I'm willing to accept that there are going to be aspects of raising a vegan family that won't always fly with everyone else.
But nutrition, just isn't one I'm willing to agree to.
Once upon a time, that hamburger you just slathered in ketchup, covered in cheese and placed in between a bun, was a cow. A big ole, 1200-pound, living, breathing cow. And do you know what it ate to become its giant, more-than-1000-pound self?
Grass. And more grass. And some straw, barley and a smidge of potatoes, beets and turnips.
Hamburgers, chicken, fish or sausage. Oh and I'm pretty sure you won't find very many mature cows drinking from the teet anymore either.
But, how is it possible? How, on Earth, do cows live without protein?
Trust me, I'm in no way insinuating that cows and humans should be eating alike. I understand that cows are a different species and they digest, break down and burn nutrients and calories differently than a human being. I also get that they've got that whole four-stomach thing going on which allows them to eat things like grass and barley and use some of said stomachs to get protein out of seemingly protein-less items.
So let's be clear again.
I'm NOT promoting a diet of grass and barley for humans (although, the barley does have some pretty kick-butt nutritional benefits so you could include that in some of your meals if you wanted to get creative and ax the rice).
But if a little old plant-eating animal can manage to put on 1000+ pounds, aren't you even willing to consider the idea that there are other healthy ways of getting protein as humans?
In a perfect, animal-loving world, I would love it if everyone could afford, digest and strive to be vegan. But it's not a perfect, animal-loving world, so I'm willing to throw an olive branch out there and admit that there are healthy ways to get animal-based protein as well. (Ways that don't involve factory farming, nasty hormones and atrocious living conditions).
So if my hardcore, plant-eating self can play nice, why can't the animal-eating people of the world do the same?
Why can't we be friends?
You quit taunting me about my tofu, bean and lentil, protein eating ways and I won't tell you the horror stories about where your three-month-old chicken with the body build of a three-year-old one came from.
I won't club you over the head with my "milk and meat are the bane of our existence" rants, if you can manage to keep your "you've got to have milk and meat to live" pseudo-philosophy to yourself.
I get it. Sometimes it seems like we vegans extend far more compassion to animals than fellow human beings. Perhaps, it even makes us seem like we're turning on our "own kind." And maybe, some of us are. I can tell you one thing, for sure, though. During the last four years of my vegan journey, I've found far more animals to be the victim of barbaric acts and unprovoked violence at the hand of humans than to Mother Nature herself.
Take from that, whatever you will.
"I don't hold animals superior or even equal to humans. The whole case for behaving decently to animals rests on the fact that we are the superior species. We are the species uniquely capable of imagination, rationality and moral choice - and that is precisely why we are under an obligation to recognize and respect the rights of animals."
- Brigid Brophy