Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Going Vegetarian

Let me start by saying that I love meat. Home grilled hamburgers, bacon, chicken, sliced roast beef, turkey, and so on. I just love meat. Unfortunately, the more I learn about the industry behind what we get at the grocer the more I realize that I cannot, under my moral and ethical convictions, continue to eat meat. No, I'm not talking about some overwhelming sense of empathy for the plight of tasty animals being slaughtered for my consumption, but at the same time I am. Let me clarify what I mean. Meat is such a staple food item among the Western World that the demand for it calls for massive amounts of animals to be raised and harvested for their yummy body parts. Unfortunately, our demand greatly exceeds the natural supply that Mother Nature has and Father Jah designed for us. Instead, we rely on animal farms to breed, feed, bulk-up, and kill more animals than what would be found naturally. It's too early to tell just how big of an impact this harvesting of large quantities of animals has on our Eco-system, the very Earth that God has called us to take care of; yet we do know that it certainly isn't a good impact. To make matters worse, on average an American spends more money daily on meat than people in Third World countries have to live on daily.

Therefore, while I have no moral qualms with eating meat, my choice to go vegetarian is about reducing the demand for meat. It will certainly have other benefits, but my primary and most convicting reason to do this is the fact that God made us stewards of this Earth and yet we squander it with our selfish obsession with the meat of animals. I do not judge those who eat meat, as I said I love it myself, and on my Sabbath I will have the freedom to eat meat. If people want to say that I'm not a true vegetarian because of that, then that's your prerogative. I suspect that after some time of going without meat that I will lose the appetite for it. It's not something I seek out, but if that happens that I am not going to cry over it. Currently, my diet is primarily based on meat, which is completely unhealthy and if I were to continue would lead to serious health problems.

The problem with my particular case is that because I love meat and have very little sympathy for the animals who are being harvested to make it into my tummy, I have to simply set a date and say, "This is when I'm going to make the switch to vegetarian." If I didn't do that, I would continue eating meat and only ever fantasize about being vegetarian. That's why I have an impending date set for my switch. In preparation I have been eating lots of meat, to the point where I'm starting to get sick of the taste of my favorite variations of common meats. Through research I have read some very helpful tips about making the switch, but consistent among them all was to get a vegetarian cook book and begin to make things out of it. Now I will be trying to things at once: vegetarian dieting and cooking. I'm not averse to cooking, nor is my proverbial chef hat lacking stature, but I just have very little experience with it. I have really enjoyed the few times I cooked for my family, but unfortunately I got tired of making food and watching my siblings whine about it because it wasn't what they wanted to eat. Yeah, my siblings and I were raised with poor eating habits and we, some more than others, have very picky-eater tendencies.

By the way, that date is Monday, June 20th, 2011. I'm cutting out fast-food/restaurant eating as well for the first year as a vegetarian with the exception of when I'm a guest and the host has chosen to order take-out or dine at some place. This exception is more for the practicality that most of all the meals served at my college are catered from a local restaurant. While I could just skip these meals altogether and eat back at my dorm or in the cafeteria, these meals are integral part of building community for Shimer students, faculty, and guests of the school. Shimerians, like students of other institutions, love free food. I am in no way at risk of going hungry, but when it comes to spending $10 of my meal plan in the cafeteria or eating with my fellow Shimerians; I'll choose fellowship with my school mates any day. This also allows me to graciously accept an invitation to eat with someone and informing them that for next time I'd prefer to eat something not from a food-service industry.

I thinks that's all I have to say about that. Feel free to ask questions or comment with your opinions here.

Be blessed,

P.S. - If my language seems somewhat child-like or less than mature, it's because I'm trying to temper the forceful language I tend to use when I'm passionate about an issue. The last thing I want is for people to feel guilty about eating meat. I feel that it's very important that no one be guilt-tripped into becoming a vegetarian or vegan. I don't make a habit of referring to my abdomen as my "tummy".

P.P.S. - I changed the way I phrased my sentence about Mother Nature and Father Jah because it originally sounded like I worship Mother Nature. If it still comes across that way, please know that that was not my intention. I believe in treating Mother Earth with respect, but to worship her violates at least a couple of the Ten Commandments.

No comments:

Post a Comment