who adores a big fat steak? I'm not sure -- but I am one of those people. Andi could care less about what happens to his meat before he eats his. He's obviously not as squeamish as I, and in effect he's all about the bottom line: food in his tum. Thinking about "mechanically separated chicken" touching my lips just isn't Kosher with me, ya know? It used to be that I would eat meat, but only fish and shellfish, eggs, milk products (cheese), and the occasional chicken or turkey. I didn't eat red meat or pork. I tried to drink soy milk as much as possible, but could rarely use it for anything more than my cereal. Then I met Andi. A lot of things changed (most for the better) when I met him. He swayed me to fall into normal eating habits...not all bad since in most cases I wasn't eating enough. But after a period of time, the section of my fridge generally dedicated to mostly vegetarian fare, slowly became a mesh of convenience and meat-laden foods. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. The reason I had abstained from red meat in the first place was because I'd heard in biology class in high school that it took your body something like three days to fully digest red meats...not to mention all the cholesterol and fats that came with it.

But then the other day, at the library, I saw a book that piqued my interest. I picked it up and brought it home to read a few pages. Really; who knew vegan food could be so enticing. Now if I could only get Andi truly interested in leaving most of his meat behind.

He says he would be interested in eating the food with me -- but what choice does he have? I do the cooking, and therefore I have the control. My fear is that he'll become dissatisfied with my cooking and in the end, It will have the opposite effect on him. I would love for him to endeavor into a vegan diet with me, but I know that's not realistic. I know it would be so much more healthful for him -- I'm utterly scared of him having a heart attack early in life (or at all, for that matter). So far, most of the men in his family have suffered heart attacks before the age of 50. I don't want that to be him. I don't want Adrien to have to endure that. On top of it, My grandmother died of a massive heart attack a few years back and my Mom has horrible cholesterol and eating habits. I want Adrien to have a healthy mom and dad.

Interested in veganism or not, I recommend this book to anyone looking for a few new (cheap) recipes to try out for the family!

But above all, it's really just a matter of that mechanically separated chicken that seems to come in everything from chicken nuggets to baby food -- yes, baby food.


Kelly said...

Vegan food is fantastic..I was a vegetarian for 7 or so years and I have tons of cookbooks. We still use them. The recipes are so colorful and intersting. How it All Vegan is my fav at the moment.
We eat meat..and its very hard to find organic, grass fed beef..just recently the market down the way started to carry organic meats and poultry..but its so expensive. Then i looked into ordering from Wholesome Harvest..and they are costly too. But the quality of the product is far superior than the crap at a supermarket. I have had the best ever new york strip and hot dogs from Wholesome Harvest..I did the whole soy/rice dream thing too.Ended using Rice Dream for everything as I found soy to be way to thick for my liking. There are many alternatives out there to try.I had some 'riblets' made from seitan and it was delicious. Maybe Andi would try something like that? Justin hated when I would make "Mac and Cheese' from The Farm was made from nutrional yeast flakes.

Missy said...

Intersting commentary here! I am a carnivore, but at home I am mostly a herbivore.

I have quite a few vegetarian or vegan friends, so I have read up on the topic a lot too. I love BBQ sauce and ice cream too much to commit to either diet though!

I also reccomend "How It All Vegan" for vegan recipes and just really intersting tips on sustainable living.

Or "Almost Vegetarian" for more veg centered recipes with some meat.