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essays

What the Health

Last night, I watched What the Health, a documentary about the state of American health and the American diet. It was well worth watching. I’ve been a vegetarian for 17 years. I quit eating animals when I discovered how meat was produced in this country; back in the early aughts, the plight of factory-farm animals was still well-hidden and not part of the public conscience. I was completely shocked when I stumbled onto a book at the library and learned all about the abuse that animals suffered, and I realized it was quite hypocritical of me to be a devoted dog lover while also scarfing chicken salad for lunch. I became a vegetarian in a single day. It shouldn’t be surprising that there are serious health benefits to eliminating animal products from one’s diet (I don’t eat dairy, either…but I do occasionally bake with eggs and cook them.) Or maybe it IS surprising, given the fact that the government is in bed with every single animal-product industry, and even our “health organizations” like the American Diabetes Association promotes the consumption of dairy and meat, even though consumption of each are well-documented via studies to increase a person’s chances for getting…

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Wooden spoon survivor

I’ve seen this image floating around on Facebook lately. Whenever anyone shares this, it’s in the vein of, “Haha, isn’t this hilarious?” and “Yep, I survived, and look at how GREAT I am because of it!” As if they belong to some private and wonderful club. I don’t find it funny at all. I find it repugnant. Many of my published essays center around the topic of my childhood, specifically my mother’s rage and how it manifested in abuse. My mother and I have shared a long and rocky road in our relationship, but I’m proud to say we’ve come to a good place, and I’ve forgiven her for my childhood (thanks in no small part to my own entree into motherhood. It’s a real humbling experience, folks). I understand now why she did what she did; she couldn’t help it, she didn’t know better, and she was a mere child when she got pregnant with me at seventeen. (Seventeen!) She knows all about my writing and was bighearted enough to tell me she understood that it was my story to tell. How lucky am I, that she has given me this gift? Still, it should not be a surprise…

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