Friday, February 24, 2012

To Meat or Not To Meat?

So yes, it's a cheesy title for this post, but the first thing I think of when I think of the Linn Area Reads 2012 selection, The Righteous Porkchop, is "Do I even want to eat the porkchop, righteous or not?" Ok, so that's not actually the first thing I think because I already know the answer. For me anyway. I do not. I'm a vegetarian and have been for well over 20 years. It's been a fitting lifestyle for me and I have never once regretted my decision to cut meat out of my diet, but at the same time I do not believe that it is the right choice for everyone - which is exactly why I am not raising my son as a vegetarian. (As the fates would have it, it turns out that I'm not even raising him to like vegetables that much. Go figure.)

I've noticed in recent years that more and more people are experimenting with vegetarian lifestyles and I think this is a good thing. Some people seem to take to it and make it their new lifelong approach to eating. Others do it for a while and find that it's not really for them. I think a lot of this experimenting is the result of some diet trends that are out there, but whatever the cause I think the focus on eating meat being a conscious decision is positive in general. I have known people to say they're trying to cut meat out of their diet, but it's "too hard." It was never very hard for me because it was right choice for me - a natural choice, in fact. I personally believe that if it's "too hard," you probably shouldn't do it - unless the doctor is telling you otherwise, of course. (There are plenty of things I've tried to cut out of my diet that I simply could not do, yet other people seem to do so with relative ease. I choose to believe I am meant to eat those things. Don't force me to believe otherwise, please!) But once you're thinking about the meat in your diet (and deciding you want to keep it there), it's a great time to think about where that meat comes from and where you want it to come from. The Righteous Porkchop's look at the meat industry is an opportunity to become better informed.

If you're thinking that a vegetarian lifestyle might be a better option for you, take a bit of time and look into all the vegetarian options there are now. (And I would also encourage you to discuss any major dietary changes with your doctor.) You are not limited to vegan, lacto-vegetarian, and lacto-ovo-vegetarian. You do not have to live by conventional guidelines. Do not be afraid to create an option that fits you best. There are plenty of people out there that are living variations on a vegetarian lifestyle by eliminating certain meats from their diet or cutting meat out of their meals most days, but saving one day a week to indulge in that steak they just can't live without. Be bold and creative a food philosophy that works best for you.

Once in a while my son will be eating a chicken breast or a hamburger or, yes, perhaps a porkchop and he'll say, "This is so good. I wish you could eat meat." I like to respond, "I can, but I've made a choice." For each of us, the choice is ours and I think that's the most important thing to remember...whether you're choosing the porkchop or the Tofurky.

If you are considering a vegetarian diet or are interested in the background and different views on vegetarianism, here is one of the many sites that can give you a bit of information: I find the history and the list of pros and cons provided at this site to be quite interesting.

Don't forget that you can discuss food and lifestyle options and outlooks at the collaborative book discussions throughout the month of March. Help us kick it off at your local library - Cedar Rapids, Marion, or Hiawatha - on Thursday, March 1st at 6:30 pm! You might even be given a copy of the book if you're lucky. Those librarians are so nice!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this interesting post, Amanda. I like your attitude toward being a vegetarian. I don't often eat meat anymore, largely because I'm not comfortable or interested in cooking with meat. It's easier to prepare non-meat dishes for myself. But I haven't really given it up. I'll often get a meat dish at a restaurant, enjoy a sandwich with a nice slice of ham now and then, and of course at family holiday dinners there is always meat for a main course. Still, I feel like I've made a healthier choice -- even if it was made for lazy reasons! I wonder if the choice will become more "ethical" as I continue through the book ... ?