Just to let all my readers know, as of 12 p.m. last Sunday, I am no longer a strict vegetarian.
This was a decision I was humming and hah-ing about for a few weeks. I knew that Christmas dinner was fast approaching, and even though I by-passed turkey at Thanksgiving, I felt like I was open to eating meat for Christmas. I have read close to ten books about food in the last 10 months of being vegetarian. The topics ranged from animal rights, to factory farming, organic versus pesticide treated produce, nutritionism movement, and even pro-meat diets. I wanted to educate myself about everything food, to set myself up to make an informed decision about how I want to live my life.
My verdict is that eating shouldn’t be so calculated and strict. As a vegetarian, I found myself in uncomfortable situations on a regular basis. I felt guilty when I would go over to someone’s house for dinner and they forgot I was vegetarian, and had prepared a whole chicken or salmon for example. Also, the options for eating out at restaurants is quite limited for vegetarians, a lot of veggie burgers or veggie quesadillas, not very inspiring.
Nonetheless, I have decided to eat meat occasionally, maybe once or twice a month. I want to be flexible, and now that I have the information, I can make good decisions about the meat I do choose to consume. Ideally, I will be eating ethically raised animals, wild-caught, preferably meat that hasn’t been pumped with hormones and antibiotics.
Eating a vegetarian diet brought to my attention just how much meat I consumed before, and it was alarming how frequently I ate it. The vegetarian diet was an experiment. There was so much fear, about protein, iron, and general health. I proved all the myths were a bunch of BS.
So my new approach to eating out will be to review the meat options on offer, and if they are not wild-caught or ethically raised then I will eat the veggie options.
I watched Food Inc. the other day on NetFlix, which I highly recommend. The movie puts some faces to names that I’ve been reading about in Michael Pollan’s books. It re-affirms why I don’t want to support large meat producers. I see their point of wanting to provide large amounts of food at affordable prices. But what they fail to include is the subsequent health costs of antibiotic resistance and unknown side-effects of hormone and chemical fertilizers, and environmental costs. I like the way the movie ends on a high. The man behind Stonybrook farm( an organic dairy operation) talks about his journey in the food industry. A lot of his friends were critics of what could be viewed as a corporate sell-out, but he defends his decision as good business. I agree with him. If Walmart agrees to put organic dairy options on the shelves, the impact is huge. Walmart reps express their interest in meeting their consumers needs, and that’s good business, give the consumers what they’re asking for. One type of organic yoghurt on the shelves in Walmarts, times however many stores they have across the world, easily puts a significant number of organic dairy farms into a viable business contract. How can anyone view that as a negative partnership? It raises the bar and standards on a huge scale. Who knows what is next? If consumers decided that they only want organic carrots in the supermarket, and expressed this to large grocery chains, most likely it would be offered. By letting them know, they are receiving a census of how many customers WANT to spend their money at their establishments. It’s a guarantee.
Anyways, I could go on forever. I am increasingly passionate about eating good quality food and educating myself about the global food system.
Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations for restaurants in Victoria with ethical seafood/meats? Ethical meat options in groceries?