My Struggle With Vegetarianism

Be warned. There may be the stuff of nightmares ahead. Nothing overtly horrifying, but not nice. And if you click all the links and read all the books, there IS some overt horror ahead. There. You’ve been warned.

I eat meat. Meat from living animals, with souls, and feelings, and senses of humor, and sometimes it horrifies me and sometimes I don’t think twice about it. Does that make me a monster? Or just a typical 21st century North American middle-class twat?

Somehow I missed out on the college dabble with vegetarianism and really never thought about it until I accidentally read both The Year of Eating Dangerously by Tom Parker-Bowles and Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin in the same month, and THEN a couple of months later went to see the Bodies exhibit.

JEEZUS H FUCKING CHRIST. (Excuse the language) It was overload. The books primed me; I still ate meat, but I didn’t feel very good about it. I started trying to stick with free-range, open-source, kosher, humane, etc. But the exhibit did me in. I’d learned about it years before, on PBS, or Discovery, or somewhere, and was fascinated. I wanted to leave my body to them after I’d shuffled off this mortal whatsit. So when it came to town I was thrilled, and talked Mr Tater into going, though he was less than enthusiastic.

It started out ok, interesting, creepy, educational, ghoulish, fascinating…until suddenly I was looking at the muscles of a human thigh and found myself staring at a CORNED BEEF. Same color, same texture… it WAS a human St Patrick’s Day dinner. My stomach gave a sideways lurch, and I was done. Ready to go. I’m done. Let’s go. Are we done? Can we go?

We went to lunch after. I had a salad. And from then on, I did not eat ANY meat for the next year and a half. I didn’t really do it on purpose, I tried to get back to ‘normal’, but every time I thought about eating meat, my stomach gave that same sideways lurch and I just chose a different option. Mr Tater was very patient with me. We tried the Boca, the Quorn, the Morningstar Farms, the Gardein, all of it; we took turns cooking and if he wanted meat he was welcome to have it, just as long as he provided me with adequate veg/bean/grain.

Revoltingly enough, my first foray back into meat was a bite of a hotdog. Not even an all-beef, kosher, free-range, humane hotdog. It was a generic hips-and-lips, who-knows-what’s-in-there hotdog. And it was delicious. No stomach lurch, no nothing. I was back. I “got over it”.

That was two years ago and I’m still “over it”, although I do now try to go meatless about half the time, and when I do eat meat I try to make it local, free range, humane, whatever. And the POINT that I want to share with you, vegan or not, is that I just tried Beyond Meat (because of this post last week). Beyond interesting back-story on this stuff. Basically, using a machine to turn plants into meat instead of using an animal. Check it out.

 

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One thought on “My Struggle With Vegetarianism

  1. hirundine608

    I’ve been a vegetarian for over 40 years, on and off. Starting in late 1960’s.

    I’m not a vegan and will eat eggs, milk, fish or shellfish. Not often but I will not pretend otherwise.

    It started when my parents were on holiday and some chicken had been left for me to cook. Needles to say, my cooking skills then were abysmal. Consequently, the chicken came out and I could see every fibre. Much like yourself.

    For about ten years I was strictly vegetarian. Which then caused my parents consternation. I was going to die, tomorrow? My father was the least understanding. Though for about a year before he died, he was vegetarian too. Becoming vegetarian was when I really began to learn the art of cooking. Mom thought it meant just leave the meat off of the plate?

    When I began living, with my eventual second wife. She would not even contemplate the notion. So, I compromised and ate along with her. After all, it was easier than any other way. Beside, Canada was even less aware then, than today. I was on the road all the time and restaurants, just were not equipped for picky eaters.

    Eventually we divorced and living alone, I resumed my vegetarian ways. It was not hard. I did not have to deal with all those bones and fats, left over. The icky grease, clogging drains and arteries. The smells of burning flesh, etc.

    For myself, I’m happier for it. I found and still do, the smell of meat counters revolting. The stench of dead bodies, etc.

    Consider that most animals, humans consume. Are warm-blooded mammals. Just like ourselves. They suckle their young. They are often inhumanely treated. Whether in factory farms, or during the shipping and killing processes.

    That’s it no more lecture. Except to say. “They are almost like family and I won’t eat family”. Not anymore.

    When it comes down to it. For me, life is about karma. It is difficult living in a world that’s all about meat. In N. America, almost everything on menus is animal protein based.
    Cheers Jamie.

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