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Food Walks and Talks


By Dr. Jo Gjelsten


Since we read “Where The Blind Horse Sings” last fall, we’ve wanted to see the Catskill Animal Sanctuary (CAS) located in Saugerties, NY, to meet all the residents; Rambo the ram, Buddy the blind horse, Franklin the pig, and Kathy the human who started it all. Some animals, like turkeys, goats and sheep; Rambo the ram for example, roam free, and can be naughty just like children at times, breaking into the kitchen, stealing food, driving away with the tractor.   “You’ve been in time out already this week” Kathy admonishes the sheep, one of a trio of little rascals who were adopted together, because they’re the best of friends and have a little club going. You’ll also read about Hannah, who we saw, the sheep who had a crush on Rambo, and how he would hide from her behind the rabbit house as she frantically looked for him. Kathy Stevens is the Mother Teresa of farm animals, founder of this literally life-altering place, a remarkable feat when you find out how it was done. Kathy, with her crew, nurtures the abused individuals, all of whom have and know their names now. She does this with good food, clean accommodations, room to roam, and most of all, love, LOTS of love. Her tales of animal behavior; Paulie the rooster who wouldn’t stop crowing until he could cuddle up to her in her bed, and demanded to ride with her in the car, Rambo the self-appointed barn warden, who reminded her that she’d left the turkeys out in the rain by bleating at her, then marching down the aisle, doing a 90 degree turn to their empty stall, standing and staring at her until she got the message. And more; emotional pigs, goats; the lame one with deformed knees we met lying on in a bed of hay in the barn who fell asleep in the lap of a visiting 3 year old little girl. I took the picture of this is and it’s on my website. But most of all the blind horse, one of three, all named Buddy, who you just simply must read about. You’ll find them all in this amazing book which inspires anyone who has thought about abstaining from animal and animal “products” to do just that. We can count ourselves among those inspired.  If you’re an animal lover, first of all, read the book, then go to the Sanctuary, then know that there is no pressure from Kathy to become vegetarian, but when she reveals the appalling conditions of farm animals; torture birth to death, which we’ve all avoided thinking about, you stop sticking your head in the sand and realize that it is possible, to live without hurting another living thing, just so you can go on living. At the very least, pressure should be put on those who “grow” these creatures to do so in as humane a way possible. That’s NOT what they’re doing now. When you know the animals personally, you wouldn’t dream of eating them any more than you’d eat your cat or dog. So why, besides knowing that animals have all the same emotions that we do, (fear, love, jealousy, friendship, you’ll see, depression and joy), might we find a vegetarian, or pesco-vegetarian (fish), or ovo-lacto (eggs/dairy) vegetarian diet a good thing Martha?  So how do we begin? By educating ourselves, moving, if only in stages, towards a more healthy and compassionate diet, which ultimately uses less of this earth’s resources. Given the amount of water and land needed to raise cattle for instance, our environment alone would benefit. What about our bodies? We all know that meat is loaded now with hormones, and antibiotics. When you meet Babe, the HUGE steer rescued from becoming someone’s steak dinner, or veal when he was younger, you’ll see what a gentle giant he is, and maybe, like I did, get to feed him a couple of apples. If destroying a beautiful creature like that makes you sick, like it did me, then consider the health benefits of abstaining. Vegetarians have lower cholesterol, blood pressure, eat more fiber automatically, and pass a lot of gas, but we never said that. (Ok, I know you know some meat eaters who could break records, Windy). But, if reducing your chances of dying from heart disease floats your dinghy, then know that studies show a 24% less likely risk if you’ve been a vegan for 5 years or more, and 20% less risk if you only occasionally eat meat. If you’d rather not age quickly too, there are tons of sources of information to get you started. Here are some suggestions, from Kathy Stevens’ Book:  “Eat Right, Live Longer: Using the Natural Power of Foods to Age-Proof Your Body” by Neal Barnard, “The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health”, by Colin and Campbell who need to find a shorter title already.  My Paula recommends the “Kind Diet” by Alicia Silverstone, or if you have time and are adventurous, “The Conscious Cook” by Tal Ronnen, a beautiful book. There are many helpful and inspiring lifestyle and cookbooks widely available – just take a look! Or find and partner with a vegetarian cook, which I’m SO lucky to have done, I am thankful at every meal I must say! Please google the Catskill Animal Sanctuary and give what you can to this most worthy place.  

Good for the planet; good for the animals, including us human animals.

See www.GoDrJo.com© Copyright May 11, 2011



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August 11, 2016
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Joanne Gjelsten

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