The Meat and Dairy Industries' Harmful Effect on the Environment

Veganism Conclusion: Taste Buds Underwhelmed
Tuesday December 04th 2007, 3:09 pm
Filed under: A. Foust vegan journal

Last night was probably my best vegan meal in Seacobeck. A big salad with broccoli, white beans and tomatoes, green beans and kidney beans, corn and kidney beans, hummus and tortilla chips, and couscous. I watched my friends down chicken pasta and I honestly did not crave it. I will definitely crave everything non-vegan when I go to my mom’s and she’s cooking delicious, tender, free-range chicken breasts for dinner and breakfasts of eggs, French toast, and bacon. I am ready, though, to be a vegetarian. It makes me feel bad that I found a strong enough deterring factor only after this research. I cannot go back to eating livestock I know consume the disgusting, unnatural meal of ground up dead animals because that is being put into my body. The mistreatment of animals always deeply upset me, but not enough to abstain. I guess I am with the rest of my species in that compassion only goes as far as what does not affect my own comfort and pleasure.

I am only going to consume organic, free-range milk, eggs, cheese, and yogurt. Which means I am going to be a vegan for all intents and purposes in Seacobeck and the Nest. This is how I will start the new year. Do not ask me how long it will last. It will be much easier–maybe even possible–if I do not have to renew the meal plan. You can put money on the fact that I am a reformed pet food buyer for life, though. There’s no way my best friends are eating their pals who did not make it out of the shelter and road kill! How did humans come to this? An obsessive state of hyper production no doubt. An excuse: a dream of a land without want. But research upon research tells us that much of the grain is diverted to fatten livestock, ninety percent of which are produced in feedlot systems (Brenmuhl), no longer able to grow naturally, as intended, by grazing in pastures. This is ensuring a large portion of the world’s rapidly growing population will go hungry.

I believe it is not natural or healthy to be as obsessed with meat as our culture. With the current expanse of peoples across the globe dwarfing the amount of livestock produced humanely, it is nonsensical. We are plagued by diseases such as cancer, stroke, and heart disease that we have caused ourselves with gluttonous practices. There is to telling if we can ever revert back to localized farming, supported by the communities who consume the produce. Somehow, though, I do not see any way of undoing globalization. My steak knife could very well be retired permanently.

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VEGAN day 5
Tuesday December 04th 2007, 10:35 am
Filed under: A. Foust vegan journal

Today I am a vegetarian. But first, yesterday. Begin a vegan especially sucked yesterday. I was at a rugby tournament for most of the day. We stopped at Einstein’s Bagels on the way out of town where I was informed they did not have an ingredients list. I went there a few weeks ago with Sarah, and they managed to produce one then; I guess they’ve lost it. The overhead menu denoted vegetarian options and those containing nuts or something. It is true that vegetarianism has become more widely practiced, acknowledged, and catered to in recent years. I had to eat something before playing, so I guessed Honey Wheat with peanut butter might be a safe choice. I also had orange juice. Come lunchtime, we assessed our options at the park as hotdogs and burgers from concessions and a gas station. I rode to the gas station, featuring an “On The Run” food selection, where I surveyed less-fresh hotdogs, nachos, chips, candy, beef jerky, and candy. I passed over packaged muffins for a meal (?) of strawberry Pop-Tarts, fruit snacks, and mixed nuts. Back at the dorm I had minestrone soup for dinner. One would figure a day out and about would lead to much more enticing vegan options than (the lack of) those available on campus. I was looking in the wrong places.

After a week of dreadfully spare options, UMW students drag themselves out of the sack in the early afternoon hours of Sunday for one reason only: Seaco Sunday brunch. Tummies gurgling after a hard night of partying or relaxing, whichever the case may be, we trudge from all corners of campus and beyond for this special treat. Menus generally include bacon, sausage, carved pork, omelets, scrambled eggs, biscuits, home fries, French toast (homemade on better Sundays; sticks on worse) and the miraculous desert table, among the Seacobeck staples. I personally look forward to pancakes, available on some occasions, the pork, and cakes and pies galore. Today, however, after pacing the entire cafeteria for those promised vegan options, I sat down with orange wedges, home fries, corn, baked pasta, and the soupiest oatmeal I had ever seen until I discovered one of the many incompetent workers mislabeled the cream of wheat (one of few things I do not like). As you picture that miserable meal, I will describe how it got even worse. The home fries were labeled vegetarian, so I assume they are cooked in butter or lard or something of the like. After a few bites of the pasta, I realized the pink scraps it contained could only be meat. I asked the chef, who confirmed this, and then I turned to the Seaco workers in ridiculous Santa hats and let them know the vegetarian label on the pasta was, well, bologna. Since I had already broken both veganism and vegetarianism, and a plate of potato squares, corn, and four orange wedges failed to satisfy, I went for some French toast. I am a vegetarian today.

My tribulations launched a conversation about food with my roommates. We concluded that the vegetarian options on campus are minimal, while vegans can find no more than salad, beans, fresh fruit, processed bread and peanut butter, a few stale cereals, and soy (gym sock flavored) milk. The few hours the café is open, pasta salad or the pasta bar is available. Taking into account my omnivore roommates’ views, as if college is not enough of a culture shock, we have found our relationship with food degrading at a constant rate this year. Most girls adjust their views of food after puberty, when we find downing bags of Cheetos and packs of Oreos now suddenly affects our once-girlish figures. Those of my friends who have developed healthy eating habits had to work to get there, but most are still struggling. And then we are off to college, insecurities and misconceptions toted in with wardrobes. Hundreds are spent on required meal plans–money spent on junk. In room 222, we are tired of food. Tired of fat, grease, and oil. Tired of sugar, processed sugar, refined sugar, fake sugar, better-for-you sugar, still-bad-for-you-only-in-other-ways sugar, and syrup. Tired of a lack of color, a lack of smell other than a frying pan, and a lack of distinct taste in our food. And we know we are not alone.

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Thursday November 29th 2007, 11:38 am
Filed under: A. Foust vegan journal

My mom, a doctor and health-conscious person all her life, fed us in accordance to the food pyramid and FDA guidelines. She did not buy Kool-Aid, candy, soda, Twinkies, or Oreos. I had virtually no exposure to high fructose corn syrup except on Halloween. I can taste the difference between organic food and those that have been treated with chemicals and hormones. I became vegetarian for a couple weeks a few years ago. It was too hard to eat dinner with my family so I conceded to eat poultry and seafood. After avoiding only red meat for a while, which was easy because my mom does not eat it, I discovered the fantastic savory delight that is the meat of cows and pigs and I gave up my short-lived attempt at considerate consuming.

The guilt has never truly vanished, as I found I cannot go but for so long without happening upon a semi on I-95 trailing a stream of dirty feathers from the unimaginably cramped chickens or the large, sad eyes of a sow from behind a fence on some rural excursion. On the other hand, I can count the food I do not like on one hand. Furthermore, I have been fortunate enough to have been exposed to virtually every food there is. I love food, and I love to eat.

Today I ate lunch from the pasta bar in Seacobeck with marinara and a banana. The pasta was not good–the excessively processed noodles have no flavor. For dinner I made my own salad at the Nest and nuked lentil soup later in my dorm. I snacked on granola. What I miss the most are sweets. It is so hard to pass up cake, cookies, and ice cream. Being vegan has been a diet, which is one of numerous advantages.

One’s experience in the dining facilities depend on taste, which seems obvious, but I hear mixed reviews from fellow students. I miss vegetables, which, aside from the salad bars, rarely make the menus. The sandwich station has processed bread and meats with an unbearable unnatural taste which satisfies most students who were raised with such commodities. Those raised on pizza and hamburgers can also find these standbys daily. What I give a thumbs-up in Seaco: salad bar, fresh raw fruit, deserts, and the waffle iron (the latter two are untouchable now). Everything else I generally regard frowning as a nauseous gurgle rumbles my stomach.

Thankfully the semester is almost over, meaning there is only one left until I have my own kitchen, my own refrigerator, and most importantly, my own shopping list. I do not think it is morally wrong for humans to eat animals or their products, but I think the entire way we go about doing it is. My mom buys free-range chicken, and I am debating this choice. If anything, I will be a vegetarian and buy organic milk along with other produce. I have yet to try soy milk, but I plan to later this week at Seacobeck. I wonder how difficult it will be to find my favorites (my weaknesses) ice cream and cheese in organic varieties. Of course, organic does not necessarily mean the animals are any happier, as they may be just as cramped, filthy, and generally neglected. Never will I purchase or consume faux meat or anything else imitation. Tofu is disgusting. What is the point?