I've been seeing a lot of items in my Facebook feed about how being vegetarian is a kinder diet, even to the point of claiming to reduce violence in people in prison. Now my reply to the person who posted it was that, one, the men were probably consuming quite a bit of soy, which is a xenoestrogen and reduces testosterone in men (as well as reducing sperm quality as a recent study out of Loma Linda suggests). They probably also had far less in the way of processed food and so their blood sugar was likely better, which also probably meant they had better moods. And that I didn't think that being vegan, per se, had anything to do with it; they were just eating REAL FOOD, quite possibly for the first time in their life. That can be an extremely powerful tool as many in the Real Food/Paleo movement will tell you.
Further, the discussion that's been around forever is that vegetarianism/veganism is the less cruel choice when it comes to dietary choice.But is it? Animals die as a result of agriculture, no matter what is being grown/raised. And as another recent study from the University of Missouri suggests, plants know when they're being eaten. Right, so if they know they're being eaten, and they're trying to prevent that from happening actively, is that not as equally cruel to be eating plants?
I like meat and I like veggies, and both have to die in order to fill my belly. And I am grateful for their lives. But I honestly feel like we forget that about plants. They are beings, with the same thread of the divine that I feel goes through us and animals, the land, the sea, etc. But we can't cuddle with plants. We can't anthropomorphize them in the same way we can animals. And we also STILL tend to place ourselves above nature. Like we can make better decisions than nature can. I beg to differ. We are PART of nature. We are cruel, just like the rest of nature is cruel. AND THAT'S OKAY. Now I don't mean we should then think it's fine to go around hurting people. I want to tease out the idea of necessary cruelty and unnecessary cruelty here, and why we must be necessarily cruel and not unnecessarily so.
Unnecessary cruelty is easy enough. Hurting people, animals, plants, etc., without any purpose other than to cause harm and/or being selfish. But necessary cruelty includes hunting for/farming food because WE NEED TO EAT. Hunting for sport-unnecessary. Killing a deer and eating it, using its hide, maybe using the bones for other purposes-necessary.
Now can we survive eating vegetarian? Sure. Plenty of people do. But I have a hard time with it physically. It would be unnecessarily cruel to myself to take away nutrients that my body needs and craves that only come from eating real animals, like B-12, vitamin D, vitamin A (NOT beta-carotene), and vitamin K2. I don't think that is any more violent than harvesting veggies and grains, since after all, they can feel when they're being eaten.
That's all I have for now. Parenting duties await.