had a steak in thirty years. I was in Saint Louis, Missouri in May 1977 when I had my “slaughterhouse experience.”
What I saw, you’ll never see on TV. It is true what they say. Even a few moments witnessing the screaming, crying animals
in their death agony leaves a mark on one’s soul that is difficult to ever erase. Many vegetarians have been made from
this experience. I did eat meat very sparingly after that, but I could never again enjoy a meat-based diet. The Yiddish writer,
Isaac Singer, was once asked if he was a vegetarian for health reasons. He answered, “Yes, but not my own health, but
for the health of the animals. For these noble creatures, every day is Treblinka.” I am glad the experience happened.
I am 56, and the way I want to get old is by being more conscious, not less.
people don’t want to consider vegetarianism, and I don’t blame them. For so many people, life is stressful; fighting
traffic, enduring boring, meaningless jobs, paying bills, etc. One of the few pleasures people have is a nice meal at the
end of the day- maybe roasted sausages or a steak smothered in gravy. In my case, I love good food, but I have never felt
deprived eating foods like eggplant parmigan, Spanish rice and beans with fried plantains, lentil stew, delicious falafel
sandwiches, and so on. With so many great food choices, why eat animals?
my motivation is more than just pity for the animals. I am very, very choosy about the food I put in my mouth. I read labels and check ingredients. I refuse to drink tap water because of the deadly fluorides
and cancer –causing chlorine. I never go back to a restaurant if I get an MSG headache from eating there. If guests in my home leave diet drinks containing aspartame in my refrigerator, I dump them down the drain
after they leave. (the diet drinks, not the guests!) I am one of those guys. But I am not a Fascist about it. I like coffee,
sweets, and of course beer and wine- W.C. Fields said, “Never trust a man who doesn’t drink.”
are mostly unconscious about food and the role it plays in health. When is the last time your doctor asked you about your
diet? So I got the idea for this article when a fellow teacher gave me a lemon square at Christmas. While I was grateful because
my friend’s intent was from kindness and consideration, one look at the ingredients told me the faux lemon square was
toxin in a box. Not that there’s anything unusual in this. It is typical
of so many processed foods sold in supermarkets, sometimes even health food stores,
which are not fit for human consumption.
prove my point, here are the ingredients, which are listed on the box: we start with the requisite enriched flour and corn
syrup ( AKA white sugar- and plenty of it). There’s hydrogenated beef tallow, otherwise known as rendered beef lard,
then some hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil. ( They have to hydrogenate the
stuff? Isn’t there enough cholesterol already?) This tiny 4-ounce “pastry” contains a staggering 390 calories
and 36% of a day’s allowance of artery-clogging saturated fat. They should include coupons inside- good for discounts on coronary bypass surgery. Then there’s modified food starch, salt- and plenty
of it- in case you need to elevate your blood pressure. Natural flavors- often a euphemism for brain cell-destroying MSG.
But there’s more: diastic malt powder, (yum) mono and di-glycerides, agar, artificial colors #6 and #5 (chemotherapy
anyone?), sorbitan, and last but not least, Polysorbate 60! (Bon apetite!) But the most surreal part of this faux food concoction
is the brightly colored lettering on the happy, little box which boldly announces, “Real Fruit Filling,” yet no fruit of any kind is listed among the ingredients!
Arab student once told me a beautiful saying from her culture, which I remember today, 20 years later. “Health is the
crown over one’s head that only sick people can see.” If you have ever been gravely ill, you know what she means.
So I believe if God has blessed you with a healthy body, you show respect for it. The body is a temple, not a toilet.
I being too severe? I don’t think so. Over a million people will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Many of them will
end up enduring chemo, radiation, surgery, and walking around sans breasts, testicles,
vocal chords or wearing colostomy bags. The average teenager eats a pound of sugar a day. Diabetes and heart disease are in
epidemic proportions. Gee, I wonder why. Do you suppose at least part of these health problems have anything to do with the
food we eat?