Guest blog post by Jim Jackson from Offaly Good

Eating a steak or a chop, the muscle of an animal is easy. In its pre-packaged form, it bears little resemblance to the animal it once was. It may be tasty, but there is little emotion or thought for the life that this meat once belonged to.

Eating the liver or kidney or even heart of an animal offers no such emotional relief. These vital organs are a stark reminder that this meat once maintained a life. It conjures up consideration for the cute animal that it came from, it makes eating a once-living thing very real.

Perhaps its guilt that this sustenance was once working to sustaining another soul, one that has as much right to carry on living and roaming this planet as we have.

Or, perhaps it’s a profound appreciation for the circle of life that one life is sacrificed for another to live on and thrive.

A deep connection

The latter is how our ancestors would’ve perceived the animals that they hunted and ate. There would’ve been a deep connection for the life taken, an appreciation for Mother Nature and her offerings to sustain their lives a little longer.

Without the luxury of a supermarket, popping out to grab dinner was not an option. For our hunter ancestors, getting dinner was a time-consuming task filled with uncertainty. Imagine the relief and deep appreciation of a kill that will finally feed the tribe following days or weeks of famine.

Overabundance and disconnection

The former is the state of mind that we’re slipping into in our current time. We’re living in a strange but fortunate time of plenty. However, this overabundance could also be our downfall. Instead of having a deep connection with nature and all it has to offer, it’s replaced with mouse clicks, check out beeps and disconnection.

One such example of disconnect – in my opinion – is veganism. Most vegans become vegan because of their struggle to comprehend the taking of a life for our personal pleasure and gain.

What right do we have to dictate who lives and dies?

This is a great question. How can we be so barbaric as to consume once-living flesh without consideration or care for the soul that once lived within that carcass? Why can’t we let it live on happily ever after?

The truth that we all struggle with, is that there is only one thing that is certain for all living things in this world. That is that we will all perish at some point… it is inevitable.

The irony is that my vegan friends and my meat-eating friends generally want the same thing. What is that thing? That all living things live a good and happy life and are not mistreated in any way.

The harsh reality

Where we differ is that there would be a preference for them to carry on living rather than be slaughtered for human consumption. The problem with this is that they will eventually die, that’s for certain. They may live a little longer but without care, they will either succumb to illness or be hunted by other meat-eating animals or both. I suspect their death in these ways will not be so humane.

In fact, without farming, many of the animals we eat would be extinct by now. So, it is important to my fellow meat-eaters and me that these animals live happy lives doing what they want to do. For ruminants, that means chowing down on luscious blades and turning something inedible to us humans into a nutrient-rich food – then they are quickly and painlessly sacrificed.

To appreciate life, we must first accept death (even our own)

In our modern world, death is a taboo subject with most living in fear of the final event. Death is regarded as negative in every way. This was not always the case. Death was very much a part of everyday life whether that be from hunting, the loss of a tribe member or a ritual sacrifice to the gods. Death or at least the life lived, was celebrated. Not in a disrespectful way but as a mark of appreciation for the circle of life.

To eat an animal, a once-living being doesn’t make us cold-hearted. At least not to those that mindfully consider what they are actually eating. In mindfully eating an animal and all its parts, we are creating a deeper connection with the circle of life, a connection we’ve lived with for millennia but has been lost in recent times.

My suggestion

I believe we should consume the whole animal, leaving as little of the life that once was to go to waste. This includes the offal, organs and entrails. Make pies from kidneys, pate from liver, make a humble stew with heart and broth from the bones. Heck, make brawn from a whole pigs head (1), it may sound gruesome, but it’s a culinary delight.

It’s the least we can do. Let’s celebrate the life and everything that it offers us from the delightful tastes and smells to the nutrients that provide us with health to enjoy the short spell that we’re blessed with on this planet until we too perish and give back to the circle of life.

How to get started

Organuary is the perfect time to start your organ meat adventures. There are plenty of recipes here on the Organuary (2) website to choose from as well as information on the different organ meats (3). Keen to spread the word, I started my own blog, (4) last year with lots of information.

The aim is to eat organ meat and offal at least twice a week through January and perhaps beyond. If you eat meat, it is a show of respect to the sacrificed life in wasting as little as possible and a chance to regain the deep connection with the eating of animals that have been lost.

Have a nutritious day!

There you have it! Just a reminder that I’m no doctor, dietitian or any other health profession for that matter. I’m simply a bearer of information for you to do what you want with; question it, research it, erase it from your mind, you are in charge of you.