World Vegetarian Day (Confession)

I’m not going to talk about the government shutdown because it makes me mad. I just want to note that Sean still had to go to work today… no guarantee of pay. I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t fly with any other company anywhere else on the planet. Done.

I’ve been a vegetarian for about 3 years now, I think. And today is World Vegetarian Day, which means everyone should try to enjoy a meatless meal (I guess cereal counts). We have a couple of favorite recipes that translate well for those who may be a little iffy on trying non-meat meals:

White Bean and Avocado Enchiladas – Look a little weird, taste a lot of awesome.

Chickenless Tortilla Soup – Good for the fall weather.

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes – Messy but tastylicious.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie – This will last you a long time unless there’s more than 2 people in your household.

 

Omnomnom

But let’s get to the confession part. I’ve been talking to Sean a lot and thinking and battling myself, and here it is:

I wish I’d never read/researched/seen the things that made me want to become a vegetarian. Not a very solid confession for World Vegetarian Day.

Gasp

It just seems like things would be so much easier if I could get over the fact that meat = animals. Meals would be easier. Nutrition would be easier. Going out to dinner would be easier. Meal planning would be easier. Health would be easier. Fitness would be easier.

So why don’t you just start eating meat again, Carolyn?

Because I don’t want to seem like a hypocrite. Because I still can’t get over the completely inhumane ways that animals are slaughtered in factory farms. Because pigs make friends. Because if I couldn’t kill an animal for consumption myself, should I just let other people do it and pretend I don’t know what happens?

Sean told me last night, “It sounds like you don’t want to eat meat, you’re just talking yourself into it.” I responded, “I think it’s the opposite. I do want to eat meat, but I can’t talk myself into it.”

There’s no real point to this. I’ve thought about becoming pescatarian, flexitarian, etc. But I just don’t know the answer for me. I know I just shouldn’t care and just do what I think is best for me and my health, but I don’t know if I can just get over my initial issues with meat.

I don’t know the point of this post other than a late-night (for me, late night is around 7pm) rambling of thoughts.

What do you guys think? Feel free to lambast me for being a pansy and caring so much about what planet Earth thinks.

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11 thoughts on “World Vegetarian Day (Confession)

  1. I’ve been a mostly-vegetarian (with a few rare exceptions for non-factory-farmed meat) for about the same amount of time that you have and for pretty much the same reasons. And I completely relate to this post. I don’t really crave meat, but I do miss the convenience of ignorance. I know it would be easier to get particular nutrients if I went back to eating meat. When I’m in the States, figuring out what I can “safely” order in a restaurant is a huge chore and often leads to an equally huge culinary letdown. Not to mention that I feel I have to be wary of pretty much everything I eat, given that it might have some sneaky hidden animal products floating around in it. (Fortunately, I am largely spared this concern in the officially vegetarian Rishikesh, where I can’t find anything with meat or even eggs in it unless I go out of my way to search for those things.)

    Several times my boyfriend has encouraged me to join him in eating meat to improve my overall health. Sometimes I’m tempted — I know I really do need to change some things about my diet and reach a better balance in order to stay healthy long-term. However, every time I visit my Indian family, I pass by a shop that serves non-veg food. I can’t even stand to look at it because there’s a stack of cages full of chickens right outside the shop next to the main road. The condition of those birds is unspeakable — both from an animal rights perspective and a human health perspective. If I ever need a reminder of why I stopped eating almost all meat, this pretty much does it. But then, should I also feel guilty for helping my boyfriend to cook meat for himself in my home? Am I any less a part of the problem if I participate in the process and just refuse to take a bite?

    I don’t know what the answer for me is, either. If you work out any answers for yourself, please let me know! You say that your post has no point, but it resonates with me and is a reminder that I probably need to start thinking more seriously about my own stance on these issues.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thought process, Malinda. I don’t know the answer yet, but I’ll let you know when I do. 🙂

      What gets me is that other animals eat animals with no regard for pain and suffering. So why can’t I just get over it? It’s nature right?

      Then goes the factory farming argument in my heads… I’m sure you know the drill.

      1. Nature has equipped you with a brain capable of critical thinking as well as experiencing a broad range of emotions. There is nothing “unnatural” about struggling with these issues or about wanting to avoid inflicting pain on another being. So try not to get hung up on that part of it! No one (including you) should expect you to “get over” anything that you believe is wrong.

        That said, you are allowed to change your opinion of what is and isn’t wrong. It doesn’t make you a hypocrite — it means you are a thoughtful human being.

  2. It’s a tough question, that I am still working through too. The answer is that there is no good answer, I think. I’ve went from being a vegetarian to not eating factory farmed meat, to my present state of eating meat only like 1% of the time (what do I even call that?). We don’t cook factory-farmed meat at home, and eat veg 99% of the time mostly because that’s how I’ve gotten used to cooking and it’s way too expensive to buy meat. However we do eat meat at events, restaurants, other people’s houses, if there is no good veg option or the thing they made is particularly inciting.

    This is the thing I have found in my struggle with this issue: everything is problematic. Tofu is problematic because of soybean production and environmental junk and industrial farming practices in the US (not to mention GMOs). Not locally grown vegetables of all kinds are problematic because of labor issues and pesticides and other stuff. It’s impractical and expensive to buy all organic or local, all the time, and kinda elitist to assume that’s what people should do. And organic is meaning less and less these days (I wrote a whole thesis about it O.o). We all know why factory farmed meat is bad. Literally no matter what you choose (unless you do all local, all the time) you are harming people, the environment, or something in some way. I think my new view is moderation and awareness. Reducing meat consumption and increasing local food consumption, in addition to advocating change in the food industry is what I’m doing. It’s problematic, but so is everything else I’ve tried thus far, and this plan is less exhausting. We all draw our line in the sand somewhere different.

    1. You’re so right, Becca. Half the “soy” stuff is ridiculously processed as well. I was really struck by the recent funny “Whole Foods” article that swept Facebook that not everyone can afford to have “food allergies.” All joking aside, I feel like only good vegetarianism is the super expensive, chia seed, kombucha, organic, local, nutritional yeast kind. I feel like we’re just not those people. We’ve become lazy vegetarians, subsisting on bread products. A lot. Thanks for your perspective.

  3. I think the line that stood out to me the most is: “Because pigs make friends.”
    If the core of your intention is to avoid causing harm to sentient beings, then that is admirable. You aren’t pushy about it either, which means I listen that much more when you talk about vegetarianism.
    If the core of your intention to be a vegetarian is to push against factory farms, then there are other options you can pursue.
    I believe that your actions often stem from well thought- and felt-out intentions. I wouldn’t label you a hypocrite if you decided to eat meat. I applaud your willingness to state your doubts!
    Personally, I have been flirting with vegetarianism for a few years. And I am perfectly happy being non-committal with it right now. 🙂

    1. Good points, Jeff. My problem is that I’ve been too committal and feel like a fraud “back-sliding.” I know it’s all my own guilt/issues, though. Thanks for commenting. 😀

  4. My New Years Resolution in 2010 was to be a vegetarian, for many many reasons, and I didn’t start eating meat until mid 2011 primarily because I didn’t know how to go about finding meat that I would be okay eating. I’d recommend trying http://www.localharvest.org/ or finding a chapter of the weston a price foundation (http://www.westonaprice.org/local-chapters/find-local-chapter) and asking them who they get their meat/dairy products from. I’ve found in my experience working with local farmers that you’ll know you’ve found a good farm when they can’t stop talking about their farming practices/meat processing/etc 😉 No question should go unanswered, and they have no problem letting you come out and tour their facility.

    I will say, though, that when I was a vegetarian I ate so much healthier because it forced me to think about my nutritional intake for every meal. I know that I still eat pretty healthy, but I don’t keep track of my protein or fat intake like I should. I think meat is a lazy way for me to get my daily calories and feel full.

    1. Thanks so much for these resources, Abby. I’ll admit that my eating has actually gotten worse in recent months since I get bored/lazy and rely too much on bread. Toast for dinner, easy tortilla meals, etc.

  5. I think that if you really want to start eating meat again maybe look at purchasing meat from local farmers. I know there are lots of options to purchase different types of meat directly from the farm in my area. The websites of these various farms all mention how conscientious they are about animal welfare and how humane they are, but of course I would want to do my own research into each individual farm and not just take their word on it. Also if you do purchase meat and dairy from local farms as opposed to commercial factory farms, I would urge you to make sure your milk and dairy products are pasteurized (it is so so important! Humane, organic, and hormone-free does NOT equal free from bacteria no matter how “clean” the farm and milking process are). Also make sure to cook all meat thoroughly, as pasture raised pork has a higher incidence of Trichinella. And on an unrelated note if you want to care then care; there is no should or should not when it comes to what an individual cares about. You do you. lol. I hope this was helpful and not at all offensive.

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