Meat is Murder…(pass the kabobs)

A strange thing is happening as I tend to get older.  As I once thought it commonplace to become more cynical and absolute as I age… I’m actually becoming more sympathetic, flexible and (in some ways) have adopted a stronger sense of (as the younger generation says) “whatever.”  

Some of you may remember that I tried vegetarianism for a spell that lasted a whole week.  I was fairly proud of myself, but was doing so for two reasons:

  1. I wanted to know if my mind and body would feel, i dunno, “different”… more “refreshed”
  2. I just flat-out, wanted to know if I was capable
I understand that many of us hold tight to the opinion that “it is our nature to hunt, and eat meat.” Many people of science also say things suchas, “Look at the way our teeth are. They are designed for tearing into meat.”  Many others (I include myself in this lot) eat meat for purely selfish reasons; it tastes good.  But does it really? Really? Or is it the texture + the sauces, herbs, butter and garnishes?  Try eating meat as meat and you’ll instantly want to put A-1 or a steak sauce on it.  There are much healthier things to be eaten.  But, for certain… meat doesn’t have to be eaten in such abundance.  Make all the excuses you want… but the iron and protein that meat contains are not as essential to health as one may think, and can be found elsewhere.  
It is a saddening thing, that so many animals need to be slaughtered to feed the masses.  And ‘slaughtered’ is the right word here.  Many of us, if we had to do the killing ourselves, would turn away and run to the lettuce patch.  As I get older and hopefully, wiser, I tend not to ‘accept’ things like I thought that I would.  But this thought… this thought that animals share the earth with us and that as a more intelligent form of life it should be our duty to protect and preserve grows. This thought grows stronger and stronger in my consciousness. 
I heard several years ago that the government had to recall 20-odd million cooked chickens because they were contaminated or had disease… and (at that point) ended up being the biggest meat recall in U.S. history.  If they didn’t catch this and were unable to recall these chickens, some 80 million people could have died.  
Does this mean that I will stop eating meat entirely?  No.  But I have pledged to myself that I will eat sparingly and will no longer consume pork or overly-processed meats (i.e. spam, vienna sausages, etc).  Will I falter in my quest to become semi-vegetarian?  [Fail as in, over-consume in meat one day].  Probably, no one is perfect.  But perfect is never something to strive for… that is the reason so many people fail in the first place.  By doing my very best… I’m imperfectly perfect.  I think that best.  You guys can be that too?
Any thoughts on meat?  Anybody want to join me on my quest?
Peace and Love-  M 
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~ by chencenter on July 7, 2008.

16 Responses to “Meat is Murder…(pass the kabobs)”

  1. hmmm, I can happily eat a meal without meat, I don’t believe it to be essential. I often eat pasta or potato salads through the week.
    I do however like the taste of meat and I do mean the actual meat. I eat most of my meat without sauce, beef chicken and pork. (Though I am partial to beef wellington)

    So yes I am happy not eating meat in a meal but can’t ever see myself going veggie.

    I do agree that processed foods should be avoided but I have an achilles heel in this regard too… black pudding, I just love it.

  2. Humans are omnivores. We are opportunistic creatures, eating whatever is most convenient and our bodies are set up for variety. That said, we are not set up to eat slabs of beef every damn day of the week. Red meat (and yeah, folks – that includes pork) is extremely difficult to digest. The saturated fat involved is ridiculous. Essentially, meat is supposed to be a luxury, a treat. We have spent most of our existence as hunters and gatherers and our digestive systems support that life style evolutionarily speaking. Daily food would be gathered by women for sustenance – men would go off and hunt meat and when they caught some (MONTHS would go by folks – this wasn’t a daily or weekly occurrence) a celebration would ensue and meat would be consumed.

    Sure – eat meat. But do so judiciously. Most people have a hard time wrapping their brains around the idea of moderation. You can eat anything you want – just not as MUCH as you want.

    Personally, I will eat chicken and fish. I would like to give up the chicken, but I just can’t help it – it makes things easy to eat some animal proteins. I can not digest red meat (including pork) so I just don’t eat it. Haven’t for about 5 years now. Hasn’t hurt me any and I seriously do not miss it.

  3. Speaking as a vegan, I think you have the ability to be vegan because you seem to be against the mass slaughter of the animals. This is a reason that can help you sustain the choice – because it’s an ethical one. I also think it’s great that you are honest with the fact that you eat meat for selfish reasons – being that you like the taste – and aren’t trying to make excuses like it’s necessary for health, when in fact it’s harmful to humans more often than not. And in reference to having an easy way to get animal protein by eating chicken (daisybug’s comment), why would you force yourself to eat animal protein when it’s more harmful than vegetable protein? Our bodies already make animal protein and besides, we need less protein than most people think, so why would you choose to ingest unhealthy proteins over healthy ones (plant proteins)? Whether or not you choose to stop your contribution to the mass slaughter of fellow mammals and aquatic species is your choice. But I ask you this, since you know of all the horrible things that go into getting that meat to your plate, can the taste really override the reality of the situation? Since knowing, I can’t imagine eating meat and knowing that there is a part of me that would put my own unnecessary ‘pleasures’ above the life of another animal. I don’t treat other human animals that way. To me, that feels like murder, for fun and for pleasure. Since it’s not crucial to our survival, why do we kill these animals?

    If you want support during your quest, it’s out there. And everybody falters in the beginning. It’s important not to punish yourself if you do, and eventually the falter will end.

  4. I eat meat three or four times a week.
    If I was not married, I would probably be a vegetarian. I find that I gravitate to greens and raw vegetables and find the vegetable kingdom absolutely awesome.
    My weakness is fish, I love all kinds of seafood, so I probably would have a hard time going straight vegetarian.
    The way I see it is why not partake of all the wonderfull foods available. If meat is eaten in moderation…………the middle way………..so to speak, then we would not deprive ourselves of the diversity of the food supply.

    So I think eating something different everyday, being creative with food preparation is where it’s at.

    Deliciously awaiting my next meal,
    Pat

  5. http://www.amazon.com/Ethics-What-We-Eat-Choices/dp/1594866872/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215471531&sr=8-1

    I read this about a year ago, and it forced me to rethink how I feel about my diet and the food industry. One of the big points that the authors make is that from an ethical standpoint, being vegetarian in some cases is worse that eating a diet with sparing use of locally farmed meat products. A surprising conclusion from the guy that wrote Animal Liberation and started off the entire animal rights movement.

  6. I haven’t ever tried to go completely without meat. I have, however, cut back my intake from what it once was. Fish and beef are my main meats, and only about twice a week (if that). Poor animals! One of my uncles actually once worked at a slaughter-house and said it was the worst experience of his life.

    Fish tonight!

  7. i feel you. i gave up meat earlier this month after two weeks of excessive meat-eating in texas. at first it started out because of pure laziness (i’ve always hated the slimey clean-up after handling raw meat), but it’s sort of evolved into a more concerted effort to cleanse whatever crap they put into meat that i’ve been consuming all these years. also i have psoriasis and found that my flesh-free diet has kept the inflammation down, thus decreasing my dependency on topical steroid creams. i’m not gonna lie though– kind of tough to find exciting things to do to tofu after a while…

  8. “Or is it the texture + the sauces, herbs, butter and garnishes? Try eating meat as meat and you’ll instantly want to put A-1 or a steak sauce on it.”

    This is probably very true. Only I can’t see any amount of marination making lettuce taste any better.

    Also – for vegetarians – there are (economical) benefits to buying only locally grown food. I’ve been trying to do more of that.

  9. jeepers! this is one of the more “discussed” blog topics I’ve had. thanks for the all the advice and the incentive to “go vegetarian.” I see the greatness in it,.. but alas, it is something that I feel is against my nature to be. It is true that if I had to kill my own food, I would feel tremendous guilt probably not like myself for being soo weak. But then again, I AM a fan of fish…will continue to eat my organic, farm-raised eggs eat an occasional hamburger… but it’s greens for this boy… from here on out! (* he stomps his foot in exclamation *).

    Thank you my friends. great comments, every one! ( i feel a little like tiny tim )

  10. I wrote about the environmental implications of eating large amounts of meat earlier this year.

    http://bentlyr.wordpress.com/2008/04/24/earth-day-meat-consumption/

    As of that post I have been able to significantly cut my meat consumption and as a result have been able to lose weight and save money. There are so many vegetables out there that soak up sauces and taste great (broccoli, zucchini, lentils), you just got to try cooking them for yourself and learn.

  11. Most people don’t know this because I try not to talk about it in open discussion but I don’t eat red meat. I just eat a crap load of chicken!

  12. Nah, I often eat steak with nothing but a sprinkling of salt. And I don’t like steak sauce. I love the taste of beef, although I only eat it a couple times a month. It’s not healthy or responsible to eat it more often.

  13. I really enjoyed your post. Your depth and heart are real and deep. I tried to be total vegetarian for two years. You really have to be savvy in cooking “other things” in order to really get the protein you need.
    My family gave up when I made a cold apple curry soup.
    Even the dog wouldn’t eat it! I feel terrible about the slaughter of animals and know many diseases and concerns are coming to the surface now. Still – I honestly feel my body craves the meat protein (I include chicken and turkey in that group) once in a while. Man’s cruelty to animals is no less than his cruelty to other humans. It is disheartening, to say the least. Do I have a resolve? No. Just follow your true heart. Do what you believe. I was so bad as a farmer I couldn’t kill my cows or chickens for meat. Still – I do eat these things. Thanks again for the great post. You are a very handsome guy – and a guy with a deep heart! Wow.

  14. I agree, Iceberg lettuce doesn’t have any flavor (nor any nutritional value), but other greens (mesclun, baby spinach, arugula, romaine lettuce, etc) DO taste good AND have nutritional value. And there is more to vegan life than tofu – I actually don’t like tofu and don’t ever cook it – and I find there is still so much to make and a variety of flavors to experience. In my experience, if you are an unadventurous or boring cook as a meat eater, yes, it’ll be hard being an adventurous cook as a vegan – but I think the common link is the cook, not the choice of food. There are a plethora of vegetables and legumes out there from which to get plenty of protein. No, vegans don’t hurt for protein any more than meat eaters. If you are eating the right amount of veg and a good variety, you’ll get the nutrients you need – no ‘savvyness’ required – even meat eaters need veg. I had complete metabolic blood work done after 2.5 years of being vegan, and my protein levels were on the HIGH end of normal (not to mention everything else was in perfect health range). Disease and malnutrition is a side effect of unhealthy eating – regardless of if you choose to eat meat. Protein deficiency, Vitamin and Mineral deficiency, any other deficiency you can think of can happen whether you eat meat or not – but if you actually do some research, you’ll find that more often than not, these things occur in meat eaters because vegans tend to be more aware of the things they ingest.

  15. @ Sara

    “And in reference to having an easy way to get animal protein by eating chicken (daisybug’s comment), why would you force yourself to eat animal protein when it’s more harmful than vegetable protein?”

    Sara – dear, sweet, well-meaning if not a BIT self-righteous and overbearing Sara… Let me explain something to you… Later on when you have, shall we say, a “fuller” life with more to worry about than downward dog and whether or not to use molasses or cane syrup, when maybe you have a child with special needs and a family that depends on you for support maybe then the phrase “easy way” will mean something to you. I love that you are young and full of idealism and great ideas about how the world should work. You may want to consider the idea of giving people a little credit for making an effort.

    Just so you know, there are plenty of people who would jump down your throat – in spite of all your gooey sticky goodness in the animal rights area – for even thinking about using Pampered Chef products since their environmental record is not all that great – you know – with all the plastic products they sell and all that. Not me mind you – I am having a Pampered Chef show this weekend. But there are those out there willing to discount everything you work hard for simply to rub this in your face. Personally I think that sort of behavior is, well, unacceptable.

    Right? 😉 Namasté

  16. Daisybug – I apologize if I came across as self-righteous or overbearing. And when I was commenting on the ‘easy way’ I was commenting on the choice of protein (animal vs. plant), not that some people need easier ways to get it. As far as the pampered chef goes, it was a gift from my mother, which my cousin was hosting the party. Yes, I would’ve opted for a more environmentally friendly company if I was purchasing them for myself, but my mother has yet to fully grasp the concept of research into presents that agree with my beliefs. I think she may be starting to get it when I returned a set of bath products she had sent me as a gift because they weren’t vegan – some would say that’s a bit harsh, but I wasn’t going to use them, and I wanted to make things clear. Other vegans would also jump down my throat for shopping at Whole Foods, but sometimes there are things I have to purchase that can’t be bought from an online vegan store. I personally don’t like shopping at Whole Foods but for certain organic items, it’s the only place I can find them.

    Again, I’m not saying this with an overbearing or self-righteous tone, but you have no idea what kind of life I’ve had. Granted, I don’t have a child with special needs (and will never be able to), but I do have more to worry about than my downward dogs and what type of sweetener I use in my baked goods, and I do have people that depend on me for support – just because I didn’t give birth to them doesn’t make the support any less real. I don’t write about every aspect of my life in my blog. Just because I am 30 doesn’t mean I haven’t had a full life. Perhaps not as full as some, but perhaps fuller than others. It’s not the age or idealistic outlook that determines the fullness and richness of the life that’s lived. It’s actually taken me a long time to become this positive again – even though I can feel my pessimism creep back in every once in a while, I sometimes think I’m a pessimistic optimist, ever skeptical but always hopeful.

    I hope to never be one of those self-righteous, overbearing vegans who thinks my way is the only right way. I am sorry to anyone who read my comment and perceived it as such. I shall choose my words more carefully next time (as I hope I’ve done here). Everyone’s circumstances are different..and every bit of effort helps. I agree, that sort of behavior is unacceptable. Namaste 🙂

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