My sister recently had a baby.  As the baby got older and was going into care, my sister needed to decide what to feed her.  So my Mom breaks out an ancient looking food grinder and handed down the tradition of grinding food, putting it into ice cube trays that can be frozen and taken out during the week for the baby.

End of winter harvest from my dad's garden.

End of winter harvest from my dad’s garden.

Guess what foods they are painstakingly cooking, pureeing and freezing?  Fruits, vegetables, grains and lentils.  Add some dethawed breastmilk in the bottle and my little 8 month old niece is eating and drinking her health while her family is at work.  Do meat or dairy from another species around.

So when is it that we start a regimen of dairy, eggs and meat with a side of dairy.  I was just looking at webmd and seeing what they suggest feeding babies.  “They” say it doesn’t matter what you feed your baby, or in what order and pureed meat is a ok.  Really?  And you just weaned your baby, start them on cows milk, no time like the present.  [Have you ever seen a cow, would you feel a desire to go and suck on another animals teat?]  We go to the doctor and trust what they tell us, even though the information changes from generation to generation.

I have recently become a spiritual seeker.  On my path I have decided to make little changes here and there to tune into my intuition and have needed to address the foods I put into my body.  How I treat my temple.  Believe it or not it all started with throwing away television. Now I am living a vegan lifestyle, awakening my consciousness, feeling creative, doing yoga and am full of energy.

This was not always the case and my history is braided with the connections to the land and the food we eat.  I was involved in 4H and FFA as a child.  I have lived on various meats, milks and cheeses.  My dad is really great with some oak wood and a BBQ.   As an adult, when I was living alone my fridge would sometimes get down to just string cheese and pistachios.  Well, I had it half right.

One of the baby lambs we got to raise for the fair.

One of the baby lambs we got to raise for the fair.

Part of the things I did in these youth organizations was raise animals for the county fair.  I raised lambs and steers and sold them as meat.

One of my most heartbreaking memories, was when my Dad allowed me to walk my steer, Georgio, to the slaughter truck.  [Wow, this seems so bizarre to me know that I could do this and not be stopped in my tracks then.] So I walked him to the holding pen at night on the fairgrounds and then walked back to our chapters area with just an empty halter, crying.  Only as long as it took me to get my check I guess.

One of the steers I raised for the county fair as a high school student.

One of the steers I raised for the county fair as a high school student.

This was one of my steers and I cannot even tell you what I named him.  I did however provide a good life for these animals while they were with me but like all animals destined for the slaughter house, the idyllic lifestyle did not last long enough for him.

When I met Kirsten, she was a vegan and I barely knew what it meant.  But I did know that it meant changing a lot about what I was doing to live.  Changes are hard, habits are hard to break and conditioning sticks.

Three years later, we are walking this road together filled with love and appreciation for all living things.  We are also armed with the knowledge of what the industrialization of our food system has done to the animals and the environment as well as the people who work in it.  We have decided we prefer peace on our plate instead of murder.  Too simplistic? Really. think. about. it.

I have a somewhat happier memory of childhood which seems more in line with how it must have been in the olden days.  We had a huge front grassy area and at the far end with had some corrales.  One year we raised a pig that we called Pismo, after a local beach.  We took care of him, let him frolick in water and gave him good food to eat.  One day a friend of ours came over and us kids were sent into the house and the next thing we heard was the shotgun.  I know there was still pain that Pismo felt, but we knew where our meat had come from.  We had the connection from the farm to the plate.  This is a car cry away from the feedlots, hormones, antibiotics and improper food fed to most animals whose dead flesh becomes our breakfast, lunch and dinner.  In both cases the animals feel pain at the time of dead and that releases chemicals that are in the meat we eat.  In our current food system there is much more suffering and fear animals go through as they are raised for and during slaughter.  All of these chemicals taint our body.

I have actually been to a feedlot, not just driven by and turned my nose up at the smell miles before you can see and it and miles after, but gone to as a destination.  I also used to judge livestock, like market animals and breeding stock.  We went to the Harris Ranch feedlot to grade steers.  That is how you look and try to judge the marbling of the inside flesh and grade prime, choice, select or standard.  I actually got out of the truck one time, to get a better look, and my feet sunk into what I must now realize was piss and shit and probably some puss.

What interesting to me now is how far away from the ideas of animal husbandry we have gotten as we have pushed meat and animal byproducts on people and their children.  How the family farm has been replaced and scaled up and bares no resemblance to what it once was.  How the medical industry has partnered with big agriculture to further the agendas of murder and puss filled crack like cheese substances.  The environmental impact of growing food for meat and having the animals filter our nutrients, not to mention the amounts of water involved.

Through these same organizations, I also learned some great things.  How to plant and grow vegetables.  How to create habitats for bees and birds near my garden.  How to speak and become a leader.  What’s crazy is that in a field designed to teach people how to sustain themselves with food that I didn’t learn the first thing about proper nutrition.  Nor did I truly learn the definition of an herbivore and a carnivore.  Lets face it humans have no carnivorous instincts.  When my cat leaves me a present of a dead bird on the doorstep, I am not getting down on my hands and knees to partake.

There is all kinds of factual information about the length of our digestive track, (long enough to allow meat to rot inside), how our jaws move side to side, and how all the chemicals released by a scared, fearful animal will end up in the meat we eat.  But I’m sure others could give you more information on that.  Try this.

Honestly, I want to be my best self; mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.  All of these aspects of the self can be nurtured and expanded with a plant based diet.  Its all connected to the decalcification of our pineal gland, the opening of our ajna chakra or our third eye, the waking up of our true selves. Kindness can be shown for all living things not just fellow humans.  All beings deserve life.

Changing your diet is not really that hard when it comes down to compassion for living things, understanding your own body and intuition and saying no to both your conditioning and what others, even those with “authority,” tell you.  I recently borrowed The Kind Diet from the library and have devoured it.  It also makes trips to the grocery store so easy as there are some entire isles to avoid altogether.

This is also in line with the food rules that Michael Pollan has suggested in both his books; In Defense of Food and Food Rules.   This is what he boiled it down to, “Eat food.  Not too much. Mostly plants.”  We are swimming in a surge of food information that exists to perpetuate the disease causing western diet of processed and fast foods- full of sugar, salt, fat and chemicals.  Foods devoid of any nutritional value, they hardly deserve to be called food.  Feeling sick?  We have drugs for that too! We need to get back to the plants and the Earth.  We need to explore farmers market and eat seasonally.

So we it comes to the things I stock in my fridge it now consists of fresh high-quality local organically grown fruits and vegetables in a plethora of colors and textures, coconut milk, hummus and yummy leftovers.  My panty is full of rice and beans of many varieties.  My freezer also has some goodies in it a la veggie and almond patties, nuts and coconut ice cream.  I am spending no more money, but even if I am, I am worth it.  Aren’t you worth putting great food in your body?

Im also thinking a lot about the first humans and how they hunted their food for survival before modern farming techniques.  [Mostly my information comes from the Earth Children Series by Jean Auel.]  The people would work together to hunt only after they had ceremonies to honor the animal spirits they were about to take.  They also used the whole animal not just the meat.  So if you are down to hunt your own meat, have a water bottle out of its stomach, use the intestines to store fat for cooking, wear a bone necklace cared into ornate shapes, dress in their skin or fur, have a roll of tendon chorage for various uses and a hip bone platter then by all means enjoy, just please say a prayer before you shoot.  Then eat on paleos.

You can find that you can thrive and feel fully satisfied on a vegan diet without feelings of addiction and food comas.  It doesn’t matter your path to now, you can be what you want, the change you want to see.

I am really proud of my Mom too.  Recently she has started to buy organic, and is working on eating clean.  She is also the one is is passing on food traditions in our families.  This is where food culture comes into play.  We can create the culture to be passed onto the next generation.  I’ve also been able to recently inspire my Dad to build some raised garden beds to replace a corner of his lawn. He still goes to the farmers market but only to supplement what he harvests from his backyard.  We can create new cultures of food centered around compassion, peace, whole grains and gardening.  There is no lack of anything if you adopt this lifestyle.

Maybe not all babies are vegan, but it seems like a great time in life to think about what are the best things to feed the newest member of the species.  When you think about what you do want to feed your baby, think about eating that too.  Remember children learn from us by imitation, they will eat what we eat, they will do and say as we do.  We can teach them compassion- actually they can teach us compassion.

Can you give up meat?  Can you give up dairy?  Can you even process dairy?  If we all do little things or ease into it we could feed our entire species and not kill innocent beings.

Do some research yourself, watch some videos, then decide what you think, not what someone tells you to think, or what you have always thought.

Discover some “infinite waters and dive deep” with Ralph Smart.

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