Dear Meat-Loving People, Family Farmers, and Hunters,
I want to let you know that I do not hate you for eating meat. (You can finally sigh in relief.) My words would be a mere pretense if I suddenly hated everyone for this reason, especially since I spent 25 years eating meat myself. I do not claim to be perfect or overly righteous, but I do feel educated enough about our current food system to make a personal lifestyle change. For the majority of my life, I was bothered and disturbed by eating meat. And because I consider myself to be an extreme animal lover, who becomes emotionally attached to most animals I come into contact with, I have finally chosen to become a strict vegetarian. I am ashamed that it took so long for me to convert to a meatless diet.
To be more clear… By strict vegetarian, I mean that I do not want to consume animals or animal products if the animals were harmed or killed. By strict, I do NOT mean eating a vegan diet, where I cannot eat or use anything that was created with or from animals. I am happy to eat unfertilized, free-range chicken eggs and dairy products coming from sustainable sources (meaning NO factory type dairy farms where cows are raped repeatedly and baby male calves are kept in a box to avoid sunlight exposure and then killed for veal). I am, however, working towards limiting my dairy intake due to the lack of affordability and certainty of purchasing sustainable products.
Notes: My favorite milk replacements that I regularly buy are unsweetened almond milk and coconut milk. I have not found a vegan cheese product or recipe that I like yet, so please comment below if you know of something delicious! I am very open minded when it comes to trying new, meatless food… yet very close minded when it comes to trying new animals. When I lived in Belgium, I was forced to be polite and taste ostrich, caviar, shrimp, fish, rabbit, duck, and who knows what else I accidentally ate. Been there, done that. No more. Gross. (Read more on why I am officially a vegetarian.)
To make sure you (meat-eaters) understand,
I am fine with people eating meat as long as the following demands are met. (Like I could demand anything from anyone… but nonetheless, here it goes.)
- Buy meat from local farmers/butchers and anywhere you can be sure the quality of meat is good and the animals were properly cared for without unnecessary animal abuse and poor living conditions. If you cannot respect or honor the animal you plan to eat, you do not deserve to eat it.
- Go hunting (legally) and kill your own animals for meat. I am not against hunting… though, I could never EVER do it. I hope my dad is reading this because he took me squirrel hunting when I was young and I have been traumatized ever since. I watched those poor little black squirrels being ripped apart… (He is probably shaking his head shamefully as I write such outrageous, but important, pro-vegetarian posts.) Oddly enough, I do enjoy fishing because I love to see what creatures are beneath the water. I have always wanted to eat fish because of the health benefits, but I despise the taste of all seafood. So if I fish, it will be for my family to eat a healthy meal. One more thing about hunting. I do not think people should be allowed to hunt purely for trophies… What kind of person does that make you if you kill for pleasure?
- Raise your own livestock. If you have enough space and time, raise your own animals for slaughter. If you can’t kill an animal yourself because it is so horrifying, then why eat meat at all…? (cowards) Apologies, that last thing was meant to stay in my head. I know far too many people who could never personally kill an animal but are just fine chowing down on dead cow butt and pig stomachs and chicken legs and turkey boobs… I couldn’t resist.
- Reduce your meat consumption. You do not need to eat meat at every single meal of everyday. Do you know how bad that is for the health of everything in existence!??? Try slowly reducing your meat consumption by participating in Meatless Mondays and eating meals rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains for just one day each week. Read my Top 3 Favorite Meat Substitutes for easy meal ideas. There are so many benefits and reasons to do it!
- Reduce Heart Disease and Stroke
- Limit Cancer Risk
- Fight Diabetes
- Curb Obesity
- Curb Healthcare Spending
- Cut Weekly Grocery Spending
- Reduce Water Usage
- Reduce Greenhouse Gases
- Reduce Fuel Dependence
My husband is perfectly fine with eating vegetarian meals as long as he can grill up some bbq ribs come summertime or cook his own meat if he so desires. I am okay with that… as long as he buys meat from a local butcher. It works out great for him because when he wants to eat meat, we can afford to buy the best of the best cuts because we don’t bust our budget each week buying meat for daily consumption. He can buy $30+ meat slabs guilt-free because it is a rare occasion. (I prefer huge plates of spicy chips and cheese personally, but to each their own.)
It is unfortunate that we are required to put forth such an immense amount of energy in order to eat simple, healthy food. You can no longer run to the store and casually buy chicken and broccoli and expect it to be of high quality. You must educate yourself on local or sourced farming practices and learn how to read nutrition labels and ingredient lists. That is the why I have become so passionate in my recent blog posts on vegetarianism. My overall aim is to promote environmentally sustainable ways to improve our lives now and in the future, instead of ignorantly destroying our fresh air, food, and natural resources.
Let the comments rain.