Veggie Woes

Ask me if I’m vegetarian and I’m not exactly sure what I’ll say on any given day. I try, but I fail as often as I succeed. I think it’s easier to be a vegetarian if you truly don’t like the taste of meat, which is not me. Some meat is really tasty so I have no physical aversion to it.

So I’m not trying to be vegetarian because I look at meat and think, “Ewww, that looks gross.” I’m trying to go vegetarian for ethical reasons and while my intent is strong, my will power is weak. I’m not going to lie; it’s a bit of a struggle. I was raised with meat as a pillar of a balanced diet. The necessity of meat has been drilled into me from a lifetime of food choices. I’m trying to change the patterns I’ve learned over the decades, but it’s hard and I’m far from perfect. Though I am making progress I’m glad to say.

When my resolve does start to cave I like thinking about a dear friend of mine who is a devout vegetarian for spiritual reasons. She believes that every animal has a soul and, by God, you just don’t eat something with a soul. It all seems so simple to her—this kooky no-soul-eating concept— that I just sit back and admire her. Her devotion and conviction are unflappable. I wonder how I can get to be like that. It’s not that I don’t share her beliefs. I’m totally on board with the idea that all animals have souls, but still, I’m fighting a deeply engrained sense of eating normalcy from my childhood. Or maybe that’s a cop-out and I’m just weak-willed. Regardless of the reason, I’m trying. I’m trying yet failing which buries me in guilt because I can’t practice what I preach.

Having a somewhat imaginative mind I’ve wondered what would happen if someone lived her entire life 100% meat free and living a spiritually clean life respecting all animals around her until the day some villainous ne’er-do-well slipped a piece of meat in her food without her knowing. Or what if she eats a salad that unbeknownst to her had some meat by-product in it? Whatever the circumstance, the lifetime of being ethically nutritious comes crashing down unexpectedly. Should she be consumed by guilt? Is her soul at risk? Personally, I don’t see how. Shouldn’t it be the true intent and not the accidental act that matters? She still gets a primo seat in the cushy part of the afterlife as far as I’m concerned.

But me? I know exactly what I’m eating when I’m eating it. I know when I have meat on my plate. I can’t plead ignorance. This is perhaps more evidence to add to the ever-growing list as to why I’m going to the fiery underworld after I leave this earth. If you’re interested in perhaps joining my friend in the VIP section of the afterlife, I’d start by reading her blog. She has a quick wit and a real way with words. You won’t be disappointed.

If you want to join me in the afterlife spitfire, go get yourself a Double Down Dog and I’ll see you there.

22 thoughts on “Veggie Woes

  1. contrary to popular belief God did approve of man eating meat. This was God’s command to Noah that we were allowed to eat it’s fleah but it’s blood we were not to eat. Hence blood was considered sacred. I do applaud your efforts to lessen the meat in your diet but I know how hard it is. I did try off and on not to eat so much meat in my diet , and I end eating meat …it seems my body needs the protein but I do try to make sure like with anything else it is in moderation. I have gone periods of eating salad …with no meat , or vegetable dinner with just rice etc. So again I do appreciate the effort you put into eating well. Keep up the effort.

  2. I too tried desperately to follow a strict vegetarian diet due to my disgust of the inhumane treatment of factory-farmed animals. I actually followed a fully vegetarian diet for over two years but caved for an In-n-Out burger (which anyone on the west coast will tell you are the absolute BEST burgers in the world 😛 ). So now, I label myself a flexitarian. Some strict vegetarians think this term/lifestyle is a cop-out, but I feel any amount of change that benefits the animals (and our own bodies and the planet) is a positive act. I only buy certified humanely raised beef, chicken, and eggs (I still cannot bring myself to consume pork products) and limit meat in my diet to 1-2 times a month. I think that at least limiting meat consumption, and supporting a system of humane and sustainable livestock production, makes my choice to be a flexitarian more workable for me—thus lessening my feelings of guilt. Don’t beat yourself up for your perceived failings—I applaud your desire to make a difference! 🙂
    Here’s a link to an article: “What is a ‘flexitarian’?” http://vegetarian.about.com/od/glossary/f/flexitarian.htm

    • Ethical eating is an admirable choice so I most definitely respect your efforts. I only purchase certain products as well, I’m very careful in that regard. And I’ve cut my meat intake down significantly so I’m getting better with that too. At home (which is most of the time), I’m great. But when I go out or over someone else’s house is when I fail. I just wish I could do better but I’m definitely going to keep trying and will at least continue to cut back.

  3. For me not eating meat or fish is easy. After 15 years I don’t miss it. Cheese I miss, but I don’t really miss. I say, if you’re going to stop eating meat, animal products, you will. There are 2 great TED talks, Beyond Carnism and The Secret to Marketing Factory Farmed Meat on YouTube. If they don’t make people stop eating animals, I don’t know what will. I stopped because I didn’t want something to suffer for my enjoyment. Health came later. A lot of people now turn to a plant based diet for health reasons, for me it was secondary. It is a psychological thing to stop, but I try not to ‘vegan bash’. Apart vegans, plant based followers, vegetarians or those that have an interest to stop eating animals no one really wants to know where their food comes from. It’s hidden and nicely packaged so who cares! Just make sure if you do stop/lessen animal products you research to get all your nutrients, vitamins and protein which people are obsessed by. It really is easy to follow, once you have the know how!

    • In my job, I see all too well what happens to farm animals. That’s what prompted my decision in the first place. So failing offers up a lot of guilt. I’ve cut my meat intake down significantly so I’m getting better. At home (which is most of the time), I’m great. But when I go out or over someone else’s house is when I fail. I just wish I could do better. It’s a work in progress that I’ll continue on with, definitely.

      • I didn’t know you worked with animals or the farming industry. That must be tough. When I’m out it is hard, especially when you live in a meat based society. Friends try, but they don’t really get, ‘oh, you don’t eat cheese either?’ ‘What can I give you?!’ If I eat out, it’s at the few vegan/veggie places here or a veggie burger ( but why always with white bread?), Thai or Italian (pomadoro) I can usually find a vegan option and eat all the bread to fill up! The salads they give however are tiny and I’m like, I need 10 of these to make a meal! Hang on in there! You’ll get there and friends are usually considerate if you tell them. I think they like the challenge of feeding a ‘fussy’ eater!

      • I don’t work in the farming industry — I’m in animal advocacy that deals with (among other animals) farm animals. I do love salads and could eat them all the time (especially ones with fresh fruit) but you’re right, they’re very small! It’s not that family/friends aren’t considerate or anything like that, it’s just tempting for me and I’m weak willed. So it’s definitely all me….something I need to work through. I need to keep the images (that prompted me to think long and hard about this in the first place) more prominent in my mind as I make these choices instead of afterwards (which is is what causes the guilt). But I’m doing better than I thought possible (given my previous eating habits) so there’s that. And I’m determined to make more changes.

      • You’ll get there! I always say, if you want it bad enough you’ll find away. Meat and fish were easy (I think it was so long ago!) to give up. Cheese and yoghurt were the hardest. I eat them, then feel guilty. The final straw was an undercover video of a dairy farm for a major USA pizza manufacture. I usually can’t watch the undercover videos and this one wasn’t even one of the worse. After that, I said no more. I’m not an angel with it. Even now and then I give into milk chocolate and cookies. Previous eating habits also played a role, so I can understand completely. It is a constant battle. At the bakers I eye up the cakes, filled with eggs and butter and have to walk away with just my loaf of bread!

        Thank you for being one of those working in animal advocacy helping those who can’t speak for themselves. I’d be in tears the whole time.

      • Thanks for the kind words of support, I appreciate it. It is a battle fighting the eating habits, but I’m going to continue to try to make changes! I’m determined. And while advocacy is hard (what we see is never pleasant), it’s important to me and definitely fulfilling.

  4. Hi Musings – 🙂
    well I think you know I am a carnivore – well make that more of an omnivore – because for my blood type I have found that certain meat – especially red meat – helps balance me.
    anyhow, I enjoyed your post and your vegan friend sounds wonderful and caring ❤ –
    also, I liked how you wrote about the perceptions you have- and I share those sentiments but for a different item – I feel this way about sugar…. we are raised to eat so much sugar without batting an eye about how it is harming the body.
    people eat it with such easy acceptance while we do not need sugar to thrive – and most can "become" a poison to the human body – sure – a little is okay – and especially from natural honey and fruit sugar – but so much of the desserts have junk – – added corn syrups to sauces and breads have added sugar too – and everything (it seems like)
    well this extremely high (yet viewed as normal) sugar intake is slowly killing the human body that ingests all this sugar daily.

    I am not being extremist – but the way you wrote about your view of meat – and how you are "fighting a deeply engrained sense of eating normalcy from my childhood" – well that is exactly how I feel about sugar. It just made me think of sugar and at least meat offers b vitamins and protein nourishment – whereas sugar pulls from health and sometimes feeds the microbes that lead to candida, infection, cancer cells, etc.
    well thanks for letting me share that – and again, enjoyed your post

    • My friend is indeed a caring and warm person. I didn’t realize until recently what a very nice person she really is — so I wasted years of what could’ve been a better friendship. Anyway, I agree with you on sugar. It seems like everything, at least all processed food, has sugar as an additive when it really isn’t necessary. People think I’m crazy but I truly wonder if that’s some sort of a conspiracy?? I mean, why does mac and cheese need sugar? I don’t put it in my home-made version. I know that’s probably a rant for another time, but I’ve often wondered why certain additives (sugar for example) are included in just about every food we eat yet it isn’t necessary and isn’t necessarily good for us.

      • I agree! And I guess some things we can understand might need sugar – like I heard the red sauce can take on a different flavor….
        but it seems like the products target only our sweet taste buds – while forgetting sour, salty etc – and then when they target the sweet – it is always “high” sweet. and I think I started learning this early on – like in the late 80’s I used to buy breyer’s yogurt that was not mixed yet fruit on the bottom) and instead of mixing it= well I would just dip the plain yogurt into a little bit of the fruit stuff – and then tossed the leftover fruit – which meant I ingested 2 grams of sugar instead of 20! but now I think they do not even use plain yogurt – they use vanilla for that – but I still do this w/ yogurt that I buy in large containers…
        oh -and I read a book review on my recent trip (cannot recall the titel right now) but the way this author talked food items split things up as high impact, medium impact, and low impact sugar – and I will have to come back later toy share the title because it sounded so good.

        and before Ieft I also heard someone talking about stress hormones and meat consumption and it reminded me of your post – so I will have see if I can find that too…
        anyhow, hope you have anise weekend…
        🙂

  5. “I’m not a vegetarian because I love animals. I’m a vegetarian because I hate plants.” – Alan Whitney Brown

    Being a space cadet, I’m interested in things like what astronauts will eat on long-duration space flights where they’re required to have an environment that’s nearly a closed loop. Meat will be difficult simply because it’s not the most efficient or easy to produce. Hydroponic or aeroponic plants will be much easier. The tricky part will be making sure that all nutritional requirements are met, particularly since there are effects of weightlessness such as bone-density loss and loss of muscle mass. Getting to Mars (or wherever) and being malnourished would be counterproductive, to say the least.

  6. Ha! Alan Whitney Brown is a funny man! I like that. There are some plants that have as much or more protein and nutrients than red meat, so setting up a plant system for long duration flights or space colonies should work — especially if they hybrid them somehow. It’s an interesting thought on how they would do that. Hmmm…now you’ve got me wondering!

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