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I Feel The Change A Comin'

Juannie and I have been seriously discussing going vegetarian. He's wanted to do it for several years for health reasons. I am considering it because it's getting to be more and more difficult to squelch my feelings of guilt when I eat the meat of farm animals. I have always avoided giving too much thought to all of the cruelty I know is involved in the production of animals for food. I can no longer turn away from the reality of the horrible treatment and destruction of sentient creatures so that they can conveniently show up on my plate each day.

While all this is swirling around in my brain as I grow closer to making the leap, I find this article. "The bird flu virus, you see, wasn't created merely by chance, and it didn't just magically appear in migratory birds. In truth, the virus is the natural result of the mistreatment of animals as a food source. When you take tens of millions of chickens and pigs and coop them up in little tiny cages, and you don't give them sunlight, you don't give them a balanced healthy diet, and you don't let them run around in the wild or have fresh air, you create the perfect conditions for the generation and transmission of infectious disease."

The article is strident and is obviously shilling for the "related book" shown right next to the article. But I do agree with this: "...when you take these animals and you pack them together so closely, you accelerate the evolution and development of dangerous influenza. It's almost like having an influenza lab where you're trying to create a biological weapon of some sort. That's how bad it is. You speed the mutation of these viruses by at least a factor of 100. It's almost the perfect laboratory for creating dangerous infectious disease. The existence of bird (flu) is a direct result of the way we treat animals in this world. It is a consequence of our inhumane food creation policies."

I am lucky that Juannie is a good cook and that he's agreeable to this because it's not something I could accomplish as easily on my own. And we are lucky that he works for a company that promotes the compassionate treatment of animals and that he gets a discount because he works there.

It's taken me a long time to arrive at this point where I am pondering this major change in my lifestyle. I certainly don't believe that vegetarianism is for everyone. But since we began our contemplation of this a few days ago, I have been feeling more peaceful and positive. I know I would feel better spiritually and emotionallly, not to mention physically. I do think this is now the right choice for me.



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 9th, 2006 10:02 pm (UTC)
If I lived alone I think I'd eat a pretty close to vegetarian diet, simply because I can't stand to prepare meat. The sight of raw meat especially if there is any blood makes me gag. The only meats I eat are processed meats (which one could argue are hardly actual meat at all, heh) and things like bacon which doesn't really look like a bloody chunk of something. I'll eat meat that's prepared by someone else, but I prefer it coated in sauce, vegetables, or anything else that prevents seeing it too closely. If I'm cooking I usually either use precooked meat or leftover meat from something someone else made.

Meat IS pretty freakin gross if you think about it.
May. 10th, 2006 04:47 pm (UTC)
That's definitely one of the reasons why I don't cook. The idea of handling raw meat really gets to me.
May. 10th, 2006 06:08 am (UTC)
I was a vegetarian for 10 years. If you make the switch, let me recommend a few cookbooks that will be downright inspirational (as in, "I can't wait to get in there and cook that!")... there are lots of others (in fact, I used to own most of them, and can make tons more recommendations):

Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Deborah Madison (also her Local Flavors, with lots of farmers-market-inspired recipes)
The New Vegetarian Epicure, Anna Thomas
Vegetarian Heaven, Mollie Katzen (also her Still Life with Menu)
any Moosewood cookbook, particularly Sunday Dinners at the Moosewood Restaurant and Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites
World Vegetarian, Madhur Jaffrey

May. 10th, 2006 04:50 pm (UTC)
Juannie has two Moosewood books and probably several other vegetarian cookbooks. There are so many I can't keep up. He's very gung ho about this diet change and has suggested it several times in the past.

Why did you go vegetarian and why did you go back to eating meat? Just curious.
May. 13th, 2006 05:48 pm (UTC)
I went veg with my ex back in 1993, when an issue of Vegetarian Times (we'd gotten a subscription for a wedding present the year before and kept it up) had an article that was like 100 Reasons to Go Vegetarian On World Vegetarian Day. We read through the list of reasons and agreed with lots of them (me, mostly "poor cow" reasons, him, mostly "one ton of grain equals one pound of beef" reasons). During our marriage I had two pregnancies that went really really horribly wrong and diet may have played a part, so I started eating fish again. Post-separation, I started the Atkins diet and it was just impossible even as a pescatarian, so hello chicken and from there it was a slippery slope. And then I moved down here and there was really no going back. Anyway. I still have those reasons at the back of my mind, but especially for the last almost-nine months, I've gotten good at living in the land of denial.
May. 10th, 2006 06:35 am (UTC)
If you are used to eating meat, then perhaps a gradual reduction might be the way to do it. Have more and more vegetarian dinners per week. You can also start by getting rid of beef and pork and then chicken after awhile.

I still eat fish (well, just salmon once a week.) I depend on eggs, cheese, nuts and beans for my protein needs. When possible, one can buy free range eggs and organic cheese and butter. If Juannie is a good cook, then definitely get his a Southern Indian cookbook because those people made the best vegetarian food on the planet. You'll have to invest in all sorts of exotic spices but it'll be worth it. Remember that chickpeas are mostly carbs but that lentils are very high in protein and make an excellent meat substitute. Hummous makes a great lunch and is full of sesame seed goodness.

May. 10th, 2006 04:52 pm (UTC)
We've started eating more meals lately that don't involve meat which is why I started thinking seriously about going all the way. I realized that I wasn't missing the meat and enjoying salads and veggies more than I used to. I guess my palate is maturing so I am not as picky as I once was.
May. 10th, 2006 08:35 am (UTC)
My kids are all either vegetarian or vegan, have been for about 6 years. Brian and I tried being vegetarian for about 4 months and then he caved and I soon followed.
We still don't eat very much meat ( maybe 3-4 times a week) and rarely do we eat red meat.
I honestly didn't notice any health benefits in that 4 months but I have always eaten pretty healthy anyway ( no prepackaged foods, no fast food, no fried foods, I try to avoid anything processed or with chemicals in it)

It was cheaper though! Meat is expensive, so replacing it with tofu was a less expensive alternative. I already spend alot on fruits and veggies.
However, I still believe being a vegetarian is a much healthier lifestyle. I wish I had the willpower to stick to it. My kids are the most healthy, active kids I know and I'm sure it's because of their diet.
I say good luck to you :)
May. 10th, 2006 04:56 pm (UTC)
I don't think I could be vegan. I love cheese and other dairy products too much.

We will see if Juannie and I have the willpower. There are a few things that I love-like chorizo-and I know I will miss them desperately. But at least tequila and vodka come from plant sources. ;-)
(Deleted comment)
May. 10th, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC)
I understand the carnivore thing. I really do. And I do worry that I will miss certain things that I really like-chicken and sausage gumbo comes to mind at the moment. I am so lucky to have the creative and experimental Juannie along with his many cookbooks to get me through those cravings.
May. 14th, 2006 12:20 pm (UTC)
Hahaha karma
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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