The Great Debate

Helloooo Everyone!  Here’s a secret… I stayed out too late watching The Help last night, so I totally skipped my 5 a.m. workout.  Don’t worry, I packed my gym bag so that I can squeeze in a quickie tonight after work.

Today’s post isn’t particularly informative or enlightening.  Sorry.  Hopefully it’s at least provocative.  I should clarify.  It’s mentally provocative – like, stimulating or something.  It’s hard to get my brain working on Fridays, but this was my inspiration yesterday…

And I thought I was having a rough day.  I’m pretty sure those chickens had it much worse, and that brings us to today’s topic – to be, or not to be… vegetarian.

I’ve tried to learn more about how my food gets to my plate.  After seeing movies like Food Inc., reading books like The Kind Diet, and visiting websites, such as PETA (I know… I know… just roll with me here), I become increasingly aware of the mistreatment of farm animals.

I’m not talking about cute mom-n-pop farms, and I’m not going to discuss any gory details.  I won’t even get into the terrifying Super-Bug argument.  But let’s face it, being a Purdue chicken is bad.  Really bad.

What I haven’t learned from the media, I’ve learned from my two cats.  They are not people, but I still love them.  Their personalities (maybe that should be cat-alities?) are incredibly unique.  They even have favorite house guests!  Would I eat them?  Not a chance.

my family

So then why am I not vegetarian?  (Vegan actually, because I also despise the way factory farms treat the cows and chickens that provide dairy and eggs).  I love steak.  I love bacon.  I also love how healthy and unprocessed lean meats are.  Lastly, I love that I’m not a bother to the people around me.  (I’m not saying all vegetarians are bothersome, but we’ve all met 1 or 2 of “those” vegetarians.)

salami

Kev trying the salami in Florence

 I also like that there are mom-n-pop farms that produce sustainable and ethically raised animals.  Sure, the animals still die, but who doesn’t?  I can live with that.  Many organic farms still aren’t as cruelty-free as I’d wish, but the link below states the differences between organic and conventional that show how organic is clearly a step in the right direction:

***Organic vs. Conventional Livestock Production: A side-by-side comparison (Jan. 2010)***

Soooo, I guess I try to limit my meat consumption, and I buy organic animal products as much as possible.  However, I’m just not ready to give it up yet.  Maybe I never will.

 

Have you ever had the “to be, or not to be” vegetarian debate?  If you are vegan/vegetarian, did you do it all at once or gradually make the change?

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34 Responses to “The Great Debate”

  1. Great “debate” Tiff!!!
    I go back and forth and while we eat significantly less meat these days i’m not sure we will cut it out entirely
    Definitely agree about buying locally and organic its just frustrating how crazy expensive it is (like over 3 times the price)
    I try to use the farmers market as much as possible
    Its a never ending debate in my head but we aren’t close to making a full time change
    Lol, that was a rambling comment, so many thoughts on this 🙂

  2. Gah! I can’t WAIT to see The Help! We’re going tomorrow!!! Also? My attitude is the same as yours. I do the best I can, I definitely limit my consumption, but in the end I’m not sure if I could ever be a full-blown vegetarian. Sometimes, my body just CRAVES meat!

  3. I’ve never been big on eating meat, ever since i was little, and the only reason I did was because I was too young and didn’t know how to be a healthy vegetarian. Now that I know what I need to eat to make up for the lack of meat in my diet, it’s not really a big deal for me and I pretty much gave it up overnight. I don’t see anything wrong with eating meat though, because some people just need it, but it’s definitely good to pay attention to where your food is coming from.

  4. I pretty much stopped eating meat my senior year of high school cold turkey (pun intended). I never ate much meat and it really grossed me out. So I just stopped eating it period. This was 18 years ago and I have never regretted it.

  5. i’m kinda in the same boat as you. my heart breaks when i hear those stories…but i still enjoy meat everyone once and a while. we’re in the middle of going vegetarian for a month right now and i think by the end, my hubby will be ok with eating less meat overall. my consumption is already pretty low…only at dinner and usually not every night. i feel like every little bit of effort helps, and everyone has their own opinions/reasons and shouldn’t be judged

  6. I say to each her own! Honestly I have no problem wth those who choose to eat meat and those that choose not to! I feel like everyone has the right to make their own decisions and I think that people have become waaaaay to judgemental of others. Why can’t everyone just focus on the way THEY eat instead of trying to puch their ideals on everyone else. I give you credit for speaking your mind and just tellin’ it the way it is! I don’t eat much meat any more (just fish and a little turkey mostly) but ya know thats okay! It works for me and I don’t feel bad about that!

    Well anyways! Awesome post girl!~

  7. I recently posted about my decision to become a vegetarian based on similar research to what you did. I’m not saying I’ll never eat meat again, I just don’t *need* it right now.

  8. Great post! I almost stopped reading because I saw the statement about seeing The Help and as that is the ONLY thing I wanted to do to celebrate my birthday (but I’m not going until Saturday) I didn’t want spoilers. However, I kept reading…and I love your thoughts. As you can probably tell, I’m with you on all of your points. Watching movies about the unethical treatment of animals (or reading books about it) definitely stirs my blood, but I am VERY happy with my “(predominately) vegetarian chef/meat eater” stance.

    You should read The Butcher & The Vegetarian…it’s a book about a vegetarian who has to explore eating meat at the request of her doctors…it’s a witty and fascinating look at why we eat meat, how we raise meat, and why people stop eating meat, etc.

    • No spoilers here, but I will say it was good. Enjoy it! I hope you had a super birthday. By seeing the movie this weekend, it’s like spreading your birthDAY out into a birthWEEK. Ain’t nuttin wrong with that! 🙂

      Oh, and thanks for the book recommendation. I’ll have to check that out; it sounds really interesting.

  9. Great post! I’ve never had the debate because I love meat way too much. I would feel lost without it haha. But, I do think it’s important to consider buying from companies (or buying local) that treat their animals well!

  10. I have definitely had these thoughts and waged back and forth several times. But in looking at vegan diets etc I would much rather eat a piece of meat than a processed meat substitute. How is that healthier for our bodies? For the most part I only eat poultry and occasionally a piece of red meat and I have tried to cut down my meat intake as much as I can. But I just don’t want to stop eating meat completely. I think the best course is to purchase local but I know that’s extremely expensive and not usually an option for most people (it’s not for me!). So I try to plan a couple meatless meals a week so that I can purchase more expensive meat at the store. It kills me to read about the factory forms. I read that book Skinny Bitch and I couldn’t finish the chapter on the excerpts from the employees at factory farms. It was disgusting and appalling to read what people are capable of! Just because they’re animals doesn’t mean they’re “less” than us and deserve to be tortured.

    But anyway, I could go on and on. I do the best I can. I’m marrying a meat-lover so there’s certainly a compromise with dishes. We tried veggie burgers for the first time last night (YUCK!), so I think I’ll be sticking to regular turkey burgers!

    • I hear ya on the health issues. I think animal products are part of a healthy diet (especially skim milk, eggs, and the lean cuts). I also think I’d gain weight if I went vegetarian. I love beans and tempeh (a lot, actually), but can we say, carb overload!?!? haha

  11. Aw! What a cute photo with the cats.

  12. I know factory farms are bad. I’ve seen all the movies, read a lot of the books & I get it. I choose to limit my meat consumption because of that, and also because I don’t like to prepare meat, really, and I hate how much it costs. Since I’m currently just cooking for me, it’s easy to eat the way I like, and drop 6$ on a pound of local grass fed beef, because I know I’ll get 4 meals out of it.

    Normally though, when I am at home, living with my pops, my part of “paying rent” is grocery shopping, and my dad is a straight up carnivore. He’ll eat things like tofu and stuff if I make them, but not every night, and I’ll usually have to make things like chicken AND tofu curries for it to fly. He likes meat at every meal for the most part and that’s his choice. Unfortunately though, with the amount of food he eats, it’s not affordable to be buying local or organic meat for every meal, so I just deal, or I don’t eat it. I feel bad, because I know factory farming is awful, but I still eat it, because I can afford it. When I’m a real life grown up, it will be different, but for now, I just try to incorporate more wild caught fish (which we BOTH like) and meatless meals that are still meat eater friendly into the weekly meal plan.

  13. This is so hard..I do eat some meat (some chicken, some pork) but in general I’m a vegetarian. I can’t stand the way animals are abused/treated on these huge factory farms. It breaks my heart. I was a full-on vegetarian for 14 years for some health reasons and enjoyed it. I only started eating meat again to get animal protein back in my diet.

  14. How was the movie!? I really want to see it, but I expect to not love it as much as the book.

    I eat a mostly vegetarian diet because I also can’t stand the way animals are treated in those factory farms and because most meats, especially dark, affect my digestive disease in a negative way.

    Have a good Friday!

  15. I have a simialar outlook on my meat consumption! I abhor how some animals are treated in large factories and try to make sure all of the meats I do consume are grass fed, organic, local, etc. I like eating meat for it’s health benefits (and taste!).

  16. Vegan here. Was vegetarian for four years first, have been vegan for another 4 on top of that. If you want more vegetarian reading, I highly recommend “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer. Mass food production of any sort (I won’t limit it to meat, reading about GM veggies can get pretty terrifying, too) should be limited as much as possible, if you ask me.

  17. i constantly have this debate! i totally agree with everything you said. i would hate to be a bother to people and i love the taste of a good steak every now and then.

    Sam @ fitness food & faith

  18. I’ve had that “debate” with myself before but it comes down to the fact that I don’t want to force myself into a label. If I buy meat, I buy it sustainably. If I want meat, I want to be able to have it and not “force” myself into being a vegetarian. Over the past 2 years, I’ve naturally gravitating away from meat as my main protein source and now I eat it 1-2 times a week at most. I’ve recently been turned off to ground beef and chicken and I think that’s my body’s way of saying “I don’t want that now” but, I’m not going to jump on the vegetarian bandwagon b/c of that. I’ll eat what I want without the label. I think it’s the best way to keep the pressure off.

  19. Great post! I’ve had that debate many times. I’ve been a vegetarian for a few years now and I gave meat up all at once. I love that you give so much thought to the meat industry even without being a vegetarian. To me, it’s not all about giving up meat completely (to each their own) – but just being aware of how your food got to your plate. 🙂

  20. Ohh this is a tough one for me that I often struggle with. I have always been very, very sensitive towards animals (more than people…which can be odd!) and I can cry instantly at the sight of a stray cat or dog. I just love animals so much.

    I’m not a vegetarian but I once was…I eat chicken and fish because I enjoy it and wanted to round out my diet. When I was a vegetarian I was tired and felt I lacked nutrients. When I eat meat, I seem to feel better…but who knows. Any how, I often debate in my mind to become a vegetarian again simply because of my love for animals. For now I try my best to eat organic meat…it doesn’t make me feel much better, but I guess it’s something.

    • Thanks for the honesty! I so often hear vegans/vegetarians saying their bodies feel so much better after moving away from meat but hardly ever hear people say the opposite. In fact, I even find it interesting when people say they felt no change in their body at all. To each her own!

  21. I have the world’s most sensitive stomach & I’ve found that cutting out meat made me feel a lot healthier… I don’t miss meat at all. I do sometimes (all the time) feel like the annoying girl when I go out to eat with people, not because I’m trying to push my vegetarian views, but because I obviously don’t want to go to a steakhouse or somewhere I know won’t be vegetarian-friendly. But if you love meat, don’t give it up, just make the choices you already do in terms of farm-raised / organic. I bought a vegetarian cookbook (Moosehead New Classics) and it’s really helped finding meatless meals, so that’s a thought too! Good luck –
    Oh and your cats are adorable 🙂

  22. I go through this debate in my head all the time! I know that factory farming is bad for animals and the enviroment and I feel better when I eat a mainly vegan diet, but I don’t think I could give up meat and animal products 100% right now. I love traveling and eating local cuisines and I would never want to be a picky American eater. I also have farmers in my family and know how important cattle are to their income (I’m talking small Kansas farm, not a big factory). I think everyone needs to eat the way that makes them feel best, rather its animal protein at every meal, or totally vegan, or somewhere in between.

  23. 1. I love the whole philosophy of your blog 🙂
    2. I’ve always been a meat eater, but I’ve had friends who have gone back and forth debating over whether or not they should be vegetarians/vegan

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