5 years ago I decided to cut meat out of my diet: no beef, no chicken, no fish. Many reasons lead me towards that decision. To reduce environmental footprint, animal cruelty and improve my health, to say the least in a very simplistic kind of way.
I wouldn't have considered including chicken back to my diet, but in the past month we've been dealing with baby Matia's acid reflux. If you've ever had to deal with this kind of situation you know it can be very frustrating, stressful and tiring.
According to the research I've done, to help determine what is causing the reflux, a breast feeding mother has to go on an elimination diet. No dairy, no gluten and no acidic food. Instead, the consumption of blend food is encourage, like rice, quinoa, sweet potato and chicken. The last one is especially recommended for good fat and protein. Every mom I've talked to says it's the best for this kind of thing. Now I'm having to do the necessary adjustments to meet my high standards of good nutrition and health.
We have a few chickens we raise ourselves, not really for the meat, but because we love chickens and all animals. We enjoy their company, we give them names and a pretty good life: the best organic grains, lots of vegetation, a flock to socialize with and a free range lifestyle. Sometimes we eat their eggs, if we can find them in the bushes, but it's not a prerequisite for living here free and being fed with the best food. It's clear we love our chickens, all of them: Chicko, Gandalf the Gray, Bleu, Nina, Speckles, Adriana, Anastasia and The Wife.
I know that if we were to raise our own chickens for meat, we wouldn't be contributing to the carbon footprint the meat industry is responsible for (meat causes more emissions than all transportation combined), neither would we follow the animal cruelty procedures and conditions that factory farms apply to the 10 billion animals who are raise for meat every year. No, we don't support those practice. Yet, there's still something that feels off when you eat someone you love, someone with a name, and a personality you know so well.
So what to do when all culinary and nutritional circumstances point in that direction? Is this just an overly thought question, typical from my human condition? I honestly doubt the eagles that fly every day in the search for prey have such dilemmas on a daily basis, or ever.
So what should one do with these questions? Should I just eat chicken from a local sustainable farm that treats their animals with the same love we do, to avoid eating the ones we love? If so, should I justify killing an animal just because I'm not attached to it emotionally?
To eat or not to eat chicken: that is the question.