Dear Heavenly Cow Father, Forgive me for I have Sinned
On July 5th, 2005 I declared that I was done eating meat. Much in the style of a young child who makes such a decree, I had no idea what I was really signing up for. I wasn’t even certain I knew why I wanted to stop. Looking back now I think it had very little to do with a moral or ethical stance, and had way more to do with flailing to hang on to anything that I could control in my life, while I was quickly sinking. I was getting out of a horrendous relationship, that ended as most horrendous relationships do: horrendously. Everything was spinning, and I was left feeling helpless in regards to my own life. A feeling that is not easy to forget once you’ve experienced it. I guess it wasn’t that much different than someone who rushes out and gets a tattoo or piercing right after a break up. It was a way to alter, to redefine, and to control.
Although I didn’t know much about my reasoning, or the practicality going into it, I did my homework. I read a book called Diet for a Small Planet This book wouldn’t be that earth shattering if I were to read it today. A lot has happened in the food revolution during the last four years. I think collectively speaking we are becoming more and more aware of the importance of the way we eat. But at the time I read the book it was monumental. It opened my eyes to things that I had never even considered before in regards to the consumption of animals (And the most impressive part of the book is it was written in 1965, years before anything like it became popular) . Environmental concerns, health concerns, resource distribution concerns. I now had conviction behind my stance.
I stopped eating meat for three years. Just like that. I survived my pregnancy with Evan without eating meat, and for the first year and a half of her life I raised her as vegetarian. It wasn’t easy. I was surrounded by people who ate meat, and it hadn’t been all that long since I had been one of them. I still craved it at times, I was around it every day, and it’s what the majority of people eat the majority of the time. However, despite it’s difficulty I felt really great about myself for doing it. I was living the life that I believed in.
I’ve never been a huge animal rights person. It’s not what drove me to vegetarianism. I’ve read so many articles and books about the topic, and I have so many feelings about this one discussion, but to sum it up in the easiest dictation I can “I find it unnecessary”. I think that animals have served a vital part of our diet for hundreds of thousands of years. I think in order to survive as a species we had to eat what would provide us with the most sustenance, and the most lasting energy and we also had to rely on what was in abundance and in closest proximity to us. It made sense to eat meat. However, just as the creatures we’ve relied upon have evolved, so have we. *We’ve evolved to a point where we have an overwhelming amount of food options due to transportation and advanced growing methods. We now have better understanding about how food is broken down, how proteins need to be combined, how to optimize calories, how to survive and thrive without ever touching meat. We do not need it. *We kill animals because we like the way they taste. That’s really what it comes down to. I find it one of the most fascinating examples of what selfish creatures we really are.
Yet I returned to being an unnecessary meant consuming selfish person. During my second pregnancy I gave in. Somewhat to cravings, but mostly to convenience. I hated having to prepare, pack, plan, and cook all the time. I hated feeling like an inconvenience whenever I ate at anyone’s house. I hated having to constantly grill people or restaurants about the ingredients in food items. I found it draining the amount of energy that was going into this one aspect of my life. So I stopped. Just like that.
It’s been 1 and 1/2 years since I started eating meat again. I’ve tried several times to stop again but I find it more and more difficult each time. It’s now an ongoing joke with friends and family about what my current meat eating conditions are. Often times you will hear them say that they can really get behind my kind of vegetarianism. 😛 But the truth is it drives me crazy with guilt. I don’t agree with what I’m doing, but I also don’t feel I can commit to doing differently right now. It’s the closest comparison I’ve ever experienced to feeling what a religious person must feel when they sin. It makes my stomach ache. Or maybe that’s just the high level of steroids in the meat I’m consuming.
Would love to hear other thoughts on this topic!
*”We” being defined as the majority of people living in the United States and other First World nations.