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After nearly 8 years after opting out from indulging in pork products I am grateful to have made this decision which has helped me to become more mindful about the food that I eat. There are many factors that I can mention around why I don’t dine on swine and I wanted to write out 4 main reasons about why I choose not to eat the other white meat, they cover areas that are entwined personally, ecologically, biologically and socially.

Don’t spork the pork.

Personal:

After college I worked as a server in Aspen, Colorado at 5 star restaurant where one of the world renowned chef’s was very proud of his curing room, it was hidden away amidst the walk in refrigerators in which no front of the house worker would dare to explore without the guidance of a chef or manager. The image of the hairy animal hooves paired with the gamey smell is forever staunchly stomped into my memory and as I walked in I realized right then and there that I wanted to change the way that I ate, to no longer blindly eat what was put out on the table in front of me without a better understanding of the once conscious animal that has been slaughtered for my savoring.

I have never felt great after having a bunch of bacon.

Ecological and Biological:

(Wentworth, George; Smith, David Eugene. – Work and Play with Numbers. Boston: Ginn & Company. p. 14)

There is clear evidence that the way that our food system is set up in America leads to an immense consumption of energy to grow, harvest, and transport goods to eat. Cowspiracy is a good movie that shines the light on this troubling dynamic, although it focuses on the production of beef and the massive amount of water used to make just 1 pound of beef the point carries across the animal spectrum. Pigs are similar to humans, they can grow human organs! Yes, ideally everything comes from a local farm but I don’t have one of those at the moment and I don’t have the inclination to stab a cute little pig in the neck for my food, unless it is a wild boar in Hawaii that tears through vegetation and destroys local habitats. For more reading on some of these topics checkout this article “5 Things I Learned the Hard Way While Raising Pigs” from Modern Farmer and “5 Ways Pigs and Humans are Alike” by Farms Not Factories.

Social:

“Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god. ”

-Aristotle

We often look, learn, and appropriate what our friends and family do to fit our needs and I think that food definitely fits into this. I am heavily influenced by my wonderful group of friends and I am lucky to be surrounded by health conscious athletes, intellectuals and specialists all yearning to improve their daily life. The PR industry is a major driver of what makes trends take off and the man who invented the Public Relations industry has driven many to unconsciously consume products, both food and otherwise. I like to be aware of that conditioning that is driven by others, who are often guided by something other than my best interests (money). Bacon was not such a staple of what American culture felt was a necessary indulgence until after Edward Bernays was paid by the Beech Nut Corporation decades ago to increase the sales of pork, where he in turn paid researchers to come up with results that said that Americans weren’t getting enough meat in their diet, particularly for breakfast. Oh, and he was also a major reason why cigarettes caught on in the U.S. Chew on this:

In Summary:

Yes, of course many people say “but it tastes so good” and I won’t argue with that since the salty swine may taste good to them, but in my mind it is similar to the effect of sugar, and of course our tastebuds enjoy a load of salt and sugar, but does that mean we need to find every excuse to pile sugar on top of most food items? I have fought hard most of my life to find the ideal balance of nutrition that fits my body type and I enjoyed reading Natural Health, Natural Medicine by Dr. Andrew Weil in an effort to understand my health and nutrition better and I was shocked to finally have a light bulb go off after learning that I was most certainly overloading my system with too much meat based protein my whole life, which was adding unnecessary pressure on my digestive system. I have realized that through all of the trends that come and go around the topic of nutrition I can simply strive to understand where my food comes from and what makes me feel the best and it all started with a little help from a pig.

Don't Dine on Swine: Pig on a bike

(Illustration by Sally Symes)

Don’t dine on swine.

Love and Light.

-Andy