There are seminal meals in every foodie’s life. For some, it’s the first time they try properly prepared, perfectly sauced pasta. For others, it’s when they finally escape the clutches of overbearing parents and tuck into a chicken nugget. But, for one erstwhile vegetarian, it was when she took a bite of her first beef burger in a decade. She hasn’t looked back since.
49-year-old Tammi Jonas, of Victoria, Australia, turned veggie in the 1970s after reading a book about the poor treatment of farm animals. She didn’t touch meat until the 80s when she suddenly found herself struggling with Anemia during her third pregnancy.
Even though she tried taking both iron supplements and multi-vitamins, Jonas couldn’t shake the symptoms. She decided that something had to change.
As she explained in an interview with 10daily, "I was at work one day and just thought: 'a burger would fix this'." She continued, "I went back to red meat, so beef and lamb, once a week throughout the pregnancy, and it was some years longer before I had any pork or poultry." Her Anemia disappeared and her pregnancy concluded without a hitch.
However, Jonas’ journey didn’t stop with simply eating meat for health reasons. Before long, she and her husband realized that there was money to be made in ethically raising animals for consumption. Before long, "The penny dropped and we realized that we were going to be farmers and, for me, I knew immediately pigs because they are some of the worst treated in industrial systems."
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Jonas’ approach centers around her belief that, while eating meat is not inherently unethical, how they are reared is of vital importance. As she put it in her interview:
"I never thought it was immoral to take an animal's life for food - I've always been comfortable with my place in the food chain, but I thought it was immoral to treat [animals] cruelly, to not allow them to go outside and breathe fresh air and to be confined in crowds in sheds."
On her website, Jonas elaborates, revealing:
"My journey from mindless industrial eater to vegetarian to ethical omnivore led me all the way to become a pig farmer to contribute to the growing movement to get pigs and poultry back out of sheds and onto paddocks.”
We now grow, butcher and cure all of our meat, and serve 80 households from our thriving community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm."
Jonas’ journey proves that eating food can have a profound effect, not just on our health, but also our overall outlook.
This article originally appeared on vt.co