Sunday, July 13, 2014

knowledge is power.

art by Pawel Kuczynski

This isn't something I'd normally do... but something weird has happened to me. I have passion running through my veins and I can't seem to control it. 

In my vlog from Friday, I included some footage from an animal rights awareness protest. Then I lost it. Since then, MANY people have voiced their opinion on the video- mostly regarding the consumption of meat. I strongly believe that everyone has the choice to do what they want in life. However, I also believe that everyone should be AWARE of what they take part in. Let's face it- we are IGNORANT creatures. ALL OF US. We think we know everything, when in reality we know jack shit. Sometimes we need to expand our mind and let the idea of something new come in, swish it around, then spit it back out if necessary... but allow it the chance to possibly absorb, or grow. 

I have responded to HUNDREDS of comments on that vlog. But this particular comment that I wrote, practically encompasses all of my thoughts, so I wanted to paste it below for all of you:

Helping these animals IS a very big issue. Not just for them, but for US. And honestly, yes, it is one of the BIGGEST problems in the world. Let me explain the reasons:

1.) GLOBAL WARMING. I don't know how much you know about global warming, but factory farm emissions are one of the leading causes of global warming. Everyone in the whole WORLD will be GREATLY affected by this. The temperature will be brutally hot, causing crops to fail. Africa will have virtually no drinking water. Rapidly melting glaciers will cause MANY floods and avalanches in Asia. There will be terrible heat-waves, floods, storms and forest fires all over the world. The ocean will begin to eat the land. As of RIGHT now, global warming is KILLING 300,000 people each year and affecting 300,000,000 people. And these statistics are rapidly growing; projected in 25 years- 300,000,000 people will suffer health issues related to the heat and 20,000,000 will fall into poverty. The world will more or less become hell on earth, for EVERYONE. 

2.) HEALTH. I understand that this isn't exactly a well-known fact, because most people don't follow health studies posted on the internet, but consuming meat/dairy IS causing disease. Please, research for yourself, google "Harvard Meat Study" and there will be a plethora of articles about heart disease and various cancers. Meat/dairy is loaded with cholesterol and the high-meat/high-dairy diet that the average person has today, IS killing them. Heart-disease, to be exact. Heart-disease kills more people than ANYTHING else in this world (followed up by cancer, which also has MANY studies linking it to meat/dairy-consumption), 17.5 million just last year. This has nothing to do with added growth hormones/GMOs, we are talking STRICTLY cholesterol. And it is killing many, many people. The meat/dairy industry is a multi-BILLION dollar industry, and they are working HARD to hide this information from you, paying off whoever they need to, to spin only the positive aspect of meat/dairy (acting as if you CAN'T get these same benefits from other foods), and influencing you to believe that it is a healthy option. THEY ARE BANKING ON YOUR IGNORANCE. Look at what they say about how you need meat/dairy and then look at TRULY non-bias resources such as Harvard Medical. Who are you going to believe? The person who wants your money, or the person who has NOTHING to gain from these studies other than the well-being of fellow man?? Where do you think these diseases are coming from? Why are the numbers constantly on the rise? Do you think people are getting heart disease and cancer from eating too many fruits, veggies and whole grains??? Of course not. Please research for yourself.

Not only that, but the industry is doing very shady shit. Take for instance, just last year. The FDA came out and admitted that farms had been putting ARSENIC (toxic chemical, carcinogenic) into the chicken feed for quite some time. The FDA even admitted that when studies were done with the meat, that the ARSENIC was in the meat that was then being consumed by humans. This article came out last year, but why wasn't EVERYONE talking about it? But even without the arsenic, meat is killing people. Why do you think when someone gets cancer, the first thing that a GOOD doctor advises is for you to cut meat/dairy from your diet, and to take on a plant-based diet? Because meat/dairy can not only contribute to the cancer growth, but it does NOTHING at all to help fight it. But then the plant diet can not only FIGHT the cancer but CURE it. (Yes, this sounds crazy, but it is 100% truth. Google it.) Plant diets are the answer to longevity and a happy, healthy life as an elder. You may not care about your life in your 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, NOW, but trust me, you will be caring when you're 50 and your body starts falling apart, and you have to go to the hospital ten times each year. That is NOT the way you want to die. There are MANY people well into their hundreds who are eating a plant-diet and doing so well. It's remarkable. 

Let's also talk about weight. Currently in America, 2 out of 3 people are overweight or obese. Don't get me wrong, I think it's ok for people to make their own health choices, but I also think that our world is being mislead and isn't being properly educated on nutrition, and it is SAD. No one is going to buy a million dollar ad, telling you that you need more fruits and veggies, because they aren't being produced by a massive industry, such as meat and dairy. The dairy industry ALONE spends $100 million dollars each year to enforce their product. But no one is going to scream out at you that you're doing it wrong, as long as there are industries out there reaping the benefits. But even if you do eat meat/dairy, at MAXIMUM, you should only be eating it once a day to maintain proper health. You shouldn't have it for all three meals. You shouldn't smother cheese over everything you eat. When you eat only fruit/veggies/whole grains/nuts/seed products, you DO NOT have to worry about weight or over-eating, you can eat as much as your heart desires. Even with a "slow metabolism". There is so much fiber in your diet, that it's almost impossible to put on much fat. But when you eat animals products and processed foods, it is VERY easy to store fat, and very easy to store excess fat. At the very least, there NEEDS to be a balance. If you eat meat, you NEED to eat tons of fiber-rich foods as well. 

3.) WORLD HUNGER/CONSERVING WATER. Raising animals for food is EXTREMELY inefficient. A cow will consume an insane amount of grain, well over the "eating value" of the meat it later provides. These animals are eating SO much, then producing so little. More than 70% OF THE GRAIN that we grow goes to feeding cows for their meat. It takes 13 POUNDS of grain to produce ONE POUND of beef. An acre of grain (beans, lentils, soybean) can produce 5x the protein and nutrition than an acre of animals can. If all countries focused on growing grain for human consumption, vs animal consumption, there would be SO much available grain, that no one would be going hungry. Also, deforestation- 30% of our land (in the world) is being used to either raise/produce livestock or to grow food for that livestock. Deforestation is happening FAST because of this. THAT IS CRAZY. 

People are always talking about conserving water. Sometimes even saying that if everyone went on a plant diet that we would be "wasting so much water". Allow me to share a fact with you that will blow your mind. For every single POUND of beef, 2,400 gallons of water is used. 2,400 GALLONS. On the contrary, one pound of grain only takes 25 gallons. Raising animals for consumption wastes an insane amount of water. Period.

4.) INNOCENT LIVES. As you may have noticed, I have saved the animal reasoning for last. But if you don't care about the above three points, you certainly won't care about doing this for the animals. The simplest way I can put it is this- WHY KILL SOMETHING THAT YOU DON'T NEED TO SURVIVE? Doesn't that seem a bit selfish? Do you think your life is of greater value than these creatures? Do you think that you are SO FAR superior over them that you can control their entire, miserable lives just for your burger? They may not speak our language, carry cell-phones or be creating the next Empire State Building, but that DOES NOT mean that they are not intelligent, compassionate creatures who deserve respect. Cows and pigs are actually two of the most intelligent creatures on this planet. As humans, we are the MOST (or supposed to be the most--) compassionate animals on this planet. If you watch those undercover videos of the PAIN and SUFFERING that these innocent creatures are going through and yet you still think "Oh well, I like meat"... I'm sorry, but I REFUSE to believe that you have a single compassionate bone in your body. 

So why eat meat? Don't tell me because it tastes good. Don't tell me because "god put animals on the earth for us to eat". Don't tell me that it's the "circle of life". Don't tell me it's because we are meant to eat meat. Don't tell me that we NEED it to live. Don't tell me that the animal is just going to "die anyway", even if you stopped eating meat. Don't tell me that you can't afford it. Don't tell me that a vegan diet isn't healthy. Don't tell me that it would lead to "over-population" of animals. Don't tell me that some farms are okay. Don't tell me that being vegan is too hard. Don't tell me that it's "just meat" and that I should worry more about "bigger issues".

-Meat does NOT taste good. Take a slab of meat and cook it without oil, salt, seasoning, or sauce, then please tell me that it tastes good. You pump nearly ANYTHING with enough salt, it will be "tasty", including human meat. But would you eat that?

-I respect religion and I understand it. However, if you think God would be ok with his creations being held captive for a year and brutally tortured, just for your burger... you're wrong. Animals were meant to live free, not in a tiny crate. There is nothing natural about what's happening. There is nothing NATURAL about cows being forcefully impregnated their entire life to produce milk for you. For them to be standing all day, in an area too small to even turn their body, hooked up to a pumping machine. Things have changed since the biblical times, and it is NOT NATURAL. While I may not personally be religious, I have taken a course on the bible while in university and I do believe that I know quite a bit about christianity. In the beginning, God created ONLY the vegetation for human consumption. "And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so." NO ANIMALS were "created as food". It was only after the flood, when vegetation was scarce, that God said you may "eat clean meat". But we now have ABUNDANT sources of vegetation. So there is no way to justify eating meat, based on religion. People love to take tiny bits of the bible, that apply to what they WANT it to apply to and use it as justification for their lifestyle. But ANYONE who has taken religion understands that the bible has been manipulated/rewritten SO many times, that it can no longer be looked at the golden book of rules. It must be taken with a grain of salt.

-The circle of life is when a lion eats a gazelle. That lion NEEDS that meat to survive. That lion is only killing that gazelle because its instinct tells it to. And if you want to talk about the "food chain", guess what? We are FAR from the top of the food chain. With that mentality, guess we should just feed ourselves to the bears, gorillas, and wild cats, because, THEY are the top of the food chain. If you're going to use science to back up your nature as a meat-eater, you can't include weapons. We are talking man vs wild-animal. And man loses.

-Yes, cavemen ate meat. But why does that translate to "we are meant to eat meat"? Evolution does not mean destiny. Do we still wear nothing but small cloths? Do WE live in caves? You can't just choose ONE behavior to imitate while avoiding all others. Evolutionarily speaking, we are FAR from "meat-eaters". A lion is a meat-eater, it has razor sharp teeth, a shearing jaw, reduced facial muscles to allow a wide mouth, long claws, and a short digestive tract. THOSE are the signs of a meat-eater. The human form is COMPLETELY herbivorous; our teeth are flat and our jaw runs side-to-side (and our "canines" don't even come CLOSE to comparing to meat-eater canines), our nails are weak, thin and flat, and our digestive tract is very long (meat-eaters have short tracts because flesh will begin to rot inside the body, so it must pass through quickly). Just think of this hypothetical experiment: You have two rooms. In one room you put a human baby (1 year old). This baby has no REAL influence from his parents lifestyle yet, only his instincts. You place a bunny in the room with him. 10 minutes later, what would he be doing? Petting the bunny. Even if he had been STARVING prior to going into that room, he would be looking at that bunny with awe and wonder. Now, do the same thing with a baby lion cub? That bunny is nothing but a pool of blood, within MINUTES. THAT IS A MEAT-EATER. 

-Chimps, and also gorillas (the closest genetic animal relative, 96% the same as us) eat a 95% vegan diet. That is their choice. They can EASILY kill and eat meat, but they most always avoid it if they can. They are strong, they are healthy and they live for a long time. Plant-eaters in the wild, live the longest lives. Their patterns show us, we do not NEED meat. 

-If people starting taking meat off of their plate, it WOULD make a difference. Allow me to explain. Markets place orders to the meat-factory BASED on the prior month's sales. So if sales dropped 3% one month, the markets would order 3% LESS meat for the next. That's 3% LESS animals that would die. That's 3% LESS that would be "ordered" from a farm. I'm really not sure why so many people think that factory-farms just kill left and right and ship the meat without counting it. It's systematic. Every bit is counted and recorded. If it continued to drop, deaths would continue to drop. If the industry dropped even 25%, they would be terrified. They would see a rapid pattern of loss and they would make proper changes. They would treat the animals better and they would be doing many things to prove it to the consumer, other than "a label". Even though meat will NEVER be humane. It's not possible to "humanely" kill a living, loving creature who isn't willing to die.

-Everyone seems to think that a vegan diet is the most expensive thing in the world. This is FAR from the truth. Maybe if you go and buy all that pre-packaged food, then yes. But don't do that. Even though it's "vegan" it's not healthy. If you can't pronounce the ingredients, don't buy it. There are DEFINITELY many people who eat a vegan diet, but are not eating a healthy diet, overall. Oreos and soy "chicken" nuggets are vegan, but is that a proper diet? Hell no. The food that you NEED is very affordable, if not more affordable than all of that pre-packaged junk that is loaded with salt, sugar and preservatives that your body is hating you for. If you can afford $3 for a box of twinkies, you can afford $3 for TWO POUNDS of apples. 

-Many people seem to think that a vegan diet isn't healthy. That you can't get enough protein, or iron, or calcium or omega-3, or b12. But you can EASILY get all of these nutrients, and much more. You just NEED to do it right.  FRUITS, VEGGIES, WHOLE GRAINS, NUTS, SEEDS. You can't be vegan and eat nothing but carrots and mashed potatoes. You NEED a variety of delicious foods to get all the nutrients. Tons of vegans go in for blood tests and have ALL of their nutrients, no problemo. You don't need to pop vitamin pills. It's just the meat/dairy industry that want you to think it's impossible. Do your research, it's easy!

-Wild animals, eat wild animals. They control and cap their own population. However, if it DID become an issue, it could easily be regulated by the government. You also need to understand how many cows/pigs/chickens would exist on this planet if WE weren't manually breeding them. Not very many. 

-"But... not all farms treat their animals poorly". This may be true for small farms, but the factory farms, which provide 95% of the meat consumed in the world (so more than likely, the meat that IS on YOUR plate) is pure evil. Animals chained to an area SO small that they cannot even take a step. For their entire, sad little life. In this day and age, there are TOO many people for small farms to thrive. The factory farms can produce WAAAAY more meat than the small farms, which will come at a lower price tag, thus putting the small farms out of business. And even at those small farms... they are killing these animals WELL before their time. A healthy cow can live to be 20-25, but cows are killed for meat only a year or so after birth. Since cows require SO much feed/water it would be a great loss of money to allow them to live any longer than that.

-I will admit that I have struggled to have a 100% vegan diet. But for someone who has lived 23 years being non-vegan, of course it won't come easy. I have "cheated" at times (never with meat, but with dairy), and I'm not proud. I even had moments were I said "I'm 72% vegan" or "never mind, I'm vegetarian, I love ice cream and sour cream too much!" But then I'm reminded of WHY the dairy industry is even WORSE than the meat industry (This is where those visuals from the videos come in and they REALLY help you stay strong. I always see the visual of the freshly-born baby cows being dragged away from the mother and her crying out. Or the sad-faced cows hooked up to the machines.) But don't be too hard on yourself in the beginning! I truly don't think anyone has been able to live a 100% vegan life from the day they set-out to. It takes time to adapt and let go, at least a year or two. You need to start from the ground up! New recipes, new grocery lists, new dining experiences. I have now committed to a 99% vegan diet. My 1% is when I travel. Sometimes avoiding dairy while traveling is VERY hard. If I can't shop/cook, I struggle. I'll never order scrambled eggs or a glass of milk, but MANY foods have bits of hidden dairy in them, and it's hard to avoid. But bottom line, don't be too hard on yourself. Take your time! 

-I have saved my biggest pet peeve for last. Almost ANY time I mention animal equality or veganism, I get people who say "What about the starving children in Africa?", "What about this, what about that?".There are MILLIONS of problems in this world. I am truly sorry that I cannot address each and every one. But let me tell you the great thing about this issue. You can end it RIGHT NOW. Within one second, when you make the choice to avoid animal products. It is an easy issue to solve. And I think this issue is close to my heart because the animals are VOICELESS. Not many people will care about them or fight for them. They are prisoners. It hurts me deeply because I see animals as equals. I know that may shock some people, because most people find humans to be superior. But I view a life as a life. I see videos of those animals being tortured and killed and it affects me as much as it would if they were replaced with humans. Billions of these creatures are being murdered each year, so naturally I feel compelled to do something about it. 

Side note- I'm going to ask you to REALLY dig deep on this one. So open in your mind in preparation for what I'm about to say. WHY are humans more important than animals? Did you know that humans have done NOTHING but destroy this planet? That "animals" have been around LONG before humans (we're talking scientific proof here, not biblical) and that this planet belonged to them before we swooped in and claimed it as ours. Did you know that EVERY single creature contributes to the eco-system that keeps our planet thriving and working, with the ONE exception of the human?? We contribute NOTHING. We only destroy. We are a virus. So why do we think we are more important? We are self-righteous creatures and we are disgusting. No life is more important than another. All life is important and should be respected. Even wild meat-eaters (a mere 25% of the animal kingdom) are respectful of the life they take. Humans are not. 

I realize that if you're a meat-eater and reading this, you probably are feeling quite defensive right about now. You have probably queued up at least five reasons why you think it's ok to eat meat. That is OK. I understand that, because only one year ago, I was just like you. I was very ignorant and close-minded. I was raised eating meat, dairy and eggs and didn't think anything of it. My parents said it was healthy and I needed it. I even said I "never wanted to watch those videos" and that "I just don't want to know". But looking back, I am FURIOUS at myself. As a true animal lover, HOW could I have said that? Why would I be OKAY with torturing/killing innocent animals when I didn't need to do that to survive? I truly wish I would have understood earlier. Which is why I am typing this long-ass comment, for you guys. Don't be like me. Don't listen to your family. Listen to information. Listen to facts. EDUCATE YOURSELF NOW. If understanding all of this information, and watching the educational videos, you find that you still want to eat meat, that is all you. Your choice and I will respect it. But don't try and justify it with some garbage excuse. Say that you do it because you want to do it.

I have heard from MANY kids who say "I don't want to eat meat, but my parents insist". This is a very common thing. Share this article with them. Watch "Earthlings" (a great documentary that exposes evil in the world) with them. I would like to think that they would understand. And if they don't, make a pact with yourself to try a cruelty-free life when you are an adult.

Bottom line, you are a victim of scam and deception. ALL OF US ARE. These multi-billion dollar industries have tricked us all, and they are laughing their asses off. Just open your mind, and take a second to absorb this thought: Three of the BIGGEST money makers in the whole world are the meat/dairy industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the healthcare industry, all overseen/subsidized by the government. But imagine, (even if you believe it to be false) JUST IMAGINE, if everyone began eating a very planned and extremely healthy plant-diet. No one bought meat/dairy, very few people needed medicine and hardly anyone was going in for heart surgery or cancer-treatment. Those industries would crash. The economy would crash. BILLIONS of jobs, gone. So my question is this, would the government allow that to happen? HELL NO. Doesn't anyone else find it odd that we still don't have a cure for cancer? But yet you can find THOUSANDS of stories online of people saying that they have beat their cancer without chemo/medication, ALL by eating a special plant-diet. Fascinating, don't you think? The government does not protect us, or care about us as individuals. They only care about the "big picture". The sooner you realize that, and begin doing your own research, the sooner you will become a healthier and better person. 

(...and don't even get me started about the deception of the packaged food industry. They are just adding loads of sugar, salt and chemicals to EVERYTHING and it is killing us all. They are marketing it at children and it is slowly lowering our longevity. You are only supposed to have 25g of sugar each day. That's less than ONE SODA. Are people following this guideline? NO. Are we being properly educated of this? NO. There isn't even a % on "sugar" when you look at nutrition labels. Hmmm... I WONDER WHY. Because they all would say 433% and people would freak out. This generation is predicted to die younger than their parents did. So tragic. Please understand what you are eating/feeding to your children. If you can't pronounce/explain all the ingredients, do not buy it. Don't be so trusting of these companies, they don't care about you, or doing the right thing, just $$$$)

This is far too long. I apologize for that. I get carried away. But as you can see, this is something I am VERY passionate about. Eating a plant-diet may not seem EASY at first, and we may want to dismiss the idea of it, but it is POWERFUL and it is SMART. Vegans have a bad name for "preaching" but it's hard NOT to want to share this information. People tend to think it's a pride thing. Like, "Oh, I NEED to convert people to my way of living, because it's the best way and I need control over the world!". NO. Vegans are so gung-ho on "converting" people because we are trying to save billions of innocent beings. Billions of intelligent, loving, and innocent animals are being tortured, held-captive and brutally murdered every single year, for no reason other than human greed. We DO NOT need to eat animal products to survive nor live a full and healthy life- it has been proven. It is pointless murder. And I DO care about the well-being of humans, as well as the animals. But the animals are VOICELESS. Not many people will think of them, or have a voice for them. Everyone loves their cats and dogs, but has no heart-felt association to the animal they are swallowing. It needs to change. For the humans, for the earth, for them. We all need to live as one. Please give this comment a "thumbs-up" if you agree.

But it's not just meat, there are tons of other animal related issues that need to be stopped as well. It's dairy. It's leather. It's fur. It's angora. It's down-feathers. ALL CRUEL AND COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY. We are killing beautiful creatures for vanity and it's not ok, it's selfish. But I KNOW how hard it is to make this change. It has been a transition for me, and a tough one. Even last week, I would still eat cheese or ice cream every now and then. It's hard to deny yourself the things that you have grown up eating. But I AM DONE. I have to be strong. I am living a 100% cruelty-free life; no blood on my hands. No meat, no dairy, no eggs, no leather, no fur, no feathers, no angora, NO ANIMAL TESTED PRODUCTS (makeup, body care, hair care, toothpaste, deodorant) and no medicine (unless VERY much needed). This is the thing. Companies have nothing but greed in their hearts. They want your money and they want the quickest and easiest path to get it. They don't care about doing things the proper way. They don't care about your health. And until we MAKE them understand that WE, the consumers, DO CARE about these things.. nothing will change. It will only get worse.  

I'd like to take this moment to discuss the art I used for this post. It is VERY powerful. And it raises a seriously thought-provoking question, why do we care SO deeply for our pets but not at all for the animals we eat? Cows and pigs are MUCH more intelligent than dogs and cats, but no one really seems to be bothered by that. But if someone came in your house right now, put you behind a glass wall, then hung your beloved pet up by one leg on a chain... then gutted it- you would have a fucking heart attack. So WHY is it ok to do that to a cow? A cow or pig has just as much intelligence and potential to be loving as a cat or dog. The problem is disassociation. When we see chicken nuggets, we don't think "OH, I'm eating a cute little chicken". We are raised eating these foods and the association of evil is never made. YOU HAVE TO MAKE YOURSELF ASSOCIATE IT IN ORDER TO CHANGE FOR GOOD. I encourage you to watch "Earthlings" a documentary that exposes all of the selfish evil we are doing. Become aware and help fight for these helpless creatures. 

There are many things wrong with the world. But this issue is sparking SO many other issues, that it almost seems like karma to me. The earth is imbalanced. We need to figure out a way to fix this.

(I'm not offering the option of commenting on this post because I have been dealing with SO much over on the vlog this weekend... I can't deal with much more. I've witnessed enough ignorant and relentlessly rude arguing to last a lifetime. Why must everyone be SO mean to one another? haha :( But feel free to comment on the vlog.)