The way I was raised, to eat meat or not was never the question.
I grew up in Wisconsin on a diet that consisted of meat, mostly beef, and potatoes every day. In a family of 5 we would all have a small spoonful of vegetables from a small can that today would be called a single serving.
The only salad I ever saw on our kitchen table was iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber with mayonnaise as the dressing. I actually grew up thinking that was the definition of salad.
Fruits were bananas, apples and oranges, along with green grapes, strawberries and watermelon in the summer.
I was the oldest and I only ate what my mom liked. She didn’t like too much, so I had a very limited diet.
My dad’s grandparents lived in town and when we visited them they ate animals (duck, rabbit, squirrel), which I thought was a terrible thing to do, and I didn’t like the taste.
I had no idea that the hamburger or pot roast that we ate meant a cow had to die. When I figured this out way too much later, I immediately started eliminating animals from my diet one at a time as I became educated to their tortured lives.
You may be wondering a couple of things since I grew up in Wisconsin. Since this is a farm state, why didn’t I eat more veggies and how could I not know where beef came from?
Well, I grew up in a town and never knew anyone how lived on a farm. Meat came from the grocery store. As for the veggies, my mom didn’t eat them so they weren’t in our house, except for those little cans.
I never saw any food like spaghetti or pizza until I was in high school! We were strictly meat and potatoes. We were about as white bread as you could get, and as a matter of fact, Wonder bread was the only bread we ate.
So how did I end up being a non-meat eater?
I think some of us know at an early age our body would rather not eat meat. I did, but I wasn’t given a choice in the matter. My grandma would pick me up from school in kindergarten and take me to McDonald’s for lunch every day before we went home. I would order 2 french fries and a chocolate shake. I didn’t want to eat meat.
I remember a family dinner shortly after kindergarten where aunts and uncles were chiming in, everyone wondering if I ate the peel on the baked potato, would that give me enough food since I wouldn’t eat the meat. Eventually I was forced to eat meat, and drink milk. I hated milk most of all and stopped drinking it the minute nobody could force me.
What foods did you intuitively know you didn’t want to eat?
How did you begin your journey to eating healthier? What was your catalyst?
For me, I started seriously researching and taking individual supplements in 1981 after watching a scientist talking about supplements being helpful on the Merv Griffin Show.
I guess I still didn’t make the connection to where meat came from because, like a lot of people, I couldn’t eat it if I did. In the late 80’s I read an article in Rolling Stone magazine that talked about my favorite food at the time, veal. I don’t remember if it was the main topic of the article or just something that came up, but I certainly wasn’t prepared for what I read.
I burst into tears as I read what was done to these poor calves and I never ate another piece of veal. It’s also the one thing I can’t stomach other people eating at my table. It’s just too graphically etched in my brain.
Over the next couple years I eliminated pork, all beef, chicken and turkey. I think the only reason I didn’t keep going and stop eating seafood is because I thought I’d never be able to eat out except for pasta if I did.
I’ve made a lot of changes to my diet since 1991 when I ate my last bite of any kind of meat. Now I eat a mostly raw, about 95% plant-based diet. I still eat some goat cheese and occasionally my body craves seafood.
There are so many different styles of eating now than I had ever heard of in 1991. Back then people looked at me like I had 2 heads when I said I didn’t eat meat.
Now Meatless Mondays are mainstream and more people are going vegetarian, plant-based and vegan.
Where do you get protein?
These days I hear a lot of talk about how people can’t get all the energy they need or the protein they need from a plant-based diet. First of all, most people eat much more protein than their body actually needs. Secondly, as you will see in this video and many other stories just like Joshua’s, you get enough energy from a plant-based diet to be a body builder or do the Iron Man.
I wanted to share this particular short video with you because Joshua also came from an unlikely family background to stop eating meat.
After watching this, would you be willing to do the experiment that Joshua did?
What dietary changes have you made recently? I’d like to hear about the choices you’re making to have a healthy ageless body as part of your ageless lifestyle after 50. Post a comment below or join us on our Facebook page.