Friday, November 19, 2010

I'm a Freegetarian.

 I have been a vegetarian for the past 11 months. Ask me why and I'll tell you " started out because I just got too lazy to cook meat." In exploring my thoughts and feelings on the subject more in depth, and reading many article, blog posts and reasons for not eating meat have shifted.

They shifted the day I watched an episode of Dirty Jobs that was about inseminating turkeys. Aside from inseminating in bulk, instead of letting it happen as nature intended...the whole reason a human had to inseminate the turkeys was because they breed them too big for the turkeys to reproduce naturally! That grossed me out for several reasons:
a) I don't want to be eating genetically modified anything. I have my own capricious hormones to deal with, thank you very much.
b) It's unsettling to me how food science, and the food industry in general, is toying with the delicate balance of life cycles that have existed harmoniously for billions of years.

Alright, let me get off my soap box.

So, I don't eat meat. What do I do when I go to someone's house for dinner though? I have always felt a bit rude asking them to prepare a dish without meat. I don't want to inconvenience them, I don't want to seem disrespectful. Brandon brought up a point that really resonates with me; eating is a way of ingesting karma. By not eating what is being served to me, I'm denying that karma. He says he was taught to always take a "nothankyou" serving. Always try a little's his way of saying "thanks but no thanks" without denying good karma. Interesting, right?

Brandon also challenged me with another thought (he's so good at that! I'm inspired by him everyday) "ok, so the meat industry is miserable. We're thoroughly unimpressed by it...but if I went out and hunted a turkey for us to eat, would you eat it?" Hmm. Would I? On first impulse, no. I'm a vegetarian right? But that turkey gave its life so it could nourish me. It would be disrespectful of me not to eat it.

[Side note: the other night, we pulled medicine cards. I got the contrary Antelope. Antelope said "if you are cold, kill me and wear my skin to keep warm. If you are hungry, kill me and eat my flesh so you don't starve." The book said that Antelope in the contrary is telling me that a "decision to start now is necessary."]

At the time, I couldn't answer the question of whether I'd eat Brandon's turkey.

So, I've been feeling very wishy-washy on the subject of vegetarianism. Why did I feel weird about making an exception for meat that I know the very source of where it came from? Why do I feel bad requesting meatless dishes at dinner parties?

Today, I read something that put it all in perspective for me. Something that helped me make a decision to act. By act, I mean, to define my values. Decide exactly how I feel about eating a meat-free diet. What I read was an incredibly poignant post by Mark Scarborough over at Real Food Has Curves. When you have the chance, please take a minute to read it. It's beautifully powerful and moving.

Here's where I am: I'm a freegetarian. (Brandon's word...not mine). When it is within my control (control the controllables, right?) I will not eat generic, industrialized, food-sciencetized meat that's pumped chock-full of hormones and chemicals to make it bigger, meatier and more palatable. If I choose to eat meat, I will only eat meat from animals that I know are raised and killed humanely. I want to be in touch with my food source. But I will not impose my beliefs on my friends and my family. If I am in someone else's home and am served meat that is a product of our industrialized food industry, I will eat it with wholehearted gratitude. After all, that animal had to die to feed me too, and my friends went through the trouble to prepare it. I would be denying its karma by not eating it.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, karma. Although I'm not religious at all, I do think that there's some necessary give-and-take in this world--but only if we make it happen, only if we make sure we're part of the givers-and-takers. To opt out of a moral stance is to opt in to others. But all that said, ethics is darn hard--and must be nuanced by grace, by give and take.

    So thanks for referencing my post over on the Real Food Has Curves blog. You know, the guest/host relationship was once considered among the most sacred things on earth. That's why Dante put people who violated the guest/host relationship in some of the lowest parts of hell, way below common thugs, bad priests, and far, far below adulterers and gluttons, more run-of-the-mill sinners. While I don't espouse all that theology, I do believe it's so important to have reverence for what a host does for you in her or his home. And food is at the core of the question.


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