#tbt: That Time I Didn't Eat Meat (October 5, 2012)

A couple days ago I was on the phone with my Mom recapping my birthday activities for her. I told her that Chuck and Charlie had treated me to a birthday brunch at our favorite local hotel/pub and she wanted to know what I had ordered. "The Three Little Pigs Omelette- it was an omelette filled with ham, bacon and sausage," I replied. To which she exclaimed, "What happened to my little vegetarian?!" 

It's true, there was a time in my life when my diet was free from animals. Apparently, now I'm making up for lost time. Here's why I decided to convert back to my former carnivorous ways...

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Many of you may or may not know that for a few years now I've tried to maintain a vegetarian diet. I even began a series on this blog about why I chose to "Go Veg" (see HERE and HERE), but I kind of fizzled out and didn't even get to my primary points: the environment and world hunger. I began my foray into vegetarianism while I was in Uganda- mostly because I didn't have a choice. Meat is a luxury in the developing world and I only ate it once or twice a week. It piqued my interest and I began researching the ways in which our diet is impacting starving people around the world. My findings were astounding.

In the last couple months, however, I've begun introducing more meat into my diet.

And here's why:

[1] I'm a lazy vegetarian. Vegetarianism requires being very conscious and intentional about eating. Because I wasn't eating meat and wasn't making a solid effort to get my fill of nuts, beans, etc, I wasn't getting the protein I needed. While there are plenty of ways to get protein while maintaining a meatless diet, I wasn't doing it and eating more meat has been my way of doing just that.

The words every vegetarian loves to hear.

[2] By removing meat from my diet, I was also removing my voice from an ongoing discussion about the state of meat production in this country and around the world. My intention was never to say "eating animals is bad," but I was displeased with the treatment of farm animals, with the hormones and unnatural elements going into my food and the toll conventional factory farming is taking on the environment. I mean, seriously, in what universe is a manure swamp healthy?! If I hope to rectify this, it's important to support the farmers who are "doing it right." If I want organic and sustainably produced meat, I need to model that in my diet!


[3] My husband loves food. He'll eat anything I make (one of the things I love about him), but while I come from a family who is all about the carbs (I really think I could survive off bread and fruit), my Boo comes from a family where protein is the law of the land. When he started eating more fast food to get his protein fix, it caused me to reevaluate if I was meeting his dietary needs. I wasn't. He made no complaints, but I knew it wasn't fair for me to expect him to eat my protein-lacking diet.

You're welcome, baby.

So where do we stand? We still don't eat meat every day. Americans, in general, eat much more meat than we will ever need. But I have begun experimenting more with carnivorous recipes and introducing chicken sausage or breast into my traditionally vegetarian dishes. I'm a big believer in "everything in moderation"  and I feel like I've found a healthy balance in meeting all my dietary needs.

1 comment:

  1. I've been an accidental half-way vegetarian at more than one time in my life. In college, I frequently chose the vegetarian dishes in the dining hall because they were one of the only options made-to-order. Plus who doesn't want a fresh veggie stir-fry where you get to pick which veggies go in it?! Or a fresh 5-bean chili?! Or a fresh black bean burrito?! Okay, I'm making myself hungry...

    The other time was my second year in France, where each month I had to make ~790 euros stretch to cover rent and utilities (~300 euros), to save for travel during school vacations, to pay for occasional drinks out with friends, and to buy food. I basically learned every single different way I could make eggs, which are so cheap that even the "expensive" ones (more sustainable) are cheap. I ate a ton of rice and beans. Oh, and naturally, I ate ridiculous quantities of bread and cheese! Sometimes if chicken breasts were on sale, I'd buy those and freeze them individually. I also sometimes cooked with lardons (a French type of bacon bits). Otherwise, meat was way too expensive.