Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Almost a year being vegetarian

Last year at the beginning of December I stopped eating meat. My father, who does not eat meat and should have been supportive of my decision, said that it was fine that I didn't eat meat but I should eat turkey dinner anyway because he always did. So it is almost a year. I will include some pictures from the past year. Unfortunately I cannot find any of the delicious meals I made, but here is some fruit and pastry, which is my meat replacement in any case.

Picture #1 Apple halves and melon.
I was playing a game on the bus. I imagined my ideal. I could say ideal self, but that isn't really what I mean. I mean the person I would like to be, but I also mean a role-model or ideal human being. Apparently my ideal is a tall, lanky man dressed in a white suite who does not procrastinate, as I am doing now. The most interesting thing I learned from this thought experiment is that my ideal is vegetarian.

Then I asked 'what changes can I make to be similar to my ideal?'

My sister, boyfriend, and roommate were all vegetarian at this point. As such I knew lots of recipes that did not involve meet. Furthermore, I made a deal with myself. I would give up meat in exchange for fruit and cheese. I did not realise at this point that cheese contained enzymes from calf-stomach or that marsh mellows contained gelatine. I discovered these things during my research and decided that my decision was based on not eating flesh and as such I was permitted to continue eating gelatine and calf enzyme.

So I got off the bus at the local green grocer, bought a bunch of fruit and went home to tell my roommates I was vegetarian.

I learned the arguments for vegetarianism: health, environment, cost, animal-torture, respect. I fall under the respect and environmental category if you push me. I believe that the consumption of sentient beings is a religious act at as such should be undertaken with respect. It is a disturbing act and well it need not be avoided it should be taken seriously.

I do not tell people this!

It is amusing to see the confusion of my opponent when they attempt to challenge my choices and hit thin air.

"Your against it because you don't like torturing animals."

No, that isn't why I became vegetarian. Then they manage to be very confusing and ask if I eat chicken.
Picture #2: Strawberry rhubarb pie.
"Why don't you like meat?"

I do, I love meat. I just decided not to eat it. It is fun to talk to people who wish to challenge my views. Sometimes my responses are not as good as I could wish for, but  sometimes I manage to make the person sympathetic. Moreover, I am proud to say that I have not attacked or alienated any meat eaters. I do not approve of this method, particularly because non-vegetarians will sometimes approach vegetarians out of curiousity and possibly to consider the choice for themselves. If I want to support my view I should give them information, not attack them!

"You don't get enough protein. You don't get enough iron."
Picture #3: The melon matches the plate.
At this point I explain that if you become vegetarian you need to know what kind of food to prepare. Before I could be vegetarian I needed to be an independent and self-reliant cook. You cannot be an unhealthy vegetarian or a vegetarian who simple does not eat because then you will become ill. When I first became a vegetarian I also went through a phase of not wanting to cook. I knew what I could cook but I had no interest in eating. I think the main danger in being a vegetarian is losing interest in your food. In which case the attacks are correct. If you do not eat you will not get enough protein, iron, or whatever else you might need. This is because you need food in order to get this.

If you do eat, however, you are likely to be healthier then a non-vegetarian. This is because being a vegetarian forces you to explore food, cook variety in order to keep up interest, and pay more attention to your food intake to guarantee you get what you need. It isn't more difficult, it is just more fun.

Picture #4: Frozen desert chocolate wafer & cream.
If must people ate the sort of diet I did before I became vegetarian I would not encourage them to switch. I bought and prepared whole rock cod. I roasted chickens and saved them over periods of days. Then I would use the bones for soup. Once a month I fried up a slice of steak and ate a dining room table dinner. My diet was enjoyable, exploratory, and at times festive.

Most people do not approach meat the way I did. For them eating meat simply means not changing the recipes they know, mixing bacon into everything (not that bacon isn't delicious), and choosing whatever they like at restaurants.

Picture #5: Tea kept warm with a candle.
Recently I had followed the live-food fad. Live foods fascinate me. I explained that being vegetarian was eating only that which was still alive until I cooked it. It is a fun definition, and fairly accurate. It also changes the view on meat. Eating meat is eating things that have been dead for a while, that doesn't sound extremely appealing.

So that's what I have learned over the past year of being a vegetarian. Around New Years I plan to reevaluate my commitment. The year was supposed to be six months. I made it to six months and decided I should do a year. I think instead of being vegetarian I might be a vegetarian in practice but eat fish that I or those around me catch. I also want to decide whether I should eat bugs or not. Buts might be tasty.


mherzog said...

Here is a good video on meat:

Jesse said...

Aww, I caught a spam bought! I'm going to name you Spammy.

-snuggles Spammy-

Spike said...

Congrats on a year of vegetarianism!

I didn't know you were doing this; Clearly I haven't been out to Victoria enough, to the whatsit, Metahouse?

(What with it being my daily life, I've got piles of vegan recipes of both the fancier meals and standard fare, if you were interested.)

Jesse said...

I think I was being quiet about it. One of my roommates didn't even know, but I guess I really haven't seen you in a long long time.

Recipes would be delightful.