Beyond Vegetarian: One Man’s Journey in Search of the Moral Meal

daniel-768x509Photo by Kristine Leuze

Dear Friends,
so many of us, who are on their personal path of awakening to inner truth, have a moment in time when we are struggling with our nutrition. So many concepts, dogmas and illusions are spread around the topic of feeding our body – in an at the same time mind and soul feeding way. Over the last few weeks I had many conversations about what authentic self-nurturing might be our choices of the future. So I found it very interesting to run into this article about the activist Daniel Zetah, and read what path he went.
If you have not heard about him before, after he quit a US government job, Daniel Zetah spent years living in Tasmania as freegan, he was a full-time environmental activist, then a permaculture student, then a natural builder, sailed the seas on an anti-whaling ship that uses direct-action tactics to confront illegal whaling ships (called The Sea Shephed), and played a very active role in Occupy Wallstreet. On his personal journey of awakening including ten years of living vegetarianism, he now is a farmer, a full time … and a big-time carnivore. How it came that
he found his authentic truth in farming and eating his own animals, he shared in an amazing article! I hope you enjoy this extract of the very long piece just as much as I do!
Love, Oneness and Bon Appetit!!
Edith

Would you describe yourself as a long-time farmer and environmental activist?
Not at all. I used to be a redneck. I used to race cars and motorcycles and snowmobiles… I was a motorhead. I don’t want people to think I was always like this, because then they’re like “oh, they were just brought up that way by parents that…” it’s like no, no: I was raised by wolves. Until I was in my early 20s I ate nothing but crap. Like, garbage, American supermarket food. When I would go shopping, I was literally after the cheapest calories I could possibly find at the supermarket.hobart-300x225When did that start to change?
Well, I met a girl that I ended up getting married to and she was vegetarian, and so I started eating a vegetarian diet. Which is still completely disconnected and completely clueless as to what your eating and where it’s from, it’s just you’re not eating meat. I ate tons of grain, lots of dairy and cheese, even eggs, but just no meat… And that’s where I was at for probably a good eight years, until my early 30s.
But then I met a guy in Tasmania that basically just said “Dude, what are you doing?” and kind of told me in a very blunt manner that my actions did not match my rhetoric in a lot of areas of my life, including my dietary choices. His words were as sensitive as a sledge hammer but I couldn’t refute what he was saying. It was tough… but, like…
A lot of people, when you tell them a truth that goes against their reality, they get pissed off, because their egos can’t handle it, and so they want to dismiss what the person said… but I couldn’t do that in this situation. I was just clueless and when this guy gave me a clue, I couldn’t return to being clueless. So at that point, I started looking at labels of everything that I was eating. It’s like, ‘whoa okay, so now I’ve got to worry about this and this and this… ‘ and it was a rabbit hole. The more I learned about what was actually destructive to the environment or my body, the more I had to look for on labels, and after a time I couldn’t actually shop at the supermarket anymore because there was nothing I could eat there in good conscience, and then I started shopping at the food co-ops, and then I ended up as a two-year freegan – freeganism.

What were you doing at the time?
I had quit my job working for the state government as an auditor/prosecutor for chemical spraying operations in Tasmania and had become a full-time environmental activist, because when I started going down this rabbit hole and learning more about peak oil and climate change I was like, ‘oh God!’ Here I was, just a couple of years ago being completely clueless, and then this guy told me this stuff, and now I have the responsibility of the world on my shoulders, to tell everybody what I know, and I just thought at the time that it was literally a lack of awareness by people, and that if people like me would just get out and talk enough that it would all be okay, but I had no idea that it wasn’t a lack of information, it was just a lack of willingness to change.
The original article continues here with the next tree steps of Daniel Zetah’s journey: read here the full article!imageslAnd that set you down the path towards raising livestock?
Well I guess that path led to learning more and more and more, and realizing, that while there is no hard rule for what a human being should eat, or what the perfect diet is, in terms of minimizing suffering of other beings, there is an ideal diet for each region and each situation, and where I chose to farm, which is south-central Minnesota, well that bioregion was a tall-grass prairie/ oak savanna biome, and that oak savanna biome evolved over hundreds of thousands of years with grazing animals as an integral part in it. And so I realized that I wanted to gain as many of my calories from that perennial ecosystem as possible, and in this biome, I can do that with some vegetables that we grow in a diverse garden; wild edibles like wild greens, berries, nuts, fruit; and with meat!
Again the original article is much longer here!And what I want to see is systems that are going to mimic natural systems and be good for everything, not just the humans or the domesticated animals, but the wild species as well. I want to see food that is grown in those systems in harmony with an intact ecosystem. I’ve traveled enough and seen enough things grown around the world to know that even organic food, most of it, 99% of it, is grown in monocultures. Go out to California and see the organic almond orchards that go for miles and miles with not one other species in the mix. It’s just those trees, there’s no biodiversity at all, all of the native animals are gone, because all of their habitat is gone. That’s not sustainable, that is not ethical, it’s just bad. But because technically they’re not spraying toxins…

Original by @Dustin_Michels. This interview was conducted August 1, 2015. Daniel and Stephanie are now kicking off their new life in Lorinna, Tasmania. You can learn more and connect with them online at newstoryfarm.com. And you can check out their new project at facebook.com/ResiliencySchool/.

If you enjoy my posts and desire to sign up for the daily newsletter, you find a button on the right bar of my page. Please also like New Beginnings Guatemala on Facebook, and keep up the good work spreading the word ;-)! Feel INVITED to share this post also on your website or social media, just keep the links and credit active PLEASE! THANKS!

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One comment on “Beyond Vegetarian: One Man’s Journey in Search of the Moral Meal

  1. “Only by means of reverence for life can we establish a spiritual and humane relationship with both people and all living creatures within our reach. Only in this fashion can we avoid harming others, and, within the limits of our capacity, go to their aid whenever they need us.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

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