I was a vegetarian for 19 months. I loved it and found it pretty easy, but by the end I was getting very light-headed and wasn’t able to walk for more than 40 minutes, much less exercise. I started eating meat again and, after initially feeling heavy and a little sick, the light-headedness went away and I was okay to do as many squats as I fancied*.
I often think about going back to being veg, but there are a few things stopping me:
1. I’ve become so used to eating meat again that I can’t remember what I used to eat and don’t know how I’ll manage without it. Seems silly, I know, but it’s true and has happened to a few people I know who have gone back to meat from veg.
2. I don’t want to get the dizzies again.
3. Bacon and shrimp are delicious. Especially together.
But when I think about eating meat, I get sad and angry and disgusted with:
1. The treatment and suffering of animals.
2. The horrible effect factory farming has on the environment.
3. Animals are cute have personalities and shit so we shouldn’t kill them.
What I’ve decided (pretty recently, actually) is that instead of going full veg again, I’m just going to limit my meat intake. I don’t eat much meat as it is, but maybe instead of 5 meat meals each week, I cut down to three. One chicken breast instead of two. That sort’ve thing. I’m also going to try to buy local, free-range, farm raised, blah blah etc. meat instead of bulk factory stuff. It’s more expensive, yes, but if I’m not buying much of it, then it shouldn’t be a big deal. I’ve already switched from cheapo eggs to local, free-range eggs (the difference is about $1.50) and I like it. It makes me feel good to be doing something good. I once heard “every time you use your wallet you’re casting a vote”, and I think that’s true.
My good friend has been vegetarian for a few years now, hasn’t experienced any side-effects I’m aware of, and is veg for the same reason I was. The other night we were chatting and he mentioned that he was considering a pair of boots from Roots. Leather boots from Roots (for his foots!). He was conflicted! He doesn’t eat animals and doesn’t like leather…but these boots are good quality, durable, Canadian-made, and will stand up to Canadian winter. He then confessed that he was thinking about adding meat back into his diet. Again, conflicted! What do you do when you don’t agree with eating meat, but you want to eat it every now and then? He joked and said that he was going to start only eating salmon plucked by Native fishermen from the salmon run. Better than fish factories, but not super possible unless you’re David Suzuki.
I feel for my friend, I really do. I remember what I felt like when I started eating meat again and I know how conflicted I feel now. It sucks! How do you do what you want when it’s not strictly what you think is right?
Many environmental sites tell people to focus on one or two things they can do to change the environment and help change the world. They call on adults, kids, young and old to focus on just a few ideas and pledge to stick by them to make the world a better place. It’s a great way to get an “average Joe” to do something great for the planet, but what about when you’re an “above average Joe”? When you already use canvas bags and turn off the lights and have one meatless day a week? When we are already living our lives with the environment in the front of our minds, it seems that deviating from that path is a HUGE setback for the planet and for our moral fiber. It’s not, of course. If you’re already doing great things for the environment (maybe more than most people) then getting a burger or treating yourself to a cab ride home is okay. Every little bit helps and is a step in the right direction…but that doesn’t necessarily mean that every little deviation is a step down the wrong path. It’s like dieting: you can’t cut out chocolate completely. Okay, at least I can’t. I hate diets.
I feel for my friend and his conflicting mind, but I don’t think it would be terrible if he started eating meat once or twice a week. He buys local and organic food, supports local businesses, grows vegetables in the summer, rides a bike, uses fancy natural soap and even gets drunk off Ontario wine. He’s a good guy. Do his good acts outweigh the badness of eating meat? Hard to say. Maybe not totally, but it’s not like he’s going to start eating meat and start driving a car from here to the corner store. It’s just a piece of fish once in a while.
See, now I’m all conflicted and am going back and forth in my half-argument here. I don’t even know what I think and my kind’ve-well-written piece is turning into something else.
In conclusion, check this video out:
*Let’s be serious. I didn’t do that many squats.