Why I’m Not Eating Meat

by Sarah on April 20, 2012 · 19 comments

“Lately, I’ve been feeling this strange kinship with cows.”–Me*

*Multiple times, in many different situations. Often met with blank, confused stares.

After my post about my experience touring Polyface Farms and awkwardly introducing myself to Joel Salatin by telling him that I don’t eat meat, but if I did, I would eat his, it pushed Adrienne to publish a post called “to eat meat or not to eat meat?” Mostly, it dealt with her hesitancy to watching Food, Inc., and anxieties about becoming a vegetarian.

Since commenting on her post, I have been mulling over the idea that I should probably lay out my reasons for not eating meat here, so y’all could know where I’m coming from (not just Adrienne ;)).I tagged this post as “accidents,” which was a category I already had utilized, but also seemed fitting for this topic. Becoming a ‘vegan with benefits’ was something that happened purely by accident.

After all, I am the same girl who declared her life so changed following her first ‘pork belly experience’ that she saved it on her camera and showed it to everyone she came into contact with for the next few weeks.

So how does a girl who once (or twice…or three times, maybe…) performed a ‘smoked turkey happy dance’ in the kitchen after eating BBQ in Texas become a vegan?

How can a gal go from proclaiming that the only reason to eat burger buns is to soak up burger juice

…to only eating burgers made from beans (and/or veggies nuts, seed, grains, as the case may be)?

Wait. And didn’t this girl once request the head of pig to be cut open so she could taste the brain?

And–for the love of bacon y’all–can someone who won’t eat meat also declare this to be one of her favorite self-portraits?

 “I’m a meat lover who doesn’t eat meat.”–Me*

*Multiple times, in many different situations. Also usually met with blank, confused stares.

 Yeah. A lot of people don’t get it.

I gave up meat right after making my very first steak. The next day was October 1st and the start of the Vegan Month of Food, which I had chosen to participate in after Kristina informed me that I could go a week as a vegan–something I put on my Culinary Bucket List out of pure curiosity–or join a revolution and really challenge myself to a whole month.

So I did.

You can read more about it here, but even halfway through the month, I felt awesome. I loved it. And that’s probably why when it came to the end of the month…I just kept on being vegan. I tried not to label it. But in the end, the term “vegan with benefits” seemed to fit my lifestyle the best. I could eat foods made by friends without freaking out if there was butter involved. I could eat honey again! I could also eat an egg if the craving struck, not deny myself the occasional pimiento cheese splurge, or stress if I really wanted to eat an M&M or angel food cake or something.

[Dairy and I, sadly, just don’t get along very well anymore.]

That being said, I titled this post the way I did for a reason. Note that I didn’t say “Why I Will Never Eat Meat” or even “Why I Don’t Eat Meat.” It very well might be a permanent thing. But it also might not be.

My comment on Adrienne’s blog was this:

As a “meat lover who doesn’t eat meat,” my choice is purely based on the fact that I feel better without it. After visiting Polyface, I also know that it is possible to raise animals humanely, and, therefore, I think that should I choose to go back to being an omnivore, I would only want to invest my money into quality-raised chicken, beef, and eggs.

After watching Food, Inc., the first time, I was “scared veg” for a bit, but went right back to buying whatever the cheapest chicken breasts were that week, etc. Now, since I’ve chosen to give meat up, I feel like I could invest the money into purchasing what I know is ‘good’ since it would only ever be the rare indulgence.

When I decided to keep eating vegan, I said I’d eat meat again in one of three situations:

  1. I needed to check an item off of my Culinary Bucket List (i.e. cheesesteaks in Philly)
  2. It was a once in a lifetime experience. Something like being in Italy or France or Spain and being offered a local delicacy…or having the opportunity to attend an Outstanding in the Field dinner and sitting across from the woman who raised the cattle on the plate.
  3. It is just too tempting to resist.

Only the Outstanding in the Field dinner has happened. (Although the smell of pork BBQ has nearly done me in about twelve times.)Even though I firmly believe that you can eat meat and have an incredibly healthy diet and lifestyle, I just feel better not eating it. Say what you want about cruelty and kindness. Perhaps I shouldn’t claim to eat vegan if I’m not also a moral and ethical activist, but at the end of the day it’s really this simple:

Why am I not eating meat?

I just don’t want to.

[Also that whole “feeling a kinship with cows” thing…:)]

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