Are you an omnivore? Vegetarian? Vegan? Something else? Why do you lead/did you choose that type of foodie lifestyle?
This was the question posed at the end of Allie's blog, Healthy Balance, Healthy Life, and as I was getting ready to respond in her comments, I found myself writing almost an entire post. I abbreviated my comment, and posted my full response here instead.
I am an omnivore. I can't not eat meat. I tried. In highschool I watched a video that detailed the process from birth to death on supermarket beef. The video touched on pigs and chickens, but focused on cows. I don't remember the title, but I remember being sickened. I remember going home and telling my parents I wasn't going to eat meat anymore. And I didn't, for many months.
Let me back up quite a bit. When I was younger, elementary school and younger, we raised our own chickens, our own turkeys, lambs, I remember raising pigs, and buying sides of beef. All locally grown, locally processed, often times in our own back yard. These animals were treated well, my brother and I would play with them. We would feed them, we would pet them. Entering into junior high, that started to fall by the wayside. Our lives got busier, more meat was purchased from the store, it wasn't a big deal. It wasn't something we thought about, at least it wasn't something I thought about. Then in highschool I saw that video.
My parents were somewhat supportive, my Mom more than my Dad. All along, my parents would offer to make me chicken if I wanted when they were eating beef. Several months passed before I took them up on it. Something in my body was telling me I needed to eat the chicken. Not just because they were offering, but because it needed it. I slowly started eating chicken, eventually adding beef and pork back into the mix. My dad was conscious of buying meat from the smaller butcher shops (where they still might have gotten some inhumane meat) but he was trying. One of the things to note here is that while I was strictly eating vegetarian, I was losing energy and I was not my perky self. Once I started to eat animal protein again, my energy was back and so was my perky self. It wasn't until I was in college that I was able to make the connection. I had gotten fed up with the cafeteria food and was back off of meat almost exclusively again, I was sluggish and irritable. After my hiatus from meat, I was eating it again from the cafeteria, my energy was back.
It was around this time, my mom introduced me to a book, “Eat Right For Your Type” which was based on eating for your blood type. I am type O and advised to eat a high protein (animal protein) and low carb (no wheat, no oatmeal) diet. The profile of a type O: “Type O was the first blood type, the type O ancestral prototype was a canny, aggressive predator. Aspects of the Type O profile remain essential in every society even to this day – leadership, extroversion, energy and focus are among their best traits. Type O’s can be powerful and productive, however, when stressed Type O’s response can be one of anger, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. When Type O wiring gets crossed, as a result of a poor diet, lack of exercise, unhealthy behaviors or elevated stress levels, Type O’s are more vulnerable to negative metabolic effects, including insulin resistance, sluggish thyroid activity, and weight gain. When you customize your life to Type O’s strengths you can reap the benefits of your ancestry. Your genetic inheritance offers you the opportunity to be strong, lean, productive, long-lived and optimistic.” There were of course other foods that were good for me and others that were not. When I am most conscience of this diet, I feel energetic, healthy, and my body is happy. When I stray from it, which happens more than I would like, I feel more sluggish and not at my most optimal.
Now I make choices, when financially able, that support local farmers, that support cage-free and free-range animals. I also am active in helping my mom and friends process their own animals, like chickens. I know what goes into it and I know that the animals raised by my mom and my friends are given the best possible life. And that makes me happy.