22 August 2008

What's For Lunch?

Any meat in there?

Moose in the Kitchen is talking about food today, considering vegetarianism, veganism or every-other-Tuesday vegetarianism.

I have been a vegetarian for 20-some years. I went through my annoying Multi-Level-Marketing-like veg phase in the early days. You know, the person who everyone avoids because every conversation begins with "Hey, I've got something interesting to share with you!"?

In the MLM person's case, it would be about Fabulous New Cleaning products. In mine, it was all about How Cows are Destroying the Environment.

I have mellowed a bit since then. Ok, a lot since then. I have even stopped being a Very Good Vegetarian. What I have become is a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" vegetarian.

Pretty much every book on diet and food choices and vegetarianism will spend a few paragraphs describing the levels of vegetarianism. What is acceptable to one faction won't fly with another.

A few years ago, I decided to stop caring about labels and factions and do whatever the hell I wanted.

I was at a potluck when a vegan woman flipped OUT because someone had put clams in the dip. She threw a spectacular fit. She reached into her mouth and scooped the dip out and flung it in the trash and began sobbing about EATING DEATH while she ran for her toothbrush.

Ah, to be such a sensitive soul that one cares about every little dead clam of the world. Yes, clams die, every day, and perhaps someone should shed a tear over that fact. But it won't be me.

Oh, please. Meat is not POISON (oh, I know there are a couple acres of the internet that are just waiting to pounce on that one. Impacted Fecal Colon Matter! High Cholesterol! Clogged arteries!). It is food, food that has fed billions of people for tens of thousands of years.

But I choose to avoid it as much as I am willing to, for environmental reasons and also because I just don't like it much.

For me, this means that I don't buy meat, cook meat or order meat dishes in restaurants. But I also choose not to quiz beleaguered waiters about what is in the soup stock - chicken or veg? I don't ask in Mexican restaurants, where I am fully aware the beans may be swimming in tasty pork fat.

If I want to eat a fish taco once every couple months or eat half a piece of bacon to amaze my friend Steve, who loves to nag me about being a veg by waving crispy fried pork products in my face, I will damned well do so and I will still call myself a vegetarian and if that make you a little nuts about how wrong that is, haha. Joke is on you.

I also fully support people who want to raise their own meat or who take steps to assure that the meat they eat is raised humanely and organically. I think every step in that direction is a good step. I'm done guilting people and harassing them. All it ever did was make people miserable.

If this makes me Not a Real Veg, sue me. I'm over it. Bandwagon, done.


Anonymous said...

Hey, close enough.

I've never considered becoming a vegetarian although I didn't eat meat until my teens because I didn't like the taste but after seeing a report the other night about bones found in ground beef at a school I have given serious thought to quitting meat.

mar said...

when i turned 18 i went veg. in north dakota. in the 90s. even though i wasn't preachy about it, no one cut me a break. two years later, i got really sick (inflammatory bowel disease-nothing to do with my diet) & couldn't keep anything down except for plain chicken.
i now try to eat locally raised meat (buy my chicken from a co-worker who raises them, etc.). i could do much better, but i'm trying.

shoesonwrong said...

I just googled Impacted Fecal Colon Matter and now I will never be the same.

I mean, I'm still eating meat, but a little part of me will be forever scarred.

Swistle said...

I think that IS real vegetarianism. I think the other kind of thing is real evangelism/fanaticism that just happens to be promoting vegetarianism.

Gist of this comment: I am having warm feelings toward you.

Count Mockula said...

Hmm, I don't ask about the beans anymore, and I have been eating miso soup more often (not the bonito flakes!), but I still don't do the fish tacos/bacon trick. I do still ask about the soup base, but I will happily eat a Rice Krispie treat (mmm, marshmallows with delicious gelatin).

I guess I'm saying I've mellowed out, too.

QT said...

I can't say I'm a veg, but I eat meatless a lot. And when I do eat meat, I try to make sure I know its origins.

Bacon & steaks - in moderation, I just can't give those up!

Anonymous said...

I recently found out I am allergic to dairy -- it causes me to spill protein and trace levels of blood in my urine. So I am done with the dairy and it appears to be doing the trick but it has also been recommended that I eat a vegetarian diet to minimize any additional stress on my kidneys. So minus the eggs and fish on occasion I eat a pretty much vegan diet. I have been doing this for about 5 months now and to tell you the truth I feel great!! I appreciate the many benefits of an essentially vegan diet for myself and the planet but like you I very much downplay my dietary restrictions because of all the cultural baggage associated with veganism/vegetarianism. Ironically, however, I found out about my allergy shortly after accepting a job where I work closely with many of the dairy and cattle farming operations in the Pacific Northwest. As such, I definitely make a point of not discussing any dietary restrictions/preferences. I would be run out of town. But then again, from the looks of things and in defense of veganism, I am probably one of the few folks in this town who could actually run if I had to. -- kat

Julie said...

I was a vegetarian for years and started out the same way you did, deciding that it made me interesting. I then learned that it really wasn't, and began hiding it just so it didnt become a subject. (Ordering pepperoni pizza and picking off the meat when no one was looking)
Today it's "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants"

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

You're a vegetarian to me. Kinda like when people are Christian and sometimes they do unchristian things that doesn't make them not a Christian. I think. I don't really know much about Christians. I should stop talking now.

super des said...

That's how I was when I was vegan. Dammit, sometimes I just wanted a milkshake or some damn mac & cheese! Then I stopped being vegan because it was too hard. Yes, what about the poor little animals? Well, my years of veganism didn't change anything.
And I don't eat meat simply because I don't like the taste. Maybe I will again someday, but for now I'm still pretty easy going about it. And nobody can say boo about it because I'm not trying to force anyone to my beliefs.

My sister is a "vegetarian" but she regularly eats chicken & fish. I tell her she's not veg, she just doesn't eat red meat. THAT is something different. (as chicken & fish are not veggies.) But the occasional meat product does not a veg unmake.

Ok, I'm off my high horse.

Lady M said...

I like your attitude.

A bunch of years ago, I was on a trip in Eastern Europe that included some college-age kids in the throes of philosophical and pure raw food diets. They got very hungry.

Suzanne said...

There are no people I adore more than those who throw aside the idea that you must do X in order to call yourself Y. Many of my formerly favorite social movements have been upsetting me lately with their zealotry. Life is complicated.

Julie Marsh said...

This is why you and I get along so well. Live and let live, and walk in the other person's shoes now and then. Or eat a strip of their bacon.

Mrs. Swizzle said...

I've been veg since about 89/90. I used to be very strict, though not vegan. For the longest time I didn't eat eggs very regularly. "I wouldn't want anyone to eat MINE," was my line if questioned.

Now I have two kids and you know what? Smores and Rice Krispie treats are awesome. I still haven't managed to eat Jello, but I'm thinking it's not just because of the gelatin.

I think I'm there with Count Mockula. Still not eating bacon when it smells so dreamy at IHOP, but recognizing that being so inflexible is also not good for my health.

I read in one of the Dalai Lama's books that, yes he eats vegetarian when he is at his own home with his own chef, but he feels it is rude when he is traveling to insist that his hosts make special food for him.

I've been thinking about that one.

Anonymous said...

You're my kind of food eater.

Anonymous said...

... who is challenging the notion that you aren't a real vegetarian? I keep reading posts like this (Assertagirl as well) and feeling like I'm missing something. Do you run into that criticism a lot?

Anonymous said...

Awesome. Now if only other factions would take your lead and ease up on those who have different beliefs.

J said...

I think that makes you the most awesome kind of vegetarian there is. :)

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