The Taste Of The Not So Cruelty Free
The taste of the not-so-cruelty-free, which is meat, is a taste I really enjoyed. People used to pass me their trimmed fat from their juicy steaks. Being Latina, arroz con pollo, lomo saltado, & estofado are all time favorites. I also really love vegetables. It didn’t start out that way, of course. Like many kids, veggies were gross to me. In time, I learned to really appreciate the colorful, crunchy goodness of Earth’s delicious supply.
Earth’s “Grocery Store”
My father taught us that Earth’s “grocery store” provides us with all the natural food we need for good mental & physical health. Medicine in our home was made of concoctions of food that my dad would whip up to either treat an ailment or use as prevention. It worked, because my brother & I rarely visited the doctor. Meat, at our home, was more like a treat. Fruits, veggies & grains (mainly rice) were the foods we ate most of the time. But when it was “treat time”, my mother cooked chicken or fish or my dad surprised us with red meat. This lifestyle kept us from getting sick even when our peers were constantly sick around us, for one reason or another. Ok, so this is still not necessarily a cruelty free lifestyle. I’m getting to that…
“Diet For A New America”
Fast forward to my late 20s, I picked up the book “A Diet For A New America” by John Robbins. This book, along with PETA’s vegan kit, changed my life instantly & I chose to be vegan overnight. I’ve always loved & cared for animals of all sizes, but through this book & other reading materials, I learned how animals were raised for meat. In good conscious, I couldn’t continue to eat meat & didn’t eat any animal products for a year. Later, I realized I wasn’t quite ready to go all vegan…yet, so I stayed a vegetarian for over 7 years. Essentially, I didn’t eat anything with a face.
Curse Of The Cravings
I’ve heard & read that so many vegans/vegetarians don’t miss or crave meat anymore. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case with me. They weren’t just cravings that I could get over. I don’t have an addictive personality. Any time I felt I was eating too much of one thing, I would change it up right away. I don’t think it was a lack of nutrients, even though I’ve suffered from chronic IBS on & off for most of my life. Despite the curse of the cravings, I continued to remind myself why I chose to be a vegetarian in hopes to reach my goal to be vegan. In my mid-30s, I felt I was in the best shape ever. I figured out how to balance my carbs & dairy intake, but my cravings wouldn’t stop. I felt like the desire to eat meat grew stronger as each year passed. Later, I crashed & made a lousy decision that I regret to this day.
Healthy Food Apocalypse
When I moved back to California, after a few years in Pennsylvania, I couldn’t take the cravings anymore. I dove into the other extreme, deciding to eat fast food like there was a healthy food apocalypse. This continued for another 4.5 years, especially since my life was dedicated to long work hours on the road. I had forgotten the reason why I chose to be vegetarian in the first place. The irony is that much of the clothes & supplies I had in my home were still cruelty free, but I wasn’t living a cruelty free lifestyle. My body started to shut down from the stress & the food I was poisoning myself with. This forced me to change my ways…again.
Lost Touch With Nature
Those who know me & are getting to know me through my CrtrGrl YouTube channel & social media, understand that I have a strong bond with nature & her critters (aka Crtrs). For personal reasons, I lost touch with that for a while. It wasn’t until my husband, Scott, a nature buff himself, brought me back to the right track again. Still, we both didn’t realize how many changes were ahead of us in our path to a cruelty free lifestyle.
I’m now experiencing things that I haven’t felt since I was a child. I’m reminded of how nature has always been my greatest teacher. Scott & I, together, have learned & are still learning how to live on Earth as responsible humans. What is the lifestyle we choose to live today? Simply put, a cruelty free lifestyle. Nature’s teachings have taken us into this incredible & challenging journey.
Should We Eat Animals Or Not?
Being a vegan, I don’t support hunting for food, but I’m not against it either, as long as it is done responsibly & humanely. Believe me, I had some other vegans tear me apart for that. Let me explain. Whether we like it or not, we are a part of nature as omnivorous animals. This may have been either forgotten &/or some of us may just not like that fact. There also seems to be misinformation stating our bodies are not built to eat & digest meat. The issue is not that we shouldn’t eat other animals. The issue is how much meat we consume on a daily basis through factory farming. Personally, I do not support “raising” animals for food, period. For those who do hunt & eat meat, the focus should be on hunting responsibly. Causing the least amount of harm & suffering to animals, taking only what is necessary. Responsible hunters should use as much of the animal as possible, respecting what they’re taking & protecting their habitats. Is this really humane?
Too Good At What We Do
Many people have said to me, “Hunting an animal is not humane, even if done responsibly”. My response is that this whole planet is based on life consuming other life. Earth is not a humane planet. The difference between non-humans & humans that kill for their meal is that we’re the only animals that have the freedom to choose not to & are still able to survive. We also have the choice to be or not to be gluttonous in the way we kill. So far, we’ve proven we are too good at what we do.
Culturally, humans feel that the planet is here just for us & that we’re superior to all life. We take & kill to excess, putting us out of balance with our ecosystem. The thing is, that is not how nature works. Nature is harsh, but it is in balance. We need to learn how to be in balance with how we eat & coexist with our non-human inhabitants. As humans, we have the knowledge of the pain & suffering that our actions can inflict on others. As a consequence, we need to choose to minimize the harm caused when consuming other life.
Cruelty Free Lifestyle
Scott & I choose a cruelty free lifestyle, by treating all life as humanely as possible & with respect, from the soil to the sky. We’ve been cleaning house, removing products & items that aren’t cruelty free. The cruelty free standards we choose to live by don’t just apply to non-human beings. We also do our best to support companies that are local, use non-toxic materials, are sustainable, organic, have less of a carbon footprint, follow fair labor & fair trade practices.
Farm animals suffer greatly, especially when raised in factory farms. There’s also the enormous, negative impact on the environment in raising farm animals for our consumption or fashion. We used to support a couple of farmers that use sustainable, ethical, eco-friendly, organic methods, but this isn’t quite what living a cruelty free lifestyle means to us.
When raising an animal for food, no matter how well you treat them, it is slavery. Period. Even animals raised on the best farms still endure some form of pain & suffering. For example, in order for a dairy cow to provide us with milk, their calves are taken away within two days of birth. Cows are sentient beings who understand and feel loss & separation, much like humans. Fundamentally, farm animals don’t have a choice. No voice, no choice. This realization led us to stop eating farm animals, no matter how well treated they are.
For some time, Scott & I only ate organic, pasture raised eggs. But after learning that when egg laying hens stop producing, they are killed for food, we eliminated eggs from our meals. For those who would like to still eat eggs, there may be one good option, but it could be a challenge to find. Try getting eggs from families with only rescued hens, who live their whole lives in open pastures, even when they stop producing. It’s best to support those who rescue animals and live the cruelty free lifestyle, rather than those who profit from buying or breeding animals. My precious parrot of almost 30 years lays infertile eggs every year, but that’s too close for comfort for me to eat. Eegad!
Again, we both loved the taste of seafood, but through our research we really haven’t found ways to raise &/or kill these animals humanely & meet our cruelty free standards. These animals suffer a great deal in more ways than one. To us, the entire seafood industry stinks, no pun intended. This topic deserves its own blog. I will get into more details, in the near future, on why we chose to stop eating seafood all together.
As CrtrGrl, I hope to influence people to try & live a more cruelty free lifestyle. I do understand those who continue to eat animal products, so for now, I recommend they only buy from those farms that follow as close as possible ethical & sustainable practices. For the future, there’s an exciting alternative coming. Please check out Super Meat and other similar start-ups for more information on this. We’re super excited about the future for farm animals & our environment once these companies’ products become available.
Being a responsible consumer takes much research & work, but it is just that… a responsibility. We are all living on this planet together, so it is our responsibility to protect it, not destroy it. We need to live harmoniously with nature. The struggle with cravings is still there, but there are significantly more options available to satiate it than in the past. I have learned my lesson & I’m dedicated to sticking to a cruelty free lifestyle.
Living a cruelty free lifestyle is a never-ending journey of lessons for myself & my husband. Our way of eating has changed many times over as we’ve learned more about where our food comes from. We know that there is plenty of more learning ahead of us. Don’t be afraid to embrace change.
Through CrtrGrl, I hope to shift the misconceptions we have of nature & its Crtrs. Through my “CrtrGrl Jukebox” series, I use music, humor & videos to convey important messages on how we treat our fellow Crtrs, both domestic & wild. With the “Bite Size Factoids” series, I hope to influence people to look at Crtrs in a different, more positive light, rather than with eyes of fear &/or disgust. Through my “CrtrGrl Moments” series, I hope to motivate people to take a break from society by stepping outside into nature more often & take the time to notice all that makes her so unique & strong.
Slow down from rush mode for a moment & check out how the tiniest to the largest Crtrs live just outside your home or office. Take it even further for a couple of days or so to go for a hike, walk, run, backpack, dive, swim, etc. & embrace all that nature is offering you.
My husband & I have many more upcoming projects. These projects are dedicated to a cruelty free lifestyle, shifting how we humans have been programmed to think when it comes to the role we play on this planet & how we interact with all other species. I try to do this without sounding too preachy, rather to live my life, with my husband, in the way we feel nature is teaching us. We will continue to make mistakes, but we’ll also continue to learn from them.
As always, comments & thoughts are welcome. I especially enjoy when someone can zap that part of my brain, making me think in a way I haven’t before, even if I may not agree with it. The only thing I ask of you is to please refrain from using religion as justification for causing harm to others. I respect what you choose to believe in, but it’s not an argument I will respond to, instead your comment will be deleted. Thank you.
Note: The Gentle Barn is a reputable & loving non-profit sanctuary located in Santa Clarita, CA & they have a location in Tennessee. For more information on their wonderful barn, staff & of course, the perfectly adorable rescued Crtrs please visit them on Facebook: The Gentle Barn