The Modern Savage by James McWilliams - My Angry Review

I'm afraid I might be a bad vegan.

Produce On Parade - The Modern Savage by James McWilliams - A Book Review

*WARNING* Expletive and serious aggression warning for this post. Giveaway at the end!

I've never watched Earthlings...or seen Food Inc...or even viewed Forks Over Knives. I lack the constitution to watch these films that demonstrate slaughtering and/or the monstrousness of the animal agriculture industry. I know I should watch them. Maybe someday I will, but not yet.

As a HSP (highly sensitive person), witnessing violence has always really affected me and being unrealistically empathetic, terrors overburden me for a most unusual amount of time. It's the reason I can't watch horror, war, or exceptionally depressing/disturbing movies. They just weigh too heavily on me, for too long. Most people can shrug the scenes off as "just a movie" or "it's all fake". But the feelings and memories I experience stay with me.

Produce On Parade - The Modern Savage by James McWilliams - A Book Review

Which brings me to the written word. Books. One book in particular. It seems that I am able to read about the atrocities of the meat and dairy industry just okay, well kind of. I have a vivid imagination, but it's not as impactful as actually viewing real slaughterhouse footage or under-cover photos. One must know about how his/her food comes to the plate. Especially when that food is an animal whose short life was lead in utter torment only to be horrendously slaughtered for an unnecessary meal. 

I don't mean to come off as bossy, unreasonable, nosy, and/or bitchy. But I'm not in the least bit sorry when I say it's our moral f*cking imperative to not choose ignorance. So read The Modern Savage and find out how sentient beings live and die to become just a piece of bacon or a slab of steak. And if you butcher your own backyard animals or keep chickens, sorry but, that's covered too. So read up people. Ignorance isn't's becoming apathy, and it's now dangerous. 

The greatest danger to our future is apathy.
— Jane Goodall
Produce On Parade - The Modern Savage by James McWilliams - A Book Review

The Modern Savage by James McWilliams, with it's expansive education only briefly covers the environmental devastation caused by meat and dairy consumption. See Cowspiracy for more information on that. This book covers mostly the moral implications regarding animal consumption and how we got there. Yep, there's enough for an entire book worths on the emotional shithole that is eating animal products; omitting the health reasons and environmental reasons for going vegan.

McWilliams enlightens us to how "agricultural" animals aren't really very different from ourselves and why we see them so strikingly as food, as opposed to other animals we might view as pets. The lines are often blurred. Did you know that a pig has an average intelligence above a dog and that of a three year old human child! That's pretty f*cked up considering how we brutalize, confine, and rape them. He discusses what he calls, "the omnivore's contradiction" which is a recurring theme in the book. The omnivore's contradiction "encapsulates our aspiration to grant animals moral status and yet eat them."

Produce On Parade - The Modern Savage by James McWilliams - A Book Review
No matter how the cattle are raised, it will always be more efficient to use a plot of arable land to grow plants for people to eat than to grow plants for cows who will be eaten by humans.

What I found especially compelling and unique about this exposé was the challenges made against so-called humane slaughter, grass-fed beef, and raising your own animals for slaughter. Surely these practices are better than their factory farming counterparts, right? Maybe, not...but you'll have to read the book to really discover why. It's pretty shocking stuff. 

Even though there are various animals routinely murdered for consumption, The Modern Savage expands upon mostly the three most notorious: chickens, cows, and pigs. What you'll read will absolutely break your heart. You will most definitely cry (I cried pretty much throughout most the book). You will question everything you thought you knew. You will feel like an ignorant pile of shit, yet somehow privileged  to read this information that seems to have been hidden from you for so long. And finally, you will feel hot rage. Maybe even you will be angry and depressed with yourself for looking the other way for long. I know I am. So, why would you want to read this book? Because you must

As the bolt retracts, gray brain matter often flies out the hole in the cow’s skull....Seconds later, blood gushes out of the wound, bubbling up and out in a dark maroon stream as it’s oxygenates...The cow’s eyes typically take ano a glazed look and its tongue often hangs limply from its mouth.

The animal is now deed either unconscious or dead. Often, though, he is neither. Often he remains conscious. One worker called how - a lot of times the skinner [working down the line] finds out an animal is still conscious when he slices the side of its head and it starts kicking wildly. When that happens, the skinners shove a knife into the back of it’s head to cut the spinal cord. Then he dies. Sometimes.
In conventional beef production it takes on average about twenty-five hundred pounds of water to produce a pound of beef.

I have struggle with coming to grips with how most people could be okay with this. That they could do this. That they could watch this. That they could know this. Or even just turn their cheek to it. Or, worst of all...not know.

And what of the health of our planet? 2,500 lbs of water! Cows need about two gallons of water per day per 100 lbs. of body weight, and double that if they are lactating. Which...if they are lactating...hello, that's where the white stuff comes from. How can someone call themselves an environmentalist and be concerned about global warming yet still consume meat and dairy is beyond me. Did you know that grass-fed beef has an overall carbon footprint that's roughly 20% higher than conventional feedlot production! Yikes!

I'm so, so glad I read this book and learned more about animal agriculture. But seeing as I don't eat meat, I fear I'm not the one who needs to read it. It's hard to dismiss the facts any longer, there's really not any more excuses. Our world needs a dramatic shift in thinking. As opposed to unthinking.

Produce On Parade - The Modern Savage by James McWilliams - A Book Review

You should definitely buy this book. Don't deprive yourself of this knowledge. Everyone needs to read this book. The world would be a better place for it. This is a fairly graphic book, if you haven't discovered from the excerpts. However, it was nothing a 110% bleeding heart like my sensitive self couldn't gut though. 

Find it on Amazon for $17.76 hardcover or $12.99 Kindle edition, or at your brick and mortar bookstores. 

Alternatively, enter to win a free copy of The Modern Savage by James McWilliams. When you're done reading it, don't hold onto it. Spread it.

Produce On Parade - The Modern Savage by James McWilliams - A Book Review


Changes I've Noticed Since Becoming Vegan

Sassy Alert! I woke up on the sassy part of the bed today (it happens sometimes) and my ardent animal activist is out in full force today. I am usually quite a mellow little vegan, but not today! You've been warned.

Getting back in the swing of things after my unfortunate week off has been tough. I had a spectacular cookie recipe all lined up, but I forgot to edit and upload the photos! So, it'll have to be saved for tomorrow instead I suppose. But that's okay because I have a different sort of post for today. 

Photo by the exceptionally talented Todd.

Photo by the exceptionally talented Todd.

It's been a little over one year since I became vegan and it's honestly been one of the happiest decisions of my life. It's brought Todd and me so much joy and peace with regards to our health and mental wellness. I thought I'd share some changes in my life since going plant-based.

Changes I've noticed since becoming vegan.

Some occurred instantaneously and some took some time to notice.   

- There's been some concern with relation to my excessive consumption of nutritional yeast. I've been encouraged to research if one can consume too much of the stuff ( NOOCH BELONGS ON EVERYTHING! No joke. It's cheesy, a complete protein, packed with B-12, and I'm fairly certain they put crack in it. Todd told me I should just contact the distributor so I can get it in super bulk quantities.

- I now find animal meat completely repulsive. Physically it grosses me out. Having grown up in Alaska, I wasn't sure that would ever happen to me, but it has. The connection has been made... it's really been made. Seriously, I imagine that a particular chicken once stood, afraid, and cramped in shockingly horrendous conditions before being slaughtered every time I see a cooked chicken leg.

- I used to cough in the mornings. Every morning. For years and years. Since I've been vegan that's gone away. I now know the culprit was dairy. So, bye-bye apocalypse size bottle of Zyrtec. Unfortunately, my allergies to Bobbledore haven't gone away....I still have my eye drops for that!

- My friends and family eat more vegan products and less animal products (at least when I'm around), woot woot! Eating more fruits and vegetables? Words patients have been ignoring from their doctors and/or nutritionists for a long time now. Now you should be able to say, "Yes!"

- If a friend or family member mentions a recipe or dish that they made or enjoyed that contains animal products, I don't fake it any longer and go "Ooo, that sounds so good!" Because it doesn't. I'm not cool with having an animal die simply because I want beef tacos (lentil tacos are way better anyways, fo real). There's nothing good about milk and if you people don't believe me then they should march down to the commercial dairy farm where that milk they bought was produced. Seriously...this isn't the 1950's anymore. We know there's really nothing good about cow's milk, in fact quite the opposite. Be an informed consumer and see the research here at

-  I seriously haven't had to see my primary care doctor since I've been vegan. I was a frequent flyer before. I was always sick. Colds, flus, bronchitis, strep, pneumonia....straight up. You should know that my place of employment is a hospital. I am constantly around plaque monkeys. Last week a little girl coughed in my face at point blank range. Yep. Still not sick though! I'm invincible!! Okay, maybe not...there was a visit to the Urgent Care, but that was non-food related as you may know if you follow me on social media. Don't worry, I know I'll get sick eventually...but I'll be damned if I've not had a single cough for over a year now.

- My hair isn't straw-like anymore. For real. It wasn't pretty. Plus, it seems to have been growing faster too. I attribute this to lots of avocado, nuts, and seeds. 

- I don't count calories anymore. I just eat healthily (most of the time). Calories, fat, and carbs no longer linger on my brain. Plus, I've lost a cool 10-15 lbs. and ain't nothing wrong with that.

- Our pantry is full of all kinds of things I would have never tried if I hadn't become vegan. Nutritional yeast, millet, adzuki beans, kombu, etc. Playing with new food sure can be fun, and hey, variety is the spice of life! Red quinoa, TVP, and millet...oh my!

- I experiment with fermenting and sprouting, something I might not have done before becoming vegan. Almond milk kefir, lacto-fermented veggies, water kefir, mung bean sprouts, broccoli sprouts..some have been more successful than others. I can't wait to try my hand at plant-based yogurt and cheese!

- I feel inclusive and welcomed into a community of like minded people who share the same values and ethics. There's not a lot that feels better than being accepted. Even for an awkward, antisocial little monster like myself.

- I care more. I'm more compassionate and my decisions are more thought-out. Instead of thinking how something will impact only me, I think about how it will impact animals, people, and the planet. It's important to think beyond yourself. We are all connected to this earth and everything on it. We all need to work on being less egocentric. 

- I'm an animal advocate. People are curious about me being vegan and they want to know more. This provides a great opportunity to speak up for animals and boast the joys and gratification not contributing to animal abuse! 

The sad truth of it.

The sad truth of it.

- My mind is clear and my conscious is free from the guilt of contributing to the harm of animals and of our planet as well. You vote for the kind of world you want every time you lift a fork. I want to be happier, healthier, and for no animals to be harmed and I'm voting for that everyday!

- I'm happier, healthier, and more at peace. It's as plain and simple as that. Try it!