I haven’t really been a daily meat-eater for quite some time. But I am not going to lie to you- I love a huge, juicy burger more than that guy on Man vs. Food. Seriously.
I’m not going to start labeling myself “vegetarian” this or “vegan” that. I don’t think that anyone should confine themselves into smaller boxes than they are already boxed in my society, whether that’s based on social class, race, religion, etc. Certain labels are restricting whereas some labels are liberating, in my opinion.
For instance, labeling yourself a “vegetarian” limits confines you to eating only certain foods- obviously. If you are to ever label yourself a vegetarian and then decide to reintroduce meat into your diet, more often than not, you will get a lot of flack from the through-and-through vegetarians. This is definitely one of the things I have a problem with. I don’t want to cramp myself into the box of vegetarianism, because right now I have no health reasons that force me to have animal protein- but, if down the line, I decide to eat meat again, for whatever reason, chances are the vegetarian-world will be displeased with me and my decisions and so on and so forth. I can sort of see where they are coming from, but at the same time, I hate the “cult-like” stance that is sometimes associated with “extreme eating habits”. I am not saying that all vegetarians, vegans, etc etc etc are like this- please do not think that- but I am definitely aware of some of the flack that can arise with stuff like this. However, I can see why people decide to completely stop eating meat- whether it is for ethical reasons or health reasons or both or something completely different. But eating habits are personal and although it would be nice for everyone to eventually agree some day, it won’t happen. I can only control what I put into my mouth, and would like it if other people didn’t try to sway me. If I ever become a gung-ho vegetarian, I won’t give other people a hard time for eating meat, just as I would wish that they not give me a hard time for NOT eating meat. Simple as that. Live and let live, ya know?
I have been going back and forth about whether or not I would like to try and incorporate a completely “vegan” diet into my life. This would be extremely difficult. Chickens lay eggs. Eggs are good for humans. If I can make sure that I buy eggs that are coming from happy, healthy chickens, I really don’t have a problem eating them. If I can buy greek yogurt that is coming from the milk of happy, healthy cows, then I really don’t have a problem eating it either.
What I eat is what I eat. My diet is what I make of it and the choices are solely mine. I want to eat what makes me feel good, and after watching those films, eating the meat that is coming from abused animals does not feel right to me. Knowing what I know, I just cannot do it.
The day I saw the movie, I only ate vegetables and fruits all day. I ordered a Greek Salad for dinner and didn’t eat the Feta cheese blocks.
The next day, my dad asked me if I was excited to eat his cheese cake and egg nog. (My dad and my eating is another story entirely.) Instead of making a huge deal about it, and instead of missing out on some of my dad’s favorite food-related holiday traditions, I got in the car with the recipes in hand, drove to Trader Joe’s and bought the most animal friendly, organic items of each ingredient that I could find. Success! Happy eggs, happy condensed milk, happy evaporated milk, and so on and so on.
Two nights ago was our annual Puerto Rican Christmas Eve party= lots and lots of food. I steered clear of the huge pork roast. I picked around the bacon that covered the green beans. I avoided the sausage that was in the rice. I ate lots of the mostaciolli because it wasn’t made in meat sauce. As I write this, I’m kind of asking myself “who the hell am I?” To be honest with you, I have no idea.
What I do know is that my family , especially my extended family, is completely oblivious to anything pertaining to health, ESPECIALLY food related. I also know that they would have absolutely no care or desire in the world to educate themselves about the food that they eat. The decision was easy for me not to eat the meat that was being serves because it was not “happy” meat. Yes, I am going to continue to call ethically slaughtered meat “happy” meat, or any ethically obtained animal products “happy” (insert product here) because it’s easier to write, and cuter, and TRUE. Anyway, the meat was not happy meat. So I didn’t eat it. I was anticipating to endure all sorts of questions from everyone and their mother, literally, but I did not and I was pleasantly surprised. My little cousin, who is about 12, asked me why I didn’t have meat on my plate and I simply told him that I didn’t want it and he left it alone. My family would happily survive on all types of meat and meat only, so me not eating the meat was kind of a big deal, but no one seemed to notice.
Yesterday, at Christmas dinner, I only put macaroni on my plate and TONS of vegetables and was full before I even finished my plate. My mom’s side of the family, although avid meat eaters themselves, are less nosey about what I eat and even if they did ask and I told them I was no longer eating “unhappy” meat, they wouldn’t care. Last night however, my family and I celebrated with our annual New Years Eve dinner, (since my sister and I will be in Europe for New Years Eve this year) which is ALWAYS shrimp and crab legs. I happily ate tons of shrimp and tons of crab legs. I am also fully aware of some of the environmental impacts that fishing has, and about the sustainability issue of eating seafood that may have been obtained from a non-sustainable source. Baby steps, people, baby steps. So, like I said, I happily ate it all.
Today, Stephen asked me if I wanted to go to Hooters and I politely told him that I would just get a salad. We ended up not going anyway, so it wasn’t even an issue, but I know for a fact that those wings are NOT coming from happy little chicks.
I am not going to label myself and the way that I eat. I don’t want to eat animals that lived a shitty life, were killed brutally, and were littered with hormones and a bunch of other crap. In the wild, when we caught animals as a part of our evolutionary process, the animals were roaming and free, anti-biotic, hormone, and additive free. The argument about whether or not humans are biologically meant to consume meat is a controversial one that I have yet to actually research and form my own opinion on, but what I do know, is that I like meat. I like fueling my body and workouts with protein. I also know that I do not want to take part and help fund such an awful, insensitive, and unnecessary treatment of animals- so I won’t.
If I eat meat, I will make sure that it is happy meat. If I eat any sort of animal product, I will make sure that it came from a happy animal. Right now, my focus is on land animals, however, when I buy my own seafood, I will make sure that it is wild caught- which does not necessarily address the environmental impacts of unsustainable fishing, but it addresses the fact that the fish were happy fish. 🙂
Unfortunately, I am a college student, aka BROKE. More often than not, it will be significantly cheaper for me to just not buy meat at all. That is okay with me, for the time being, because soon enough I will have a full time job and be able to afford my new happy eating habits 🙂
I’m going to have to get crafty with getting in enough protein, but I think I’ll have fun with it.
I’m also interested to see how cutting back on my animal products is going to make me feel. I’m actually pretty excited.
I hope you all enjoy your evening!