A Money Coach in Canada

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“How,” I wondered, “is it possible that this lovely, sophisticated, smart summer student actually goes .. goes .. Fishing?”   An expression of horror registered on my face, and said student asked about it.

“How can you kill a fish?”  I stammered.   She burst out laughing and replied, “It’s a fish, Nancy!  A fish!”.

“Yes,”  I replied, “but it was a live fish and when you’re done with it, it will be a dead fish.”

Colleagues chimed in with the obvious about What Did I Think I Was Eating When I Went Grocery Shopping, yada yada yada.

They had irrefutable points, but I guess in the back of my mind I’ve always subconsciously prided myself on being several steps removed from the ugliness of slaughtering the food I eat.

Until last Wednesday.

Last Wednesday, I saw the documentary, Food Inc. And like Martha Stewart, I think anyone who eats needs to see it!

While it’s not gruesome, it is a very stark account of the corporatization of food.

1. For one thing, we’re not getting real food much anymore, folks.  It looks like food, tastes like food and maybe smells like food, but really, it’s bordering on food substitute.  Think of it:  When food becomes a commodity, the corporate discussion centers around making the most food, the most cheaply, for the most profit.   I’m guessing there’s not a lot of, “but, by altering food this way, what health impacts does it have on people?”

2. And if you don’t think there are health impacts from the food in the supermarkets, do a quick google search on diabetes 2.

3. Last, although the film avoided gratuitous violence, anyone with half a heart for animals will be disgusted by the conditions of the life and slaughter of livestock in the corporate supply chain.   In my not humble opinion, we dehumanize ourselves by numbing ourselves to how livestock is treated.

Up here in Yellowknife, I have an opportunity to make meat choices that are better for me, and for the animals.

I’ve been converted.   I think it would be healthy for me to learn to fish – to become intimate with the entire process of life, death, and consumption.   The student has agreed to take me with her, and is prepared that I will probably cry at some point in the process.  (I said, healthy, not easy)

I simply cannot bear the thought of hunting, but there are a lot of people who hunt here, and I plan to acquire the ability to eat game – cariboo, moose, bison.

After seeing how beef and pigs and chicken are treated, it is clear to me that hunting and fishing are so much more civilized and humane.   The fish has had a good fish life – swimming in the good clean lakes up here, eating whatever fish eat.  The bison have had a good bison life – eating grass, drinking fresh water, roaming freely.  No antibiotics.  No force-feeding of corn.  No horror-show cramping into tiny spaces.   And with any luck, a quick, merciful death.

Wish me luck, readers.  I want to do this;  I know it’s the right thing;  but it’s hard to confront the brutal reality that I kill another living thing in order to sustain my own life.

About the Author

Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com


  1. Daniel


    this is an inspired article! I wish you all the best as you persue a more humane relationship with the world and a more rooted experience of it. I hope to follow suite, but I don’t have anyone to teach me how to hunt just now. I am convinced you are right however; its an important thing to take upon oneself as best on can.

    much obliged,



    Jul 29, 2009
  2. Good for you, I am also ‘chicken’ about fishing so I applaud your efforts and look forward to hearing about the experience.

    Soon enough you’ll be fishing on ice, what an adventure that is 🙂
    .-= Liz Hargreaves´s last blog ..Having a Hoot =-.


    Jul 29, 2009
  3. Traciatim

    It’s great to see how you’re taking on a new experience and realizing that people eat animals, and plants, that were alive at one point.

    I would be willing to bet that if everyone was required to get a ‘meat eater license’ and part of getting that was killing, butchering, and eating an animal . . . there would be far less meat consumption because people would respect where it comes from.


    Jul 30, 2009
  4. I’ve never had the same aversion to knowing that meat was dead animals but killing your own is a new step for me, too. We have long been critical of the corporate food thing and buy free range and organic whenever possible (and eat less meat; average meat consumption in North America is pretty darned high). But this year we’ve moved to a farm and are now raising 2 pigs. On pasture. They have a pretty good life but there will come a point when we have to slaughter them.

    I think it is a good thing that we find this part difficult. We should be aware that we are taking a life and do so mindfully. That is the kind of attitude that keeps us from greed and overconsumption.
    .-= JoVE´s last blog ..If you had one more week… =-.


    Jul 30, 2009
  5. Looby

    Good luck with this. Have you ever seen River Cottage? I’m not sure if it’s on TV in Canada but there are dvds and books. The author is a chef who makes a point of growing and killing all his own food. He also believes that if we are going to kill an animal we should use as much of it as possible (cue- squirrel organ kebabs in one episode).
    But he lives and eats very mindfully and is a great advocate of humane farming practices in the UK.
    I highly recommend it.


    Jul 30, 2009
  6. @Daniel Hey, thanks for popping by my blog and for encouraging me on this.
    @Liz If I *do* go ice fishing, will you take a picture of it?
    @Traciatim Can you imagine what would happen? I agree – our meat consumption would drop, I’m sure, and the ramifications of that would be far reaching, and good.
    @JoVE When the time comes, any chance you would care to do a guest post on my blog about it? Either way, every good wish, and thanks for doing things in a better way.
    @Looby Thanks tons for the recommendation! The website looks amazing and I’ve bookmarked it. I’ll see if some of the episodes are available to rent on iTunes, too.


    Jul 30, 2009


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