Going Veggie can change the world. It can make us healthier, it can relieve suffering, it can even make a huge dent in slowing down global warming…
For some of us, it’s an easy decision and lifestyle to adopt, and for some of us, we wish we could but for some reason we can’t and when we try… we get thwarted and we end up slopping a motherlode of “Redd Eye sweet relish” on a swollen juicy Nathan’s on a fluffy sesame seed bun. I’ve been there, and I also consider myself a former veggie. My ‘Veggie Identity began right around 1988 and lasted right on up until 1991. I had broken free from my ‘amino acid -savory-meats-addiction. I became a non flesh eater and felt wonderful, and free. Eventually I came back to meat like a battered lover. I was catapulted back into a bad symbiotic relationship. I needed the meat and the meat industry needed me. But my flash point incident slinging me back to my savory suffering wasn’t some juicy steak or In-n-out burger, ‘animal style’ It was a “Nathan’s Best” one of those lightly scorched colored ones that promises to plump and sweat with fat, (and yes a small percentage of indigenous nitrates).
I couldn’t say no to that sunburned torpedo of willy nilly fleshy matter, but it was more than that. I got off the health gravy train and back in bed with the helpless drooling flesh-o-philes mostly because people close to me were ‘feeding me nutritional propaganda.’ I was newly pregnant at the time and I was constantly warned about the supposed “dangers of staying veggie while pregnant!” Yes my first son, Garet, was proudly on the way and I craved female input on all things neonatal. Anything from the standard, “which diaper type is best for baby?” To, “what feeding pattern should I adopt?” or, how about “Should I pick up the baby every time it cries?” I was interested in all things relating to pregnancy health, happiness and of course maternal diet.
Some dubious advice offerers said, ‘You need to eat beef! you need the high amounts of protein that chicken and beef give you! All the while coyly nudging their left over plate of slow roasted BBQ toward me, “Think of your baby!” “HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY GET ENOUGH B12 FOR GOD’S SAKE.! or, HOW WILL YOU GET ENOUGH IRON AND MAGNESIUM FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE BABIE’S BLOOD WITHOUT EATING BEEF?” …”And one of the most ill thought out prods was, “Look…this is SLOW ROASTED…and I CAN’T POSSIBLY eat it all, but you? you’re eating for two! You’ve got THAT BABY’S HEALTH IN YOUR HANDS! Well, impervious woman of steel I am not. But nor am I a shrinking violet. I was mostly ‘advice challenged and not so willing to go out on a lonely limb of nutritional independence I didn’t want to forge a new territory sans friends, their parties, their eating fests. I didn’t want to be the one with the Scarlett “V” on my Princess cut maternity sweater. Suffice to say I was a bit spineless and totally awash with pregnancy confusion. You see fending off Gale force female pressure with no basement to quickly duck away into, was a very tough gig. Soon I would be ‘restarted’ on a pattern of nonchalantly eating my mooing, furry and feathered friends.
My well-meaning but sadly mis-informed friends howled again and again “we just CARE for you!!!”
They bellowed painfully as their faces crunched up and eyebrows turned up in sadness. I began to think I was very wrong about my position without meat. It was a pseudo-warm-fuzzy guilt-laden blitzkrieg. In the end I didn’t have good information to help me resist their wails of impending disaster.
Since Al Gore hadn’t yet tweaked his nose a la Samantha Stevens style, and blinked the internet existence, I couldn’t simply surf The “INTERNETS” which we all know he invented. I couldn’t find out where the pregnant veggie women went to get their goods. I also couldn’t drill down to the street level and even check out the neighborhood I was to waddle through.
Suffice to say I had no way to substitute the ‘quick and dirty’ slab of animal meat for something wonderful healthy and tasty. Had I been able to do do all this back in the time of analog, I wouldn’t be dealing with my animal flesh habit right now.
I don’t consider myself ‘meat conflicted,’ incidentally, an ingenious little term, which by the way was thought up by my dear cousin Marcie, now has the esteemed etymological distinction of coining on Facebook last night. (We’ll see if Urban Dictionary picks this up by next week), and my suspicion is they do…
Unfortunately I consider myself “relapsed.” It’s a renewed torture this minor animal flesh habit. This sounds pretty gross but I hate to tell you people shoveling a piece of medium rare steak a piece of Ikea flatware, or gnawing on the leg of Wilbur the pig, we’re all in this together. Can ‘meat lust’ be like any other addiction? I would return a vote of ‘yes.” Can Dr. Drew Pinsky build an MTV show on this addiction? Not sure, but my tendency is to say no. Is it the most pervasive addiction? Strangely enough… probably. How many of us see the act of keeping animal meat in our diet as an unrelenting and purely human instinctual ‘need?’ Many of us think so. We can’t live with out it we say. Well I offer…maybe not.
Maybe we can actually ‘break the habit!’ This is the good news for the “meat conflicted.” What if we can stop this ‘gastric meat lust’ and simply employ some logical strategies to help us lose this “taste?,” No longer do we have to feel the dichotomy of, hate for the animal processing industry, and the relenting and guilt we feel as we reach for a burger or a big fat drippy rib eye. Now we can look at our desire to eat animal meat as an addiction. Every other ill in our society for which we cannot seem to control soon gets deemed an addiction anyway! So why not?…For every ‘addiction’ there are plans consisting of 4, 5, 7 or 12 steps. And when the plan doesn’t work, sadly, some type of pill is usually dispensed to finish the job. The addiction to meat CAN and should be corralled. Why not? there are tons of healthy people who really ‘get’ why going veggie is a good thing, There are people who have either lost their desire for meat or never developed it. For those of us former Wilbur-eaters, it will take a commitment, reminders, commaraderie and support.
Here are some ways to quell “meat lust” and live a happier, healthier life:
1) slowly cut the ounces of meat that you include in your diet by 1/2 oz each week. Add more fluids, and increase your regular serving of vegetables on your plate by 1/4. Decrease the meat and add veggies, nuts, flax, grains and root vegetables.
2) Add 2 oz of your favorite snack nut to your dessert or just have the snack nuts (watch the salt if you have to! – unsalted is usually available) as your after meal treat. Jazz up the nuts if you need to, add some cane sugar, but don’t dust them like a bad 70’s christmas tree. the point is to slowly move away from the craving and introduce alternate proteins.
3) Utilize the many forms of soy! Soy is a joy. Cook with soy, use soy as an additive! Soy’s come a long way. Don’t hate on the soy. Make it your friend.
3) Research protein alternatives (It’s easy since Al Gore discovered the Intertet(s). …Be diligent and add enough each day so as to keep up your specific recommended daily amount correct per your weight. Especially if you are pregnant. It’s really not that hard. Thanks to Al, there are tons of websites that you can peruse for tips, even full on meal plans.
4) Inform yourself of the latest events in the political action against processors that run askew of general respect, health and humanity of animals. Make your voice heard. Have a vested interest in seeing the animal processing industry clean up it’s act. Donate funds, your time or just plain talk, blog, or communicate about it.
5) Find friend and social networking groups that will encourage you. Veggies have risen and shirked their negative generalizations. Advocate. Renew your commitment to life and all living things each year.
6) Dine with people who support your convictions and respect you. Talk about the issues facing animals, people and nutrition.
7) Visit a slaughter house (if you are brave), and see firsthand why you are committing to a life without the contribution to cruelty.
Being a vegetarian is not trendy, cool or hip. Respecting living things THROUGH BEING A VEGETARIAN is cool and hip!
Let’s help each-other and let’s help animals. Break the meat addiciton. Implore animal processors to play by the rules (if we can’t initially shut the bad guys down), at least they can and should be accountable to ‘we the people.’ We are the consumers. We are the people who create the demand at the markets in the first place!