I’m not a vegetarian, never have been. Although, apparently I look like a vegetarian because I usually have to explain to coworkers (repeatedly) that I’m not vegetarian. And while I think it’s an interesting sociological point that if you are particular about food in any way you are immediately assumed to be vegetarian, that’s not what this post is about.
Well, mostly not. I do find it somewhat interesting that the obvious mental association most people have for “is meticulous/particular about food” equates to “must be vegetarian” and not “cares what kind of crap they put in their body”. I sort of wonder why in a country where most of the commercially available food is absolute junk, people would even wonder for a second why somebody might want to be particular about the food they consume. But I tend to write it off as simply the case that most people actually run on autopilot and believe the lie that convenience trumps all. “I don’t have time to eat healthy! I have to lower my standards to eat garbage because I’m so very, very busy!” is an incredibly persistent message that the food industry has been magnificently successful at communicating. It helps that it preys on two natural instincts humans already have by default – laziness and gluttony.
But I digress. What I actually meant to mention today is that I’ve noticed lately that I’ve lost my taste for meat. It hasn’t tasted good to me for several weeks now. It doesn’t taste bad, it just doesn’t appeal to me. It’s interesting to me because I’ve definitely had the reverse – I’ve had phases where certain foods were AMAZING and all I wanted to eat for a while. When I first went off of the VLCD I was all about the oatmeal with brown sugar. I would eat it for breakfast, then I’d come home sometimes and eat it for dinner. Couldn’t get enough. Just loved everything about it – the texture, the flavor, the way I could use oatmeal to deliver just a touch of crunchy brown sugary goodness, in the name of health, right to my tongue. Yum!
I’ve never had any kind of moral objection to meat (well, ok, there was a phase in high school where I went vegetarian for a few weeks – maybe months? – but it didn’t last). Meat’s never been something I craved in particular – I may be the only person who could honestly take or leave bacon. I don’t share the current fad for bacon. It’s ok, I’ll eat it, but I don’t lust after it and I certainly would never wear a shirt proclaiming its awesomeness. If bacon is the gateway meat, well, I’ll just linger here in the doorway then.
If I were in charge of cooking in my house we’d probably eat very little meat, as my lack of interest in it means that I never really learned how to choose, prepare or cook it. I tend to consider it more of a flavoring or a garnish in my cooking – a spice, really, to be used sparingly. I’m extremely conscious of the fact that an animal had to die for me to consume meat, so I’m also wary of buying more than I will use or screwing up a meat dish due to my inexperience and having to throw it away (effectively meaning that the animal that died for my meal died for nothing…a situation I am exceedingly uncomfortable with). I would say my relationship to eating meat has been somewhat complex. I had to think about it for a while when I first met my husband and learned that he hunts (but only for food – he always eats what he kills). Eventually what I came to was that I actually would prefer to eat food he has hunted, as the animal had a life in the wild, free from feedlots or commercial slaughter operations, and therefore is likely to have led a happier life before coming to my plate. It took me a while, but I did finally get around to that understanding.
Anyway, all of this is to say that lately, I seem to have picked up an aversion to meat. I suspect that it is a phase, or that it’s a sign to me that I need to make an effort to ensure that the meat I do consume is coming from a more humane source. I certainly have passed through other food phases without any lingering effects. I wasn’t eating all that much meat to begin with, and I don’t intend to go off it entirely, I just think that maybe for a little while I’ll need to look into my relationship with meat and re-examine my beliefs. Or it could just be that I don’t enjoy it all that much right now – taste buds do change and evolve over our lifetimes.
In the meantime, I’m totally happy to find protein from other sources – yogurt, cheese, nuts, tofu, etc.