Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Abundance of Meat in America

Ever since I took a college ethics course 11 years ago (yes, I'm THAT old), I've contemplated becoming a vegetarian. After the thought of animals being tortured from birth to death weighed heavily on my conscience and being completely grossed out every time I ate meat, I finally decided to give up meat as my New Year's resolution. The first few weeks went extremely smoothly. I thought, "Why the hell do people think they need meat so much? Giving it up is so easy!"

Then the cravings kicked in. Big time. I craved red meat so badly I could have killed a cow with my bare hands. I figured my body needed the iron and nothing else was satisfying the craving, so I gave in and ate some beef. Magically, the cravings went away. Until a few weeks after that...

As of yesterday, I've decided vegetarianism just doesn't agree with me. For starters, an anemic probably isn't the best candidate for a vegetarian lifestyle. I also noticed I was gaining weight without having changed my food intake or exercise routines. I did some research and found out that meat is a metabolism booster. Sorry Bessie, but I'm not going to become a fat ass to save your life. Not to mention, when it gets to the point where you're shaking and ready to kill someone, that probably means your diet isn't working for you. 

I keep wondering why I failed. Do our bodies really need meat that badly? Or is it because America is so obsessed with meat that it's impossible to escape? Look around you. The Chik-Fil-A ads feature a cow fearing for his life, holding a sign saying "Eat More Chikin" and people think it's cute and funny. Everything is a competition over who can eat the biggest hamburger or steak. Gelatin, which is made of animal connective tissue, is in practically everything. No one gives a second thought to where their meat is coming from or how many lives were sacrificed so they could be happy enjoying their gummy bears. The main argument I've always heard as to why people can't give up meat is because "It's just so yummy." Really??? I'll bet your precious cat or dog is yummy too but you're not eating it, are you? What's especially funny is that I've heard this statement often from fellow Christians. That and the "animals are meant to be eaten" argument. Doesn't the Bible say to respect God's creatures and his creation? So if you don't give a flip about the fact that God's creatures are kept in a tiny cage from birth and are so iron-deficient that they have no choice but to gnaw on the cage rails to get iron, isn't that a bit hypocritical? And do you really think when God said to eat meat that he had in mind what today's industry would have become?

I'm not knocking those who haven't considered vegetarianism. I'm simply presenting some things to think about. If you're buying locally grown meat and avoiding the factory farms and fast food industry meat, you're helping the cause. That's what I intend to do. I think that's my happy medium between being morally torn and completely apathetic. If you're one of those people who says, "Sure, I feel bad about the animals but they just taste so good," then guess what, you can have your meat and eat it too! All-natural meat is available at most grocery stores now. It's only .$50 to $1.00 more per pound and is cheaper than organic meat. The only difference is that organic farms have to produce their own feed that only comes from other organic ingredients. Both are free range, torture-free, and hormone-free. If you can't afford to do that all the time, then at least consider doing it when you can (although I think you'll find that it IS affordable if you get creative with it. Maybe put those cookies back on the shelf and get the happy animal meat). And, well, if you just don't care then keep eating standard meat and throw your hands in the air like ya just don't care. I'm just happy I've found a middle ground between the two.


  1. I too had to find that middle ground. I swore off meat for two months in 2004 and I ballooned. I have a full-body picture from that time that I use to this day as motivation to stay in shape (actually, pretty much any pic from that year will do).

    Being a vegetarian or vegan is about far more than just kicking meat; you have to eat a precise combination of beans and/or peas every day to get sufficient nutrients, especially protein. You pretty much have to be a foodie to make the commitment. It takes a lot of sacrifice, but can be rewarding if you're responsible about it.

    In recent years, I've tried to buy local, organic and/or ethical foods whenever possible. For all of the other reasons there are to do this, the main one is that it simply tastes better. There's a movement in Springfield where "locavores" push for local food. I'm not at that level but it's a good idea and one that helps the economy as well as your stomach.

  2. Excellent!

    P and I only eat meat every other day or every 3rd day. We have found that by doing this, we can afford the hormone-free, free-range chicken and beef. I have also found that buying free-range tends to be more MEAT as compared to FAT. Hello! Double-bonus.

    I hear you on the animal cruelty thing. I used to eat my meat with a dose of guilt, but now that I know my meat was at least ethically raised, I don't feel so bad.