It's been two weeks. Two weeks of surprisingly easy vegetarian eating (and three days of slightly more difficult vegan eating, because @ Cheese).
So here's why:
(Let me preface all of this by saying I am not a scientist, nor have I done a TON of research on this, I have done some, and I'm still learning. There is a bevy of information by people much smarter & more educated than me on the subject, this is just my rationale - at this point in time).
At the end of the summer, the texture of chicken began to gross me out. I tend to avoid pork products, mainly because I do not enjoy the amount of grease synonymous with pork. I always would eat turkey bacon instead of pork bacon, and would only eat ham on holidays (i.e. Christmas/Easter Ham) (which, given my lack of religion, is laughable). Occasionally, I would enjoy a nice rare steak, but I would always have a turkey burger in place of a hamburger at cook-outs. Chicken was always my go-to, that was until the end of summer. I don't know if it was because I had bought very cheap boneless/skinless chicken breasts, the way I had filleted them, or the grilling method, but the texture of the flesh/meat of the chicken was unsettling.
In addition to the texture turning me off, I seemed to be at the confluence of literature, podcasts, and conversations about meat-eating and a plant-based approach to diet being preferable for many reasons. Typically, the reasons are as follows:
- For the planet
- A shit load of natural resources go into the production of meat animals.
- Meat production and transportation contribute to global warming.
- In a completely selfish way, if I can save water by not eating meat, I can take that 10 minute long shower (in my family that quantifies a "long" shower).
- Sidenote: I worked at a butcher shop for a little bit; it was one of those uber-hipster farm-to-table, grass-fed, free-range, "organic," deals, and I was ASTOUNDED by the amount of waste. Instead of trying to find a sustainable solution to the amount of fat carved off of a T-bone, the owner was content throwing it away, so it could end up in a landfill, instead of being used. And, mind you, this was a fancy high-end butcher shop, imagine all of the waste at an industrialized meat-processing line.
- For your fellow human
- All that grain not being fed to factory farmed animals? It can help feed the starving population of the world. One in nine people on our planet are hungry, so the resources (land, water, grain) used to produce that pork chop, or rib-eye could be redistributed and used to help our fellow humans.
- For your health
- For the animals
- I have never been an animal lover or an animal rights person, but I do have chickens. And they're going through a hard molt right now which means they've lost all of their feathers (down to the skin) and essentially look like that packaged chicken breast in the grocery store. Spending time with chickens and animals, you learn their personalities, and it's just a little too close to home for me.
- An animal has to die for you to enjoy a hamburger/meat. Female animals are being forcibly impregnated (and yes, this does happen in "nature" as well) for the sole purpose of breeding more meat for consumers to eat. In nature, mating and breeding is generally for evolutionary purposes, not for the sole purpose of being able birth more animals, only to be killed (which one could say is the inverse of evolution, as birthing animals only to have them slaughtered is not how one ensures genetic survival).
- Factory farms are terrible and with a lower demand for meat, farms could take adequate care of their animals (and the humans that work at these institutions).
- I don't know how I would feel about lab-meat.
- I don't know what the role of domestic livestock would be in a vegan/vegetarian world, would cows become extinct? Would people only keep them as pets? Would they become wild animals?
Here are some helpful charts that break down the unsustainable nature of meat-eating (plus, everything is better in an infographic).
Thoughts so far:
- I want to see if I can do this/how easy it can be to go vegetarian. The plan was for November to be vegetarian/no meat (but yes @ dairy, and yes @ eggs) and December to be full vegan. However, I stopped eating dairy products/eggs three days ago.
- It hasn't been as hard as I anticipated to stop eating meat.
- Cheese/dairy, however, is a different story.
- While the alliteration of #nomeatnovember and #nodairydecember is hard to resist, I probably should have tried this not during the holiday season (luckily, my family isn't super "traditional"). Summer would have been ideal, as fresh veggies are everywhere. Thanksgiving should be fine, but Christmas is with my extended family (and generally features surf & turf), so we'll see what happens (I love seafood).
- At the end of this experiment, I don't know if I will remain vegan/vegetarian, but I will definitely try and be more meat/dairy free in my day-to-day eating, and more mindful in regards to eating.
- I will, and have, been kind with myself about this. If it becomes militant and obsessive, that's wading into disordered eating territory, and probably not the best for my mental (or physical) health.
- Luckily, I do not go out to eat much, I would shirk away from the difficulty of eating vegan/vegetarian in social situations.
- I have a fancy luncheon in December and I am definitely going to eat non-vegan.
- With already being gluten-free, evidently I am trying to become the most high maintenance version of myself, sorry in advance, folks.