Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Matter of Meat

The Matter of Meat is a sensitive subject because we all have our own beliefs concerning the consumption of meat as a source of protein. Don’t worry, I am not here to convince you to become a vegetarian or even to follow my ideas. I am just wanting to give you bits of information that will possibly cause you to re-think some of your beliefs concerning the use of meat in your diet.

I am pretty sure that everyone is familiar with Leviticus 11 and what is Biblically considered meat to be used for food and what is not... If you are not familiar with this then please stop reading this and get your Bible and go over it before continuing this article.

In the Bible there are multiple words that are associated as meat or flesh. The most common word is “Basar”. Although this word can mean “flesh” like man’s flesh, it is more often used in the context of food meaning meat, bread, fruit etc..

Let’s first consider something that we all partake of… Fast Food… Should we eat out?

Fast Food equals cheap ingredients, poor quality, poor nutrition, and Poor Health ! The Business Goal of the Fast Food Industry is Taste and Appeal for the lowest cost. The fast food industry does not have your health interest in mind. The Movie Documentary “Super-Size Me” told the story of a man who ate all of his daily food from Mc Donalds. He was medically tested at the beginning and was found to be healthy. After, 2 weeks of him only consuming Mc Donalds food, His Dr’s were afraid for his health, because his his major organs were showing severe signs of disease and he was sick and even though the advice of his Dr’s was to stop the documentary, he pushed through the full 30 days. By the end, he was very sick. After he stopped eating that food, his health slowly returned to normal.. It really doesn’t matter if it is McDonalds, Wendy's, Arbys, or Taco Bell, I feel that the end result would be the same.

We need to remember that the business goal of a fast food business is to inexpensively produce products that are low in consumer cost with appeal to the consumer with generally no concern for health. There is also evidence that these companies put taste enhancing chemicals in the food that can actually cause allergic reactions in susceptible people. Some of these chemicals actually make you crave more of it, thereby causing you to go back to their restaurant to get more.. Did you know that the food wrapper and containers are treated with Teflon to lengthen the time that the “food” can be wrapped up without leaking all over the sack, your car etc… Tests have shown that the Teflon shows up in miniscule amounts of each food that is wrapped in it, and since our body cannot effectively eliminate it, it builds up in our body and could cause problems.

Feedlots and Animal Health -- Antibiotics, Growth Hormones, Microbes etc.

Have you ever been to a feed lot? Do the animals graze in a pasture? No they don’t. They live their life in dirt or mud and are fed a diet of grain and “feed”. Research shows that the feed is laced with antibiotics, hormones etc. And if that is not bad enough. There is evidence that “animal parts” and chicken feces are dessicated and put into the feed to enhance protein content. Animal parts in the feed of an animal who’s natural diet is grass? This is exactly the cause of BSE or Mad Cow Disease. I believe that this practice is wrong and we should try to the best of our ability to avoid eating meat from animals raised this way.

Is Kosher any Better?

Kosher, doesn't necessarily mean fed or raised properly. Kosher meat just means a Rabbi inspected the animal and found no visible flaws and then it was killed by Jewish Kosher Guidelines. Then after the animal is processed and halved, it is inspected again and if no visible flaws are found it is passed as Kosher. The animal to be butchered can come from a commercial feedlot, loaded with antibiotics, growth hormones etc., but is still "Kosher" if approved by the Rabbi/Inspector… It is possible for this animal to contain pesticide residue, antibiotic residue, hormones etc. I have heard it said that these things are not passed to humans through the consumption of the meat, but if that were true, then why does the CDC report the diseases that are transmitted via meat consumption?

Here is a short list of known diseases that can be transmitted to humans by eating their flesh. BSE,aka Mad Cow Disease, E. Coli, Campylobacter, Bacilus Cereus, Staphylococcus, Shigella, Clostridium, and Salmonella, . Also, New research shows that Borrelia Burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease can be transmitted by meat consumption..

Some believe that as long as you don’t cut into the spinal cord, BSE infection can’t be transmitted to humans. I believe that this is not true because all of the muscle of the animal is enervated with nerves that are connected to the CNS, therefore, doesn’t it make sense that the disease would also be in the meat? Also, when the butchers cut the carcass in half, they do so with a band saw through the spinal cord, thereby contaminating the whole carcass by splattering the spinal fluid onto the carcass !

So with this information, I believe that we are no better off consuming Certified Kosher meat. I believe that we are better off consuming farm raised, grass fed beef and/or organically grown/fed, if not both…

Did you know that only grass fed beef and milk has a natural substance called conjugated linoleic acid, aka CLA? CLA has been shown to benefit the human metabolism by causing the “brown adipose” tissue in our body to take in the “white adipose tissue and cause it to be used in the process of thermogenesis, thereby causing a reduction of body fat. which is responsible for our belly and love handles. CLA has also been shown to increase our lean muscle mass, prevent Allergies, Cancer, and Atherosclerosis. As well as helping to normalize Serum Cholesterol and Triglyceride levels.

It is clear to me that CLA is a major benefit to us and I believe that it was in the Maker’s Design for it to be present for our benefit. However, it does not happen if the animal is fed a diet completely of grain or feed cubes.. It only happens if it consumes primarily fresh grass and hay. I find this to be a big lesson in letting the animal do what is natural to them, not forcing them to live a way contrary to how G-D designed them live...

Even though I have only talked about Beef here, we can’t leave out chicken or turkey… Commercial chicken and turkey farms are no better than the commercial Beef industry. Growth Hormones, Antibiotics, animal part laced feed etc… They are packed wall to wall in brooder houses with barely room to move. So, organic or farm raised is the best choice here also...

Now, even though I don't promote vegetarianism, I do teach that we don't need large amounts of animal protein (meat) in our daily intake of food. I believe that there is quite a bit of evidence that our daily intake of protein should only be around 20% of our total daily intake and the rest of our nutritional needs of Carbohydrates and Fats, should come from nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables and fruit.

I think that we should be conscious of the food that we eat and we should make good nutrition choices daily for optimal physical and mental health. Even though the Bible is basically silent about what we call nutrition today, we do have the texts that support the idea that it is important to treat “our” body as a Temple.

Should we consider what we offer "our" body as a Temple Offering?

1 Cor. 6:19-20 says: Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. I know that the context of these verses is concerning being with a prostitute, however we could carry over this line of thinking to what we eat also.

In traditional Jewish homes, the dinner table is considered the family altar, and the home itself is called the “mikdash meyat”, a little sanctuary where G-D can dwell. Because the family invites G-D to join them at every meal all foods must be ritually acceptable. When we eat we should consider that our table is an altar which we make an offering to Ad-nai.

Would we take a commercially raised animal to offer as a sacrifice if the Temple existed today? Would G-D consider it unblemished?

My opinion based on my studies, is NO, G-D would not consider this kind of animal as unblemished and it would be rejected. So, with all of the evidence and opinions given here, would you want to take the meat from this animal into your body, the Temple of the Holy Spirit ?

If farm raised or Organic is not available, I believe that it would be best to not eat meat. And we would be better off just eating bread, grain, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds or legumes.

I believe that our Creator delights in our health and happiness and HE has provided so much for us to partake of for us to be so. I know for a fact that no one is happy when they are sick. Yes, sometimes illness happens regardless of how we live, but I think that we would have better health if we would consider what foods would work best for our body.

There is a whole lot more that could be said here, but I just wanted to share with you these ideas that have been on my mind and I hope that you have learned enough here, to go out on your own and learn more..

Shalom, John

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