I read an article on No Meat Athlete, “Veg-Curious? Don’t Be Fooled About these 7 Myths of a Vegetarian Diet“. The phrase “veg-curious” is a good way to describe me. I don’t eat a lot of meat, my main reasons in the past for this being:
- Raw meat grosses me out… seriously, I HATE handling raw meat. And that makes cooking it really hard to deal with.
- Fatty pieces of meat are disgusting to me. Ever since I was small I could dissect a piece of meat and discard every discernible molecule of fat. I hate the texture. Usually the pile of my discards are larger than the actual amount deemed worthy of consumption. And that’s just wasteful.
- It just doesn’t appeal to me most of the time.
As I’ve grown, I’ve learned more about how meat is produced for the consumer in this country and honestly, it disgusts me. I do feel that human beings are designed to eat meat… but not the way we consume it now. We eat far more meat than ancient humans did and we eat meat that is… well, a bastardized form of meat. My grandparents did not grow up eating chicken meat where the bird was injected so full of hormones that it was so breast-heavy it couldn’t walk, where it is shoved in a tiny cage with tons of other animals in very close proximity to all the others. (My parents probably didn’t have meat like that when they were growing up either! It’s gotten a lot more industrialized as modern technology allows for that.) And other animals are treated just as unfairly. Dairy cows are kept pregnant almost constantly, which has got to be miserable. And their calves are thrown away as they are considered a byproduct.
Animal farming has a massive carbon footprint, causing more pollution than all of our planes, trains and automobiles. “Animal farming is a huge drain on resources like water and grain. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of meat, compared to only 25 gallons to produce a pound of grain. 70% of the grain grown in the US is used for producing meat. If that grain were being fed directly to people, no one would have to go hungry.” [Source]
I also recently watched the movie Vegucated, which promotes a vegan lifestyle. I am not sure that I could (or would) go completely vegan… eggs are an important part of my diet. I eat one every day. But actually seeing the way they chopped off animal’s beaks so they don’t peck each other to death in their cages, sorted through baby animals and tossed them aside like garbage, the living conditions for animals… it really bothered me. (BTW – If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch this movie for free online.
However, things that would prevent me from going completely vegetarian or vegan:
- I am in recovery from an eating disorder. Removing an entire food group could be dangerous. A lot of my ED eating habits started by eliminating refined grains and sugars due to recommendations in the South Beach Diet. And when that worked, I just kept expanding it… eliminating more and more and more.
- Pregnancy does not seem like the time to make big changes like this, especially since I’ve heard that making the switch can have a detoxifying effect on the body, and that can be rough on mom and fetus at a time when the body is already in a very altered state.
- Family. Plain and simple. My husband is not open to the idea of cutting out meat. He is in favor of finding more responsible options though. And nobody else in my family is vegetarian, I think it would make family gatherings a little difficult at best and flat-out awkward or insulting at worse if I had to decline meal staples.
Living in the desert, there aren’t tons of local farm options, but there is the Las Vegas Farm… I could get fresh eggs through them. Sadly it seems as though The Farm is in trouble due to the need for more space so the animals can live more healthfully and comfortably while county ordinances want to keep the land from being agricultural.
There is also the Gilcrease Orchard where I could get some fresh, locally grown produce. The seasons are limited due to our extreme temperature swings. And it does seem like local farmer’s market options have been expanding over the past couple years. I did attend the Las Vegas Farmer’s Market a couple of years ago and to be perfectly blunt, it was sad. There were only two booths and only one of those sold produce. (The other had some kind of baked goods.) I never went back… it deserves another chance.
I was raised to be frugal, which somehow turned into being a total cheapskate. So looking at the prices of cage-free, organic eggs or free-range meat or whatnot is a little cringe-worthy to me.
But I need to start speaking with my dollars and trying to purchase the animal products that I do consume in as cruelty-free and healthful forms that I can. It may not seem like I’m making any kind of difference (kind of like voting in elections seems pointless most of the time) but it’s what I can do. Baby steps, right?