Carnivores, Omnivores, and Herbivores, oh my!

7 years ago

I’m an omnivore.

I will probably always be an omnivore.

I don’t think I will ever completely cut meat out of my diet.  I only eat meat every once in a rare while–one or three times a month, usually.  I’ve stopped preparing food with meat in it.  I like to think that by eating meat so rarely, I’m allowing myself to be picky about it.  If I only buy chicken once a month, I can be sure to pick the cleanest, most organic chicken out there.  If I only have a hamburger once a month, I don’t have to feel bad about having an expensive organic one at some ritzy burger joint.

I pretty strongly believe that generally most people in Western culture eat too much meat.  We don’t need meat with every meal, we really don’t.  Meat does not a meal make; just because dinner does not have meat in it does not make it incomplete–contrary to the beliefs of many people I know.  But, whatevs.  It’s your body, diet, and business–not mine.

As for eggs, I eat them almost every day.  They are one of my primary sources of protein, and besides–eggs are awesome!  Have some leftovers?  Scramble them in some eggs for instant and easy deliciousness.  Need a fast, filling, and healthy brekkie?  Fried egg on a piece of whole-grain toast works great–protein, complex carbs, and throw in a piece of fruit to round out the deal.

It would be possible for me to become a vegetarian someday, but–I don’t want to.  I like a little meat sometimes, and when I find my body craving a hamburger, I believe it’s because I need the iron in red meat.  I don’t want to limit my body from receiving the vitamins and minerals it may need to stay healthy.  I can make the choices to eat animal-products that are raised in an ethical, sustainable manner when I need them.

That said, I am not inclined to judge those who choose to eat a fully vegetarian or vegan diet.  I believe there’s strong evidence that some people can sustain their health while only eating plant-based foods.  Key words: some people.  Not all people.

For example, I read an interesting blog today that was tweeted by @FoodieFitness (if you’re not following her, you should be; she’s a riot!).  Entitled “Vegan No More,” it was written by a self-described “vegangelical.”

Side note: One of the things that has always turned me off about veganism (and please forgive me for the sweeping generalizations) is not the limitation to plant-based foods; it’s the distinct aura of self-righteousness that surrounds most vegans I have actually met in real life.  Thankfully, the internet and its healthy living community has introduced me to vegans who display the same sort of respect for others that I hope to see from believers of religion: people who are proud of their choices and will tell you about them if you ask, but do not force them on you and do not judge you for not making the same decision.  In fact, I feel like anyone who has made political, religious, or diet-related beliefs that they feel they need to share and attempt to enforce on everyone they come in contact with should keep this quote in mind:

“Religion [or politics or veganism or whatever belief you have that you think everyone else needs to have too or else they're a terrible person/going to hell/killing the Earth/stupid/etc.] is like a penis.

It’s fine to have one.

It’s fine to be proud of it.

But please don’t whip it out in public and start waving it around.

And PLEASE don’t try to shove it down my children’s throats.”

ANYHOW. ahem.  Just my two cents.  Now back on track.

So Tasha, the former Voracious Vegan, recently announced on her blog that she is a Vegan No More.  Her struggle to remain healthy on a vegan diet became too much of an issue; according to her blog, she was constantly tired and sinking into depression due to the vitamins and minerals that were missing in her diet.  What most interested me was Tasha’s explanation of how and why she had come to the conclusion that in fact, her change of diet was more in tune with her political ideals and beliefs than veganism had been.

I don’t want to say too much, because I think anyone who is vegan, is considering becoming vegan, or is just interested in the politics of food should read Tasha’s blog themselves, and then do some research and see if they agree with her.  But at a very basic level, here are the points she makes:

  • The large amounts of grains & corn we were growing led to the factory farming industry as we know it.  We grow more grains than we need.  If we grew less, consumption would focus on locally & sustainably grown produce.
  • Cutting yourself off from all animal products cuts you off from “the circle of life.”  We are all part of a cycle of life and death.
  • Why are the deaths caused by a vegan diet more acceptable than deaths caused by non-vegan diets?
  • The true way to address world hunger and help heal our planet is to slow the tide of population growth and begin to focus on local plant and animal foods.

The points Tasha makes seem valid to me; however, I need to research and educate myself on the topic.  I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t read any of the recent books on food and food politics yet; I’ve intended to read The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food for quite some time, but haven’t done so at this point.  I plan to get on them before the end of the year now, and if anyone has any good recommendations of others, please let me know.  I have a basic understanding of the issues at hand, and realize the importance of purchasing locally grown organic products, but I should definitely know more about where my food comes from and why it’s important.

Any thoughts you want to share will be appreciated!  I find this to be a very interesting topic…I want to know how other people feel, vegan or not.

Fallon blogs at http://www.fallonshealthylife.com and can also be found on Twitter as Fallonrella

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