Tuesday, March 26, 2013

On vegan/ vegetarianism.

Where do I begin on this subject. 

I eat meat. I love meat. I have 12 pictures of Kobe beef I ate at work the other day that almost brought me to tears by how delicious it was. )If you get the chance, REALLY get the chance, just take a bite. Make sure it is REAL Kobe beef. As a jumping off point, it sells wholesale at about $97/ lb. Those $12 Kobe beef sliders are not the real thing.)

I am slowly starting to have morality issues with the consumption of meat. It is not about killing animals because I believe that if done humanely, that is something the human race has done for a long, long time. 

I have no problem with anyone going out and killing their own food. I have no problem with people going to a butcher (preferably with the animals out back) and purchasing food. I have a problem going to the grocery store and purchasing ground beef that is possibly full of pink slime and is most definitely full of water. 

As an experiment, find good quality meat. Whatever you like. Chicken, beef, pork, whatever. And by good quality I mean, look the person in the eye who killed the meat. Or at the very least know they looked that person in the eye. Farmers markets are you best hope. Put that piece of meat in a pan with oil, salt and pepper. Do the same with the stuff from the grocery store. The following will happen; the good meat will probably run out of oil. It will have a gamey flavor that will be off putting to you. It will probably not be as tender. The grocery store meat will lose a lot of water, leaving the bottom of the pan quite moist. It will have a very mild flavor, one that is quite familiar to you. It will more tender. Tender might not be the word I am looking for...animals that are allowed to truly free range will have a completely different flavor and texture than what you are used to eating. What I am used to eating. 

Chicken tastes like something. So does beef and pork. If you take a bite of chicken and a bite of pork and can't tell the difference, either you smoke two packs a day and suck on acid or you are buying really shitty meat. 

Let me clarify something here: I am not stating this from a high horse. I have a freezer full of really shitty meat. I am struggling to find a butcher I can conveniently get to AND afford. One that I can form a relationship with and trust. Because that is how it is supposed to be. 

I just wrote a two page essay on becoming a vegan where all I talked about is meat. It's not just about that. It's about the economic repercussions of eating meat. What it does to our environment. What it does to our food system. 

I have been trying to eat less meat, focusing on meat only one meal a day. I would like to eat more fish, but the boy is anti fish and frankly I am not sure that it is much better. 

I suppose that the conclusion I am coming to here is that I think about it a lot and I don't know what to think. 

Vegans spend a lot of time recreating "protein" from chemicals and I do not necessarily agree with that.

I could get on board with being vegetarian for the most part, making exceptions for proteins that I know are responsibly raised. 

I would then have to spend money on protein for the boy who would absolutely not be on board with this plan, so wouldn't I end up wanting a bite of his steak he is eating 2 feet away? We all know self control is not my strong point. 

Then there is the whole how do I do my job aspect of this decision. The easy conclusion is to just shut up and take a bite out of a cow, but I am not sure that is the decision my heard is leaning towards. 

I will never call myself a vegetarian. Or a vegan. Or any trendy food consumption title. And maybe that is where my struggle is. Maybe I just make the boy that grilled chicken and make myself something else. And see how that works for a while. Eat meat when it suits me but let the pressure go to eat it because everybody else is eating it around me. Or just eat it when the mood strikes me. 

Ugh. What are all of your views on meat consumption and humanely raised meat? I need some insight here.


Brooke said...

We've talked about this already. :) I prefer calling our diet plant-based, and eat meat - as you said - when I know where it comes from, and when the mood strikes me. We don't make a big deal about it with friends or eating at restaurants that don't specifically cater to this crowd (which, honestly, isn't that often anyway), and don't force the kids to eat differently when they are around their friends, mostly because we try not to be aholes about it. It's a preference, not a requirement. I don't like the pseudo-meats that a lot of vegans use, and neither does anyone in my family, so we get protein from vegetable sources, beans, and lentils. Doing the research on protein, it's actually a lot easier than most people think to get protein this way... plus you get other vitamins that you don't get from meat. We also found a doctor that specializes in holistic stuff, so that we can monitor our nutrient levels (especially for B, who is naturally deficient in several things, and the kids, just so we know they aren't missing out!) and when in doubt or if there is concern, we would supplement...

Mrs. Case said...

Eh, I suppose I have thoughts about this, too. I have a lot of mixed emotions. My parents were both raised in poverty. The difference is that on my father's side an effort was always made to prepare homemade food with fresh ingredients. On my mother's, they were lucky to share a can of spam.

Growing up, my mom always tried to put a veggie on our plate, a huge upgrade given how she was raised. Still, we ate a lot of crap.

Now that I have my own kid, and now that I am fat (go figure!) I am keenly more interested in what my son puts into his body, adn us as a whole. Since he is a toddler, it is quite common for him to reject veggies. Still, I insist on putting a fresh veggie and fruit on his plate, even if he rejects it. I continuously offe the same foods and introduce new ones in hopes he will at least try it.

This week we bought our first home. I won't lie, unhealthy food is healthier than cheap food. With some intentional planning and a recipe service, we stand a better chance of buying better quality foods. I fantaszie about being vegetarian even though my husband would rather chew glass than give up meat. Quality meats are really expensive, but at the same time I think we could stand to eat smaller portions so maybe it is jusitfiable. In our teeny tiny po-dunk, Nowhere TX town, buying organic is cost prohibitive. One night we suffered a lapse in judgement and decided to try The Golden Corrale since all our friends raved about it. I am overweight but compared to the other patrons I was downright thin. Very sad.

Anyway, I know I am rambling. It's jut hard because sometimes the decision comes down to watery chicken or a mcnugget. I'm going to have to have to salvage the watery chicken, let alone even consider the free-range bird I would to drive 30 miles to buy. Such a shame.

Mrs. Case said...

And sorry for the 10,000 typos. I don't know what is wrong with my brain! How embarassing!