First of all, before I get to the meat of this post, or maybe I should say meat-substitute, I’d like to say that this was originally an email to my best friend. As I wrote, all casual –like, I thought, “hey I should blog this.” This isn’t the first time that's happened, which leads me to think that she is my Muse and that maybe I need to post a picture of her face near my computer. So, the next time I feel all waaah I don’t want to update the blog, I’ll tell myself to sit down and pretend like I’m writing to her.
So. Vegetarian. I've been on the fence for awhile now and I think several things are influencing my decision.
Many times in the last year or two when I've opened a package of raw meat it's kind of made me queasy. The smell, the slime, the fact that I have to disinfect practically my entire kitchen after preparation.
It's happened a few times with raw chicken in particular. You know how sometimes you have to cut away some fat and then there's also like a blood vessel or something? (Seriously, even writing about makes me want to yarf.) And then the other day I found a spoiled lump of beef in the fridge. When I opened the container it was this awful gray color—think decayed flesh—with a really disturbing smell. I didn't even want to keep the Tupperware after that.
The feelings dissipate somewhat once the meat is cooked of course, but then returns if I happen to bite into a piece of gristle or fat.
I also have a couple of friends (one veg-head, one vegan), so maybe they've rubbed off on me.
And then there's Skinny Bitch, this crazy-funny-no-nonsense book I just finished that touts veganism and how meat & dairy contribute to health & weight issues. And of course there's a lengthy chapter on the cruelty thing, which no one is a stranger to. We all know where our meat comes from.
So, I’m not going all PETA on your ass (because really I just don’t need any more crazy in my life). I just...well, I guess I can’t ignore the horror of how meat is produced anymore, whether it’s because the book reminded me of unspeakable ways in which animals are killed, or my own personal reactions to raw meat, or the fact that I hang out with herbivores.
But I had a thought yesterday afternoon (as I was microwaving a Kashi lunch with chicken in it, no less!) that might help put it in perspective.
There is no way I would visit a slaughterhouse and watch the meat production process from A to Z. It would scar me. I couldn't do it. I think very few people could. (I know factory workers have families to feed but I cannot even fathom how they do it, except maybe they get desensitized, which, when you think about it, that’s pretty awful too.)
On the other hand, I could probably deal with watching the production of say, oatmeal, without incurring any emotional trauma.
So that’s my litmus test. If I get upset thinking about what my food went through to get to my plate, I probably shouldn't eat it. Now, if I burst into tears the next time I whip up a bowl of Quaker oats, I’ll let you know.
So, off the soapbox. Today's my first day without meat.