Monday, June 9, 2014

Are you or are you not a vegetarian?

I am . . . not. Well . . . not at the moment. Except sometimes. But not usually.

Confused yet?

Let's just put it this way: I will never really be a vegetarian ever again because life is not worth living without bacon.

But as far as other kinds of meat? Eh.

A couple of years ago I decided that since I didn't really care about meat, it might be cool to try giving it up entirely. At the time I didn't do it because I was religiously or socially or ethically opposed to eating meat. I just thought it might be a cool experiment. Kind of like blogging every day has been a cool experiment for the month of June.

I wanted to see how long I could go without eating meat and how much it would actually affect my life. Interestingly enough, once I stopped eating meat, I started to learn about the ugly side of the meat industry, which I won't go into here, and I sort of became morally opposed after the fact. That lasted a year or so. And then it just became a pain.

Like with most things there were some good and bad consequences of going meatless.

1. I definitely put more thought into what I was eating.
2. My fast food choices were extremely limited so I didn't eat out nearly as much.
3. I felt healthier.
4. I learned to cook some interesting foods that added variety to my diet, like Boca Burgers and tofu and quinoa. (I am not good at making those last two. Just so you know.)
5. I figured out which kinds of meat I actually like (pork). Which ones are just okay (beef and seafood). And which ones I really don't like much at all (poultry).
5. I fell in love with the sofritas bowl at Chipotle. So yum.

1. The social inconvenience. It can be really annoying for people who are making you food to have to make something separate for you. And when you're trying to go out to eat with people, it's sometimes a damper for them to have to choose a restaurant based on your food preferences.
2. Every once in awhile it was really, really hard not to want that meat texture. I don't typically crave it, but there's really not much else that has the same chewiness.
3. There's still a little bit of a stigma attached to being vegetarian. Not so much in California, which is where I was at the time. But I can see how it might raise a few eyebrows here in Utah.

All in all, I'm glad I tried it. Every so often I consider doing it again. But usually it only lasts a day or two now. Just enough to get me thinking again about what exactly I'm eating.

I really think the most important lesson I learned was to be conscious in my food choices. You can do that without becoming a vegetarian. Whether it's leaving out a certain food group or fasting once a month or adding a new recipe every week, each of us can find something that helps us think about what we're eating, why we're eating it, and whether or not it's really the right thing to be eating at that moment.

But on the other hand, if you're thinking about eating bacon, it's always the right thing to be eating at that moment.

Just saying.

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