Friday, January 4, 2013

Why I Don't Eat {much} Meat

When we moved to the DC area about 2 1/2 years ago, we decided it was time to complete the change we had been inching our way towards since we were married.  I stopped buying meat.  I say "buying meat" instead of "eating meat," because we do have a few exceptions:
  • When we are guests, we are happy to eat whatever is served
  • When we go out to eat Andrew will often order something with meat, though I tend not to
  • We often include meat on the menu for the major holidays: Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas
  • We do eat fish, shrimp, crab, and other seafoods occasionally, so I guess we're technically "pescetarians," but that's a funny term
I have found many reasons to have a vegetarian diet, and a lot of confusing information out there, and want to add mine to the conversation.  So here they are, in order from most important for me to least important:

My reasons for having a {mostly} vegetarian diet

  • Word of Wisdom

    • In the LDS Church, our guidelines for health (where we learn not to drink alcohol or coffee, etc) come from the "Word of Wisdom."  In this scripture, it states:
    •  12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;
    •  13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.
    •  15 And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.
    • I feel like that's pretty clear language that states that I shouldn't be eating meat, almost ever.

  • Health

    • There is a lot of controversy in this area.  I have not done deep study on the subject, but in my limited research and reading, the science seems to support avoiding meat.  "The China Study," "Eat to Live," and "Disease-Proof your Child" are books I recommend.  I have also read and scanned some long, technical criticisms of "The China Study" (and the rebuttals that followed), and it seems like the science still holds.
    • The documentary "Forks Over Knives" makes a compelling case.
    • I also feel better and healthier when I am on a plant-based diet.  My husband and I both feel like we are as healthy and fit as we've ever been.
  • Environment
    • There are many environmental benefits of not eating meat.  I won't list them all here, but here are a few thoughts:
    • In its 2006 report, the United Nations said raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined.
    • There is a huge waste cost to maintaining and processing meat.  
  • Animal Rights
    • I won't do the research for you because it isn't pretty, but we've all seen pictures and videos about the horrific conditions in which most animals are kept when they're to be used as food.  Thankfully there are responsible ways to purchase meat from “happy cows” and “happy chickens,” and for those purchasing meat, where it comes from and how the animals were treated should be a priority. I also recommend the film, “Food, Inc.” which addresses the topic broadly, but has a focus on animal rights.
  • Cost
    • Meat is expensive, especially good meat (that reduces the environmental, health and animal rights costs).
    • We don't eat many "meat substitutes" (which can be expensive), but our diet is quite cheap.  Beans are much cheaper than meat.  A quick glance around the internet led me to think that overall, it's usually cheaper to eat vegetarian food.  It's always the cheapest option at a restaurant!
  • Preference
    • The less I eat meat, the less I like it.  Vegetables are now my favorite part of any meal, and seem to be on the whole more flavorful (when prepared well) than meat.
  • Vegetables and fruits are beautiful

I may have opened a can of worms with this post.  I welcome your comments!


  1. There is a lot of research out there supporting both sides to the meat argument. I've read very convincing articles/books saying that meat is an essential part of the human diet --- particularly as the best source of B vitamins, iron, fat, and protein. I've also read convincing pieces on meatless diets, especially in the cancer discussion. Since I'm not a skilled enough dietician to dissect all of the studies and facts out there, which thoroughly contradict each other, I rely on my gut wisdom. For me, meat makes sense.

    I look at it from an evolutionary standpoint. Our teeth include both incisors and molars, which indicates pretty strongly that humans are naturally omnivorous. (Every species on the planet with incisors eats meat). This does not mean that a human can't survive without it --- clearly one can have a healthy vegetarian diet if one is attentive to getting all necessary nutrients (B12! Iron!). But I feel that a vegetarian diet is less natural for the human body. Our earliest ancestors certainly were meat-eaters, and traditional cultures across the world still are.

    I love vegetables with all my heart and soul. Honestly, most of our dinners end up vegetarian. But I know that the fat-soluble vitamins I derive from my vegetables need fat to be useful to my body. I'm sure Nonie will have a lot to say about that, so I'll leave it to her.

    Animal rights are big with me. I won't buy meat or animal products unless it was organically, humanely raised --- 90% of the time locally. Period. Buy meat fresh from your local organic farmer: goodbye environmental concerns.

    It's an interesting point that our modern civilized culture tends to eat only animal muscle, throwing away the brains, livers, hearts, eyes, even skins of the animals we eat. This is wasteful, but it might be more than that. Traditionally humans have eaten the animal organs along with the muscle. Could it be that some of the ailments associated with meat-eating in the pro-vegetarian research, would be avoided if we ate the enTIRE animal? It seems a likely possibility to me, as the organ meats contain manifold vital nutrients.

    Meat is expensive. Blah. One day I will raise my own! Meat is ugly. But tasty.

    Fruits and vegetables ARE beautiful! Oh so beautiful.

  2. Great post. I agree with it all, and I love the last point. Fruits and vegetables are beautiful! I made a simple veggie soup with sprouted beans yesterday and was amazed at the brilliance of all the colors.

  3. My mother decided about 45 years ago to become a vegetarian, mostly for humanitarian reasons. Our dad joined her, mostly out of a desire for unity in their marriage. He is what we jokingly call a "meat and potatoes" vegetarian, as his tastes do not run to any more exotic favors or textures than a man born in the '30s would have become familiar with. So I've had a lot of time to think about this issue, and like you, Ariel, I have made big changes in recent years. The book Omnivore's Dilemma had a big impact on me, in addition to your other sources, most of which I know.

    But like you, my primary reasons for avoiding meat are doctrinal. We don't tell one another not to eat meat, but I'd like to share why I don't eat much, since the discussion has come up.

    I see the gospel as a set of laws and higher laws. Clearly the Lord allowed for his children to eat meat, and gave them the capacity to do it. Very often in other times and places historically we have had to eat meat to survive, and He has allowed the sacrifices of animals for this purpose. Interestingly, the sacrifice of animals has been seen as a holy thing in temple settings. I believe there is an accountability attached to it. The JST of Genesis 9:10-14 says, "And surely blood shall not be shed, only for meat, to save your lives; and the blood of every beast will I require at your hands."

    I feel that accountability, as I do not personally face any times of famine, and little winter (without heat) and enjoy an abundance of good, affordable food options. The Word of Wisdom as we have it now is "adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints," (verse 3) which is a mercy, considering I am soundly in the latter category. However, that implies to me that there may be more stringent requirements of a higher law which I would hope some day to be able to live, so first I feel a need to bring my life in conformity with the spirit and law of this revelation as it stands.

    With Meredith and Ariel, I recoil at the treatment of domestic animals in our country, thanks to Michael Pollen and others. I can't go back to ignorance about that. Nor do I like the idea of even a "happy" cow being killed for me when the costs are still fairly high for society (echoing Ariel's environmental concerns, detailed in Omnivore's Dilemma and plenty of other places), and very high for the cow.

    I have a lot to learn about nutrition, but my studies have not yet convinced me that I can only find full health through meat eating, though I see much that argues against meat eating.

    I'm grateful for what I see as much light and knowledge coming forth about health and wellness, both in and out of the Church, and believe that with the Spirit, we as individuals and families can find the paths the Lord offers us as we prepare for Zion living.

    Love to all the amazing ODL bloggers. Every one of you is a light to me, and miles ahead in matters of wisdom! Keep up your beautiful, life-affirming work.

    1. Thank you for so thoughtfully contributing to this conversation, Lark. It does seem likely that a higher order will not include the consumption of animals (including eggs and milk? I don't know...). But will our bodies not be changed at that point, no longer with blood flowing through them? Perhaps we need a different kind of nourishment now than we will then. But I can only speculate. Even Jesus ate fish after his resurrection.

      Keenan and I have talked about how important it is to think of meat as a creature, not a commodity, which is how society tragically seems to view it. In general, it is definitely used "to excess" and "by extortion" (D&C 59:20), but not by us.

  4. There Is a lot to say on this subject for sure. It is one that brings out strong feelings on all sides. I really appreciate this being a forum where we can discuss these things. Thanks for posting this, Ariel. I agree with many things that have been said from all contributors.

    There are many reasons why I choose to include meat in my diet, which have been covered for the most part. I have lived a mostly vegetarian diet when I was in college, and to be honest I feel better with moderate amounts of good quality meat in my diet, including organ meats and all the fats included, then I ever have in my life.

    We are VERY picky about the meats that we buy, choosing meals sans meat rather then meals with inhumanely raised animal meats. We buy almost strictly locally raised meats.

    I grew up on a farm, and hunted often with my father. He is a very wise man, and taught me the idea behind true stewardship (I have seen him tear up at seeing animals who are sick, or hurt) -- never harvesting more than our family could use, or on occasion when the opportunity was legally available we would harvest more and give what extra we had to neighboring widows or families in need. He has recounted to me several very spiritual experiences he has had with animals, that truly harken back to times of greater understanding of nature and man's place as caretaker. A time when humans were more in touch with the earth. I have also had such experiences when gardening. The world is truly full of give and take, as a part of God's design.

  5. For anyone who would like some additional perspectives on LDS doctrine and eating meat, this is an interesting post that contains quite a few quotes from church leaders including some presidents of the church and George Q. Cannon: . Btw, on NPR I recently heard a reporter introduce news about a prominent Mormon with the comment that Mormons "[insert well known fact about Mormons here] and eat very little meat."

    1. Funny about the NPR intro! I'm afraid we don't quite deserve that reputation as a people. :)

      I'm a little concerned that Brother Catano used some of those quotes to support vegetarianism, when in context they were not intended that way. For instance, I have read the Widtsoe book cover to cover, and from the slice he quotes on his web page one would think the Widtsoes advocated vegetarianism. They unequivocally did not, although they said an intelligent person might manage a healthy vegetarian lifestyle. Rather, they condemned the excessive consumption of meat in our country, but recognized the deep nutritional value of naturally raised meat and particularly advocated eating the accompanying organ meats of any animal.

      I can't speak for his other quotes, since I don't have time to do the research tonight. But my research on the Widtsoe issue was already done. I'm sure Brother Catano is right in pointing out that church membership as a whole is NOT doing a good job with the Word of Wisdom, and that our consumption of meat is unbalanced.

      I think this quote from the Widstoes is pertinent and true: "The heavy meat eater does not as a rule eat sufficient amounts of the other necessary foods."

  6. My purpose in writing this is not to convince anyone one way or the other. I feel as Lark said that I would not tell another person what to eat, or not eat. Those things are personal choice. I do feel, though, it might be prudent to look at other scriptures wherein the Lord states further explanation as to meat consumption.

    In Doctrine and Covenants 49:18, 19, and 21 the Lord states,

    "18 And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God;

    19 For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance.

    21 And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need."

    Verse 21 above, I believe, is also what the Lord was referring to in JST Genesis 9:11, which reads, "And surely blood shall not be shed, only for meat, to save your lives; and the blood of every beast will I require at your hands." Historically speaking, during the time Genesis was written, people lived closer to their animals than many people do in our day, it is conceivable, and I believe, that God was stating it is not wrong to kill an animal who is attacking a human. (Growing up in a farming community I have seen people attacked by rampaging cows due to no fault of their own.) I feel these clearly show as the Lord has given animals to man, man will be held accountable for their every treatment of them, but not that we should not use them for food.

    Also a further look into the meaning of the word sparingly, read in verse 12 of D&C 89, shows that word means moderate, or given to prudence or restraint.

    1. Paul says something similar in 1 Timothy 4:

      1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

      2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

      3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

      4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

      5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

  7. No disputations about the virtues of a plant-based diet here! The value of eating fruits and vegetables cannot be overstated.

    I do, however, disagree that the most correct interpretation of the Word of Wisdom is to have a meat-free diet. In addition to the scripture Melissa cited above, complementary verses endorsing the eating of meat can be found elsewhere in the standard works (my favorites are D&C 59:15-20, too long to type here, and 1 Nephi 17:2 -- "And so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us, that while we did live upon our raw meat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings." -- one could argue that they were eating meat under very different, strenuous physical circumstances but the idea that meat can improve your breastmilk, energy and muscle strength was not just a special one-time blessing for just this people.)

    In my perspectives about meat-eating, I like to go all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Pre-Fall, there was no death and therefore no killing or eating of animal flesh by human or other animals. Lions were herbivores and could be trusted to baby-sit the lambs! Adam and Eve lacked a critical mortal factor: BLOOD. They did not have blood coursing through their veins, but some other kind of spiritual matter. Eve did not menstruate and therefore could not conceive. And they did not shed the blood of animals for any reason.

    The Fall made both the beasts and the humans mortal and now their blood could be split, which would cause their death. Man and beast became more carnal and blood was considered the corrupting agent. (Maybe Meredith could enlighten us about the Judaic traditions of cleansing and time of purification as it related to menstrual cycles and childbirth?) Not only were animals to be used for sacrifice, but also for food. I imagine it must have been very difficult for Adam and Eve to shed the blood of their beloved animals, who might have been like named pets to them in the Garden of Eden.

    Like Meredith said, many ancient cultures were very diligent about eating the whole animal, leaving nothing to waste. Of particular value were the organ meats, adrenal glands and so on. They believed eating a particular part of the animal strengthened that same part in their own body.

    Today's science is pretty unanimous that red meat (particularly liver) is unequivocally highest in two (plus other) extremely important things: iron and B12 vitamins. B12 vitamins are practically impossible to find in plant foods and the iron in liver is a slam dunk compared to anywhere else. My dad is trying to heal himself from Stage IV kidney cancer with a fat-free vegan diet (using the Gerson Protocols) and has to give himself weekly B12 injections since he's not eating any meat or fat (temporarily to treat the cancer by starving the cancerous cells of necessary proteins to reproduce, not because he believes meat causes cancer as the China Study insinuates and not as a long-term diet solution.)

  8. cont'd...

    So, what is the main function of iron and B12 are in our bodies? Yep, you guessed it: BLOOD. B12 vitamins directly impact the creation and oxygen-carrying capacity of Red Blood Cells. Iron cells become the "heme" in hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in Red Blood Cells (and the mygolobin in muscle tissue). Without Iron and B12 vitamins, our RBCs will function less effectively, have cellular deformations and will not carry oxygen properly the rest of our body. In my mind: we eat blood and muscle to build blood and muscle. For menstruating or pregnant women, Iron deficiency anemia is a huge problem.

    (Something slightly remarkable about those powerhouse "Heme" cells: even though the RBCs have a lifespan of 3-4 months and then disintegrate, the "globin" part is sloughed off and the "heme" remains to become a new RBC. These iron/heme cells are constantly regenerating RBCs and are passed from mother to child. Think about that! Going straight up your maternal line, you actually have iron cells in your body from an animal that your GG Grandmother ate! Even back all the way to Mother EVE! I love claiming her literal blood. Makes me want to have the highest quality food sources of iron available to propagate MY iron being passed on.)

    Because of the Fall, I believe it is critical for humans to eat a sparing portion of meat for the proper development of our blood and muscle. I believe that in our fallen and carnal state, it is part of God's plan for our bodies to need the substances found in other living animals and sea creatures. They are given for "our use" as cited above. I also believe that in our resurrected state when we are restored to bodies of "flesh and bone" (but NOT that corruptible blood) and the Lion will again lie with the Lamb, we will probably not kill the beasts and eat them.

    Addressing some of the other points: I purchase only the finest, organically grown, grass-fed cuts of beef, free range soy-free poultry, wild-caught fresh fish, and raw milk and dairy products from farmers I trust. These do come at a high price and so automatically their frequency is limited to "sparingly". I prepare a meal with meat about once a week; with red meat (grass fed beef liver!) maybe once or twice a month. My go-to quick meal is brown rice cooked in chicken stock with steamed vegetables, yum! When I do eat red meat, I always pair it with some kind of fermented food to aid the speedy digestion of the meat and to avoid the discomfort beef, in particular, can bring. Plain yogurt is good with beef, but sauerkraut or Nonie's fermented ginger carrots would be great!

    1. So interesting about the heme being physically passed from one generation to the next! That's a little mind-boggling.

  9. This is an engaging topic! Thanks so much to Ariel and commenters. I hope that in this LDS, health-oriented forum my comments are not construed as violating either the spirit or letter of D&C 49:18, referenced above, only sharing why we have cut back considerably on meat eating in our family. Of course, we each address the issue as we see best. Interestingly, continuing the discussion of the use of meat, verse 21 of that section says, “And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.”

    The nutritional arguments regarding meat eating are long and interesting, and clearly others have studied this a lot. I have enjoyed reading here and other places various views about health merits both ways. For readers interested in requirements and vegetarian sources of vitamin B-12, there are resources, including plenty on the internet.

    I can't help noting that, according to a Book of Mormon documentary I recently watched ("Journey of Faith", Neal A. Maxwell Institute, BYU), the desert where Lehi's family was journeying during the period of the miracle of the raw meat contains essentially no plants at all. For me, this strengthens the idea I see in D&C 89 that meat eating may be relative to our circumstances.

    1. Verse 21 might be interpreted in different ways: condemning a person who kills any animal when they have other food to sustain them; or condemning a person who kills for sport, shedding the blood and wasting the flesh. I feel that even if there is other food to eat, my body "hath need" to be fortified by an animal, especially the organs and the bone stock. Like for like, as Carrie mentioned.

  10. I love you Galli gals - such a love for the earth and for the Lord, and an eagerness to do right. Thanks for putting this out there, Ariel. It's good to be able to share our varied convictions on the subject.

    My comments are too extensive for this little box, so I will put them together in a post in the very near future. Suffice it to say, the idea that a non-meat diet is healthiest is by no means conclusive (even from the sources you mentioned), especially when drawing conclusions about what our bodies need based on (pre-Westernized) traditional diets.

    If I could only get meat from feedlot cows or battery chickens or farmed fish (GM salmon newly approved!), I would be a vegetarian. If there was no such thing anymore as raw dairy, pastured eggs, and pure raw honey, I might even be vegan. Having access to these nourishing foods is one of my most treasured blessings, for which I thank my Heavenly Father every single day.

  11. This has been an interesting discussion and I've appreciated everyone's comments. To follow up, it is true that almost all sources of vitamin B12 come from animal protein, which includes eggs and dairy. For all other essential nutrients including calcium, iron, zinc, and protein, a diet rich in nuts, seeds, green vegetables, beans, and whole grains can give a person far more than the daily recommendation. Recent science provides many sources for this information, and I'd be happy to share them if you'd like to know.

    Ultimately, the topic of whether or not to eat meat is left to each person to decide for him or herself. The Lord does not compel us not to eat meat, but says it is "pleasing" to Him that meat "should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine" (further defined as “excess hunger” in the following verse in D&C 89). I don't know if as Lorenzo Snow thought, that the time is "near at hand when the Latter-day Saints should be taught to refrain from meat eating and the shedding of animal blood." Most of the kind, Christlike people I know eat meat and I do not think less of them for it.

    As for myself, I feel incredibly blessed that unlike most of the Lord's children who have lived on the earth, I have never experienced famine or excess hunger. As far as my body is concerned, even though it is winter, I live on a subtropical island like Brother Catano where it is always about 70 degrees year round. I am also a stay at home mom with the time, helpful kitchen gadgets, and financial means to be able to prepare vegetarian and vegan dishes. I know that during the millennium, the lion and lamb will lie down together and “no one will hurt nor destroy” any longer (Isaiah 11). I feel like I can be a part of ushering in that day by refraining from eating meat. Joseph Smith said, "Men must become harmless, before the brute creation; and when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together, and the sucking child can play with the serpent in safety." I used to think that when Zion returned, we would learn to live accordingly and relinquish old habits, but I now see it as the responsibility of individuals (without casting judgment on any other) to prepare for Zion as the Spirit directs.

    1. Thank you for contributing your thoughts, Rachel. Even though we all have different feelings regarding the justice of meat consumption, none of us is out of line before the Lord. Many people are these days, those who eat too much and without care and thanksgiving.

      As a meat eater, I don't feel a "vicious disposition" or feelings to "destroy the animal race." The Lord did say that "it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man [referring to the fulness of the earth]; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion" (D&C 59:20). Fortunately, it seems that the Lord is pleased when we care for our stewardship, which includes the earth and all things upon it, in whichever way we are led.

  12. ODL! Sorry, I hope it's okay that a person who can grow a pretty decent full beard is commenting on this lady-like-and-inspiring blog.

    The cool and kinda crazy thing about this discussion is that we're talking about eating the whole animal gratefully or none of the animal gratefully. That sounds like a healthy discussion, and that on both ends of the spectrum all of us all commenters are doing our best as stewards of the earth and creation. It's actually pretty inspiring.

    As for my personal view--it's still forming. I still love a good hamburger. But the funny thing is, the less I eat it, the less I want it, and the less I want it, the less I like it when I have it. I'm not sure about all the research and science and stuff--I just know I feel better eating the way I do. Of course, Ariel's delightful meals makes it easy to adopt. If I tried to cook vegetarian it would probably be toast, bagels, bananas, and hhhhmmmmm...Little Debbie's...mmmmmm...Little Debbie's. . .Fudge Rounds . . . oh man, all this talk is giving me excess hunger for my Deb's. Too bad we have a Deb famine 'round here, and it's winter. Is Deb nice to cows she uses for her creamy goodness? Time for some research, which hopefully gives me some credibility next time I visit this blog. My life may be about to change.

    1. Neutrality unwelcome here, Andrew! Be gone!! ;)

      I hate to break this to you, but I highly doubt there's a smidgen of actual cream or milk in anything Little Debbie makes. That "creamy goodness" is likely some mixture of partially hydrogenated oils (read: trans fat) amidst all sorts of sugars, refined carbs, and artificial flavors/colors in the rest of the product (I dare not call it food). Maybe if you're lucky, you'll get some coconut or something. Reading the ingredient list might convince you not ever to touch one again. Sorry Deb.

      Also, I must agree that I don't feel good after eating a hamburger either, if it was made from conventionally-grown beef (which is what every food joint seves, almost across the board). My body knows the difference instantaneously. One is wholesome, one is not.

      I like it when you comment on the blog.

    2. Skones! You should have given me a "spoiler alert!" My new doubt in Deb causes dread in the stead of my once-happy head. That didn't even rhyme.

      Well, now I know and the truth has set me free. I guess I'll just have to have my Deb's when some random saint plays the "open your mouth and close your eyes and I will give you a big surprise" game. I hope someone does that today.

    3. This thread is hilarious!! LOVE this family, including the Gali's (though I'm not really related, our connection is close enough for me.)

  13. I have to say I think this whole conversation is wonderful! It really epitomizes what this blog is all about: being deliberate about our everyday choices for the physical and spiritual well being of ourselves and our families. I also think it's wonderful that we can have a forum to talk about this important issue that's strangely rarely mentioned. Thank you for being thoughtful and polite. Let's keep this good conversation open!

  14. Hear Hear! Thanks for providing this forum for interesting and important discussions. I am learning so much from each of you amazing women (and you too Andrew :). I would love to claim whatever relationship with the Marshall sisters that I can!

  15. I sure hope we're related, Melissa! I tell everyone we are ;)

    1. Thanks, Lark! That is a high compliment coming from you. :)

  16. Ariel, I don't know if you remember coming to our house for dinner years ago, but you brought a sugar-free apple crisp for dessert that was delicious, but afterwards Nathan and I definitely agreed that the processed sugar-free lifestyle you guys were adopting and told us a little about would be "crazy." Fast forward a few years and we find ourselves on a similar path (though still several steps behind your family it sounds like) as we've significantly reduced our intake of meat and processed foods. Thanks so much for your example!

    A lot of the sources you mentioned also promote removing ALL animal products from our diets, and I was wondering if you've also cut out eggs and dairy to the same extent that you've excluded meat. I go back and forth myself, one week making my own almond milk, the next buying organic whole milk, all the while wondering if I should take the plunge and try raw milk ... I'd love your thoughts!

    1. Hi Kimber. Melissa did a recent post on raw milk (, and we should do a few more. You can check out for more information if you like. You couldn't make a better choice for your family (it rivals kicking sugar...). :) It's one of the most biodiverse foods on the planet and will help you all build a beautiful natural immunity. Best wishes in these great steps you're taking toward real food!