Why I am no longer eating red meat; at least for now

I took a Mormonism class this semester. It was an interesting class taught by a non-Mormon who grew up in Magrath, a small, Mormon town in Southern Alberta. It was a balanced class that expanded my understanding of the early church and its related factions.

One thing it made me think about was the Word of Wisdom. We didn’t touch on it much, but as we reviewed it in class, I was thinking about how we as Mormons generally don’t live the Word of Wisdom in its entirety.

The most prominent component that came to mind is found in D&C 89:12–13:

Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;

And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

Most members of the LDS church interpret this to mean a restriction on meat eating, which is kind of funny since most Latter-day Saints don’t practice limited meat consumption.

Notice these verses, however, indicate not meat generally but specifically the flesh of beasts and flesh of fowl of the air. The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defines beast as “any four footed animal, which may be used for labor, food or sport; distinguished from fowls, insects, fishes and man.” I interpret fowl of the air to mean specifically birds that fly; I do not interpret this to include chicken, turkey, ostrich, and other birds that cannot fly.

What this means then is that I interpret these two verses as saying that except in times of winter, cold, or famine, the only meat we should eat comes from birds that can’t fly and from seafood.

Despite having had this interpretation for several years, I never adhered to it. Being in a class of mostly non-Mormons studying, if only briefly, the Word of Wisdom made me realize how hypocritical I was being.

As such, I resolved to make a change, and as of the summer solstice, the only meat I have eaten has been chicken and fish. I hope to continue this practice until the weather cools.

Wish me luck.

11 thoughts on “Why I am no longer eating red meat; at least for now”

  1. I just ate a Sea Bass that apparently was caught just yesterday. It was mighty tasty! Good luck with abstaining from red meat.

  2. I eat real food avoiding processed and packaged food for the most part and I generally eat meat sparingly preferring Asian stir fry with vegetables Sushi or a small amount of meat with a full salad bar salad. I’ve gone years without eating any red meat and I feel better on less meat but I seem to have more energy when I include a small amount of red meat.

  3. I’ve actually been toying myself with the idea of becoming seasonally vegetarian, only eating meat during winter. I’m sorta curious, though, are you counting “winter” by traditional winter solstice? I wonder because, being further north, “winter” conditions start much earlier than that.

  4. Notice verse 13 includes not just winter, but cold. I will probably finish around the autumnal equinox, or sometime thereafter depending on the weather.

  5. It is interesting what is being said. But, if you look at the history of that period the people would kill an animal and eat meat most meals it over a period of time. They had no refrigeration, hence the statement to eat meat sparingly was the Lord’s advice.

    We know today that an over indulgence of “protein” is not healthy and leads to all kinds of health problems.

    It is interesting to me how health advice given by God has been right on.

  6. I generally avoid red meat and prefer to cook with turkey meat when hamburger is called out in the recipe. Additionally, I generally prefer chicken to steak.

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