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Shooting Guns and Eating Vegetables

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Last year, I shot a gun for the first time. I went to Montana for an "adventure getaway" filled with shooting clays, hunting pheasant, fly fishing and a little ATV ride in the mix for kicks. Quite a weekend! This city girl was way out of her comfort zone the whole time and it felt fantastic.

A few years ago, I killed my Thanksgiving turkey and worked on an organic farm -- my life was changed forever. It was all because I wanted to know where my food comes from. If I am going to eat meat, I want to know what an animal has to endure in order for us to enjoy that meal on our plates. This is why I went to Montana. To continue to understand what goes into getting food from the farm and field to our plate.

Learning how to shoot a gun and attempting to kill an animal was a humbling experience. There were two things I was thinking about the whole hunting weekend and have changed my perspective on food and how we eat.

Literally, with a gun in my hand, out in the middle of the field in Montana, I was thinking about these two things:

1. It takes a lot of work to eat meat. In order for us to have meat in our markets and available on our dinner plates, it takes an extraordinary amount of effort that most of us do not appreciate or acknowledge. We were out on that field for hours, walking through tall, tough grass, using trained dogs as guides, attempting to get a pheasant and even though the group did get a few birds (I did not!) there was not enough to feed the group. All that work and still not enough! And then I got to thinking about if we were hunting elk, how that would be enough meat to feed a lot of people, but the work that goes in to getting that animal from the wild to the plate is intense. Immense time and labor that most of us do not have nor do most want to spend their time killing their animals for food. But most of us eat animal meat everyday! Including myself!

2. We need to eat more vegetables. A lot more. Raw, cooked, fermented, in season and from local farmers. We need to eat more vegetables than we even realize and we need to do it NOW. Vegetables are full of nutrients and fiber, will change our palate to make us crave less processed foods and have little to no calories. Our health will be improved, our waist lines will be smaller and we will be supporting sustainable farming. It also takes a lot less effort to grow vegetables than animals.

There is a large conversation around protein that we all need to have because the protein we are eating comes from unsustainable sources and is often not filled with the nutrients we think it is. I am not going to become vegetarian any time soon -- I need and want animal protein in my diet. All I know is I think about things differently.

That getaway to Montana forever changed me and I am grateful. I am emphasizing the need for more vegetables in our diet. And I am appreciating every bite of food I eat more than ever. i hope you do the same.