Friday, April 4, 2008

So, what do you eat?!

It always makes me smile a little bit when I tell people I don't eat meat and their response is, "So what do you eat?!!!" Well, I eat all the other food that isn't meat. Mainly a whole lot of beans.
Becoming a vegetarian was like this, for me: my research into healthy-eating led me to decide I would only eat organically-fed, free-range meat. That kind of meat is both insanely expensive and very hard to find in Hawaii, so we just stopped buying/eating meat. Also, my religious beliefs advise that meat should be consumed during "times of winter, or of famine" and since it is always sunny here, and we aren't starving, I figured that supports my decision.

My primarily financial reasons for becoming a vegetarian have evolved, over time, to include many reasons to not consume meat. Here are a few of them:

- More than 70% of the grain raised in our country is used to feed farmed animals. "The world's cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people—more than the entire human population on Earth. About 20 percent of the world's population, or 1.4 billion people, could be fed with the grain and soybeans fed to U.S. cattle alone." quote from here

-I've done quite a bit of research on factory farming, and the way meat is raised and slaughtered in our country is terrible and disgusting. If you really want to stop eating meat, but don't know if you can kick the habit, try watching some of the mini-documentaries on youtube about slaughterhouses.

-Due to the way meat is slaughtered in our country, our meat supply is unsafe. Read Fast Food Nation for more information on that subject.

-It really bothers me to buy meat at the grocery store and have no idea where it came from. There is no way to know how the animal was slaughtered, how long ago the meat was processed, how long it has really been sitting on the store shelf.

Let me just add, that while we were in Morocco I did eat meat, without feeling guilty at all. In my mind it is very different to eat a goat that was raised by Mohamed's family, allowed to graze and wander around like goats were meant to do, and then ceremoniously and respectfully slaughtered. I still didn't love the taste, but at least I knew where the meat I was eating had come from, and how long the animal had been dead.

A few quotes on vegetarianism:

"The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? But rather, Can they suffer?" - Jeremy Bentham, 19th century Philosopher, Oxford University

"Many things made me become a vegetarian, among them the higher food yield as a solution to world hunger."– John Denver
And my favorite:
"You ask people why they have deer heads on the wall. They always say, ‘Because it’s such a beautiful animal.’ There you go. I think my mother’s attractive, but I have photographs of her." – Ellen DeGeneres


Caroline said...

I didn't know you were a vegetarian! I think it's great that you've done so much research on this topic and I think your family will be much healthier due to this choice.

On the topic of diet and Mormonism, I find it intriguing that some Mormons tout how healthy they are by abstaining from alcohol and smoking--yet they consume vast amounts of processed food. If we truly are to honor our bodies, then we must provide ourselves with healthy nutrients and vitamins. I know this is something I need to work on. Less Dr. Pepper and Wendy's and more carrots and peas!

Jana said...

This is what I love about you. I haven't seen you in, what, two years? You no longer eat meat, eagerly admit to being quite "granola" and continue to get more free-spirited as time goes on. When I read your blog I feel like so much has changed. When I talk to you, however, you're always the same old Jami I've known since 6th grade- supportive, a wonderful listener, goofy, and passionate. I was just thinking about this the other day after I finished talking to you. I realize I'm babbling, but I'm so glad we'll always be friends, with so many shared memories and shared ideals.

Oh yeah, and that Ellen Degeneres quote is hilarious.

Jami said...

Caroline- diet and Mormonism is certainly quite an interesting topic. My brother likes to say that food is the only addiction Mormons have left, so we like to EAT. Certainly seems true for me, and I am quite addicted to diet coke, although it has been three days and several headaches since my last sip.

Jana- I feel the same way about you. I love that we still have such ease and understanding in our conversation after all these years. I can't believe I haven't seen you in two years, could that be right? I guess so, now that I think of it. Anyway, thanks for your comment. Really made me happy.