making it official

Posted: March 12, 2008 in blogosphere, lifestyle, vegetarian

I guess I need to officially declare myself a vegetarian. I haven’t actually done that yet. It started out as an interesting thing to know about, then evolved into going a few days without meat and realizing I wasn’t morphing into an alien, and now, after 2 weeks, I’m ready to say I’m going to commit to not eating meat.

I need to also say I hope to NOT be constantly be talking and blogging about vegetarianism. But, for the short future, because of the changes in lifestyle and the adjusting, it will certainly be on my mind. I’m not really trying to champion the vegetarian cause, and I don’t think someone who eats meat is gross and disguisting and should be forced to butcher a baby calf with their own hands so they can experience the horror of killing an animal.

Also, I will consider myself an “Octo-Lavo” vegetarian….meaning I will still eat dairy products. Cheese, eggs, milk, etc. I also will not be overly concerned with whether or not something I’m eating was made with animal by-products in some way. These are steps taken to become a true vegan. But I find them daunting and frankly too difficult. It’s like saying, “yes, I’m concerned about the atmosphere and fuel consumption, so I’m going to buy a 40mpg car” vs saying “yes, I’m concerned about the atmosphere, so I’m going to ride my bike to work from now on.” Much bigger commitment, much harder work, and just not for me at this point. My main focus is simply no longer eating meat.

Why am I doing this? (and i should say, at least at this point, my wonderful wife is along for the ride herself, way to go Erin!) Why be a voracious meat eater and hamburger lover for 32 years, and now this? Wouldn’t the Atkins diet be more fun? Won’t I starve to death?

Well, there are several reasons.
  1. I’m not much of a diet person. I don’t want to cut out sweets, and I have a hard time with small portions. Vegetarians can eat to their hearts delight. They actually can eat MORE food than meat-eaters, because the food they’re consuming has fewer calories per volume than meat does.
  2. Meat provides only two nutritional products….protein and iron. That’s it. But it also provides lots of fat, calories, and cholesterol. And you can get PLENTY of protein and iron by eating grains, nuts, vegetables, tofu, tempeh, and fruit.
  3. An estimated 15 – 20 MILLION farm animals are killed every day in the United States in order to meet the demand for meat in our country. The processes used to raise, feed, fatten, kill, and process these animals are no longer natural (not like your grandfather used to do it on the farm). Frankly, these processes are unhealthy. They’re unhealthy to the animals, to the land, to the farming industry in general, and to the food and products derived that we eat. We simply eat and waste way too much meat as a society. As a result, we’ve turned raising livestock into a type of industrialized factory in order to meet the demand.
  4. It’s been estimated that the amount of crops/grain/corn/oats used to feed and fatten livestock in the US alone could effective end world hunger as we know it.
  5. It costs less. Eating out at restaurants costs less. Cooking at home more often costs less than eating out. Making almost all of our meals to take to work for lunch costs less. A pound of tofu costs $2.00, much cheaper than most meats.
  6. I already feel heathier. I don’t feel nearly as hungry throughout the day. When I am hungry, it’s not so much a “craving” as it is just noticing that I’m hungry. In the last 2 weeks, I’ve not had one meal where I felt bloated afterwards (you know, like you feel after eating the Wendy’s double cheeseburger and fries?). And I’ve already lost about 4 pounds.
  7. I don’t really like to exercise. Never have.
  8. I appreciate what I’m eating more. I think more about where the food I’m eating came from, how it was produced, the work that went into growing and harvesting it, the fact that God provided it directly from his own hand in creation. It has somehow added a spiritual aspect to eating that I never experienced before.

What am I worried about? I’m worried about getting bored of eating the same kinds of vegetables and fruits. About not having time to cook and feeling tempted to grab a pizza from down the street more often than not. About resorting to eating cereal way too often. About friends and family feeling weird about it, not knowing what to cook or where to go out to eat (which really isn’t an issue). About giving meat a try again down the road and it making me sick because my body isn’t used to it. About how it will affect our son, Eli, since it’s almost impossible for a child to be a vegetarian and go to public schools and eat from the cafeteria. We’re not really pushing this on him, but we’ll simply be more careful about the things we feed him when we’re at home. About the “stigma” that people have about vegetarians…that they’re all hippies, animal rights activitists, and want to make you feel guilty about eating an innocent animal. None of which describe me.

I’m certainly open to questions or comments of any kind. This has been a pretty big deal for Erin and I, and is not so much a diet as it is a lifestyle change. I’m pretty excited about it, actually, and hope to stay committed. Before you know it, I’ll be driving an old VW Bug, wearing tie-dyed shirts, working for Greenpeace, and saying “dude” like a true Lebowski fan. But I’ll be lovin’ me some zucchini!

  1. helcha8 says:

    Good luck not eating animals. I think is GREAT – if you can do it. After 15 years of not eating meat I started eating the animals again. I don’t want to admit it – BUT – I DID MISS eating animals! I just try to eat the healthier ones from Whole Foods. I never used vegetianism as a “diet”. I didn’t really think it affected my weight either way.

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