We're on a health documentary video binge. We watched the Netflix video "What the Health" probably three times over the weekend with the kids. I say probably 3 times cause we'd have to start it over for a kid that came late or watch it again for a kid who wasn't home. So, it's helped us further indoctrinated ourselves to go vegan for our health's sake. Here's the trailer for it.
We also watched "Cowspiracy", so we're going vegan for the earth's sake too. Cowspiracy is done by the same filmmakers, and was made before the one above, so that might be better to watch them in that order cause Cowspiracy kinda leads into the other one. So, we're pretty much sold on the terribleness of the Standard American Diet for our health and for the earth.
We're also convinced as a matter of principle... Corey taught the lesson on the Word of Wisdom yesterday in Sunday School. The Word of Wisdom is the code of health for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I think Joseph's decision last month to give up meat might have prepped us for this lesson and the conclusions we both came to as we studied it. So, Corey did a great job teaching, I think he's a natural. I need to send out a huge thank you to my dear friend Kathy O for taking Daniel out so I could listen and participate. And I think I behaved myself, I didn't go crazy with comments but did accidentally attempt to jump ahead of Corey's outline a few times. It was a great discussion. Overall it was very good and Corey only had one regret, which I'll get to in a second. I was kinda bummed we didn't get very far in reading the section through. I really wanted to go in to what the Lord says about eating meat, so here's what I think would have been discussed if we had time and my 2 cents:
I bet if you ask most members of the LDS church what the Word of Wisdom says about meat, they'd say "Eat meat sparingly." And yes, that the first thing said about it in verse 12 (D&C 89:12). Then we would have asked "Is there anything else?" then someone would have raised their hand to say "Eat it in times of winter." Yes, that is in verse 13. Anything else? We did talk about D&C 49:18 where it says that if anyone says man should not eat meat, that man is not ordained of God. Right, so you can't tell another person they cannot eat meat. Other than that? Yeah, that about covers the meat topic. But then! we would have pointed out the first part of verse 13 "It is pleasing unto me that they NOT be used..." You can eat meat, it's not forbidden, but it pleases God if we don't use/eat meat?! Is that a new thought? It was for me a few weeks ago. Now that might not settle well with most of us, cause I recognize that meat is considered the main course in our culture... everyone uses meat at almost every meal... Honestly, I had never noticed that part before this month... (Any comments about the comma would have seen an answer by quoting one of the early brethren of the church, referenced in this article by Jane Birch) And as to these two points "sparingly" and "in times of winter", there is all sort of wiggle room there. How often is "sparingly" like a little bit at each meal? Once a day? Once a week? Each person could interpret that for themselves. And "in times of winter" ... I've heard it said that the Lord told the pioneers that cause they didn't have refrigeration in summer time to keep the meat from spoiling. So since we have refrigeration, we're okay to have it in summer time now cause it won't get us sick. Besides, in our world today, that is what summer is all about - let's have a BBQ! "Honey, fire up the grill!!" Our family for sure has been there every summer and we just had a bbq with friends on June 2nd that we had scheduled before we started to think about this meat subject. Anyway...
To wrap up the meat discussion, we would have said "Has anyone ever noticed verse 15?" (Cause I never had...) Let's see, it says: And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.
In the printed copy, the word "these" has a footnote referring the reader back to verse 13, so the Lord is talking about animals and the flesh of beasts. So that there is telling us that God made these for us to use ONLY IN TIME of FAMINE and EXCESS OF HUNGER. My kids get a little cranky when they fast each month, and they might feel they have excess of hunger, but we've never been in a famine. In my whole life, I've never experienced famine. That's the Lord's counsel for when to eat meat. Hmm... there is not a lot of wiggle room with the famine part. Basically, my take away, is that meat is only to be used in emergencies. Kids, when we're so hungry we're ready to go eat your pet guinea pigs, that is when it would be okay to eat animals. One comment was made in class that if it hadn't been for eating meat, many of the pioneers wouldn't have made it across the plains. That was where we could have had this whole meat discussion, but time was short and Corey agreed and we moved on. So his one regret was that he didn't counter that comment with something like "That is true... if you are starving like the pioneers were, the Lord would give his consent that we eat meat to survive. But, none of us look like we're starving... it's rather quite the opposite!"
I never would have thought that I wasn't keeping the Word of Wisdom, but I don't think I have been - atleast not this part of it, not for my whole life! But we didn't realize what it was saying, even though I agree it's as plain as plain can be... why didn't I see it? Did I even study this before? I have been keeping it to the best of my knowledge, but now that I know more (and if you're still reading, I guess you might know more now too, sorry?) ... now that I know more, I'm going to obey it. I'm not buying meat, milk, eggs or cheese anymore. We live in a time of abundance, I have so much fruit and vegetables, wheat, grains, and wholesome herbs available for my family to eat! IT'S AMAZING!! As Joel Fuhrman says in his book "Eat to Live" on page 58 - 61, he talks about how wealthy nations are the ones dying from dietary disease, and poor nations die from hunger or poor sanitation problems. Starting on page 61 (all emphasis mine) -
"The diseases of poverty are mostly infections diseases and are found in areas of the world with compromised nutrition. Heart attacks and the most common cancers (breast, colon, prostate) are found in rich societies where nutritional extravagance is the rule. Nowhere in the world today can we find a society that combines economic wealth with a high intake and variety of unrefined plant foods. CAN YOU IMAGINE the HEALTH POTENTIAL of a society that would be able to enjoy excellent sanitation, emergency medical care, refrigeration, clean water, flush toilets, and availability of fresh produce year round and yet avoid nutritional ignorance and nutritional extravagance? WE HAVE THIS OPPORTUNITY TODAY! An unprecedented opportunity in human history the opportunity to live a long and healthy life without feat of disease. This opportunity can be yours!"
I want this opportunity for myself and my children, for my parents and family! I don't need meat or animal products to stay alive, we have so much available to us. I don't need to kill or cause excessive use and abuse of them for my life to continue nor for my health to be well. Not to mention that that eating them causes cancer (watch Forks Over Knives" on Netflix or read the China Study) or to mention the horrible lives the poor animals live which end in their early death and slaughter. (a few sad ones on youtube, viewer discretion advised: Farm to Fridge - don't let your kids watch that one, baby chicks on egg farms male chicks ground up alive, the hens live such sad lives, :(, chickens raised for meat (so sad, try not to cry... poor baby birds), cows raised for meat, dairy farms - I feel so sad that the baby cows are taken from their mothers so we can have their milk, it's just not necessary!) I think the baby birds we had in our back yard has helped with this whole process of thought for me. One baby bird died and I bet the parents didn't cry like I would have if Daniel died, but still, they have instincts to want to live and to take care of their young, to feed their babies, can't we let them? It's just sad on so many levels. We humans need to be better stewards.
So there ya go, that's my new cause. We're going a bit radical here. But we should all be able to avoid early death and heart disease and diabetes! So that should help us keep our heads up. I haven't decided on school year lunches policy. I don't want to support the horrible unhealthy choices my kids have at school (see minute 55 in the video above), so we'll figure that out when we get there. And maybe after eating amazingly all summer the kids will want to keep going with it themselves. I'm not forcing them to not eat any animal foods, they are free to choose to have it at friends houses or social gatherings, but I will not be buying it and bringing it into our home, only very sparingly (I do have plans to buy some ice cream for the birthday's this weekend for Lily and Wesley) so that's where we're at right now! I'm very happy with it and don't have the conflict that I usually have as I prepare foods of "This isn't good for you guys but I guess if you want it and it makes you happy..." but NOW! The milk has been gone for almost a week and we're eating bowls of wheat berries or brown rice with rice milk and fresh cut up fruit for breakfast! Today I made a green smoothie, I don't feel conflicted, I'm preparing food, and it's good food! We're starting our whole food plant based diet for everyone, yay!