To read Part 1 go here: www.jalilakrichi.com/blog/when-food-isnt-food-how-we-got-here-part-1
There is a lot of controversy around the health benefits of eating animals, which I will not go into here.
Suffice to say...I love me some steak.
...but also, I hold the belief that from Allah SWT's mercy, He gave us a a relationship with animals to enhance our lives:
"And the cattle, He has created them for you; in them there is warmth (warm clothing), and numerous benefits, and of them you eat."(Quran, 16:5)
As Muslims, we recognize our jobs as stewards of our earthly companions. We must to treat them well, give them what they were created to eat and help them thrive if for no other reason than because they are God's creation and we are going to be held accountable by Our Creator.
...but also for the obvious reason that their products will soon become part of us.
"And indeed, for you in grazing livestock is a lesson. We give you drink from what is in their bellies - between excretion and blood - pure milk, palatable to drinkers."(Quran, 16:66)
But back to the reality...
Thanks to the disruptive force of petroleum from the ground up, we are feeding exclusively-grazing herbivores corn. And not just any corn; petroleum-fertilized, genetically modified,pesticide-sterilized, nutrient-deficient corn.
As a result of the beef industries' feeding regimes, a cows' 7-chambered stomach (created to slowly digest large amounts of grass) becomes a distillery for quick-digesting corn.
In the beef industry is not only common, but expected that many cows will die due to high acidity in their bodies from the corn. Their ruminant stomachs become bloated with quick-fermenting corn, leading them to suffocate to death.
This is not to mention that the cows never see a blade of grass, are packed into close quarters, are living and sleeping in their own excrement....
If you are wondering how an cows survive to be marketed as beef, one word: antibiotics. (But seriously, that is another 3-part series in itself.)
And dairy-industry cows? Yeah, they don't fare much better.
I know, I know... you must be tired of reading all the doom-and-gloom. You are probably wondering what you can eat!
Surely chickens are treated better.
Not at all.
Not even close...
See, chickens are amazing. Naturally roamers, chickens give the gift of pest-control, fertilizer, nutritious eggs and at the end of their lives, meat.
(I know this because in the past three years I have personally raised over 300 chickens for both eggs and meat out of a sense of moral obligation.)
The current industrial model confines laying hens in packed cages with -you guess it- corn to eat. These hens never see the light of day (pale yolks, anyone?), and often get so stress that they become cannibalistic and eat the fellow inmates.
Meat birds share the same warehouse-fate, and are bred to grow so quickly and without physical movement that their legs often break under their weight. All of this super-charged animal product has been made possible only by that magical food ...can you guess? Yep! Corn!
How can the meat or eggs from these creatures be something nutritious (much less desirable) to eat?
It can't be.
Here, I feel the Animal Rights movement and moral-vegetarian/vegans can't be blamed for shaming the consumption of meat. There is so much wrong here that of course industrial meat prodution is certainly NOT healthy, or moral or tasty, or anything we want to be a part of!
Here, take a look at the nutritional value of conventionally raised animals vs pasture-raised (as God intended):
Graphs taken from: https://westonapricepasadena.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/our-february-2014-potluck-dinner-meeting-with-local-rancher-and-grass-farmer-john-de-bruin/
Basically, animals allowed to eat their natural diet far surpass the Omega-3 Fatty acid, Vitamin A, E, Folate and Beta Carotene contents of their industrial counterparts.
Those fed an unnatural diet of corn are basically deficient and toxic to eat.
God created every being to have an optimal natural diet, and when we work with animals instead of against their nature, we will reap the benefits.
Remember: if nutrition isn't in the soil, it isn't in the plant, it isn't in the animal, it won't be in you!
InshaAllah in the final post, I will give you tips and tricks to find nutrient-dense food that will nourish you and your family.