30 day trial: going veggie
I've decided quite recently that I think I want to be a vegetarian. It has taken me a while to get to this point because I do not have one huge overarching reason to do it. However, I do have several small reasons that make me want to try it out...
I think it's going to be a challenge
The biggest issue with me going veggie is really just my mental fortitude. Since, I don't really want to impose my views on anyone else other than myself (including my family), I'm gonna have to do mealtime as a one-off all over the place- at home, at friends' houses, etc. I'm going to have to deal with explaining myself (to people who know me), preparing separate meals from the family, trying not to lose weight, and getting a balanced diet/overall health. I'm not sure how this compares but it feels a little like a smoker trying to quit when their entire family smokes. Obviously meat isn't addictive (is it?) but I definitely feel some anxiety over switching. Ok then why am I willing to try it?
I don't like unnecessary killing
I think I have a pretty consistent view about killing in general. I think that if a human life is in immediate danger, or needs something that an animal can provide, it is fine to kill the animal; otherwise, it seems unnecessary and inhumane. So if you're starving or without adequate protection from the cold or it's you or the animal, then I wouldn't hesitate for a second. So I guess I have a moral objection to how we treat animals. As a side note, I'm a guy who doesn't like to kill insects who happened to wander into the house either... I just put them back outside. I'm not sure where this instinct comes from but Jolie (my wife) kind of thinks I'm nuts.
My point is that if we don't have to kill stuff, we shouldn't. We have plenty of manmade materials that help us stay protected from the outside elements and plenty of non-meat food to keep our bellies full.
Random stat: Around eight billion animals are killed for food every year in the U.S. alone -- a number greater than the entire human population of the planet. Each meat-eating American eats the equivalent of about 24 animals per year.
Food manufacturing is dirty
The process of turning animal into small packages is pretty unsanitary. I mean we've all seen the videos of animals wading around in there own excrement, nasty bacterial contamination and gross living conditions for the animals in general. After watching something like Food, Inc. people usually do some kind of cognitive dissonance to feel better about eating meat.
Now I've heard the just use organic, free-range, nice-to-animals argument as well. Several religious groups use halal/kosher concepts to make people feel better about the cleanliness but I just don't buy the argument. I think it's just like when Homer visits the Duff brewery and we figure out that Duff, Duff Lite and Duff Dry all come from the same pipe.
Raising Cattle is pretty wasteful (source)
The toll on natural resources is pretty big. Here's some stats:
- Livestock eat several times more grain than they produce as meat using:
- several times as much land to grow the grain to feed them
- several times as much energy to harvest the grain and transport it
- several times as much water to grow the grain and to water the animals
- several times as much pesticides, etc.
- Over half of the water used in the U.S. is used to grow feed for livestock.
- U.S. Livestock produce 250,000 pounds of waste per second. The meat industry account for three times as much harmful organic waste as the rest of the industries in the U.S. combined.
- It takes ten times as much land to produce food for an average American compared to a pure vegetarian.
Week 1 Update (03/12 - 03/19)
I had a few cravings in the first couple of days but nothing too bad. The real problem was a dinner party where we made pulled pork, and pizzas-- two of my favorite meat laden dishes. I've maintained my weight and don't feel hungry or anything.
I've had to explain my choice to my family. In person, I got some shrugs and kind of an ok whatever you want to do kind of attitude. Behind my back(ish), I heard that my family kind of thinks I'm nuts. They've had this point of view for a little while now because of my political views but this decision moves the needle all the way to whacko, leftist, tree-hugging commie for them.
Rating: Screw This <--------------|---------------->I'm sticking with it.
Week 2 Update (03/19 - 03/26)
Actually put on a few pounds. I think this is because I'm eating too much. I'm still working on the proper portion size without meat. I've had to explain my decision to friends and got the same kind of shrugs I got from my family but also got the make sure you get your iron and other kinds of nutritional concerns. I don't really miss meat all that much but I could get a burger pretty easily.
Rating: Screw This <--------------------|---------->I'm sticking with it.
Week 3-4 (03/27 - 04/12)
No problem keeping with the diet (as in the food I eat, not the starving oneself meaning). I didn't have any beef cravings or anything like that. I am actually quite surprised by this and definitely don't think it is like quitting smoking anymore.
Rating: Screw This <-----------------------|------->I'm sticking with it