Oct. 1st, 2011

pameladlloyd: Green Woman West - Self Awareness by  Johanna Uribes, c. 2009-2011 (greenwoman)
I just stumbled upon this year-old blog post and learned that today is World Vegetarian Day and the first day of Vegetarian Awareness Month. Sadly, the blog itself, which was well-written and entertaining, does not seem to be being updated anymore—but, back to the actual point of this post.

Several years ago, my husband decided to give up eating meat. Both of us had previously experimented with vegetarianism—I used to practice what I called "Vegetarian for a Week," figuring that one week out of the month was a moderate approach—so, this was fine with me. Especially, since my husband, who has cooked professionally and for whom food, good food, is a passion, does most of the cooking along with his sons.

Yet, I didn't consider myself a vegetarian at the time. Initially, I kept a little stash of meat products in the fridge for my personal use, but that practice gradually faded away as I found our meatless meals more and more satisfying. Also, at restaurants or when visiting friends, I didn't hesitate to eat animal products. Now, I rarely choose to eat beef or fowl, and find that on those rare occasions when I do indulge, my body protests this invasion. (Factoid: Just as we have special enzymes for digesting milk, we also have enzymes for digesting meat; stop eating meat, and your body will stop producing the enzymes.) The remaining set of creatures I will still eat is seafood; I will, given the opportunity, eat fish, shrimp, and shellfish.

While my husband, who loves animals, chose to become a vegetarian out of a reluctance to contribute any more than is possible to the suffering and death of living creatures, I initially held fast to the belief that, as an omnivore, meat was a normal part of my diet, something which I'd evolved to eat. But, since then, I've realized that I don't need meat to be healthy—in fact, I'm healthier without it—so, my reluctance to give up meat has been a form of denial.

Having acknowledged that I've been in denial about the importance of meat in my diet, the logical next step is, or should be, to resolve that I will never eat meat again. Logical, but not entirely realistic. I know myself too well to feel that I can honestly expect myself to never, ever, ever eat meat for the rest of my life. Still, I won't be eating meat today, or for the next month. If I do eat meat, it will be rarely, with full awareness of the physical consequences for myself, and with the realization that somewhere an animal died, most likely in pain and fear, so that I could have a few moments of gustatory satisfaction.

So, to all you vegetarians, vegans, plant-based diet fans, and, well, yes, to those who still eat meat, Happy World Vegetarian Day!

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