My Switch to a More Plant Based DietDon’t eat anything you can’t kill yourself. Think about that. Think about the types of meat you consume. Would you be able to kill that pig, chicken, or cow yourself? I venture to guess that most of you reading this would not be able to take the life of an animal, so why eat something you can’t kill yourself? People have either become too distanced from the process of where their meat comes from or desensitized from the atrocities that happen in animal agriculture. Either way, it’s time to show a little more respect for the beings supplying us with food.

It was sometime in November of 2015, after working on National Geographic shows for almost a year and a half that I thought of the statement “don’t eat anything you can’t kill yourself”. I had produced stories of people going to great lengths to save animals, build prosthetics for rescued dairy cows, and peculiar therapy animals. I love animals and the content I worked on moved my heart, but how could I be so invested in a story about a rescued dairy cow needing a prosthetic and then turn around and it a burger. It didn’t make sense. I couldn’t kill that cow. Why am I eating it? So, then and there, I stopped eating land animals.

Why did I go pescatarian and not vegetarian or vegan? It all goes back to that killing something yourself philosophy. I had gone fishing and for some reason it didn’t bother me. I look at fish differently than I look at cow, chickens, pigs etc. Nutritionally, fish is a healthy, lean protein and packed full of omega-3 fatty acids. I like fish, so I kept it in my diet, which meant vegetarian or vegan wasn’t a label I could give myself. I don’t eat fish every day… because you know… mercury poisoning is a thing. So, I guess most days I do fall into the vegetarian and vegan category.

As far as hardcore vegan is concerned, there are a few things that I don’t agree with. “Milk is bad”. If you come at it from a farming perspective, most of those cows live in horrible conditions, so drinking it means you are supporting animal brutality. I’ll agree with the vegans there.   If you’re going to tell me milk is for baby cows not humans, I have a rebuttal for you… If a horse is born and its mother cannot produce milk, it can be given goats milk. Using the vegan theory, goats milk should just be for goats. Do I think milk is necessary for a human diet? No. You can get calcium, protein and fat from many other foods. The way I look at it is, if the milk is being taken humanely from an organic cow, there is no problem. The problem is, there aren’t many companies that have organic, well cared for cows. For more information on the negative effects of farming cows, check out the documentary Cowspiracy. It’s available on Netflix.

I have a similar theory for eggs. If I had chickens in my backyards that were treated as well as the family dog and I ate the unfertilized eggs, I see no problem. The chickens aren’t being harmed; they’re being taken care of.   I don’t believe you should buy eggs and dairy from companies that harm their animals, so do your research before choosing a brand or find a local farm that allows you to go take your own eggs. This way you interact with the chickens and can feel good when you see they’re being cared for.

On the subject of chickens, this video showed up on my facebook feed this past week. Warning: Graphic Images. Your Chicken Dinner In Reverse.

Lastly, I read that honey is a no-no when you’re vegan. Technically, it is not an animal product, as a bee is an insect. I don’t see how you abuse a bee and isn’t it a good thing that people have hives since Monsanto is killing most of the bees that are meant to pollinate? I’ll stop there though, because that’s a different subject all together.

So, after determining my own moral compass for my diet, I decided on a pescatarian lifestyle. The majority of my day is plant based. I eat about 3-5 servings of fruit, 3-5 servings of vegetables, grains and nuts. I’ll have eggs every so often, organic half and half in my coffee, and prefer to drink nut milks to cows milk. All of these personal choices help to lower my carbon footprint and take a stand for the animals as well as the planet. We need to learn to treat all beings with respect and dignity; we also need to start treating the planet better. Over-farming is really destroying the earth, so if more people cut out animal meal or just cut down on their consumption, demand would lessen and we’d cut down on green house gases, deforestation, and water use.

I’m not hear to slap food out of your mouth, I just wanted to spread some awareness on developing a more plant based diet. It will not only have a positive impact on your health, but also for the animals and the earth. For more information, Netflix also streams documentaries Forks Over Knives and Food,inc. Let’s start a discussion on how we can positively impact the world by our example.