A Deep Sadness

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There is only one more story to recount from our weekend trip to Door County, one that made me incredibly sad. While I love to include photos in my posts, trust me, you wouldn’t want any sort of photo with this one…

Jason and I were traveling home along the interstate. I was trying to keep myself awake – if Jason can’t nap, I can’tΒ  πŸ˜• – and I was watching the farm fields roll by out the side window. Jason, obviously scanning the road, saw a deer shoot across the northbound lanes. It narrowly missed the oncoming vehicles and made it to the median.

Then, it shot across our southbound lane…

Fortunately for us, the deer was well ahead of our vehicle. Unfortunately for the deer, there was a different vehicle right there.

The deer attempted to jump the minivan, but was unsuccessful. The van clipped it as it jumped, and the deer was sent airborne. After a couple of mid-air flips, it hit the road. By this time, Jason had stopped our vehicle and we had to sit there and watch the fatally injured deer attempt to get up – twice. Of course, it couldn’t. It finally just flopped to the ground and moved no more.

It was one of the most horrible events I’ve witnessed. I couldn’t keep from crying.

This incident definitely got me thinking. First, and this might make me sound like the most heartless person ever, but I didn’t even think about the people in the van. All I was upset about was the deer. Second, the sadness and pain I felt at seeing this poor animal hurt right in front of me made me feel like a major hypocrite. I’ve read Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and I’m now reading Skinny Bitch. I have a decent understanding of how our food industry treats animals. And I am a meat-eater.

But I’m now exploring a change in diet…

I have contemplated reducing/eliminating meat from my diet for some time now, but I haven’t gotten very serious about it. I have thought about it in terms of my health, especially as I seem to experience some major digestive issues with meat. At this point, I’ve eliminated a lot of dairy from my diet (but obviously not all dairy πŸ˜‰ ). I’ve also thought about it from the eco-friendly side of the issue. But during the hour/hour-and-a-half car ride from the accident scene to Milwaukee, I started to think much more seriously about my food choices. In addition to making me feel like crap most of the time, eating meat also means that I’m eating the animals I care about very much.

After a few days have passed, I still feel the same. I’m already beginning to work on reducing meat in my diet. At this point, I would like to work towards a pescetarian diet. Huh?? Basically, it would be a vegetarian diet in which I include fish (and since I’ll likely include eggs, I would add an “ovo” to thatΒ  πŸ™‚ ). I’m not about going cold turkey. This is much more of a lifestyle change for me.

I plan on chronicling pieces of this journey here on my blog. Getting into the outdoors has really impacted my worldview. It has motivated me to take better care of myself and to care more for our environment. To me, there is no separation between how I treat myself and how I treat the world around me. And if I hope to enjoy the great outdoors for years to come, I best be treating myself and the environment pretty darn goodΒ  πŸ™‚

 

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6 thoughts on “A Deep Sadness

  1. Jeffrey

    I’m sorry you had to see that.

    For many years, I used to think that I should become a vegetarian but could never envision actually being one. I liked meat a lot. Then, I read a book, Minding Animals by Marc Bekoff (http://www.amazon.com/Minding-Animals-Awareness-Emotions-Heart/dp/0195163370/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1305186292&sr=8-1), which isn’t about becoming a vegetarian (although it makes a case for it briefly near the end) but which apparently pushed me over the edge.

    The next time I went to the market, I didn’t buy any meat. (The market is an hour away, so that was a bit of a commitment!) It went fine… and I haven’t bought meat since. I’m still surprised six years later. It was shockingly easy for me, and if you choose that route, I hope it’s just as easy for you. Good luck!

    Reply
    1. Jill Jackson

      What a sad sight to have to see!

      Years ago my husband and I decided to cut most meat out of our diet. We do still eat meat maybe once a week or whenever we have a craving for it, but when we make things like fajitas, spaghetti, lasagna, chili, etc. we just eliminate the meat. In recipes like this we found wedidn’t miss the meat at all soon it just became habit. We did it primarily for health reasons but as we are also very eco minded it was a win, win situation. We do eat dairy, in fact, a lot of dairy. I have blood sugar issues and have found dairy (milk, yogurt) help stabalize my blood sugar quickly when it needs stabalizing, so I won’t eliminate the dairy.

      Reply
      1. Laura Post author

        Thanks for your sharing your experience Jill! My husband and I actually had tacos tonight – I had already planned on making mine into a taco salad. I really didn’t want the meat, so I quickly looked up a vegetarian taco salad that used beans instead of meat. It was so fresh and light – I definitely did not miss the meat.

        I will probably still have meat on Fridays. Fish fry is big around here, and I love that a little too much right now to want to give that up. I still feel a little differently about fish, even though I know there are environmental issues there, too. We’ll see where time takes me.

        Reply
    2. Laura Post author

      Thanks Jeffrey! Like I said, I’ve been thinking about it, but up to this point I had the same feeling – that I could never completely give up meat, it’s too good. I actually haven’t had any meat since this weekend, and I honestly feel better than I have in a long time. Luckily, I’m a big vegetable lover, too, and we’re now getting into a great time of year when there’s so much in-season fresh produce available.

      Thanks again for sharing your experience. FYI – I just added that book to my “to-read” list πŸ™‚

      Reply
  2. Malinda

    Oh my! I’m so sorry you had to see that, Laura! That poor deer!

    My husband and I have had the same thoughts about food. (I’ve also read all of Pollans books and watched Food, Inc.) But growing up on a farm and being a big supporter of local farmers, I’ve been unwilling to completely abandon meat. (Oh. And I also think it’s delicious.) So Dave and I decided to make a committment to eating locally. It means we spend a bigger portion of our budget on food, but we decided that eating healthy and humanely is that important to us. (So much so that we stuck with it even when Dave was laid off and unemployment for almost a year. Ugh.) We recently purchased a 1/4 of a cow from a local farmer. We’ve been to the farm and know the cow was treated humanely and it’s enough meat to last us a year! Buying in bulk has really helped us keep our costs down. And during the summer produce from local farmers markets and my garden means we’re paying less than we would in the store. Just another option. πŸ™‚

    Good luck to you, whatever you decide to do! It’s a very personal choice, but one I think we all need to think about.

    Reply
    1. Laura Post author

      Thanks Malinda! I completely agree about eating local. Actually, we were regular patrons of Dan’s Meat Market in town while it was open. We spent a lot more money on our meat there, but it was well worth it for piece of mind (and much better product, for that matter). But as we unfortunately suspected, good businesses like that can’t make it in Whitewater πŸ™ .

      Since I wrote this post, I have only had meat once – fish last weekend. Honestly, I’ve experienced a huge improvement with some of the stomach issues I’ve been struggling with for a couple of years now. Meat is super yummy, but not dealing with more of those issues is enough to overpower it.

      Thanks again πŸ™‚ . What we eat and where the food comes from is a very important thing we all really do need to think about.

      Reply

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