Hayley is a Ghost

The knee jerk reaction of meat eaters

Posted on: December 29, 2010

I have been a vegetarian for fourty-six weeks and counting and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I love being a vegetarian, not only because it’s an informed choice I made for several reasons but because this year has probably been the only time I’ve really actually put any thought into what I am eating.

This Christmas was my first vegetarian Christmas dinner – I had the same as everyone else, except their turkey was replaced with a delicious country vegetable pie on my plate. Yum.

I thought my biggest critic was going to be my nineteen year old brother Charlie because it’s his job to ridicule everything I do. However my family have been really supportive and have even been interested in my vegetarian food, they even cut down on the amount of bacon they have because they know bacon is my one weakness. They rock.

However I was reading this blog post over on The Thinkers Podium blog and it had me laughing in sympathy. The pork salt story reminded me of the one time my mum accidentally braised some pork in the gravy that she then poured over my dinner aswell as everyone elses. It wasn’t until I noticed little lumps of meat in my mouth that the true horror of what had happened unfolded – but it was an accident, I’ve never had anyone put animal product in my food “accidentally” on purpose to make their point – at least, I hope I haven’t…

However I have noticed a very similar behaviour from meat eaters who discover that I’m a vegetarian. It seems that a lot of the time when I tell somebody that I’m vegetarian they try to defend why they eat meat by trying to make the reasons I chose to become vegetarian seem pointless.

As mentioned in this blog post I wrote when I had only been a vegetarian for two weeks, one of the leading factors in that decision was the amount of meat that the Sainsbury’s store I worked in would throw away. What a waste of a life of an animal that, in all likelyhood, didn’t have a great life anyway.

I often get told that just one person removing themselves from the demand market for meat wont make any difference – but at least I know that I’m not the reason that animal has suffered and died.

I don’t actually mind if someone chooses to eat meat and doesn’t care about animal suffering – we’re all entitled to live how we choose, but it’s amazing how often people will try and make me realise how I am wrong to be a vegetarian for the reasons that made me decide to be.

I’ve been told that for my reasoning I should eat meat that comes from local farms because it’s not the same as meat that is produced for supermarket, but why would I do that? An animal would still be dying.

I’ve been told that I should eat meat that comes from an animal that has died of natural causes – and you know what, I might, if I could be 100% certain that the animal was kept in good conditions during its life and that it really did die of natural causes.

I’ve been told that I am ‘murdering’ plants just as much as I would be ‘murdering’ animals if I ate meat (to which I’m quick to point out plants don’t actually have a nervous system…)

I’ve been told that I am going against evolution – but if that is the case I think it’s awesome. I’ve never been one to do something just so that I comply with ‘the norm’

All in all, I don’t actually care if someone eats meat and thinks that vegetarians are stupid, but the knee jerk reaction from those meat eaters who have to defend their decision by trying to rubbish mine makes me wonder if there is an underlying guilt because, actually, they see my point?

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268 Responses to "The knee jerk reaction of meat eaters"

The defensiveness may stem from the stereotype of pushy and self-righteous vegetarians (think PETA), making the responses a sort of “pre-emptive strike” to the tirade they expect is coming. Which is silly, of course, but popular perceptions tend to form in response to the extremes of any group.

Vegetarianism deprives people of several important nutrients, which make people weak and frail. Of course, if your a little girl with not much use for energy and activity, you wouldn’t notice the deprivation so much. There are certain protiens, irons, magnesiums that just do not come from plants. Just like the different kinds of fats and sugars, there are different compounds that the body can only get from a little meat. Of course, a veggie/grain based diet is ideal. But don’t be afriad to tear off some sauced up ribs when thier in front of you at a company potluck.
JUDGMENT DAY
May 21, 2011
http://www.familyradio.com

It doesn’t deprive us of any nutrients. That is a myth.

What an unfortunate myth…. a protein is a compound made of amino acids. A complete protein is any protein that supplies all the amino acids our bodies cannot make themselves. While complete proteins are most often found in animal products, one can eat combinations in their meals to form complete proteins in their diet and thus get the required protein intake for the day in many vegetarian/vegan sources. Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa) are incredibly rich in protein as well as beans and dark leafy vegetables. Dark leafy vegetables are also rich in calcium and many other nutrients! (In fact, by eating a varied amount of dark leafy greens such as kale or broccoli, you can get more calcium than you would drinking milk everyday, which can be hard to digest and tough on your digestive tract.)
While many people assert that if you want to be an athlete, you have to get XX grams of protein a day, that is wrong as well. If you want to be an athlete, then train hard and eat well… eat enough protein so your body can rebuild lost muscle tissue and aid in functions of the body but if you eat too much protein, you put a huge strain on your kidneys and make yourself susceptible to kidney problems.
In addition, the recommended amount of meat is 1/2 pound per week… the average American eats 1/2 pound per DAY. Pretty gross overconsumption.

Hayley, good luck with vegetarianism… always remember your reasoning for it.
http://mercimillefois.blogspot.com/search/label/vegetarian

Having studied nutrition in quite some depth, I can tell you that what you are saying is utterly false. Vegetarianism deprives the body of absolutely nothing. Firstly, as I thought most people knew, soya is one of nature’s complete proteins, rich in all 20 amino acids required by the body (Ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soya_bean). Hence, why it is so popular among vegetarians. These amino acids can also be found in a variation of legumes, beans and lentils. Secondly, iron and magnesium are readily available through plant sources. Foods such as kale, broccoli, nuts, apricots, figs, spinach, sea vegetables and beans all provide rich sources of iron especially. Some of the richest sources of magnesium available(including animal-derived) are in fact almonds and cashew nuts.

In fact, vegetarianism is seen by many doctors to be the optimum diet, as human beings are just not able to process the amount of meat that most people deem as being part of a ‘healthy’ & ‘normal’ diet. Naturally, humans would not have the constant supply of industrially-reared meat – we would have to go out and hunt for it. In these more primitive times, it would be expected for a tribe or family of people to consume meat once a fortnight. In today’s industrialised society, people have been completely removed from the killing act. There is no connection between the food they eat, other than the price of it and where to find it in the supermarket.

I, myself, am a vegan on ethical grounds (modern-day farming is the one of the sickest practises imaginable). There is no agenda other than profit. Regardless of whether you choose free-range or caged hens/eggs, the animals start and end their lives no differently (Refer to http://www.peta.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2009/09/01/unwanted-males-killed-at-birth.aspx). There are many similar frightful and sickening farming methods used within the dairy and wool industry, which people don’t know/think about.

I’m not going to go into all this now, I do not judge other people, nor do I preach and expect people to follow suit. I respect other people’s opinions, as long as they respect mine (whether we agree or not). However, with veganism, you get even more stigma about nutrition and health. I realise, of course, things can be more difficult on a vegan diet but funnily enough, the majority of vegans are in better health than their meat-eating counterparts, because whilst meat-eaters like to tell you what you’re not getting(being a vegetarian/vegan), they forget to think about what they’re not getting. They assume that because they eat anything, they are getting everything they need. Needless to point out, this is very rarely the case.

The is only one nutrient that cannot be obtained from a solely plant-based (vegan) diet and that is vitamin B12. However, conveniently enough, B12 is not even a necessary vitamin, assuming you are getting all the other nutrients in your diet. (Ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_B12#Functions)

All in all, vegetarians and vegans are not deprived of any food groups, vitamins or nutrients and because (probably due to such ridiculous myths) they are more conscious of what they eat, they tend to lead healthier and more energetic lifestyles by comparison.

Having studied nutrition in quite some depth, I can tell you that what you are saying is utterly false. Vegetarianism deprives the body of absolutely nothing. Firstly, as I thought most people knew, soya is one of nature’s complete proteins, rich in all 20 amino acids required by the body (Ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soya_bean). Hence, why it is so popular among vegetarians. These amino acids can also be found in a variation of legumes, beans and lentils. Secondly, iron and magnesium are readily available through plant sources. Foods such as kale, broccoli, nuts, apricots, figs, spinach, sea vegetables and beans all provide rich sources of iron especially. Some of the richest sources of magnesium available(including animal-derived) are in fact almonds and cashew nuts.

In fact, vegetarianism is seen by many doctors to be the optimum diet, as human beings are just not able to process the amount of meat that most people deem as being part of a ‘healthy’ & ‘normal’ diet. Naturally, humans would not have the constant supply of industrially-reared meat – we would have to go out and hunt for it. In these more primitive times, it would be expected for a tribe or family of people to consume meat once a fortnight. In today’s industrialised society, people have been completely removed from the killing act. There is no connection between the food they eat, other than the price of it and where to find it in the supermarket.
I, myself, am a vegan on ethical grounds (modern-day farming is the one of the sickest practises imaginable). There is no agenda other than profit. Regardless of whether you choose free-range or caged hens/eggs, the animals start and end their lives no differently (Refer to http://www.peta.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2009/09/01/unwanted-males-killed-at-birth.aspx). There are many similar frightful and sickening farming methods used within the dairy and wool industry, which people don’t know/think about.
I’m not going to go into all this now, I do not judge other people, nor do I preach and expect people to follow suit. I respect other people’s opinions, as long as they respect mine (whether we agree or not). However, with veganism, you get even more stigma about nutrition and health. I realise, of course, things can be more difficult on a vegan diet but funnily enough, the majority of vegans are in better health than their meat-eating counterparts, because whilst meat-eaters like to tell you what you’re not getting(being a vegetarian/vegan), they forget to think about what they’re not getting. They assume that because they eat anything, they are getting everything they need. Needless to point out, this is very rarely the case.
The is only one nutrient that cannot be obtained from a solely plant-based (vegan) diet and that is vitamin B12. However, conveniently enough, B12 is not even a necessary vitamin, assuming you are getting all the other nutrients in your diet. (Ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_B12#Functions)

All in all, vegetarians and vegans are not deprived of any food groups, vitamins or nutrients and because (probably due to such ridiculous myths) they are more conscious of what they eat, they tend to lead healthier and more energetic lifestyles by comparison.

I agree with other posts suggesting this is a myth except with one ‘nutrient’ that cannot be derived from vegetables (or fish for that matter). The nutrient is question is haeme iron, an iron specifically from land-based meat that is more effective and more easily digested in the body than iron in plants. It assists with carrying oxygen in haemoglobin. Nevertheless, a vegetarian diet with appropriate monitoring can compensate with other iron varieties.

Had I more ability to make such decisions, I’d go vegetarian. But I simply don’t ave the time or money at the moment to go through the learning curve for cooking egetarian meals. I do try to reduce the amount of meat, since, let’s face it, it’s a start.

Oh, I admit, I often feel a tad guilty for eating meat. That’s one of the reasons why I try to eat vegetarian quite often; the other being that our western diet contains to many animal products to begin with. True, I might say things to vegetarian friends in jest (like, “I’ll just eat an endangered animal to compensate for you not eating any meat”) but I do see the reasons of vegetarianism. Although I do like to point out that the supposed health benefits have not been proven (yet? — so far, it seems like vegetarians just deal with other nutrition related problems than meat-eaters). Compensation for the missing protein is quite difficult and that’s where many vegetarians do go wrong… and I will point that out to friends.

But return to topic, yes, I think many meat-eaters do feel a tad guilty and in stead of taking it out on vegetarians, they should embrace that feeling of guilt. It will make people more aware of the consequences of our diet on other animals and the world at large, which can only be a good thing.

Now, vegans on the other hand… 😉

As far as health benefits go, my doctor was very impressed with my last physical. Perfect cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight. I have been a vegetarian for three years, and I lost 30 pounds after I stopped eating meat. The only problem I had was a lack of iron, which was remedied with nuts, spinach, and other iron-rich, non-meat foods.

Chris, according to me, anecdotes do not make a solid case. Scientific studies do. All I was saying is that there is no scientific consensus on whether an omnivorous or herbivorous diet is better. Some studies claim vegetarian diets are healthier based upon certain factors, while other say this is not true based on different factors. A cursory glance through the published literature reveals that, so far, the only consensus is that our modern western diet contains too much meat.

Nothing wrong with being a vegetarian but when groups such as PETA (or my straight edge friends) go on about how vegetarianism is healthier (which happens really often) I have to point out that this is unproven.

You can provide your own testimonial that your are healthy and fine, but that does not pass as proof. Hell, I eat tons of scandinavian liquorice and my blood pressure is fine, too. Does this proof that large amounts of ammonium chloride (the salt that gives scandinavian liquorice its distinct flavour) is healthy? No, it does not.

@Dax

The protein issue (non-issue) has been very well established in the scientific literature. Vegetarians are not “missing protein” and do not need to “compensate.” Getting protein on a vegetarian or vegan diet is incredibly easy. Keep enjoying your jokes, but misguided concerns about your friends’ (beyond adequate) protein intake are not a something a science-minded person can “point out” in good faith.

@Dax
Unfortunately for you, it is proven… But will it change for you anything?
http://www.ajcn.org/content/70/3/525S.full#FN3

@Biology PhD:
See, I must disagree here, especially since I’ve seen on first hand that people just avoid eating meat without changing the diet to compensate. Also, just egg jokes is definitely not sufficient. If you want to eat healthily as a vegetarian, you must increase your intake of other, non-animal derived, protein such as legumes and nuts, and also protein in the form of dairy, which is what I tell my friends, too.

@Maxym:
I wonder why you start with the word ‘unfortunately’… I’d rather stick with science, thank you, and if I am wrong I will adjust my views. So far, I have only stated that it has not been proven, yet. You can show me a study that says vegetarianism is healthier but I can just as well look for studies to disprove you, and those studies are out there. Vegetarian diets have been correlated to B12 deficiency in several studies and there is evidence that such a diet correlates to a higher risk of hyperhomocysteinaemia. Also, there is some concern relating to the growth and development of children on a vegetarian diet.

Look, it’s really simple: I’m not here to defend meat-eating. All I am saying is that (A) a low or no meat diet is healthier then a diet high in meat and (B) that there is no consensus yet on whether a vegetarian diet is healthier than a low-meat diet.

Most people I tell that I don’t eat meat proceed to tell me that they rarely eat meat as though they automatically think I am judging them. Generally people are defensive because few people are happy about what happens to the animal that has been slaughtered for their plate they just try not to think about it. I think you have been unlucky if people are giving you a hard time. I don’ tmake a big deal of it though or force my opinions on others. I think its a personal choice.

Its easy not to eat meat. Its a lot easier nowadays than it was when I was a teenager and had to live on Bean Feast (Horrible packet meat substitute). I would encourage anyone who wants to give up meat. It couldn’t be easier and it makes a real difference. As you rightly say if you pay attention to your diet there is no reason why you can’t live perfectly healthily without meat.

I’ll just make one point. If everyone stopped eating meat none of the species that you are so nobly trying to save and protect, by not eating them, would exist at all, because they would all be extinct, or so close to it as to make no difference. Since they cannot survive in the wild, because of the way they have been bred and keeping them alive purely out of sentiment, while that may be nice, is not economically viable. So, the real choice as far as domesticated farm animals are concerned comes down to this; they either exist and get eaten, or they don’t get eaten and don’t exist at all. Which of those choices is morally superior?

Are you seriously suggesting it is MORAL to keep a species of animal in existence even though their lives are cruel, harsh and end up with them being slaughtered?

Give me a fucking break. If you’re so concerned about the extinction of animal species that are harvested for food set up a conservation programme and stop killing them and keeping them in disgusting, cruel and harsh conditions!

I’m pretty sure that pigs and cows and chickens and sheep and turkey and fish would rather have a go at trying to survive over living the way they are made to by humans if they were given the choice.

Nice excuse for continuing to eat meat, but I’ve heard it all before.

Well said. I’m pretty sure the animals couldn’t survive in the wild simply because we keep them from it. It’s like raising a tiger in captivity. Release THAT into it’s main habitat and see what happens. So… should we eat that tiger now?
Also, when people say that you are going against evolution… I think that’s wrong as well. Have you looked at our teeth compared to real carnivorous animals? I’m not a vegetarian but I do shy away from red meat. But I also hate the way we raise animals for food… Methane is the number one source of pollution in America… Methane is cow farts. Really.
But here is something just fun I thought you should see. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkO-4jZs51E
Good post!

Ah, the nice original post is then followed up with the true colours of the vegetarian.

I couldn’t care less if you eat meat or not. I was going to commend you on a good post ( I’m not a veggie, as I like my chicken and turkey, but I am a coeliac so my diet is far more restrictive than yours through ill health rather than choice ) but the language and bile shown in your reply to a poorly thought out comment leaves a lot to be desired. Shame as I’ve found your other posts quite interesting to read ( having an interest in the Paranormal [ degree in Psychology, not just an armchair interest ] with a good mix of sceptical and belief ) and well worth the visit.

Is foul language the knee jerk reaction of the vegetarian?

Hi, welcome to my blog, where I say and write what I like.

Okay. You heard it all before. Well, while I can’t speak for meat eaters out there, I’m just going to make a random guess. Oh, and tell me if you heard of this one:
In Africa, there are babies as young as 2 weeks old, who are being rape this very second. Their lives are harsh and cruel, so what are the things you are doing about that?
It if “fine” to think that maybe meat eaters, who don’t care about animal torture (give ME a break), give people like you such a “hard” time because they somehow feel guilty. But the reality is that the world can be a pretty awful place, where there are PEOPLE, whether it is base on the color of their skin, gender, religion, etc, are given LESS consideration than animals. Heck, the animals, at times, are lucky. At least their killed in the end, while many people have to live with the pain and torture for the rest of their lives. Not to mention passing that pain down to the next generation. And at the end of day, while the average person can maybe spare a buck or two, really, there is not much they can really do to help others, especially if they are having a hard time helping themselves and their loved ones. So, the LAST thing they want to hear is someone, like you, trying to make people, like them, feel bad (because, be REAL- you would not be a vegetarian if you really, “… don’t actually mind if someone chooses to eat meat and doesn’t care about animal suffering”) because they just want to eat a fucking hamburger, when in all likelihood, you’re not doing anything to help a black baby in Africa. So unless not eating a hamburger helps out babies in Africa, I find the “suffering” of animals to be on the VERY low-scale on what is wrong with the world.
But, hey, I’m just guessing that is why they maybe giving you such a hard time. I was just a little “skeptic” of your conclusions.

Yeah…. right…. well, I don’t think I said my reason for being a vegetarian was so I could help black babies in Africa. So, I’m not really sure WHAT you’re on about :/

Oh come on “glutenfreaked”, really? One bit of “language” and you are condemning all vegetarians? You’re almost as bad as “kyrrith”, who clearly posted his specious argument to incite a reaction. I found Haley’s reply to be impassioned, well thought out, and on the mark. There was no bile. It was simply a strong rejoinder to obvious baiting. For those adults who are not familiar with the word “fuck”, where was your rarified upbringing? Welcome to the real world, where sometimes people use “language”.

How much do you really know about farming, or how most farmers treat their animals? Have you ever spent any time working on a farm to see what really goes on? Somehow I doubt it, because no farmer I have ever known, and I’ve known a few including members of my own family, has been, or would be, deliberately cruel to any of their livestock. One reason being that the better the conditions an animal is kept in the better its meat quality will be and therefore it will be more valuable. The other, and probably surprising to you, reason is that they actually do care about their animals. The only thing is they’re not sentimental about it.
The point I was trying to make is that given the conditions that actually exist, which I will concede may not be ideal, the only way that domesticated species of cattle, sheep and pigs will survive is if individual members of those species are eaten on a commercially viable scale. Human beings have bred those species to such a point that they cannot survive without our direct intervention and to my mind we now have a moral obligation towards them. Would it have been better if we had not got into this situation in the first place? Perhaps, but I don’t think we would even be able to have this argument if we hadn’t.

@Hayley and boobooblair,
The issue of domesticated species becoming extinct is real. From an evolutionary perspective the cow, the sheep, chickens, turkeys and pigs have essentially made an involuntary bargain with humans: We protect them from predation by other species and provide for all their needs, and in exchange they are able to pass on lots and lots of their genes to future generations. Oh, and we get to eat them.

If you look at the shear number of these animals that are on the planet today, they are very “successful” species, and that is only because they entered into this arrangement with us. The same is true for dogs, cats and horses, though we do not usually eat them, at least not in this culture.

If you are advocating the wholesale abandonment of meat eating then, with the exception of pigs, which do quite well returned to a feral state, these species will disappear completely. I keep chickens and turkeys I can tell you that coyotes, raccoons, bobcats, and raptors all find them delicious. Raccoons and bobcats will kill them for “sport” killing all the birds in a pen and leaving all but one or two behind. I have returned home to find birds inside of their coop, minus their heads, and the remnant of other birds lying in front of the coop, their bones picked clean. After 8 to 10,000 years of domestication these chickens just do not stand a chance in the wild.

It is hard work to keep these critters safe and the feed is not free, and if you think that, over an extended period of time, people are going to maintain a significant enough quantity of these animals to maintain viable genetic diversity, then you are deluded. They would disappear. No cows. No sheep. No chickens. No turkeys.

That said, I agree that the VAST majority of animal husbandry in the world today is pretty much an abomination. The way 99.9+% or our meat is raised should be unacceptable to anyone who has a heart or is in any way empathetic to their fellow creatures. Pigs, for example, are pretty much kept under death camp like conditions, conditions that are so bad they can even be lethal to the people who work in them if the ventilation fails for any period of time.

But what you are doing, in this discussion so far, is to create America’s favorite fallacious argument: A false dichotomy. It is not simply a question of meat or not meat. It should be a question of how much and what means of production. For example, living as I do in western Washington, cattle can be raised on small scale, exclusively on grass, and produce good, VERY healthy (high in the good fats, low in the bad ones, high in protein) meat, and leave the environment BETTER than they found it. I cannot eat grass, but they can and they can turn it into meat I can eat, while producing lots of fertility (poop) in the process.

Under a model like this you have cows that get to live out of doors and be cows. They get to breed and have offspring. They get to live for two years on pasture, and then one day, bang, it’s over and I get dinner for the year. That cow, once again, would not exist, cannot exist, without me (and by “me”, I mean “some farmer”). Would it be better if they did not exist and I planted soy beans in that field?

We also need to realize the consequences of removing animals from any long term solution to how we feed ourselves. Read Wendell Berry – if for no reason other than that he writes so, so beautifully – and hear how he describes the consequences of our having taken animals off of the farm. For 5 to 10,000 years, animals provided all the fertility and most all the labor on farms. Now get both from petroleum. The current world food system is badly broken, relying almost entirely on synthetic inputs and government subsidies to grow the soy and get it to you.

So, to solve this problem let us think about small scale, local food production, using mixed agriculture – animals and row crops – and a public that eats less meat, but better meat.

I will leave you with one other thing. Here is a great excerpt from Brad Kessler’s excellent book “Goat Song” in which he talks how our live would be enriched by producing more of what we eat with our own personal labor:

“When I sink into the rhythm of these days all this labor (the milking and cleaning and mucking and feeding kids) is pleasant, even in this heat. The end result is palpable: Milk. It’s difficult labor but it’s my labor and the best kink there is – that which directly feeds us. Gandhi believed that everyone – the banker, shopkeeper, poet – should spend at least a small part of his or her day producing the food they eat or the clothes they wear. “Bread labor.,” he and Tolstoy called it. In India, Gandhi urged everyone to spin their own homespun, that it would liberate both the country and the individual from oppression. He wrote: “If the poet spun half and hour daily his poetry would gain in richness.”

These mornings I tend to believe in Gandhi’s prescription; that one’s own bread labor – labor that is not for hire, that doesn’t turn into a commodity but feeds you – can enrich one’s life and lead to a kind of liberation.”

Please check out my blog, pugetsoundbites.wordpress.com

Cheers, Vincent Nattress

That’s like saying if everyone got their cats fixed then cats would go extinct. It’s still the exact right, responsible thing to do since THERE ARE SO MANY CATS.

Producing meat is extremely inefficient – very tasty, I agree, but inefficient. So, for example, if we cut down the production of meat by 75% then the entire planet would be in better shape, and you wouldn’t have to worry about absurd notions like Cow Extinction.

Very, very strangely, it sounds like you are suggesting that chickens who spend their entire lives debeaked, packed into a box with so many other chickens that they can’t turn around, ought to be grateful for their existence. Speaking of morally superior, if you give me a choice between existing like that and not existing at all, I’ll take the latter. Call me crazy.

There are many degrees between being a vegetarian and the global extinction of chickens and cows. The fallacious argument form you are using is so common that it has a name – it’s a false dichotomy.

The point of this post is not hey, let’s have everyone in the world stop eating meat – although that would very likely solve world hunger, the possible extinction of cows notwithstanding.

The point of the post was more like, it’s okay to be a vegetarian without having every cheeseburger-chomping wise ass carpet bomb her with insults.

And so you know, I’m a big fan of cheeseburgers, chicken wings, and vegetarian food.

http://futuretom.wordpress.com/2010/08/23/is-my-breakfast-bothering-you/

I pretty much agree with you. But let us not just think about how much meat we eat, but the type of farm and having those farms close to where the food is being consumed.

For example, there is a major off shoring of poultry going on right now, with Pilgrim’s Pride (oh, the irony) moving most of their production to Brasil, and the largest poultry plant in the world was built in China, with a lot of the birds meant for export.

One of the biggest issues in my mind is that whatever we eat, even if it is soy bean, if we want to be responsible people we need to be willing to pay more for our food. You can pretty much bet that if is is really cheap, then it has a lot of externalized costs in the way of subsides, poor environmental practices, long transportation chains, etc.

Buying from local farmers who you know is the way to start, and that is sure to cost more than buying your food at WalMart.

Hopefully we can all – vegan, omnivore, breathairian alike – agree on that.

Even as a meat-eater I find the claim that animals would become extinct if we didn’t use them as food so stupid that it stings. Species we breed for meat have other uses – milk, wool, pets.

I don’t feel at all guilty about eating meat. I like it, but I accept that some people have chosen to become vegetarian because they’re not comfortable with how animals may be treated from birth to slaughter, or because they just don’t like the flavour or texture of meat. Each to their own. I also have a very healthy diet even though I have meat around five times a week. Healthy diet is down to common sense rather than vegetarian/non-vegetarian diets.

Mick makes a very good point re. pre-emptive strikes between omnivores and herbivores.

That’s a pretty poor argument. You should rethink that sentiment and issue a concession speech.

This sort of argument is rather morally suspect. Interestingly, analogous arguments were once used to argue that holding slaves is okay because such people were alleged to be unfit for freedom. Obviously, there are important differences between the two cases, but the similarities seem relevant as well.

Addressing the argument directly, I have three main points. First, domestic animals obviously arose from wild animals. Some domestic animals (such as pigs or certain chickens) would probably be able to go wild with no problem. Other domestic species might need to be “reverse bred” back to being able to survive in the wild. Of course, this would require habitats for these animals and this is an ever increasing problem.

Second, keeping animals alive just to feed on them does seem to be intuitively worse than simply letting them die off (assuming that would happen).

Third, this argument actually does have some potential merit. If an edible species would go extinct without our support and selling some of the animals for meat would raise enough money to keep them going (in humane condition) then a utilitarian case could be made for this view.

The breeds of the species of animals we raise for meat/dairy/eggs are breeds that have come about from artificial selection and genetic engineering. We have modified their genes through these means in order to create profitable animals, not healthy ones. Pigs and broiler chickens grow so fat so fast that their joints and hearts often give out. Turkeys are now so misproportioned that they cannot breed except through artificial insemination. The situation is similar to, but more severe than, dog breeds bred to have chronic health problems. Many sensible people believe certain disease-prone dog breeds should not continue to be bred. Unhealthy farm animal breeds would be better off extinct, or at least, with much lower populations. Their wild relatives (same species) will continue to live just fine.

I think that argument is invalid, as by inference, that would mean the horse became extinct as soon as humans invented the internal combustion engine. Yes, certain domesticated- i.e. man-made breeds of farm animals would become extinct (Although they’d be slaughtered and eaten by meat-eaters rather than just slaughtered and abandoned), but the original breeds that existed pre-domestication, such as wild ox, pigs and sheep, would still exist in the wild, untouched by man. That leaves the economic viability of growing crops for human consumption rather than to feed animals, which means that much more food would be able to be grown for us, thus significantly reducing global hunger- if not eliminating it entirely, and also cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions by a large margin. (Some 40% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions actually come from domesticated herd animals- and I haven’t even mentioned the exhaust fumes produced by the meat processing plants, livestock transports and slaughterhouses.) Food for thought, indeed.

I find it pretty easy to live a healthy life without eating meat. The most common comment I get is “how do you get enough protein?”
and my answer is I get plenty of protein from grains, legumes, organic dairy, and the occasional protein powder supplement. I started eating vegetarian back in November and, even though it was intended to be a short test, haven’t gone back to eating meat.

I track all my nutrition through an app on my iphone, so I can solidly say I not only get enough protein, I eat way more food now with fewer calories and a more diverse and varied set of nutrients. My husband still eats meat, so I still occasionally prepare meat for him. I don’t judge his decisions and he doesn’t judge mine – I think not judging and being open-minded is the key to success with any diet. I brought my own dinner to Christmas, and no one even noticed, or, if they did, no one made a comment or, perhaps no one cared. Later, my husband told me my dinner looked better than everyone else’s turkey and gravy…

Ah! Another downside to not having an Iphone!

re where do you get the protein question
you should answer with the question; “where do the animals you eat get THEIR protein?”

Damn, this topic does evoke emotion, doesn’t it?

Whatever happened to, “To each, his own…”?

😉

lol, good point. As a meat-eater married to a rancher and hunter, I don’t think it’s an underlying guilt as much as it is feeling tired of organizations trying to demonize our lifestyle. I think it’s a protective reaction.

I think guilt is required in order for someone to feel offense about any topic whatsoever. For example, plenty of people in my conservative hometown will “demonize” me for having different views on marriage. But I know-backed up with data and logic-that my views and behavior are not in any way immoral. So when they “demonize” me, I don’t knee-jerk. I don’t feel any need to protect myself. Why would I? They are the ones who are incorrect. In my experience, the only people who feel defensive are those who don’t feel fully confident in the morality of their own behavior. When “demonized,” this reminds them of their cognitive dissonance, and they lash out and act defensive. A better response is to go home and think about why some random person’s “incorrect” assessment of the morality of your behavior bothers you so much. If you truly knew you were right, you wouldn’t give a darn about what people say.

That’s very true, Carol. I responded to Hailey’s post to give a personal perspective from the meat-eater’s end, but not to debate. For my family and community, I don’t think it’s guilt; just a protection toward our way of life and living.

We live off the land and off of people eating meat by raising cattle. My husband also hunts and provides meat to place on our table (deer, elk, turkey, pheasants).

If people choose not to eat meat, than to him or her I say go for it! But I have yet to meat anyone who has ever acted contemptuous toward me, and for that I am thankful.

I’ve been vegetarian my entire life and vegan for some of it. I’m 6’2” and healthy as an ox. That “how do you get your protein” question is pretty annoying, but I guess people really are that clueless at times. I grew up in Texas where eating beef is close to religion, so I’ve definitely encountered all kinds of ridiculous “knee jerk” reactions, but ultimately, you know what’s right.

As to the comment about PETA, I don’t think PETA is too extreme at all. What’s extreme is the horrendous acts of torture against our fellow mammal in the name of good taste. If anything, I wish more groups like PETA would emerge to show people the truth about the way animals suffer and die. But then, I suppose I am biased, been raised to respect animals and not eat them.

Good luck, and keep up the good work!

Ps– If you haven’t seen Earthlings, I highly recommend you do, and share it with others. It’s difficult to watch at times but it’s real, and important for us to be informed about.

Earthlings is ridiculous propaganda. The worst section is the part on vivisection which shows they have done no research more recent that the 1980s. It is a dispicable film which takes the worst examples and implies it is the norm without any evidence to back it up.

A documentary that doesn’t present the other side of the argument, or rpesent evidence in a blaanced way is not worth 90 minutes of my time… again.

First of all – I love your writing style. And you’re a paranormal researcher? Totally awesome!
I just wanted to say that I agree with you on all points. I’ve been a vegetarian for almost half my life (12 years), and those reasons are why I became a veggie in the first place, and why I still am one today. I go through the exact same thing when I tell a non-vegetarian my choice for the first time. How peculiar!

❤ vegetarian power ❤ right on.

I love the look of your blog and the post was very well written. Though I eat meat, I can understand the interesting phenomenon you face with those that try to immediately convert you back to being a carnivore. Sounds like you’re on your own path and you’re loving it. Good on you! (And like you, if I were to become a vegetarian, I would mourn not being able to eat bacon or a lot of other pig products.)

You are AWESOME!!! I never really liked meat growing up, but had to eat it due to a more Latin American diet. Ever since I’ve been on my own, I enjoy being able to make the decision to not eat meat! I’m by no means a vegetarian because sometimes I do crave it, but I enjoy being on a more veggie-filled diet nowadays. Keep up the awesome work, and kudos for being a vegetarian!

I’ve been vegetarian for many years now. The main reason for my decision were to maintain a healthier lifestyle, and one that, surprisingly controls my epilepsy 100%. For some reason, if I consume predominantly a non-animal based protein diet, then my seizures completely disappear. When multiple medications failed me, diet prevailed and keeps my condition completely under control.

With that said, I don’t care whether or not people eat meat. I would much prefer we, as a society, strayed away from factory farming and actually looked into raising our own food animals or hunted for our meat, but beggars can’t be choosers. My biggest concern is the amount of antibiotics/steroids/pesticides that humans likely consume through their food. If only we all became more aware of how the food is processed and better understood nutrition as a whole, we (humans and animals alike) would all be better off.

Animals do serve a purpose in our lives and we honestly could not thrive without them. Whether through companionship, food, work, or research we all directly benefit from their use on some way or another. We just need to exercise more humane forms of treatment.

Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! I was born in a vegetarian family and started eating meat at the age of 15. It wasn’t until a decade after that I started feeling terribly guilty about it. So there are times when I go vegetarian for weeks and months, and then eventually give in to the craving for meat. Sometimes I wonder how different my outlook would have been if I’d never reached out for that first slice of sausage pizza. By the way, everybody should watch the film Earthlings once at least – that movie hits so hard.

Enjoyed the post! I decided to become a vegetarian in 2011. I will be checking out your other posts to see your journey: hopefully they will help me along mine! Cheers!

I wish you the best of luck and my advice would be to not jump in at the deep end but also not to eat just meat replacement products. Eating mock chicken can makeyou crave chicken :/

A man of my spiritual intensity does not eat corpses. — George Bernard Shaw

Now that is fairly blunt and does make a point, and it does deliver a jolt to meat eaters.

It is an interesting thing though knowing you don’t need meat while others think you do.

You make some interesting arguments. I think it is essential that everyone makes conscientious decisions about their food choices. Everyone needs to decide what is ethically, nutritionally and environmentally the right choice for *themselves.* Even more importantly, no one should feel judged for the decisions they’ve made or have to justify themselves to the self-righteous. I raise, eat and sell free range, pastured, hormone and antibiotic free livestock (and sleep well at night). You’ve made a well thought out decision to live meat free. We both can be “right”…

everyone needs to decide for themselves

but to say anything is ethical or other measurement, is to suggest there there’s an actual right or wrong that everyone understands. that’s just not the case.

your adding that you sleep well at night owing to your choices is a self-righteous judgment of people who choice other than you or who don’t or can’t choose.

Nothing wrong with being self-righteous, as long as you own it.

Gr8 post! I’ve been a vegetarian 4 about seventeen yrs now, and have taken steps 2ward veganism. The 1st was fairly easy, the 2nd …well thats been a bit of a struggle

I wish u well w/ your non-meat eating journey.

“…the knee jerk reaction from those meat eaters who have to defend their decision by trying to rubbish mine makes me wonder if there is an underlying guilt because, actually, they see my point?”

Bingo. I’m a lifelong vegetarian from a vegetarian family. It’s amazing how cruel other kids could be about something that had absolutely nothing to do with them, and how ignorant and judgmental adults could be about the same. I don’t even think of my vegetarianism as a choice…it’s just the way I was raised. I couldn’t eat meat if I tried (and I tried, many times). I don’t rub my vegetarianism in anyone’s face — in fact, i barely talk about it at all — but that doesn’t stop rude and ignorant people from telling me that my dietary choices are wrong for all the reasons mentioned here (my favorite is “…but where do you get your protein?”). After 23 years of being physically fit with a squeaky clean bill of health without putting meat in my body, I just laugh.

I was a vegetarian for about 6 years, and I completely 100% agree with your decisions. I have started eating a little bit more meat, due to what I’ll just describe as “lifestyle changes”, and I have seen a downturn in some health items (i.e. I’ve gained weight) once I started eating poultry again. I don’t eat red meat and really am not interested in it at all.

I just want to throw that I am totally supportive of your endeavors and I hope you continue on. I found also when I became a vegetarian that I’d never been more aware of what I ate. Just a year after I went un-vegetarian, my doctor told me that I had some of the best healthy & low cholesterol he’d ever seen. There are a huge number of advantages to being vegetarian – as someone who’s seen it from both sides of the coin – and I congratulate you. Well-written and well done!

FYI, you chosing to NOT eat meat saves roughly 90 animals a year. You may only be one person, but that’s nearly 100 animals. Go you! 🙂

Is that true? If so, that’s awesome.

I’ve read it several places- I will see if I can find the sources for you! 🙂

I also remember reading that each vegetarian saves an acre of land every year.

I’ve found that the easiest way to get people off my back is to point out how good looking I am for my age after almost three decades of vegetarianism. They rarely want to continue the discussion when it keeps turning back to the same point. Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

You write very much like Sarah Vowell.

I’m a meat eater and I don’t think I have a knee jerk reaction to vegetarianism… that’s someone else’s lifestyle and their choice. I know I could never manage it, since I can’t stand vegetables and without meat, I’d probably die of malnutrition. But that’s just me.
Congrats on the Freshly Pressed. : )

Well said. My mom is a vegetarian, but the rest of us are omnivorous, and we all get along just fine. The only two reasons I couldn’t become a vegetarian myself are:
1. I LOVE bacon (SO not Kosher)
2. Most veggies I hate. 😛 just carrots and the crunchy white parts of lettuce for me 🙂

This happens to me all the time. Yesterday at dinner, even.

People assume that because I’m vegetarian, I’m assaulting their way of life or trying to get them to be, too. And as a result, attack me over it. I’ve been called “anorexic” for suggesting going vegetarian was a good thing to do for Earth Day, as opposed to, you know, making tie-dye shirts and smoking pot like everyone else.

The best proof of the “knee-jerk” reaction you mention came in these very comments. I read no further than the person who claims you think you’re morally superior for being vegetarian and that the animals you don’t eat would die out in the wild if they were released.

Rather dead than alive and suffering in hell. Even so, has that person ever seen a wild turkey?

I am unsure how the knee jerk reaction of meat eaters to your vegetarianism is different than the knee jerk reaction of vegetarians to meat eaters.

I am tired of the comparisons of concentration camps to slaughterhouses and other such non-relevant nonsense.

People who are secure in themselves aren’t concerned what other eat, who or how other people have sex, who other people love, or what life choices others make.

It comes down to insecurity and perhaps a dash of guilt.

When I have veggie friends over, I generally make a veggie dinner and if it is a mixed meal – like BBQing – I ensure separate food prep areas from beginning and presentation of the food.

I have no issue not being the norm – I’m an atheist and a lesbian – but being outside the norm for it’s own sake means part of your decision is to have an impact on others and it’s not just to satisfy something in yourself.

The evolution argument doesn’t really work for individuals – yes, humans are omnivores – it’s why we have both tearing and grinding teeth.
Adding meat to our diets gave more fuel for the brain – it’s an expensive high energy organ – and hunting meat – along with defense – gave advantage to those who walked upright and freed our hand for tools and carrying instead of walking.

But, we aren’t primitives who always hunt for food to eat opportunistically – we have masses of nutritional information, food in stores, and you will be able to obtain enough nutrients and protein to be healthy.

The thing I find funny about vegetarianism, is why are so many veg products simulations of meat’s taste and texture.

Why eat meat when you can eat something that is just like meat but isn’t the result of an animal being mistreated and killed?
As for comparisons of slaughterhouses and concentration camps, not all vegetarians make those comparisons – and I, myself, even wrote in the blog post that I didn’t car what other people chose to do.

Because simulated meat is not meat – the texture is wrong and the taste is not comparable. It doesn’t cook or BBQ like meat or smell like meat.

It’s kinda like eating carob instead of chocolate. It’s more or less nutritionally comparable, but it doesn’t satisfy.

I am an omnivore and a diabetic – and vegetarianism does not work for diabetics – too much starch and sugar in most fruit and veg.

Meat is a pure protein – legumes, seeds, nuts and other plant protein sources are also starches – and starches are sugar.

Nice side step on the question tho –

if a person has chosen to not eat meat – then why eat simulated meat products, when you could just eat meat.

I think that is the Achilles heel of vegetarianism.

Some people prefer to eat meat often, occasionally, or rarely who have sentimental, cultural, or gustatory ties to certain meat dishes. Some people are conscientious of what they eat, much like most vegetarians. For some people, this means no fake shit.

Just as vegetarianism is enjoying a growth phase, so is a return to less processed foods. Some people are conscientiously limiting these foodstuffs from their diet.

My reply is to “Ntrygg” on the subject of diabetics and diet. It’s untrue that diabetics can’t be vegetarians. What vegetarian diabetics need to eat is complex carbohydrates, and to stay away from simple carbs (white sugar, white flour, white rice, most processed foods). Substituting soy for meats (for the protein boost) is a great way to ensure plenty of protein, and tofu/ground tofu, etc. work exceptionally well as substitues for meat in countless recipes.

I should know, I’m diabetic and mostly vegetarian. I won’t argue about the taste and texture of meat, that’s a personal preference, but you’re simply not well informed about the diabetic diet if you think diabetics cannot be vegetarians. I agree about carob/chocolate, though. No substitute for chocolate, imo!

Those of us who grew up eating meat find it easier to transition to a meat-free diet if we eat things that are familiar to us; like “chicken nuggets” or “beef strips”. It took me a little while to learn that Indian and other ethnic food types don’t rely on meat. Now my diet doesn’t rely on meat-looking replacements.
That being said a patty or hot dog shape aren’t what animal tissue looks like naturally. It is shaped into that form. Meat-free producers adopt that shape because it is familiar and it fits the buns better. 🙂

Thanks for your post!
Let’s leave the whole “it’s not right to eat animals because it’s mean” thing and just look at the health issue.
Time after time, study after study, it’s just plain healthier to eat a non-animal based diet. Just ask Bill Clinton! http://sisterearthorganics.wordpress.com/2010/10/02/bill-clinton-got-it-right-the-benefits-of-a-vegan-diet/
When people are ready to learn, they will. I find that if you’re nice, nice will follow…….if not, a well placed knee does the trick 🙂

Well said! I was a vegetarian for years although I am eating meat again these days I can absolutely relate to the constant criticism that comes with being a vegetarian. It’s sad that people out there need to zero in on the differences of others, especially when it comes to eating and personal habits and especially when that habit is the result of an informed decision to do something good for the world and others.

Great job on becoming vegetarian! I have been vegan for a while and it’s quite easy. I don’t substitute animal products, I just avoid them. I think that animals shouldn’t just be raised to die. But that’s just my opinion. People can say whatever they want to say about being vegan/vegetarian. I think it’s great that you chose to take that path.

We are all entitled to eat what we would like (at least in the Western world where we have sufficient food in roder to make a choice not to eat certain products). I guess most of the annoyance from meat eaters stems from vegetarians trying to impose a smaller selection of food on them: meat free lunch days in the canteen for example.

It’s not like vegetables are some kind of foreign food to meat eaters. Meat eaters do not have to be taught that there is more besides meat, because most of the time they already eat those products.

I have thought of how animals are being treated, but still would not want to lose my bacon, sirloin steak, angus beef, etc.

By and large an interesting read, but why would a nervous system have any bearing on whether a particular act is murder or not?

A more reasonable criterion would be whether something is alive (in which case plants qualify) or whether something has passed a certain threshold in intelligence and/or self-awareness (in which case many animals do not qualify).

As an aside to those commenting on PETA: PETA is evil—even against animals. Google e.g. “peta hypocrisy” for some very interesting reads.

A nervous system means something can feel pain. A plant is a living thing but it doesn’t have a nervous system and thus, doesn’t feel pain. It’s an ethical choice.

Interestingly, Descartes argued that animals lacked minds (he did agree that they had emotions and life). This view held sway in some areas for quite some time.

While I would not claim (now) that plants have any sort of mental life, it does seem a possibility worth considering. After all, it would be rather narrow minded (and question begging) to simply assume that mental states must depend on an animal nervous system like our own. See, for example, David Lewis’ “Mad Pain & Martian Pain.”

At the risk of ending up off-topic:

Now you confuse two different issues, namely ending of lifes and causing of pain. These may both be unethical in many situations, but they are very far from being the same (and even if they were, your counter-argument should be “plants do not feel pain”—not “plants have no nervous system”).

Get your science together. Plants do feel pain and even cry. It’s just we can’t see them in pain or hear them crying. This is really a knee jerk post.Please reserach more.

Can I see a study that shows that plants… cry? I’m pretty sure they don’t.

There’s obviously an underlying guilt, as far as I’m concerned…
I’ve been a vegetarian for all my life. Rather, I would count as an egg-atarian, because I eat egg but no other animal product.
I’ve been told a lot of times that being a non-veg makes more sense and is actually better, but I’m not planning to switch over any time soon. Mostly because the very smell of non-veg food makes me squirm.
For thanksgiving, my family didn’t eat a turkey this year, rather, we adopted one. We now have a really nice tame and very friendly turkey in our backyard. It eats right out of your hand!
Ashley

I personally am not a vegetarian but I found this blog post very informative and interesting. You have some really good points and I think it’s pretty awesome that you stand for what you believe in no matter what other people say! Keep believing in yourself! 🙂

The “murdering plants” anecdote is a good one! I’ve heard it a million times. It’s ridiculous. I consider myself a meat eater, but these days, not so much. If you’d like to find out why, visit the Gassy Guy blog.

Congratulations on being freshly pressed and unafraid to stand up for what you believe in! Best wishes.

Congrats on being freshly pressed. Loved the article and the comments — WOW, great entertainment.

I think it’s great if you want to be a vegetarian, just let others do as they want. Lets all live the way we want without hurting each other. Amen! Good on you being Freshly Pressed!

evelyngarone.com

As a meat eater, I see your point about the knee jerk reaction. But you actually had your own knee jerk reaction. By assuming meat eaters don’t care about animal cruelty. That’s a huge assumption to make. If you want fair treatment, it would make sense to not to prejudge meat eaters in return.

Congrats on being FP. I was FP recently on anti-smoking and couldn’t believe the the outcry from pro smokers. Sounds ridiculous, I know. Expect a lot of haters to visit you, mixed in with lots of love! 🙂

I have 11 year old and 9 year old sons – both of whom have chosen at various points to try vegetarianism. As a meat-eater (by choice and because I have to- I have MANY allergies to vegetables and dairy products, and my food choices are very limited, even in meats), I’ve always supported their decisions. I’ve learned to cook a variety of vegetarian dishes, checked ingredient labels and I’ve never passed judgement – no matter what they decided to eat for dinner.

My only concern was for them, as growing children, was that they received all the nutrition they needed. As I was not raised a vegetarian, this meant I had to do a lot more research and make sure multi-vitamins were in the house.

I enjoyed your post, and find your writing to be exceptional. I find it odd, though, in my personal experience – the only person who ever said anything “negative” or “knee-jerk” about my boys was a friend who was a vegetarian, who found it horrible and cruel that I would ever let them eat meat after they had found “the right way”. I think there are people who always feel right on both sides of the fence.

I respect WHY my boys made the choice – and will respect it if they choose to make it again. 🙂 Congrats on being freshly pressed!

Good on you, if you want to be a veggie, be a veggie! i’m a meat eater and not much will stop me eating it if i want to (although i draw the line at bacon, which i used to eat but can no longer stand!), but i have to say i had a very veggie diet for a time at university before i learned to cook it! it really is a faff to cook, veg is so much easier!

I’m 5 months into being vegetarian and loving it. The “plants have feelings” argument always surprises me too.

http://wp.me/p146ye-3g

Well done for producing a thought-provoking article. I think that in some cases (not all, but some), the defensiveness of meat-eaters stems from vegetarians who are judgmental about people who eat meat. In fact, in your post there is a statement that implies that people who eat meat do not care about the suffering of animals. That is a pretty big leap to make, and it is quite an unfair generalization. Everyone has the right to make their own choices about the food they eat, and no-one should feel the need to explain themselves.

I love how you are….yourself! (:

I just came across your blog on WP’s main page, and I clicked on it because my 8 year old niece is trying to be a vegetarian.

This is difficult since she doesn’t like vegetables. Her thought process behind not eating meat is that the animals are cute. Lamb is a specific no-no (which was horrible for me when I visited her house as she doesn’t allow her mom to cook it for anyone). She’ll eat other meats depending on how she feels (she refused to eat sweet-and-sour pork when it was offered, but when it came to the table she loved it).

Anyway, I respect her decision – no matter where it comes from, but the question left for me is how to get her to respect those of us who decide to eat meat (I’m Argentinean, beef is just about a necessity!). Over Christmas we were invited to a friends house who was making lamb (ended up making salmon) and my niece called her stupid repeatedly when she found out.

Good luck!

I’ve read some studies (possibly dubious, I don’t really know) that are taking the position that plants do have a nervous system and do have a consciousness, although not on a level that humans can easily relate to.

I think if more people were concerned with ethics on a global scale, rather than contained specifically within personal choices, we could get a grip on poverty, homelessness, hunger, etc., and yes, even humane treatment for animals. I realize how horrible the conditions are for these animals, but I think I’d be a lot more sympathetic to these causes if I saw the same concern for humans first. Oh. Wait. That would involve actual work, though, not just a personal decision about what a person eats.

Situational ethics doesn’t work for me. It’s usually just a way for a person to pat themselves on the back and tell themselves what a wonderful thing they are doing. Do some ethical good works for your fellow man and THEN tell me about humane treatment for animals – and I don’t mean just send some money to some scam group that is “helping the children.” Actually DO something.

That being said, it doesn’t matter to me one way or the other what a person eats or doesn’t eat – one of my children doesn’t eat meat – has never, even as a baby, liked meat. So I make meatless dishes for him in addition to the regular meal for everyone else. No biggie.

In the end, we all have to make whatever decisions we are comfortable with. I would simply urge everyone to truly take a look at the decisions they are making and ask themselves if they are making that decision for the animals really, or, more likely, for their own sense of purpose and worth. Nothing wrong with purpose and a sense of personal worth – but just think how purposeful and full of personal worth you would be if the homeless guy down the street had a blanket, or the family in the shelter had some extra (vegetable) groceries this week.

I would like to see those studies…

I’ll see if I can find them for you. Not to combat your decision – I just thought what I had read was interesting. I promise I won’t go to a vegetarian restaurant and wave them, screaming “you murderers!” lol

By the way, even though I don’t necessarily go along with your personal decisions, I’m glad I found your blog – very nice writing. And gratz on the Freshly Pressed!

I personally know I am the farthest thing from a vegetarian. Growing up in a small farming community, I was taught to respect animals for what they give to us. I do see the point that a lot of vegitarians make on the treatment of animals. Some places are not humane at all! Personally, I prefer to purchase home grown meat from small farms for a couple of reasons. When I know that the animal has been raised in a large pasture, I can assume it has had a better quality of life than an animal that has been raised and sent to a slaughterhouse. I also feel better about not eating a meat that has been injected with hormones, chemicals and preservatives which can’t be that healthy for anyone. I think I eat meat in a fairly responsible way. I also respect the choice to not eat meat as well. I’d never force my lifestyle on anyone, and would expect that no one would force thier lifestyle on me. Its all about finding out what works for you! Good luck and stay true to your beliefs no matter what anyone else says about them!

I’ve decided to become vegetarian-pescatarian a little over a year ago to aid in my effort to lose 50 pounds. I did, and I’ve decided to keep with it. I agree that people should be free to choose how they dine, and I try to make no effort in protesting a restaurant because I know I will have little options beyond a salad and the occasional fish fry, but I don’t mind what other people eat.
If they find delight in having an animal suffer, fine. It’s none of my business, and I don’t judge either.
But that knee-jerk (and it is) reaction has been the most problematic only when they take their expression in the form of judgment. There is no feeling worse than a meat-eater complaining about the taste of food they haven’t tried, and aren’t willing to try, and then proceeding to ask “What’s wrong with you?” As if I were kicking a puppy.

Saying “to each his own” seems like the appropriate or at-least the polite statement in this “debate” however, a decision to constantly eat what you want isn’t something that affects only you. Industrialized meat production to supply our excessive demand for meat products is one of the largest sources of pollution from methane in our air to pesticides and other toxins in our groundwater and the destruction of healthy natural topsoils. An earlier post mentioned solving world hunger by cutting meat production by 75%, i’m not sure how true that is, but when a single pound of meat requires many many times its weight in resources (water, food crops, and oil for transport and everything else involved) there may be something there.

I should say that I am no longer vegetarian, after 2+ years on a vegetarian diet I started having problems with anemia from insufficient iron. I was never able to work it out correctly (mainly from not wanting to spend soo much time and effort on my diet everyday), nor able to find the primal satisfaction of eating some brisket once in a while haha, though nowadays my primary source of meat is a couple of burgers a week from the restaurant I work at where I know it comes from a real range-fed ranch. The rest of the time I try to stick with veggie based food.

This is a very complex argument and I know the “anti-industrialization” argument is countered with the fact that it is the only way to feed our enormous population, yet I can guarantee that everyone would be much better off and perfectly fine eating meat 3-4 times a week rather than every meal. This act alone would slowly reduce our dependence on massive industrialized farming and help in a shift to much healthier ways of doing things, for everyone.

So all I can really say is that we need to reduce our meat consumption and start to change perceptions that eating tons of meat is a “good thing” or just “my choice” or, my favorite “makes you a man” etc… and start to view it for what it has become: destructive. In addition to environmental reasons I often find it funny (perhaps funny is the wrong word) that heart disease is the leading killer in America (a lack of heart is literally destroying our hearts).

for every vegan there are a million non veggies 🙂

Yes, the delight of being able to think for yourself, eh?

You talk about meat-eater’s knee-jerk reactions and then go around and knee-jerk react all over the comments section.

I find the way you paint meat-eaters silly; do you really believe that they’re out there, waiting and lurking for the opportunity to ‘get’ vegetarians, make them eat meat “accidentally”? That’s just ridiculous; as long as there’s no pestering and guilt-tripping, nobody cares whether you eat meat or not, trust me.

Well, if you looked at the blog I linked to you will see that the guy who wrote it has had that happen to him, as have veggie friends of mine, so not ridiculous at all.

I’ve had people try to slip meat into my food before. In fact, frequently. This happens for two reasons. The first is simply because they think it’s funny, and the other stems from the belief that vegetarianism is unhealthy, so that I *must* need meat to survive. While it’s sometimes well-intentioned, it is still very rude.

I think the difference between knee-jerking on the side of the vegetarian, and on the side of the meat-eater, is that of a moral responsibility. I could be wrong, but I find that people don’t typically eat meat for any concern for health, ethics, or the environment. They just eat it, and if they’re health-conscious, they’ll remove red meat from their diet. Vegetarians, often times, do have these concerns, and therefore believe in spreading that to see the ideal met. To see social health increase, animals’ well-being secured, and the environment improved. This has just been my experience; obviously, I have not held this discourse with everyone.

Ultimately, I find that it’s a bit foolish to try to “shove vegetarianism down someone’s throat.” I’ve tried, and it doesn’t work, and on the reverse, it’s rude to try to shove meat down someone’s throat too. If one is, as they say, “convinced against his/her will,” he or she will remain, “of the same opinion still.” The best option, I find, is to live by example, and explain as it pops up – while spreading the word subtly. The vegetarian diet is often about care and sympathy; I imagine that we ought to stick to that thought in other areas.

Otherwise! *cough* Excellent post, Ms. Stevens. I will bookmark your blog and check back from time to time. You have inspired my mind for a night. ^_^ Thank you.

what’s your point? It’s a personal decision whether or not to consume animals, so what does it matter if other people don’t agree? Just because lots of people do it doesn’t make it right or wrong.

Your final paragraph makes so much sense! I personally eat meat, but I 100% see the side of a vegetarian. If I had more willpower with food, and didn’t love steak and bacon so much, I could easily be a vegetarian.

Keep up the great work!

❤ Milieu

Good on ya, Hayley. Welcome to the club and the bashing and name calling that comes with it! Fun! It’s often just as obnoxious within vegetarian/vegan circles. If you do what is best for YOUR own moral code, that’s really all that matters. Everyone else can eff off, really. You are making a dent in ending suffering. That’s more than most people can say!

http://vegoutandabout.wordpress.com/

I returned to a vegetarian lifestyle about two years ago. You can read about that experience on my own blog, the post is titled (Watch out Billy! Those are Cannibals). Anyhow, I’m not here to self-promote. What I wanted to tell you about was how much my vegetarianism has affected by fiancee’s own eating habits. We’re from Alberta, one of the largest suppliers of beef in the world, so of course he grew up as a meat and potatoes type of guy. After I announced my return, I started learning how to cook, and he ate what I cooked with few complaints or critiques. Last Christmas he spent volunteering at a Ski Hill doing Patrol, where they fed him more roast beef than he could eat. But he tried, and promptly became very, very sick.

I guess what I’m trying to say is we have evolved the ability to eat meat, but that doesn’t mean we need to eat as much as we do.

Wow Hayley, nice post and great responses coming in. My daughter has just celebrated one year on a vegetarian diet for the same reasons as yours. We all try to be supportive, with exception to my oldest son, the chef. He mostly gives her grief over nutrition worries and because giving grief is his job as brother. I wish she’d eat more greens and legumes. As I am concerned that eliminating meat products without increasing greens and legumes can pose serious health problems.

I wanted to respond to charliethmousefetus and say that it’s awesome that a vegetarian diet has controlled his epilepsy. I was unaware of the dietary relationship to seizure disorders.

I am concerned mostly with the industrialization of food and what I’ve learned from “Food Inc.” Not only do I avoid burgers out, I watch where I shop for all my food product and the garden grows.

Congratulations on being freshly pressed!

I’m personally skeptical that diet alone could help with something like epilepsy.

Love this!!! A couple things…so awesome that you’re vegetarian, you will notice so much improvement in the way you feel! I’ve been meat-free/dairy free for nearly 20 yrs. I have run into so many meat eaters who get very defensive around me when they find out my eating habits…so, yes, I truly do believe they carry some guilt inside! And YOU ARE making a difference by being vegetarian! Keep it up!!!
– Mandy

I’m reading this and chuckling to myself, because I am definitely the knee-jerk, apologetic meat eater that has often felt the need to justify my decision to eat meat to vegetarians…even when no vegetarian I’ve ever met has tried to make me feel guilty for eating meat. I can say I haven’t used the stupid arguments you have mentioned above – or at least, I haven’t used them since college, so I plead amnesty for my brief “I Am A College Student And Therefore Know Everything” period.

I agree that those who feel the need to challenge you or justify their own lifestyles really do see your point and feel a little guilty. I’ve often tried to find justification for eating meat and finally decided to admit the truth: while I understand and even agree with some of the moral objections to eating animals, those moral objections aren’t enough to make me stop eating meat. More meat-eaters should just be honest about why they do the things they do – or, better yet, not immediately assume that vegetarians are judging them when they say, “I’m a vegetarian.”

Major props for using Lisa Simpson in your post, by the way.

[…] and go with locally raised animals, and we’ll be all set. And if I could get people to stop accidentally feeding me animal products (I’m looking at you, quinoa cooked in beef bouillon) or telling me lobster/fish/poultry […]

As a farmer, and a mother, and a consumer… I get tired of people claiming that the animals my family cares for live horrible lives. I just wish I could put each one of modern agriculture’s critics in my shoes for a year so they could see just how hard my family works and how much we sacrifice to keep our livestock comfortable. I completely agree with your right to choose vegetarianism, if you have a problem with an animal dying for meat, then so be it, I cannot argue with that and will respect your choice. But to claim the animal suffered (any more than it would have in nature) before it died, is flat out wrong.

Maybe not in your farm, but there are so many cases where the animals do suffer and as a consumer there is hardly any way to find out how the animal was kept and how it lived.

For example? There are a lot of practices farmers use that are perceived as suffering, that are really in the animal’s best interest. Nowadays, we have a majority of the population that is completely removed from the farm and how food gets to their plate. Suffering animals are not productive animals, plain and simple. Maximizing animal comfort and minimizing suffering is what the livestock industry is all about.

Animals not suffers. If the animal suffers, the result will be an inferior meat. A good meat equals a “happy animal”. And the method to kill ’em it’s a hammer in it’s head. Instant death. No suffering

@ iafarmwife: ‘Earthlings’ has the answers to all your questions.

@ eduardokilmister: Animals yes suffers yes yes. Factory farmer no care about quality of meat no no. Factory farmer want money cash cash. Meat = dead animal. Dead animal no be happy. Sad sad. Tell your friend to bring down hammer on head. Plenty of suffering ouch ouch.

C’mon Aditya! Better meat equals better profits. And I thinks that’s what factorys want

If you want to be a vegetarian that’s fine by me. Just as long as you’re consistent in it. Also that you don’t make me feel bad for eating meat. And no matter how much vegetarians try to make any sort of soy product palatable, it’s not. Tofu is nasty and too much soy acts like a hormone in your body.

I know a few people who’re vegetarians, one of whom is probably pretty much a vegan. One of the individuals is married to someone who refuses to eat strictly vegetarian. The interesting thing of it all is that she has no problem buying meat or cooking it for her husband or others… she just refuses to eat it on the grounds that eating meat is cruel – livestock raising and butchering.

Couple of things. It’s interesting that you’re “fine with” vegetarians “as long as their consistent.” Aside from the fact that there is no reason for anyone to care whether or not you are “fine” with how they eat, that’s an odd thing to demand of someone, in the course of their determining what to eat.

Why consistency? Is there something wrong with variety? Why can’t you just for instance decide you don’t want to eat very much meat, and then do that? Meat eaters (like myself) after all do not eat just meat. They are in other words not consistent.

Alos, incredibly asinine of you to pronounce tofu as unpalatable. It’s a subjective concept, and tofu can be prepared in literally thousands of ways. It may be true that you have never found a palatable tofu dish, but you’re talking just like someone who hasn’t tried very hard.

It is more likely that you have some psychological reason to abhor it, than it is that millions of people who eat it and love it are simply mistaken.

I eat a steak a week, lots of chicken, pretty much any animal you can think of at one time or another – and I also eat tofu quite frequently. It’s great in spaghetti and chili and stir fry – you don’t have to like it, but I can assure you, I’m not “wrong” about that. Open your mind a crack.

Bwhahahahah! If someone is a vegetarian for emotive and/or ideological reasons, then there most certainly should be some consistency in what they practice – and preach. It makes absolutely zero sense to me that someone would say that they’re a vegetarian because they believe the meat industry is cruel to animals, and yet have no problem buying it, cooking it and serving it to others.

Yes, my disdain for tofu is subjective – whatever. I’ve also eaten a lot of things that have high levels of soy in it… and I can definitely taste the difference and do not like it.

We actually don’t eat a lot of meat in our home. We do tend to eat a lot of vegetables and fruits and whole grains. About the only “regular” soy we use in our home is ocassional soy sauce when making “stir fry”. Other than that, neither my wife or I like soybeans.

Dax: Read The China Study (T. Colin Campbell) and then make your decision about the healthfulness of meat vs. vegetarian.

Hayley: Great post! I’ve been a vegetarian for many years, also for a variety of reasons ranging from lack of interest to agribusiness practices to health. Here are some great reads that have really helped expand my knowledge of food production and affirm my personal choices. While I don’t think that vegetarianism is the right choice for EVERYONE, I think that humane farming practices and decreased meat portions, for those who eat it, are.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma (Michael Pollan)
The China Study (as above)
Fast Food Nation (Eric Schlosser)
The Future of Food (film)
Food, Inc. (film)

Keep up the good writing!
Laura

My dad reacted very badly when I went vegetarian a few years ago. At first I thought he was just being a jerk (which he is sometimes) when he criticized every meal I cooked for him or we ate together. After I moved away and had time and space to stop feeling angry, I realized that his own background had a lot more to do with his reaction. He grew up in extreme poverty, eating out of necessity an essentially vegan diet in which meat and eggs were luxuries. When he immigrated to the US, got a good job, and was able to afford meat for his family every day, meat became symbolic of his success…which probably explains why he got so defensive when I stopped eating it. I’m sure other reasons for this knee-jerk reaction are valid — it’s true that many vegetarians and vegans are prone to be aggressive about their moral convictions, and it’s also true that many omnivores feel some degree of guilt for the animals they eat — but I also think the specific type of reaction will depend on the individual.

Good for you for standing your ground. I agree that you should be allowed to live the lifestyle you want as long as it’s not hurting anyone else and that others should do the same and not harass you about how you choose to eat. As long as you’re healthy and getting all the nutrients you need, that’s all that matters.

The converse of this is the preachy vegetarian. To each his own. Personally, I feel no need to defend the deliciousness of meat!

You are rather friendly. And here I was expecting a bunch of vitriol.

Well, Hayley, you certainly have a lively debate going on here! What a great article to get FP and start a host of conversation! This is what blogging’s all about…communication, reaction, and response. Kudos to you for sticking true to who you are and not being afraid to say it.

I am a meat eater who will not be relinquishing that status at any point, but I can certainly agree with your decisions. Your reasons are ones I’ve often contemplated about myself, but in the end, are not enough for me to change my eating habits. As many others have said already, to each his own.

I will say…I find it incredibly hard to believe that animals have no soul. As I sit here typing this response, I find my little dog, curled up around my neck, contentedly sleeping. She does not choose to sleep on the floor or in her cold kennel…no, she picks the warmth and closeness of me, her friend and master. Anyone who goes as far to say animals have no soul or life obviously have never spent a day nurturing one.

http://miracleon32ndstreet.wordpress.com

Well done, you have got it spot on!
I actually laughed at points because I have had exactly the same reaction from meat eaters, except because I am pescetarian and so eat fish, I tend to have an even worse reaction. My reasoning is that in a crisis, I could probably bring myself to kill a fish if it meant my own survival, but I couldn’t kill a cow, chicken or any other animal. If I went fishing, I would probably give up fish as well, but I try not to dwell on that, as I have to get my protein from somewhere as I dislike meat substitutes. Denial, rather than ‘fish-racism’, as I have so often been accused.
I find it mildly upsetting that so many of the comments on here are trying to force opinions, whether it be for or against meat. I think that it is a personal choice, and that should be respected, even if you disagree with their reasons. Again, well done. 🙂

the livestock industry is one one of the largest polluters to the environment. Vegetarianism is the way ahead for anyone with a genuine interest in our sustainability. Infact not only do I support vegetarianism, I even disagree with people en caging animals as pets, simply for their own entertainment or or as a form of control.

Hardly ever do I come across another vegetarian and one that is down to earth and not all PETA extremist type! So refreshing! I’ve been a vegetarian nearly my whole life because as a small child I HATED the idea of eating animals (thank you Bambi haha). The consequence of not eating meat as a small child meant I did not develop the ability to digest the enzymes in the protein properly so now if I wanted to eat meat I can’t, kind of cool to be able to give that explanation to hardcore conservative types that berate me about not eating meat. No sense trying to reason with a brick wall… Good luck with your new vegetarian path! I have to say I did not have as supportive of a family when I fully committed to being a vegetarian some 7 years ago. They used to actually try and plant bits of meat in my food to prove their points, which never worked and I could ALWAYS tell if there was meat in something (luckily!).

P.S. I don’t know what types of vegetarian/vegan brands of foods are near you but “Morning Star” I think is way better and has more options than “Boca” and watch out with Tofu… the consistency of it varies greatly by preparation and brands and not all are made equally!

🙂

i have no problem with vegetarians, and they have no problem with me…there is always a fine line with this stuff with regards to one side preaching to the other. i appreciate how you stand your ground here without getting preachy.
http://dearexgirlfriend.com/

The immediate reaction may also be because the people you are telling about your vegetarian status feel as though you are judging them.

Crystal
http://www.crystalspins.com

I went vegetarian for a little while. During that time I grew tired of justifying my personal eating choices to people. The reasoning behind my vegetarianism became simple: I just don’t feel like eating meat. The only response to that was, “Oh.”

Your current vegetarian issue sounds a lot like my decision to boycott BP after the explosion and subsequent screw-ups. I’m not under any delusions that I make a difference in the broad scheme, but the one person I’m interested in impressing is myself. And I can not feel good about myself when I get gas from a company I perceive to have given my state’s people and their livelihoods the middle finger. Can I boycott and have other people not feel like I’m taking a jab at them for not boycotting? Noooo, of course not! They have to take my personal decisions to heart and get defensive.

I came across this blog post quite by accident. The tittle caught my attention and when I saw it I thought, “here’s another loony tunes vegetarian”. I apologize for that, because in this case, I was wrong. You presented your side of the argument in a reasoned way and did not resort to name-calling and belittling those who disagree with you. Well done. (no meat-eating pun intended)
Having said that, I find that if I were to flip flop the words “vegetarian” and “meat-eater” in your piece, it would be exactly as I have experienced. In other words, in my experience, it’s the vegetarians who tend to be “holier than thou” when such a discussion pops up. Nobody I know gives a hoot about who eats what. Each group (veg. & meat) might think the other is a bit odd, but it’s no big deal one way or the other. I am a meat-eater, but I also eat more than a normal amount of vegetables, which I grow in my own garden as the seasons allow.
This deal about saving animals and all that is where I have a problem, but that’s another topic for another day. Be safe and take care. 🙂

OMG!! Everything you wrote is so true! I’ve been a vegetarian for 10 years and it never fails that when someone finds out I’m a vegetarian, they get all defensive, even though I never tell them they should be a vegetarian, that they’re wrong for eating meat or anything like that.
I never push my feelings about meat on other people. If they ask me, I’ll tell them why, but even then I don’t push it. Still, I’m constantly told all of the things you just named: you murder plants, these animals are born to be eaten (WTF?!), that this is the food chain, etc. etc.
Meat eaters out there, listen: most vegetarians (except the crazy PETA ones) don’t care if you eat meat. Don’t try to sneak meat onto our food (it’s happened), don’t try to justify why we’re wrong and you’re right and don’t make a big deal out of it. Accept it and move on. I’ve accepted that you eat meat and could care less. I ask the same respect of you.

Good for you. I’ve got no beef with vegetarians.

http://www.sawyerspeaks.wordpress.com

Hi I’ve just read your interesting blog, and felt I wanted to join in the debate. I raise my own animals for meat and for the past year have been only eating meat I have produced myself. I have found I get a much more shocked reaction from a lot of meat eaters I know than I do from my vegetarian friends and colleagues. Smallholders and vegetarians agree on many things. 1) Animals deserve to live in decent conditions and live a natural life. 2) The way western society eats meat at the moment is unsustainable from an environmental point of view and extremely wasteful 3) The amount of meat most people eat is unhealthy.

Where we part company, is the concept that it is morally wrong to eat an animal. I’m not going to go on about that too much, as I have no desire to change anyone else’s mind on that score. I respect other people’s choices. We all have blood on our hands, it might be from the destruction of habitat to produce large mono-culture vegetable farms, or from the control of ‘pest’ mammals to protect brassica or root production. It is a question of where we draw the line.

I would love the debate on ethical food production to be just as much about permaculture, organic production and food miles, as it is about vegetarianism. It seems meat v’s no meat is all anyone wants to talk about.

Let’s try to work together to raise the standards of welfare for farmed animals, and to raise the ethical bar on food production in general, rather than fighting amongst ourselves. Everyone who has posted here is at least joining in the debate.

I really appreciate your stance. I feel very similar – I have been vegetarian for almost two years now, and I find that meat-eaters and vegetarians alike can tend to be very judgmental. I don’t think that eating meat is a sin or anything, but it was a personal, informed decision on my part and I have been doing just fine. I think that the most important thing is that we make our own informed decisions. Even deciding to eat meat should be an informed decision. As long as we try to be understanding and avoid ignorant judgments, the world would run along fine. I think that most often the problem is that meat-eaters simply have not previously considered why they eat meat, and when confronted with someone who does not, they are not ready to be confident in their decision.
Kudos to all who have commented here with tact and kindness, and to Hayley for getting onto Freshly Pressed.
thanks for the discussion, friends.

I thought about being a vegetarian once upon a time… I don’t know what happened lol

[I eat meat]
I have always found that one of the biggest issue involved in whether or not to eat animals stems from the belief or disbelief that animals have the same or similar rights to humans. Let us assume for a moment that we believe in evolution and that therefore we know that the human creature is in fact, itself an animal. In nature over all other animal species do not seem to ‘care’ about the well being of each other, but neither do they keep the other in slavery.

Regardless of whether or not you think it is right for humans to eat meat, we all have to look at how our meat is kept during life, and that impact upon the world at large. The western way of producing meat is not sustainable, nor even healthy. There is emerging research that suggests that the hormones we put in animals is very harmful to those who eat it. And as mentioned before in the comments, the animals themselves create a dangerous surplus of methane. It is very hard to capture cow farts and do anything to control the pollution.

It is time that we reform how we eat, and how we grow what we eat, not just meat. We need to live sustainable lives so that we are not beholden to other nations, so that we can live honorable lives in so far as any large group of people is able to. How and what we eat, how we get it, is more than the rights of animals, not to be little that point, but it is. We live in a global landscape now and yet do not know where our food comes from, or what was done to get it. Buying locally, and being aware, is important whether or not you are a vegetarian/vegan/other.

Personally I have not yet started to live by what I have here said. Unfortunately my boyfriend and I do not have enough money to worry about anything but low price right now. He is in a PHD program and I am unemployed. I do what I can, and eat less meat, and fewer imported foods. I thank any who took the time to read this.

I am happy to say that I have not ate a single bite of meat/or eggs in THREE DAYS! Im so happy to say that im on my way to becoming a vegetarian. Ive never really thought twice about eating meat before. I ran across a video I think it was called from the farm to your fridge. Im glad and @ the same time upset about seeing the video. Im glad to see what happens to the food I eat, but I was upset about not knowing how the animals where treated and killed. Ive never knew that before and I cant beileve I had just been eating meat and eggs not knowing. I felt dumb and stupid. For the last few days all I been eating is cereal and milk. I eat fruit /veggies of course, but i can say that after I seen that doc. I have not had a craving for meat. Im not gonna lie I have been craving some taco bell, but no burgers, or chicken, or even hot dogs and i love hot dogs. I just feel that if people seen the behind the taste footage the will make the decision too. Im proud about my decision and I hope I made a change in the world.

Everyone has the right to live their lives in the most ethical and just way possible. The perception that just being a vegetarian is an automatic judgment on meat-eaters is understandable but not true.

True leadership is living through example, not words. Harsh judgmental words have a tendency to turn off people, as they should. If you choose to be a vegetarian, so be it. You are making a choice for your own life, not anybody else’s!

Way to be a leader by example. In today’s society, we need more action and less talk.

Whatever floats your boat! But don’t think because you avoid eating meat you’re preventing animal cruelty, even one small bit … leading a vegetarian, carnivorean or any other type of lifestyle, every one of us is killing critters. Some may be microscopic, others insects, others simply road kill. But don’t put yourself above meat eaters in any philosophic sense based on the cruelty argument unless you’re willing to go naked, stop breathing, driving and living in man-made homes.

I find this blog entry very enlightening.

Yet, I am a meat eater myself. I find meat gives you very good nutrition.

And although I am a meat eater, I do not try to enforce my opinion of meat eating of other people, but instead get the person to think about why they eat what they eat, and lead up to a conclusion on the subject/issue/whatever.

For example:

Those who argue in favor of eating non-meat products say: it is cruel to the animal, it isn’t necessary, it is spiritually pure to not eat meat, and so forth.

Those who argue in favor of eating meat products say: the world is cruel anyways (natural selection), it was through this that human brains gained volume and increased their intelligence, spiritually it gives great energy to eat meat, and so forth.

To put all arguments in perspective takes a lot of time. But, here is how I see it:

Facts:

– Animals will die and suffer anyways. FACT.
(Comment: Perhaps a better way of killing them is through the use of carbonic gas chambers? Painless, instant, no shed of blood until the first cut, so no wasted parts. Also, reuse the animal parts for food for the less fortunate, for export, and animal feed. Do not let waste be generated, if one must take a life for the sake of food.)
(However, is it really necessary to kill an animal for food, if there are other options?)

– One person does NOT make a SIGNIFICANT difference. Mass opinion changes are required to change the world significantly. FACT.
(This debate should be taken higher up the ladder, and widespread. Arguments in favor and against should be raised, if any change will happen. Getting the media involved is a wise choice. However, the losses on either side are possibly great, however the victor does get the spoils of war – no pun intended.)

Unbiased answer:

– Does it mean purity to eat meat, or not to eat meat?
(Two sides to this:
* Sacrifice of eating meat is meaningful spiritually, or not eating beings that have suffered makes you pure;
* Eating meat honors the death of the animal, or we ingest the energy of that animal and allow it to continue to live through us; )

Meat favored:

– If meat consumption is proven to increase intelligence throughout the evolution of humanity, can it be considered an act of cruelty to not eat meat?
(Yes… this is a radical thought that occurred to me, however, here is the thought behind it:
“Primates eating meat increased their brain capacity over time. This made them smarter, more adept at surviving, and increased their intelligence.”
“Intelligence gave us knowledge, wisdom, and the notion that we are not the only things that live and can feel – compassion.”
“Compassion often drives people to be vegetarians – however, this was achieved, in part, through eating meat. It is almost an oxymoron to not eat meat, therefore.”
“When you eat, you are not only affecting your brain capacity: you also transmit it through your genes, which in turn affects your offspring. This is how evolution happened through eating meat. Question: when you are a vegetarian, and you eat, are you thinking of the choice of your future offspring to be vegetarian or not? And isn’t giving them more intelligence a better option, so they can make the choice on their own – instead of you giving them less intelligence, and slowly bringing the species closer towards our primitive past?”

Yes, this is a radical thought that occurred to me. To be fair, as a meat eater, it seems a bit one sided for me to have said that. Yet, it was surprising for me to read it when I read it.)

Vegetarian favored:

– Through their actions, they seek to decrease the suffering of all life, and extend the lives of all things animal (among one of the many possible goals and objectives, this is the end result of most possible goals and objectives)
(The objective itself is noble. Can there be a higher purpose than the peaceful and prosperous and respectful coexistence between all species? Probably not. And is this not a higher demonstration of humanity, compassion, evolution, and intelligence?
However, we must ask ourselves, what price must we pay for this, and when does it become unprofitable for this objective to be met?)

Question to be asked:

– Why SHOULD we eat meat, and why SHOULDN’T we? (notice the word “should” – not “must”, not “can”, not “will” – we should ask with the word “should”, because we want an intelligent response, and a wise one at that)

Make your own list, and decide for yourself.

(My choice, and why:
I chose meat, because I view it as a personal choice to be made, and because of my belief that when we intake an animal part, we give honor to that spirit and life. The greatest dishonor to a spirit/life of an animal is to kill it, and let it rot away – an awful, ugly end, for a majestic being. Consuming it’s meat is giving it the privilege to be honored by he who killed it, and allow it’s death to bring life to another, where in nature it would die on the earth, who would not take joy in it’s return, but instead make it into soil.
By dieing for something else, you allow your body to be used for life, instead of being wasted.
The death of a spirit/life is not the end of it’s existence, as all things return to the earth in due time. The question is: should it be wasted, or should it be honored?
Also, by herding animals, are we not creating more life than we take, if these herds are increasing in number? And, if their death is being honored, are we not making great end results from death, and also creating more life in the process?
In my views, death is not evil – suffering is. The method of killing animals isn’t fast enough or unstressful enough. There should be other ways of doing it.)

The most used method here -I’m from Argentina- it’s a hammer in the cow’s head. No pain. Instant death

Hi,
First of all, i’m sorry for offtop. I just want to say that i’m vegan, and by this comment, show to all vegans, vegetarians and others, that there are a lot of us, and number is growing, making the difference and sharing our tolerance to this world and life around. Today, fur products were banned at Oslo Fashion Week, Norway, and this is the result of number of the good people voice against unethical animals utilization. This is great, and this gives all of us the sign of hope, hope that a lot people starts to realize that they are free from brutality and barbaric they used to be. Dear meateaters, pls try to analyze, that there is no arguments for meat eating, which can not be used in justifying of cannibalism, so “play with fire carefully”. Life is beautiful and and all the creatures are in love with it, so lets enjoy life and help to enjoy others without egoism and careless. Happy New Year and nice holidays to ALL of you!

The factory farm system is a travesty. We inflict needless cruelty on animals, and subject consumers to food products that are often unsafe and unhealthy. I’m not suggesting that everyone should immediately go vegan or vegetarian (although that would be wonderful), but I am saying the the industry needs to find a more humane way to raise and slaughter animals.

No, it’s not just about meat. I’m diabetic. I’ve had people put food on my plate because they didn’t like how little I had before me. A relative did it once as a joke, too. People will even tell me what I am allowed to eat because of – or despite of – my diabetes. It’s offensive either which way.
Hope you are having a great day!
Sammantha
http://www.skepticsabsinthe.blogspot.com

I’ve been vegetarian for around 7 years, and vegan for 3 of those years. Sometimes you get bad reactions to your decision to not eat animals or even animal products and sometimes you get props. I’ve been around people who were supportive, from my family who learned to make vegan breakfast casseroles and my significant other (who eats meat) who doesn’t cook or eat meat at home, to people who have literally grilled me for hours on end with inane questions about how I was stealing water from fish. I try to educate people if they have questions, but otherwise, I generally live and let live. My goal is to help bring about a change in the way our food production system is run, so in the future we can have a more humane, less wasteful, and more environmentally friendly system. I’m also not a fan of killing animals and I generally don’t like meat, but I don’t feel the need to make other people feel bad about their choices to get my point across.

I think that some meat eaters may feel guilty, but it may be more of a self righteousness on their part. I am a meat eater and I have noticed my family members tend to see vegetarians in a negative light. I think that they have an overwhelming need to convince vegetarians they are “wrong.” Anything out of the ordinary is just weird for them.

“I often get told that just one person removing themselves from the demand market for meat wont make any difference – but at least I know that I’m not the reason that animal has suffered and died.”

Actually, you still are. Lol, you can count me as one of those knee jerk reaction carnivores. I was a vegeterian for a year, and I must say it’s not as easy as most people think. Since I was young I pretty much ate a very unhealthy vegeterian lifestyle and still was very healthy (lots of potatoes). I’m actually glad I tried it out because now I can eat alternatives to meet every now and then and not cringe at the thought of a veggie burger, dog, or veggies in general.

The reason why I said at the beginning of my post that you still contribute is because I do honestly believe that us being part of the economy we’re part of ties us to the mass waste of food/kiling of animals and exploitation of people. As long as you purchase anything that is mass produced, it tells those in the market that mass producing is great and that the same is probably true of meat. A little bit far fetched, but as long as we are part of the bigger economies and consuming other products that are a results of this, then we can’t really see any change for anyone, including animals.

Now if we all purchased locally, maybe things would be different. Maybe then a butcher would know exactly how much meat they need for a day, and avoid preparing too much.

I bet if most people saw how animals are killed, you’d have much more vegeterians. My parents grew up in a town where you still had to kill your own food if you wanted meat, we have an aunt who doesn’t eat meat because she saw the animals suffering as a kid, and some people eat less of if by choice. However, most people back then ate little meat because of how expensive and the extensive process it took to kill an animal and prepare it (i.e. cut the chicken’s head off, pluck it, clean it, chop it up, boil it etc.).. and every part was made use of for various animals.., feet, head, kidneys, feet, tails, intestines, brain, blood. Now we go to the supermarket, but old meat, and only eat the breast, thigh, and legs.

I’m glad that you’re not a knee jerk vegeterian. Stay healthy! Also, make sure you exercise, initially you might stay thin naturally because of your diet, but as you age that definitely changes. I’ve met various overweight vegeterians.

Hey, Hayley, I just would like to say congratulations! I’ve been a vegetarian for 9 1/2 years and a vegan for 3 1/2. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made, it makes me feel better everyday and it has become a huge part of me and my personality.

Sadly, you’ll see that the omnivore reaction goes way beyond antithetical “humane slaughter” defenses, evolution fallacies and social darwinism, food chain totalitarianism and “plant feelings” nonsense. But when some omnivore tries to make fun of you and you feel sad and lonely, remember that you are making a difference for those who suffer, helping to build a more compassionate and prejudice-free world. Don’t let anyone talk down to you. Go vegan and keep your head up!

Best wishes from Brazil!

I must’ve been about 13 when I decided to try vegetarianism, which means I haven’t eaten any meat or meat by-products for over ten years. Even in that time, I’ve noticed how much easier it’s become to find products that don’t contain animal ingredients; however, I’ve also noticed a rise in the amount of processed meat products available.

I don’t agree with what I can only describe as the industrialisation of meat-eating. Our understanding of meat has become so far removed from the experience of hunting and killing — to the point where some children no longer recognise cuts of meat or which animals they are being served up — and that worries me. Personally, I know that my main reason for being vegetarian is that no matter how you try to disguise it, meat is dead flesh. It is another living creature’s muscles and sinews and fats. No amount of discussion about raising, slaughtering, or preparing animals will change that fact for me. I know that I couldn’t go out and kill, butcher and cook an animal, so I can’t possibly justify eating meat. But, I know that there are people out there who would feel completely comfortable catching and killing an animal and, if that is the case, I can’t possibly tell them that they shouldn’t eat meat. Anybody who understands the processes behind the finished product and chooses to eat — or not to eat — said product has made an informed decision and I have to respect that decision. However, because meat has become so readily available in supermarket packets, I do worry that people are no longer asking themselves fundamental questions about the food on their plates.

If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll discover that people won’t always understand your decision to stop eating meat, but they will generally respect your choice. Your family will get used to your decision, but, like you’ve already discovered, people do make mistakes when they’re preparing food. This year, I missed out on Christmas dinner because my mom realised that there were meat juices in the gravy after I’d poured it over my veggies (but luckily before I’d eaten any!). I have always found it much more difficult to make people understand why I refuse slaughter by-products such as gelatine. Most of the people I work with find it completely reasonable when I choose to “miss out” on a bacon sandwich, but not when I turn down a packet of Haribo. Weird, huh?

Good luck with it all and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

I was a vegetarian for 10 years, from when I was 15 to 25. I’m 34 now and have no plans to go back. I had the same things happen to me–I could have written this article.

What I’ve found is that there ARE defensive meat eaters who assume guilt when you say “I’m a veg” but there are also defensive veggies who feel the need to defend their way of eating if someone says “I love hamburgers” or whatever. My guess is that the percentage is the same–only there are more meat eaters, so their numbers are greater 😀

I also believe that there are people who, when you say “My diet is X” or even “I am Y” that they respond with their diet or what they are because they are engaging with you. For example, if someone says “I have given up chocolate” most of us would find it hard NOT to respond to it with a “Great for you” or a “Oh wow, I could never do that.” Heck, even to the gal in my office, who is gluten-intolerant, I found myself saying “Holy crap that would suck to not eat bread.”

Again, NOT to say that there aren’t defensive meat eaters OR veggies out there. I just remember at the time I was so tired of people RESPONDING to my diet when all I wanted to do was have my diet not be a big deal. But what I’ve realized–it IS a big deal, hence labeling yourself. So many people choose to say “I am a vegetarian” rather than “I don’t eat meat”.

I know that when people say their diets now, I tend to respond because I’m interested in basically having a dialog. I find people’s dietary choices interesting. I gave up vegetarianism because it went against my life’s philosophy–to experience life to the fullest, which in my case meant moving around the world and having dinner in many people’s homes and not wanting to worry about what exactly is in my diet. It’s also why I won’t follow any specific diet plan.

I also found that many of my reasons against eating meat have completely changed. For example, it used to be that I couldn’t imagine killing any animal. Now I find myself very interested in learning to hunt and butcher an animal. I don’t shy away from the reality of my food choices any more.

That said, when I go back to live in the US I would very much like to support local farmers and local foods. I’d love to go to a farm where they can tell me the name of the cow or pig that I’m buying pieces of, and where I can see how they treat the animals. I am all for supporting local farming as well as small farmers.

For the argument, why would you eat meat when you could eat something that tastes like meat, I would answer: single ingredient food vs. processed foods. I’d personally rather have food without hidden ingredients, more natural food–REAL food. No, I don’t consider processed meat-like foods to be REAL food. I consider REAL food to be few, identifiable ingredients. I’d rather buy a pork chop, fresh veggies and fresh fruits than to get things from a can or a box. Do I judge people for eating processed food? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I’ve been a super lazy eater in my day and still cling to the convenience at times (Yes, I do like spam, which I DON’T consider to be REAL food, but darn it it’s tasty and convenient). Again, not to judge, just to address.

Thanks for sharing! Go strong! Be who you are! Enjoy! (Just to be clear, I support your right to eat and let eat).

Great post, thanks for sharing. I have been a vegetarian half my life (15 years), so I commend you on your almost-one-year. Have to start somewhere. And when I started, I got a lot of the same reactions from people you do, which hurt because I never forced my beliefs on anyone.
It’s also a great feeling knowing you are more in control and knowledgeable about the food you are eating. Feel free to check my blog, I’ve written a lot about vegetarian cooking and eating this year.
Good luck and happy new year!

A well written entry=) I eat meat my self,but I wondering sometimes if I should become a vegetarian, but I’m picky when it comes to food and vegetables, so I’m no sure if I would last on vegetarian food. But it looks good (the vegetarian food). When I was in greece earlier this year one of my classfriends was a Vegatarian,we didn’t give here any hard time or commented on why she’s a vegetarian. I do often see people nag on those who choose to be an vegetarian, and I don’t understand why they do that. So I think it’s good that you posted this entry=)

Although I am one of those who eat meat, I can totally understand and sympathize with many vegetarians. Even if you were to ignore the emotionally and ethical standpoint of using animals as a food product, you can look at the entire situation from an economical standpoint.

If you analyze the cost of raising an animal in order to slaughter it, the overall cost of hamburger versus a 100% organic salad is incredible. To feed, water, slaughter and properly prepare an animal for consumption costs much more than using some water and the earth to prepare everything vegetarian, or better yet, vegan.

I hope you can use this in your argument against meat eaters. 🙂

Go, Haley! Just wanted to leave a comment of support. I quit eating meat and most dairy when I was 23 in rural Tennessee and never looked back. I’m 40 now.

I don’t talk about my vegetarianism unless someone asks. But I’ve noticed that even when my most radical statement is “I’m a vegetarian” (generally in passing if I’m scanning a buffet for a veg item or something like that) I get a lot of unnecessary defensiveness from meat eaters. Usually I just reassure them that I’m not judging and tell them why it feels right for me. The main way I try to influence others is by bringing mind-blowingly delicious meat-and dairy-free meals to potlucks.

Keep up the good work!

[…] is over and I am in bed with some sort of retarded flu reading about ‘the knee jerk reaction of meat eaters‘ and trying to find where to buy prints from Milk (top image) and realizing I have not been […]

I know how you feel. As a homeschooler, I get a lot of knee-jerk reactions in response to my way of life, too… Hurrah to nonconformity!
As for vegetarianism, one of my personal goals for 2011 is to significantly cut down on the amont of meat/animal products I ingest. i.e., making meat the “side dish” rather than the vegetables, if it is included in the meal at all. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll go all the way and become a vegetarian.

Some people flourish by being vegetarian, while others flourish by adding meat to their diets. End of story. No need to wax philosophical about either side, make tempests in teapots, talk about 2012, hug trees, or play violins in the background.

No 2 people are exactly the same; this should be on a case-by-case basis, and in extreme cases with the help of a (sane, commonsensical) dietitian.

I believe meat is not the enemy of environmental justice and our health; rather it is the industrialized agricultural infrastructure in Western societies. I would encourage you to read “The Vegetarian Myth” by a former vegan of 20 years as she lays out her case for why commercialized agriculture is doing more to kill life than the practice of eating meat.

I’ve been vegetarian for 3 days! I found this post so helpful. Congrats on Freshly Pressed.

This is a great post. I recently became vegetarian (2 months) and my family has been extremely supportive, which is surprising. One of my favorite aspects of being vegetarian is that I am paying attention to what I am eating instead of simply eating anything with meat. Now I have to engineer my meal plan to give me all my nutrients. Hence, no more fast food; although I do see more restaurants offering vegetarian meals which is comforting.

God made animals for eat them. Meat is good.

God isn’t real.

If you say it… God created me, created you, created all the animals and plants and even the Earth and the whole Universe. You, me, all the creation are the best evidence for the existence of God. Science tried hard to prove that God don’t exist… And failed. So, God exists. He created all in the Universe and gave us the Earth as a gift we can use wisely. Meat is not murder. Meat is good. The problem with meat, and with many other natural resource is the bad and excesive use we do of his Creation. So, I respect vegetarians, cause they’re free to choose their food. But we, the “meat eaters”, we’re not murderers or bad persons or anything else.
PD: Why not eating meat? Animals are live beings… And plants too. If you eat meat, you’re killing an animal. And if you eat vegetables, you’re killing plants.

@ eduardokilmister: I love that you’re using Lemmy’s pic.

But please try to come up with a stronger argument. Instead of throwing the plants-animals lameness at vegetarians, watch the first 15 minutes of Earthlings. There are several religions that don’t allow true believers to go near onions, potatoes and garlic, and eggs and meat are out of the question. The god you’re talking about doesn’t let people eat properly – http://mehtakyakehta.wordpress.com/2009/11/15/fast-food/

Who are you, to tell us what god creation act was aimed to? Where from you get this knowledge? Did god told you directly about that? If not, than what you told us may be a lie. And if it is a lie, than it may be just a horrible and biggest lie ever, because it hides under the gods majesty. And when you told that meat is not a murder, and even something good, there is no other options that you’ve lied to us, as murder is only one source of meat. Thus, it seems to me you start to lie form very begining. You should have more respect to god, by not talking from his name, but by respecting all his creations, humans, animals, plants, this earth and universe, trying not to hurt them as much as you can, and improve their lives when possible. Think about this please.
P.S. I’m also love your using Lemmy’s pic.

In certain form, God told me he created us. He told me this through his Word. The Bible. Maxym, I agree with you in the way we have to protect, respect and use wisely the Earth and all the resources we get from it.
PD: I love too my Lemmy picture. Lemmy is the master!

I love your post. Mostly because I have gone through the same thing since I am a vegetarian by birth AND by choice. ( I am a Hindu Brahmin- we should not eat meat).

Once, when I was a kid, I saw my neighbours bringing a goat with them. The kids on that street were all very happy because we got to play with the goat, who we decided to call Hari. One week later, on the day of Ramzan, Hari was slaughtered and made into mutton biriyani.

It was traumatic. 😦 I genuinely believe that if you are a real animal lover, you simply cannot eat meat.

I admit that it is easier for me to be a vegetarian since I was born one. Basically I do not know how meat tastes!

Great post, thanks for sharing! The arguments sound very very familiar, being a vegetarian myself. My friends often say ‘we didn’t climb to the top of the food chain so we could be vegetarian!’ Well, I think that’s precisely why we did – so we can think and rationalize what we eat & its consequences.

You go strong & turn those veggie weeks into years 🙂

Pardon the punniness of my knee jerk reaction to your post, but is it the chicken or the egg that came first? My first exposure to and understanding of vegetarianism was out of health reasons, from a friend of my brother’s. It wasn’t until years later that I began to pick up on all the rants about animal rights and have been astounded ever since. I started out by very basically expressing my disagreement with their assessment of right and wrong, and I would get harsh retorts and dragged into arguments for which I was not prepared and often made to look like a fool. I’ve had noses turned up at me for my diet, I’ve watched groups like PETA justify terrorism, I’ve heard obnoxious loudmouths have the audacity liken themselves to the civil rights movement, I’ve heard socially charged rock bands condemn right-to-lifers for forcing their beliefs on others and then in the next breath condemn those who eat meat . . .

So I’m sorry if your dietary choices make you the target of seemingly undeserved glances and verbal attacks, but from where I’m sitting, your side threw all the first punches and is now trying to say we should get along. It sounds to me like someone figured out that in today’s society, the victim gets the sympathy, so they’ve started to play victim. Let’s be clear–if YOU and *I* were ever in the same restaurant and had a conversation, I doubt we’d throw down, but understand that in general, this kind of stuff will come with the territory.

Hmm. I’m not on a ‘side’, but it’s okay as I don’t judge you for the behaviour of other meat eaters like you have me on the behaviour of other vegetarians. Nice…

Don’t assign too much value to all this “I am my own person” talk that is so popular. Not one of us is autonomous.

Congratulations to you on being Freshly Pressed and on committing to a vegetarian lifestyle! I have been meat free for about 2.5 years. I feel great!! I do run into people who are immediately offended by my position on meat, even when all I have said is that I don’t eat it. It’s amazing really, but I don’t mind them. There will always be someone who disagrees no matter what the topic is.
http://humanitarikim.wordpress.com/

The Irony of this entire post is that you started out talking about how being a vegetarian is great but then start bashing meat-eaters. LOL all sounds pretty petty for someone who doesn’t care about whether or not someone eats meat.

BTW I just wanted to point out that some people don’t actually have a real choice to be vegetarian. I have friend who allergic to like a third of plants and I can’t afford the price of vegetables to go full out vegetarian. Just saying…

Just wanted to say: Yay for us veggies!

Congrats on the change. I’ve been vegan for 5 1/2 years and it’s the best thing I ever did. Trust me, it gets so much easier as time goes on. My body would shut down and I’d turn inside out if I ever had meat, eggs, or dairy again. So many myths out there about us veggies. I’m an athlete. I am a soccer coach now (32) and still play with my college team and keep up with them. They’re amazed at the energy I have. Your body uses 80% more energy to digest meat than vegetables! I like your take and all you said above. Good luck and stick with it. I especially like the “people can choose to live their lives how they choose” comment. PETA really goes about things the wrong way and turns people off. Don’t be pushy and live by example and soon, others will follow. I love waking up every day knowing I’m not causing animals to suffer (or plants – we know they don’t have nervous systems – stupid meat eater comment… LOL).

For me, my only real excuse for eating meat, besides it being tasty, is that I grew up in Oklahoma eating meat, meat, meat, and I would hard pressed to imagine not doing so. But, living with a vegetarian, and after reading Michael Pollen’s books, I’ve become a much less frequent meat-a-tarian, and certainly a much more choosy one. Even if you have “crazy” reasons for being a vegetarian (and I don’t think you do) no one should be giving you grief about it – it’s your choice. I can’t understand the lengths people will go to pick a fight sometimes.

I’m not a vegan, but I do love your post. 🙂

October marked my 5th year as a vegetarian. I’ve found it to be an oddity among my peers, especially at work, but over time it has become something to which people delightfully cater. It’s like having an anemic celebrity over for dinner and making sure to serve the liver – or something like that. Everyone has their very own reasons for this decision, too, either to eat meat or not. I wish you luck and congratulate you on the profound experience of, in fact, going against evolution. Lovely blog. XOXO

the meat-eaters that get defensive are probably worried that like some of the vegetarians they’ve run into, you’ll go “seaquest” on them….if you’re not familiar with that concept….Seaquest: DSV was an old sci-fi show featuring undersea colonies and stuff like that that….in in the Seaquest world the government banned meat-eating altogether…..made eating meat illegal……that’s something that I’m sure no liberty-loving American would like to see happen…among other things

but this meat eater has no problem with you being a vegetarian…I don’t mind a bit since you respect my rights as a meat eater…..I think perhaps that part of our desire to consume animal flesh might be a temporal effect of the original sin of Adam and Eve…..to put a religious perspective on it…..in other words our fallen nature causes us to crave it

some arguments against “going veggo” center around the worry that one who is a vegetarian or Vegan is not getting enough nutrients…and to a certain extent that is true…..real meat has other nutrients besides protein that are necessary for our bodies….although I suppose you might be able to obtain those nutrients by buying supplements from your local drug store

so such arguments have become weaker as of late now that there are “pseudomeats”….those vegetarian meat products made from vegetable proteins doctored up as best as possible to taste like the thing they are intended to imitate….though if you ask me they are a poor substitute for the real thing….with the possible exception of Boca burgers….Boca burgers are about the only veggie burger I’ve encountered so far that tastes the closest to a real burger

who knows…maybe if they ever improve on these “pseudomeat” products I might one day “go veggo” (but not Vegan)….although right now those “pseudomeat” things (usually found in the organic/natural food section of the supermarket) are also quite expensive…..so because of the expense I think I’ll stick to the real thing for awhile yet

although if waste of meat was one of your reasons….you could encourage places like the one you mentioned to just cook up what meat they didn’t sell at the end of the day and donate it to a homeless shelter for them to make some kind of soup out of

Yeah, I salute you and kind of wish I could be a vegetarian. But I have tested it out, and I feel like absolute SHIT when I don’t eat meat. Yes, I eat other protein sources but it’s not the same. I’m a worse person, a less happy and caring person, because I have no energy when I don’t eat meat. I’m totally flat. That’s not good for the planet either. If I had a biochemistry/metabolism that allowed me to not eat meat and feel pretty okay, I’d go for it. Though vegetarianism does seem ideal in many ways and I’m a bit sad that it doesn’t seem to work for me, I do make careful choices, at least. I eat 100% grass-fed organic beef, organic free-range chicken, etc. I’m pretty darn picky about meat AND dairy and I consider that a positive contribution/choice… so I don’t feel too guilty. The animals I eat have had a good life and would never have lived at all if people didn’t eat meat. They are born and raised with that intent. The factory farm system is a disgusting criminal enterprise.

I agree with you on pretty much all your points here. I think it’s lame that people would be defensive and tear you down to ease their own guilt. Why does there have to be only one right way? If we live consciously, and in tune with our bodies, and do our best to respect animals and the planet, we’ll be happier and make a huge difference–even if we’re not exactly our or others’ idea of “perfect.”

What a fabulous post! I have spent my entire life having to defend my decision to be vegetarian, so it is nice to see someone write about their experiences in such an elegant yet assertive way.

Maybe one person not eating meat doesn’t make a difference in the whole scheme of meat production, but you can only do what makes you feel better and what you are comfortable with putting into your body. And also… if some of the people who read this post decide to cut down on their meat consumption just a little bit, you will be making a much greater impact than you ever imagined!

Congrats on being freshly pressed… well deserved!

If you can’t eat veggies cause you’re murdering them,and you can’t eat meat because you’re murdering these animals…then what can you possibly eat ?! That reminded me of the movie Notting Hill when Hugh Grant was introduced to this girl who was a “fruitarian” (they believe fruits have souls n feelings so they only eat semi rotten fruits that fall from trees). You might tell them you’ll switch to fruitarianism ,maybe that will shut them up?? Nice post

I just found your blog and love it already. I’m a 30 year old who has been a vegetarian for 18 years. (I initially stopped eating meat at age 12 to tick off my PA Dutch family… it worked). But what I want to say is there will always be people who will question you and what you do. I am at the point where I don’t even think about vegetarianism and when people say, “Oh, you’re a veg?” I say, “Yup,” and usually change the subject. I have heard every argument, debate, joke, and ridiculous comment. I’m like you – I don’t care what others eat. I really don’t. I wish people wouldn’t care what I DON’T eat.

Anyway, carry on. You’ve got a new fan.

The two most eye-rolling comments I get from meat eaters: “Oh, c’mon, you HAVE to eat meat!” (um, no I don’t) and “Tofu?? Bleagghh! Barf!!” (do I denigrate your food?).

Sure, *some* vegetarians have a reputation for being judgmental and narrow-minded. However, I find some meat eaters to be even more so. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and still get these kinds of comments occasionally. I figure the only excuse is that the commenters are either a) insecure in their own lifestyle choices or b) somehow unaware of or unversed in etiquette.

I was a meat eater for 16 years and I can still imagine how it tastes. I don’t blame anyone for choosing the right lifestyle for them; I had to make the right choices for ME.

Great post! I retweeted.

well….while this person could’ve found a better way to express it….he was simply stating that Tofu is not to everyone’s taste….I wouldn’t eat it by itself but in certain recipes it’s OK….

Interesting post. I generally try to keep my vegetarian leanings on the down low, but it seems everyone I’m out with loves to trumpet it to anyone within earshot! It’s like they are proud of me and find me weird at the same time. This makes me feel uncomfortable. I’m doing just fine without eating animals. I think anyone should be able to take a day a week away from meat, chicken…
I wonder what future generations will be eating in 500 years or so…

I think it’s wrong to say that meat-eaters do not care about animal suffering. Many people in the third world countries who have abundance of crops still eat the animals they themselves have raised and brought up. They also do same for the plants — plants can feel too they aren’t really vocal about it. You know if you feel animal life is being wasted then I TOTALLY agree with you. You cannot just throw out good meat and throw out any good food. Actually, I’ve heard that this is the case of first world countries. In less glitzy countries we have stray dogs and even birds to eat up the parts so the life cycle is fulfilled. Also Islamic doctrine instils that wastage of anything is a no-no so I try to incorporate that and in my country I think many people do too.

I have no problem in people being vegetarian — in fact one of my friends is doing it for the sake of evolution not de-evolution. If I ask any vegetarian why they are vegetarian it may not be to dissuade them. It’s just curiosity. Yeah I won’t lie — if I am confused by the reasoning I may question further and feel it unnecessary but I won’t hammer anyone incessantly that’s just plain wrong. I think personal eating habits are important and I think everyone has a right to choose their own.

If you’re a vegetarian due to unwanted suffering, have you considered adopting veganism? While the suffer ring of animals who are grown for food is up to scrutiny, there can be no denial of the suffering experienced by animals who are kept alive to routinely give us animal products.

Further still, would you become a fregan in order to avoid the needless deaths of creatures where vegetables are grown who can end up killed by the harvesters and processors involved or even the efforts used to control their numbers?

Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.
I am not a vegetarian, nor do I wish you to give meat up. My husband is a vegetarian, and I was guilty of a lot of what you talked about. The truth is that some vegetarians/vegans, have been really loud and have attacked us meat eaters. When we find out that you are “one of them” we assume that you are going to attack us, and so we fire back. I am sorry for that, as I have watched my husband go through it for over eight years now, I have seen people who honestly are trying to understand his vegetarianism, give justifications for their choice to continue to eat meat. In their defence, they have kind of attacked, though not meaning to.

great post and well written! really enjoyed it thoroughly. i tried being a vegetarian for a little bit but it didn’t work out too well. maybe i was eating the wrong things or maybe i just loved meat too much but i respect those who are vegetarians. i knew someone who was vegetarian and she did it for a long time but for some reason she hardly lost any weight. very odd if i may say so. but loved your post and congrats on being freshly pressed

http://enjoibeing.wordpress.com/

I think that is one of the biggest myths about being a vegetarian. Most people think vegetarian and picture some frail, undernourished person when that is not necessarily true. Sure it’s a healthier lifestyle, but there are still ways to gain weight w/o eating meat. Then there is the whole vegan vs. vegetarian. Vegetarians typically still eat fish, poultry, and dairy products.

I think I can say with certainty vegetarians only eat vegetables and fungus. To eat fish and poultry makes you by definition not a vegetarian.

Guilty? For what, how delicious the beef stew that I ate last night was?
I could respect your ecstasy over your newfound vegetarianism if it wasn’t for that one remark. It makes me laugh how many vegans and vegetarians– apparently even neophytes– think that they’re immediately a step above the rest of us because they don’t eat meat.

Hmm… I wasn’t saying that meat eaters should be, or feel, guilty – I just wonder why some meat eaters I encounter try and show how I am wrong and they are right. The important word there is some.

bon article. merci

Excellent and i would like to congratulate you on being vegetarian. I am a pure vegetarian and when I started my blog last year I had aim that I could help people in becoming vegetarian and helping them lead a better life. Happy new year!!

I have heard the one about “plants” a lot. By the way, that is one good answer to give. thanks.:)
Love your blog

It’s really appalling to see the number of people playing this veg Vs non-veg tug of war. Some voicing their support in unison for plants; and some for animals. Feels like watching a boxing match between a plant and an animal where people cheer on their favourites while grappling each other. 
Being veg or non-veg is completely a personal choice. And both the choices are good. “Unfortunately” both involve taking a life. So, does that make us murderers? And if killing an animal or a plant to keep ourselves alive is a murder, then is killing a plant( with only three senses) less a murder than killing an animal( with five senses)?
Which is more brutal?
I would say this is all nonsense. Eat anything that won’t kill you. 

Plants don’t have a central nervous system, so as far as we know, they don’t suffer – at least not nearly in the way that animals do. Animals are living, breathing, sentient creatures, and we’re absolutely positive that they DO feel things, including happiness, sadness, pain, etc.

This whole “plants have feelings, too” argument is such nonsense. I can’t believe people still try to use it against vegetarians & vegans as if it’s a legitimate point that’s going to make us stop & think, “Hmmm, you know – you’re right. I guess I’ll just eat meat!”

And even IF plants had a central nervous system & felt pain, it takes a hell of a lot of veg to produce one pound of meat, so in the end, meat-eaters end up eating (and wasting) way more vegetation than vegetarians do.

I don’t typically have an “us vs. them” mentality with vegetarians vs. meat-eaters – in fact, most of the people I love are meat-eaters. But this plant argument has got to be put to rest. We know animals suffer. Period.

I lived with my vegetarian girlfriend for 5 years and I learned one or two things about animal rights, even though I had always loved animals. So I think vegetarians are generally a good lot. The most important thing, in my opinion, is that we all eat less meat (there are way too many cows in the world, and wait until the developing countries catch up) and always ALWAYS check before buying. That’d be a start. Eat more potatoes, nuts, whatever you like. Seriously, if you don’t know it yet, the world can’t cope with our meat addiction. And no, we didn’t eat this much in the past. Until recently, meat had always been a luxury, or a side dish. Corporate meat culture is a rather new and very dangerous trend.

Whilst I support anyone’s decision to be a vegetarian, they always seem to come across as “mightier than thou” about their decision. Please, I am not talking about you. Only referring to those vegetarians I have come across. Vegans are the worst. I used to know a girl who used to nod her head and go “tsk tsk” when she’d see me eat a chocolate bar and she’d say “you could get something much healthier at the health food shop” Made me feel like telling her to sod off. It’s like those religious fanatics who feel the need to preach that THEIR religion is BEST. Anyway, I’m not suggesting all vegans or vegetarian are this unreasonable, guess I’ve just had the bad luck of coming across the mental ones lol. Congrats for being on Freshly Pressed. Happy New Year (great looking blog)

@Alannah, i think the “mightier than thou” attitude is what causes “meat-eaters” to react with condemnation to vegetarians. i too have come across some who feel that their choice makes them feel superior and nobody likes that. people who would otherwise be accepting of the choice to be a vegetarian dont want to be put down because they didnt make that choice. so automatically they would be quick to defend their own choices or even put down vegetarians in return.

Yes, and there are many degrees of this. I have been a vegetarian for 18 years and I don’t particularily like vegans because I think they’re generally nuts. And meat eaters may think that about me. But I have had meat eaters wave meat in my face, mocking me. I have never waved tofu in someone’s face. I could care less what others eat.
Maybe if we all started respecting each other’s personal choices we’d be a lot better off.

Yep, to each their own and that’s how I try to live. Life is too short 🙂

I eat more vegetarian dishes by economical choice.
Decent meat is so expensive, that we only have it once a week, and I haven’t noticed a major difference either way with our health.
The major problem I’ve had is with my other half, who would eat steak 3 times a day, every day, if he had his way.
Since living together, and my place being in the kitchen, he’s tried a lot more seafood, vegetable, and pasta dishes that he hadn’t tried before and his appreciation of non ‘red meat’ food has widened, whilst keeping within our tight food budget.
I love to cook – and catering for veggies doesn’t bother me, I was one in my early teenage years (aged 12 till 15), but my mother refused to cater for me at aged 15, as I was becoming quite poorly and I was still growing at a rapid rate that my body couldn’t cope without the vitamins from meat. I could probably go back to being a veggie now, but I love chicken and bacon far too much……and I went for 3 years without my mum’s Spaghetti Bolognaise…a torture.

I’ve been a vegetarian for..i don’t even know how long now, four or five years maybe? I’m not interested in “forcing” people to become a vegetarian – hardly the self-righteous PETA type – but still, it upsets me how people will react negatively to something i only bring up if, say, they’re about to put a hunk of meat on my plate. For over a year i’ve been living in macedonia, where there is NO vegetarian culture; and i actually live with a family of butchers, which hasn’t increased my inclination to eat meat. (on your point: the animals are raised and treated more kindly, slaughtered more humanely, but i still don’t want to eat them.) and i hear, all the time, that i should start eating meat – that with meat i wouldn’t get sick, i’d be stronger, etc etc.

But you know what? since i’ve been a vegetarian, i’ve eaten with more awareness and felt healthier than i ever did as a meat eater. i guess that just as there are some vegetarians who feel they can tell everyone what they can eat, there are meat eaters that feel the same way. all we can do is ignore it.

Knee-jerk reactions? I’ve seen them on both sides of the debate, but to date, I have never sat down for a meal with someone who has felt the need to inform me that they are an omnivore, but I’ve had plenty tell me they were vegetarian. Its like the old joke – “How can you tell a vegetarian at a dinner party? You don’t have to, they will tell you”

Are there health benefits to vegetarianism? I’ve no idea, I have two vegetarians in my family, both of which are in pretty bad shape, but that is hardly a scientific sample of the population.

As a diabetic, I eat a lot of meat and fish* and very little carbohydrate – potatoes for example are pretty much poisonous to me.

However, I maintain that if you eat meat, you should be prepared to slaughter and prepare animals yourself – I’ve done it, meat doesn’t come neatly shrink wrapped and packaged naturally. Likewise, we shouldn’t assume that all livestock is kept in inhumane conditions and live miserable lives – how would you know if a cow was happy anyway?

*Yes, I’m fully aware of the irony of tell you all I’m a meat-eater after my first paragraph.

2 wks. ago I wrote a blog post about bison because we were going to have/did have it for our Christmas meal. Yes, it’s there with my photo/name.

I did carefully explain how much meat I ate now. (which is only a few times per month) because there ARE some vegans who do have a visceral, very negative response to eating meat. I’m on a cycling forum for past few years and this is the basis of my comment since there is chat on eating/food.

But actually I don’t apologize for eating meat. I created a full poll on the internet forum (not mine) who was going to have meat or not (type of meat) for the Christmas meal.

I’ve been car-free for past quarter century. And people try to tell me how good it is to have a car /license. I just say I never enjoyed driving and had problems learning at that time, so I gave up my license. And returned to cycling. Still take public transit…

Similar to being a vegetarian. 🙂

I like meat, I have even been in the situation as a child where my uncle was raising a calf that we played with a little and one day a delicious steak was presented with the same name.

However I do feel I personally eat too much meat for health reasons and could probably do well to decrease my consumption and have vegetarian weeks. I am also a big animal lover, and am for fighting for better rights for animals. Eating meat/eggs/milk that is free range etc while more expensive is my choice. I also do not use items from an animal that is not needed for my survival. Sure we needed leather hides back when, but why buy a leather jacket when pleather etc will keep me warm just as well.

However I stand for this the same way I stand for religion – don’t push it on me and I wont push it on you. Free to chat about it in an intellectual capacity, but I don’t believe what is right for me is right for others.

very interesting post …. i dont care much for people who choose to be vegetarians. i personally believe humans were meant to eat everything thats edible and nourishing to the body… plants and animals. i dont feel guilty for being a meat-eater but i think the people who feel the need to put down ur choice are silly and petty. maybe they havent taken the time understand your reasons? i dunno but i dont bash vegetarians i just say i dont agree with it. i listen to their reasons and accept them but its not a choice i would make for my family or myself.

You’re blog is very good and you write very well. My friend just recently became vegetarian and she is much healthier. Personally, I could never become a vegetarian because my family is sadly not as supportive of my choices and I just never had wanted to become one. Keep on writing, your blog is very interesting to read.

This is a fabulous post. It’s so cool that WordPress put it on their front page!!!

I have been vegan for about 3.5 years, and it was the best decision I ever made. I am doing what I can to prevent animal cruelty, as well as planetary pollution & waste – all while nourishing my body with nutrient-dense, amazing, delicious, healthy foods! The veg lifestyle is just so great.

Agreed. I actually did a post about this myself (“Meaty Resolutions”) a couple weeks ago. I don’t care if other people eat meat, as it’s not my place to judge their behavior, just as it’s not their place to judge mine. I think some people are overly skeptical of vegetarians because they feel like it somehow makes them “less-than” because they don’t refrain from meat consumption.

We live in a culture of extremes, and often “going without” anything is deemed more virtuous than actually enjoying things. It makes no sense, but it’s more an issue with the meat eaters guilt–or lack of–than anything vegetarians are actually doing. I do my part. I just means more meat for them.

I used to be a vegetarian for a number of years, and then a vegan. Now I eat a bit of meat. Why do people assume that if you’re a vegetarian it’s because you’re an animal rights activist? Some people just don’t want to eat meat, for cultural reasons or otherwise. I don’t get why meat eaters get offended about vegetarianism, it’s just one less thing that they’re eating? I generally don’t like to eat much meat, as it makes me feel too bloated anyway, especially red meat. But being a vegan was so awful. I felt hungry all of the time. And cooking with that egg substitute stuff was stupid. I wanted a proper piece of cake, and chocolate. I also didn’t like having to check everything I bought, food item or otherwise, to see if it was vegan or ‘organic’. It’s expensive, stupid and pretentious. I think that proper vegetarian and vegan diets generally improve health, but a well-balanced diet with plenty fresh fruit and veg, wholegrains, adequate intake of vitamins and minerals that includes a bit of meat is equally healthy. All the water-soluble vitamins can be found in non-meat sources. Though Vit. B12 (needed for red blood cell formation, a deficiency in it can lead to pernicious anaemia) can be a problem, as it isn’t found in plant foods. The fat-soluble vitamins can also be found in plant foods and dairy. The bit about protein is a half truth, although it’s not really that much of a problem for vegetarians. Proteins in eggs, milk, fish and most meats are complete proteins that meet the body’s amino acid requirements for growth and tissue maintenance. Legumes, nuts, cereals have lots of protein but their proteins are nutritionally incomplete because they are low in one of more of the essential amino acids. When ingested together the cereal grains and legumes provide all the essential amino acids. So it’s easy to get protein in a good vegetarian diet. Most vegetarians eat eggs and milk so they can get complete proteins this way, it’s vegans that would find it more difficult. I suppose getting protein from meat or dairy is kind of easier, but it’s not that difficult really to get it from cereal grains and legumes. I remember when I went vegetarian my mum proclaiming that I wouldn’t be healthy enough. Because all meat-eaters eat healthily right? I think the thing that is most beneficial to improving health is cutting out processed foods and junk foods, and reducing sodium intake. Not all vegetarians follow healthy diets, I’ve known plenty who don’t eat healthily. Vegetarian to them just means cut the meat out but continue the unhealthy diet that they had when they ate meat. The worst are people who claim that they’re vegetarians, but they eat fish.

I think vegetarians and vegans on some level do choose hat out of concern for animals, besides wanting to eat healthier of course. I mean, after all, in the Scriptures, God in the beginning created animals to be our companions. But as I said in a previous comment I think the Fall of Man caused a sundering of this companionship and so that’s why a lot of humans eat meat. I don’t know if I could ever give it up myself. I’ve been raised on meat for too long I think. But I respect the people that do. And vitamin deficiencies in certian diets can usually be addressed nowadays with vitamin supplements. Heck, those 5 hour energy shots are LOADED with Vitamin B12.

Oh, Hayley! Also – you should check out the podcast “Vegetarian Food for Thought.” It is absolutely fantastic & the host offers her perspective on tons of veg issues, especially like what you wrote about in this post. It’s available for free on iTunes.

Cheers!

Quick tip about weakness for bacon:

Bacon was the last meat I gave up. The trick, for me, is to cook with smoky paprika, which has a similar flavor.

Oh really?! AWESOME! Thank you for this tip, I’m shopping for food tomorrow so I’ll look for smoky paprika. YAY!

Your post made me think of my father-in-law who has been a vegetarian for about 40 years. Imagine trying to live meatless back then! He took a lot of flack from family because they owned chicken houses. I’m not a vegetarian, but respect your decision and applaudthat you’re making a difference in the life of the animal you didn’t eat.

My wife is a vegetarian and I am not. I, however, enjoy cooking and I like the challenge of coming up with new vegetarian meals. Most things are just awesome without meat, and I really don’t miss it if I don’t have it. The one thing I was thinking of while reading your post is the the thing that drives my wife crazy. Whenever someone finds out she’s a vegetarian they always say, “Oh, I could never live without meat.” It’s funny, really, that that’s the exact reaction every time. She’s been a vegetarian now for 13 years, and hasn’t looked back once. So keep it up, and don’t listen to naysayers who suggest it’s unhealthy. A vegetarian diet is just as healthy as an omnivorous diet as long as it’s done right.

Once you have been sideswiped by a self-righteous vegetarian, sadly, you judge them all by the same criteria. But there is a two way street that I want to pass along with the vegetarians and if that day my body has said “you need beef today,” I want it guilt free as much as you do not want some one trying to sneak meat on you. Oh, and anyone who does that to a vegetarian is just plain mean. I did like your post – true and to the point.

I am vegetarian, I find the best way to answer back at someone of asks me why is simply to say “Why not?” and they are stumped!

When meat-eaters argue that we are murdering plants, not only is this a ridiculous argument as it is clear plants do not have nervous systems, but also meat-eaters kill more plants indirectly than vegetarians. How many plants must be grown to feed the millions of animals farmed in the meat industry? Millions more than what must be grown for me to have some vegetable soup!

I only ever argue vegetarianism when asked to do so. My whole family and many of my friends eat meat, some of them apologise to ME when they buy a bacon sandwich as if I am the one the are offending. Am I the only veggie who finds this really annoying? All I ask is that is you are going to eat meat then have good reason for it! I can’t help but look down on people who do things they don’t believe in or think is right in any circumstances, but if they genuinely believe eating meat is the right thing to do then I completely respect their decision. Say sorry to the animals, not me is all I ask!

http://nobodysaknowitall.wordpress.com/2010/11/20/love-this/
http://nobodysaknowitall.wordpress.com/2010/10/15/my-body-will-not-be-a-tomb-for-other-creatures-leonardo-da-vinci/
http://nobodysaknowitall.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/so-leather-is-technically-vegetarian/
http://nobodysaknowitall.wordpress.com/2010/09/02/so-a-girl-throws-puppies-in-a-river-to-drown/

I have been a vegetarian for more than 10 years (and I’m 23) now,and it’s a good choice – ethical and healthy.

Your post was really nice to read. I’m a vegetarian as well, but I don’t get supported by my family, which somehow makes me sad as well as it’s difficult to handle. My mother sometimes mixes in meat and then tells me to eat that up, so we’re about to argue at the kitchen table at least once or twice a week. I never ate the dishes with the mixed in meat, but had a really, really bad atmosphere at home. Which even makes me feel ill at a time. It’s not good to be under pressure every time you get some food. I gained 10 kilos of weight in one year, which is most likely due to the stress. I think it’s not right what my mother (and my father as well) does there, as she just does not respect my decision for which I have several reasons. And she often gives the same contra arguments as are mentioned in your text. Well, actually, I don’t mind that she or any other person in my family eats meat, as well as I don’t care about any other person’s decision to eat meat, but I would like to be treated with the same respect as any other person. Nobody ever told the neighbours kid to eat up her carrots . Or her salad. She just simply denies to eat it and everyone’s fine with that. Well, but why isn’t it okay then if I don’t want to eat meat?! I really just don’t get it.

For me it seems that the problem is not vegetarism or non-vegetarism, but the fact that people who don’t want to eat vegetables are much more acceppted in this society than people who don’t want to eat meat.

Well, and actually, I neither want to argue about wheter vegetarism or veganism is the “better” way of life compared to an omnivor nutrition (because for me it’s an alternative way. No evaluation.) nor I want to argue about my personal decision nor a socially conformely eating person’s decision, as I think this is something everyone has to figure out for themselves. But PLEASE, just live and let me live. In my own way, even if it’s not your own. I’m tired of all those arguments. I won’t change my mind as well as you won’t.

Thank you for the article.

Your post reminds me of a friend of mine who decided to go vegetarian last year. She started a blog about her experiences. (http://darcy-goingveg.blogspot.com/)
I’m not a vegetarian, and I probably never will be, but sometimes, you just have to respect other people’s choices. Being a vegetarian can’t be easy in our culture, and it can be good for you. Glad your family is supportive.

I was a vegetarian for thirteen years–during which time I gained over 50 pounds and actually suffered a great deal by adding soy food products to my diet (you do know about the cruel politics and widespread biotech terrorism being practiced in the name of soy farming, right?). I constantly added to my repertoire of vegetarian foods and dishes from my own culture as well as everyone else’s, but it took me a while to figure out that I am one of those people who simply do not thrive on a carbohydrate heavy diet, and contrary to what many people want to believe, the proteins from vegetable sources are inadequate–they simply do not provide all the 22 amino acids. Some amino acids are only available from meat foods, and human beings cannot thrive unless all the amino acids are not only eaten regularly but kept in supply for the body’s needs. As for me, in order to be healthy, I need to far more protein than any vegetarian diet will allow; and the substitution of soy for animal proteins means I had quite a lot of damage to undo where my thyroid gland was concerned. Hence the weight gain, which really was the least of my worries, considering that any hormone alteration causes ongoing, deeper effects throughout the body’s systems.

I do recognize that people will conduct themselves around your vegetarianism as though you should have to justify it to them. People try to appear “curious” about your choice, but they’re really rather aggressive about it and they do wish to dismiss your choice as irrelevant. That’s another game entirely–I learned early on to just say “I love vegetables and seasonings so much that I thought I’d share them all with you so you could enjoy a lot of variety with your meat foods!” and changed the topic. I became adept at changing the topic, making sure that others would want to discuss what everyone at the table was up to lately, so that everyone feels interesting and interested. You should brush up on that skill, too.

But be aware that many people feel vegetarianism is a “moral” choice–and after decades of dedicated food access study and nutrition training, I can say it simply is not any more moral than meat-eating. Others who eat meat will find that “moral superiority”, whether you are actually putting it out there or not, off putting. And they’ll immediately become defensive about it. Their defensiveness is not personal! Never forget that. It’s all about them feeling less worthy because of your dietary choices, which could be made for any number of reasons. I think there are definitely two traditional topics of conversation where the whole issue of implied “moral stances” puts people on edge: religion, and politics. Food choice is definitely an overlooked choice, and it should be included in the list. What you choose to eat or not eat should never, ever be discussed at the dinner table. Ever. When it’s brought up, it should be treated with the same problem-solving etiquette the other two topics require us to use: smile, say something gracious and generous, then change the topic and focus immediately to one that everyone can participate in with pleasure.

We are what we are, and human beings are diverse even in dietary needs. If I had continued on my vegetarian way over a decade ago, I’d have become a diabetic. I can still “tell” when I’ve had far too many grains in my diet–the changes I feel as a result are really uncomfortable (like hypoglycemia–no one needs that). There are ways to source meats and animal foods that come from animals farmed in realistic, healthy ways, and there are farmers out there making a point of trying to recreate the economy out of practices which allow us to control the quality of the foods we eat. Yes, an animal still has to die–but vegetables and plants have to die too: human beings and all other animals in the world also have to die and feed living things as well, in their own time.

May I start off by saying, you’re an idiot. Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I can say why. Don’t blame a diet on gaining weight, the “possibility” of becoming diabetic, or any other reasons you give above. Blame it on the fact that you didn’t know how to balance that diet. I’ve been vegan for almost 6 years and it has, in fact, saved my life. Don’t eat so much soy, don’t eat so many carbs. What a novel concept. How does eating meat solve all of those problems anyway? You can eat the EXACT SAME FOODS, just sub a giant mushroom, tofu, seitan, tempeh, or other products for the meat. I don’t get your argument.

I wasn’t going to reply to this until I saw your, “…after decades of dedicated food access study and nutrition training, I can say it simply is not any more moral than meat-eating.” Who are you to say if it’s more or less moral, based on “studies.” Did you get into the minds of the animals and interview them? If you’ve ever been around an animal, you have to know it’s a sentient being and can experience fear, pain, suffering, etc. So, by choosing not to fund the industry that causes all of this to the animals and by not eating them, I think that’s proof that it’s a better decision for other sentient, living beings. I won’t even get into how much better it is for the planet.

Look, you can live your life as you wish, but don’t go posting rubbish like this. “I would have become diabetic if I was a vegetarian.” Sometimes I wonder about people. I’ll finish with one last thought… You’re an even bigger idiot than I thought when I started typing. Good day! 🙂

Well done for being Freshly Pressed!
Reading through the comments people have made, i realised just how controversal this topic is. It has been quite entertaining…. At somepoint i actually thought to myself that you may as well have been talking about politics or religion. And then i saw a comment posted by you about God not existing? This could create a whole new debate- that feeling of love that you have for animals, that feeling of not wanting to cause harm- that is the very essense of God. Perhaps you need to rethink that.
One positive about being a vegetarian- much cheaper at any restaurant!!! (Although i have seen salads that almost cost as much as a rump steak).
xx

I’m atheist, I love and respect things (and people) because I want to, not because a god wants me to.

tell me about it! here in the states healthy food is actually more expensive in most cases than junk food…..so it’s why people are still eating a lot of junk over here…because it’s cheaper….I once worked for a food service place that sold chicken caesar salads for like 8 bucks apiece! Yikes!

Becoming a vegetarian or vegan is a very interesting choice, simply because you have to be consciously aware of all the reasons why you want to become one and it has to be more than one. Furthermore, you have to research your diet replacements and invest a good amount of time and often money.

Congratulations on almost rounding your first year.

Meat is murder. Period.

OMG!

I feel the exact way that you. Im a vegetarian since August.
I took the decision after watching a movie called “Food Inc”.

I live in Argentina, which is the bigger meat producer country, and I found the same stupid comments that you.
It’s like, please! dont bother me, I dont bother you because you eat meat, so let me be.

I get to the conclusion that they bully vegetarians because they feel like they are doing the wrong thing, and we, by not eating meat are like kind of doing what they can’t do, even knowing it’s not right.

Anyway… If you havent see that movie, I totally recommend it

I am a meat-eater but I am sure being a veggie is not only great for the mind but also for the body – I don’t think my diet will have me included in that recent stat of reaching 100. I tried being a veggie, it was good but I am too weak minded.
I know some veggie friends who still eat Fish, is that cheating?
Keep up the good – interesting site
*newbie to blogging*

i am not sure food preference is the best thing to base a blog or a life on.

I’d say there are “Knee Jerk Reactions” of both meat eaters and vegetarians in these comments. If you aren’t growing the food (meat or vegetable) yourself, you really don’t have any assurances about what is in it (or on it). Nor do you know how many animal or human lives are lost or degraded in the production of the food, regardless of whether it is meat or vegetable. A vegetarian can be eating organic products harvested by abused and exploited workers, just as easily as a meat eater can be eating products from suffering animals. Abundant cheap food from either source means someone or something is likely being exploited.

Abused and exploited workers can get up and leave.

hmm i suppose thats why abuse and exploitation of workers arent prevalent anywhere in the world

@ uncensoredmind: Abused humans can sue people and use the law to get them punished. Exploited workers form unions to kick their employer’s ass. Ever heard of a pig filing a lawsuit?

Aditya Mehta: Millions of young children in India provide cheap agricultural labour. They are too young to understand how to bargain for better wages, improved working conditions and related labour rights. How do they get up and leave? People all over the world are abused and exploited because, for any number of reasons, they CAN’T get up and leave… Perhaps now that you have taken a stand for the animals of the world, you could start being a voice for the abused people of the world – many of whom produce the food you eat.

@ Margie: If humans can keep animals in captivity throughout its existence, they can surely decide to get up and leave. Sooner or later. Nobody’s putting a gun to their head or butchering them. Animals DO NOT get that choice.

I haven’t taken a stand for anything, peabrain. I’m a meat-eating fellow who isn’t oblivious to how the piece of meat lands up on his plate.

Why should I take a stand for anyone or anything? If I say I feel for the blind, is it also necessary to express something for the deaf and mute? Just an example. If someone visits old age homes, would you accuse them of ignoring orphanages? How much sense are you making here?

I was a vegetarian for 9 months…then I had to have some Orange Chicken from Panda Express. I couldn’t take it!! I have a lot of friends who go vegan, only to return to meat at some point or another. I even have family members who are raised that way, and even indulge every now and again. No biggie.

I did learn a lot about nutrition when I was a vegetarian that is helpful to me today. Eating fresher foods, staying away from fast food, and getting tons of protein.

you know the easiest way to become a vegetarian….join the Carmelite monestary…..either as a nun or as an order priest….LOL!

@Aditya Mehta … if pigs and other animals were intelligent beings like humans, then they’d probably sue too. but due to their inability to think like we do they cant.

and just like thinking pigs have nothing to do with anything, so too was ur response to Margie.

“if pigs and other animals were intelligent beings like humans, then they’d probably sue too. but due to their inability to think like we do they cant.”

Exactly my point, dumbass.

“and just like thinking pigs have nothing to do with anything, so too was ur response to Margie.”

She made a stupid comment and I pointed it out. Just like I’m having to point it out to you now.

oh wow … i was just so overwhelmed by ur genius that i completely missed ur point. all uve showed up is ur own misunderstanding and ingnorance.

good day … happy new year when it comes!

@ uncensoredmind: 2011 is less than four hours away in India. Happy New Year!

Woah, you got a lot of comments on this post.
You’re lucky your family is so supportive. Whenever I get sick my mom tells me that it’s because I don’t eat meat oO When I still lived with my parents my mom would make soups and stuff and she’d swear that they were 100% meat free. One day I found a tiny bone in my soup. Needless to say, I never ate any of her soups again.

The plant murder argument is a classic. Some people think they’re clever by coming back with a “still, how do you know that plants don’t feel pain even if they don’t have nervous systems?” 😀 haha

English teacher online

You’re lucky your family is so supportive. Whenever I get sick my mom tells me that it’s because I don’t eat meat oO When I still lived with my parents my mom would make soups and stuff and she’d swear that they were 100% meat free. One day I found a tiny bone in my soup. Needless to say, I never ate any of her soups again.

The plant murder argument is a classic. Some people think they’re clever by coming back with a “still, how do you know that plants don’t feel pain even if they don’t have nervous systems?” 😀 haha

English lessons online

Hayley, I love your response to glutenfreaked…”Hi, welcome to my blog, where I say and write what I like.” People are funny because they will say absolutely anything online, with the confidence-boosting anonymity cyberspace provides. Good for you for defending yourself. I liked the original post too…non-judgemental of meat eaters, just making some observations about some of your new choices. Keep up the good work!

Hi, thanks for visiting my blog. It makes me giggle when people come onto my blog and try to tell me what I should and shouldn’t be saying. I’m glad you liked my blog post!

Cool post! I have a friend who’s been vegetarian for almost 10 years and she’s used to this kind of behavior. We live in Chile and it seems that for Spanish-speaking people, being vegetarian is some sort of condition and they always look at you as if you were ill and say: “really? why?”. Why would they care?! I would like to become a vegetarian too but it’s really hard because my mom only cooks traditional meals and they ALL include meat– all kinds of meat!
Good luck with your veggie life 🙂

I really think that being a vegetarian is a good choice. Veggies are healthy and yummy too. 🙂

I’m not a vegetarian (not by a long shot) but i do agree with you on the whole knee jerk reaction from most meat eaters, even more amusing is when they discuss how “the secret evil board of vegetarians” is trying to criticize their way of life 😀
The whole criticize anyone with a different lifestyle from yours lane is not as annoying as it is laughable.
one question though. I couldnt help but notice the “nervous system” aside. I’m curious, are you opposed to the pain caused in animal death or the actual ‘murder’? This is not some veiled criticism, im just interested in knowing what you’d think of this
http://thesamovar.wordpress.com/2007/05/10/meat-without-the-nervous-system/
Hypothetical, it is, but itd be nice to hear perspective from a vegetarian whose purpose isnt to lambaste meat eaters.

I do not approve of the conditions animals are kept in just to be killed. I don’t approve of an animal being given life when their only purpose is to die – it takes away freedom.

Not long ago, someone told me that people who become vegetarians are . . . “foolish.” I collected some links to articles and responded with facts which readily support anyone’s decision to follow a vegetarian diet.

If you are interested:
http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/only-a-fool-would-say-that/

Thanks for raising awareness to the unnecessary suffering of animals which arises from “our” penchant for meat and congrats on being freshly pressed.

I’m going to avoid all the arguments and say good on ya for choosing to be a vegetarian. I am a farmer, and I chose to eat meat as well as vegetables–in season that is. I try my best to know the source of my meat. I don’t knock you for being a vegetarian…just please don’t try to “rubbish” my decision as a meat eater because you are now “guilt free”.

Best wishes.

I am in the same boat as you and I think you are very strong to stand up for what you believe it’s obviously a very touchy subject after seeing all the comments!
Great post!
Elizabeth
http://www.greenlivingpeace.com

Disclaimer: my family and I eat meat, but I do feel a bit guilty…

I’d like to raise a few points:

I’m quite surprised that very few people have touched on the environmental effects of eating the amount of meat that we do Europe and N. America particularly. All of the animals we eat need to be fed, and this comes from farming, for the most part. So, we are using up lots of farmland, in an increasingly crowded world, to feed animals which often lead fairly joyless and restricted lives so that we can eat too much of them, and ultimately suffer from heart disease and all sorts of problems…

I think that most people who eat meat wouldn’t/couldn’t kill an animal themselves, unless they were starving. There is a extreme “disconnect” (I hate that word, but can’t think of a better one!), like many other elements of consumerism, between the product and its consumers. Like energy, clothing, household goods, fuel, building materials, etc., most people just ignore where stuff comes from! I know one guy who is of the opinion that anyone who doesn’t eat meat is weak, feeble-minded and unmanly, and he kept chickens in his garden, so he could have fresh eggs. Fair enough. But when he moved house, he couldn’t take the chickens with him, so did he eat them? No- he recoiled in horror when I suggested it, although it was, I think, objectively the most logical thing to do. (He made a 300 mile round trip to give them to a farmer he knew who would probably end up killing them anyway!) That’s the sort of thing I’m talking about!

While I don’t particularly favour all-out carnivorousness, or veganism necessarily, I have a feeling that we do eat too much meat, on the whole, and that it isn’t in our best interests to do so, health or eco-wise.

When I leave home, I think I will cut down on the amount of meat I eat, partially because of eco-consciousness, partially through solidarity with fellow world-inhabitants, but mostly because of cost and hassle of preparation!

(Sorry about the rambling…)

Oh, and has anyone here smelled a battery chicken farm? It’s rank. No-one deserves to have one of those near where they live!

[…] this planet, are insignificant. I’ve posted about why I don’t eat animal corpses before here and […]

Thanks for the recommendations shared on your own blog. Something also important I would like to say is that weight reduction is not all about going on a fad diet and trying to get rid of as much weight that you can in a couple of weeks. The most effective way to shed pounds is by consuming it gradually and using some basic recommendations which can enable you to make the most through your attempt to shed weight. You may be aware and be following some tips, although reinforcing awareness never does any damage.

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Hayley is a ghost

Hayley Stevens is an advocate for science-based research into seemingly paranormal experiences and occurrences. With a background in the pseudo-scientific research into ghosts, Hayley offers a unique insight into the strange world of ghost hunting through her experience.

She describes herself as 'a ghost hunter who doesn't hunt for ghosts' and this is her personal blog where she writes about ghosts, people, and other interesting things. Read more here.

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