Saturday, January 12, 2013

Gratitude for the Food that Heals Me

Today we went to Fair View Meadow Farm to see where our meat comes from. A while ago, through our CrossFit gym we started buying grass-fed, pastured meat and eggs from the buying club with Fair View Meadow Farm. As we got more into the Paleo lifestyle and in order to support sustainable ethical eating, we then ordered a whole cow from the farm which means we do not have to buy meat from the grocery store which comes from who knows where, using inhumane farming, hormones, and excess fossil fuels for transportation. (Here is a great post about pork from Whole9 The Conscientious Omnivore: Pigs and Pork.) The meat tastes a ton better than meat from the grocery, it has no antibiotics and hormones in it, it is much leaner, and cheaper too.

We chose to start eating this way because the Paleo diet was recommended to me by my doctors to help treat my bipolar disorder, and as long as I stick to it, it really works. We have been really strict Paleo, doing a Whole30 starting January 1, 2013, and this has helped in many ways. I will expand on that in another post, but overall my mood has evened out, I have more energy, better cognitive function, and the ability to follow through on other treatment such as exercise. I have not needed as much Ativan, and that is the only medication I am on right now- taken maybe just a few times a week.

Nathan Joppeck from Fair View Meadow Farm offered to show us the farm and our son really liked the idea saying "I would like to see what a cow looks like when it is not in block form." (This is a Minecraft reference and also because he has never seen a cow except meat in a freezer.) I was glad he wanted to know where his food comes from. Since we have also ordered a whole pig, we went out to the farm to meet the group of pigs ours will come from, and see all the other animals.

Jeffrey, Katie, & Jeff with the cows.

They are a multi-species farm raising cows, chickens, sheep, and pigs. They also grow organic fruits and vegetables. The animals rotate feeding on different parts of the pasture so the earth is sustainable and the animals are humanely raised. No animal is penned up or shut in like in factory farming. Clearly I can't describe the specifics of all that they do, but basically the animals get to lead healthy and happy lives.

I thought when I went out there that I might have a hard time looking into the animals eyes knowing I would be eating one or more of them at some time.

Photo by Jeff Norris.

This is a hard thing for me, being a Unitarian Universalist and respecting the interdependent web of existence and eating animals. Many people in our faith insist that the only ethical way to eat is by being vegetarian, yet they do not realize that you can be an ethical meat eater and some of us actually have medical reasons why we need to eat meat. The proteins derived from soy or legumes are incomplete for someone like me and also soy and legumes bother my digestive tract and make me sick not only in body but in mind as well. As I saw these animals today, I felt a huge appreciation for them because they help save my life.

They allow me to treat my illness without tons of medication. They allow me to care for my family, remain healthy, and be someone who can contribute positively to the world. Without them my health is greatly compromised. Bipolar disorder and anxiety are serious illnesses and my treatment includes a specific diet of animal protein which is as free-range and organic possible. These animals literally heal me. Rather than feel guilty and bad about needing meat to treat my illness, I now have a great appreciation for the animals. I really see it as more of a spiritual connection that allows me to see them as the amazing beings that they truly are rather than just something from a store that I have no relationship to.

I was also glad that our son got to see just how much work the farmers have to do to bring food to our table. He learned the importance of these animals and how they help care for and heal us. He knows food does not come from a box.

In gratitude for all that sustains and heals us, we have added to our dinner prayer "We thank the earth and all of the farmers and animals which brought us this food."


Rev. Katie


  1. We always have to be thankful for all the blessings we receive from day to day. I'm glad that more and more people are seeing the importance of eating organic products.

    Mischna Ong

  2. Rev Katie, thank you so much for this post! It helps me immensely. You are a kindred spirit, truly. Xoxo, court