Perhaps I should take a step back for a moment and talk a little bit about my agricultural background. This will only take a moment, and I feel it’s necessary.
As a kid, life was never boring. Not only did we have tons of area to run free and play, I also had lots of pets. It was phenomenal. I’ve had pet cows, horses and dogs in my life, and I can’t think of a greater way to gain respect and compassion for these awesome four-legged critters.
Up until I was about three years old, breeding turkeys was our main business. We’d harvest fertile eggs from the hens and then send them to a hatchery where the chicks would eventually break out of their shells. I never had a pet turkey because I had a frightening run-in with a tom (male turkey) once, and that was enough to admire the birds merely for their nutritional contributions to society from that point forward.
Wanting to grow the business, my dad decided it was time to break into dairy. He’s always had a knack for raising animals, and dairy cows have always been his true passion. We decided to remodel some of our older turkey houses into cattle barns, complete with large exercise pens and clean, dry stalls for the animals to rest. Looking back, not only was it an economical way for us to expand the business, but it was an pretty green building project—retrofitting barns, rather than building them from scratch.
In addition to the dairy, we’ve raised some grass-fed beef cattle and grown most of the feed for our dairy cows on site.
I grew up in a household with fresh, great tasting meat, milk and eggs and I saw first-hand how these products were brought to the table. The idea that someone could hate me because I’m a farmer, or because of my nutritional choices seemed so foreign to me. I don’t think I even knew vegetarians or vegans existed until I was a teenager. I am so happy we live in a country where we are free to speak freely and eat the kind of diet we most desire. I do my best to be respectful of everyone’s choices and lifestyles, and all I ask in return is the same.
It might seem as though I’m biased to the dairy, poultry and beef industries. But this week has been about more than just abstaining from meat and milk and gaining a fresh perspective, it’s also been about experiencing a newfound respect for the fruit and vegetable industry. I mean I’ve always loved the stuff from the dirt, but this week I’ve been isolated to just those ingredients. So here’s some love to my produce growin’ friends. Thanks for what you do, and for helping to deliver a safe, delicious, nutritious and affordable product to my table. I’m not going to be a vegan past this week, but I promise to include more delicious fruits and veggies into my diet after this week!
Vegan Food Diary, Day 3
Steel cut oats
Salsa and Ritz crackers
Black eye (coffee with shot of espresso) and dash of soy milk
Black bean quinoa dish (provided by Morgan Perry—thanks!)