Friday, January 29, 2010

To Meat or Not to Meat

These biological urges are the real deal. First, we decided it was time to start going to church exactly a year before I got pregnant with my oldest son. Now we've hit our mid-thirties and the clock says, "time to take a serious look at what we're putting in our bodies."

MMA and I are curiously in tandem, again. We've both been feeling ambivalent towards meat. (We've also broached our high fructose corn syrup and MSG problems, but that's for another day.) I don't think this is an accident. I think there is a greater force at work, a beacon of light that's even brighter than the fast food neon.

If you'd asked me a few weeks ago where I was in my vegetarian walk (because none of us are getting any younger) I would have said, "I haven't laced up my shoes." I love me some Texas BBQ, bacon nineteen different ways, elaborate burgers that fall apart and drip down your hands...I could go on Liz Lemon-like about our meat fetish. Didn't I list
bacon bits IN THIS VERY BLOG as one of my favorite things?

Well. All of the sudden, meat is starting to gross me out
even while I'm enjoying it for dinner. MMA, too!?!

What has gotten into us?

My 4 year old just realized that the "chicken" that we eat almost daily was once an animal just like the chickens at the zoo. And thanks to Chick fil A's brilliant marketing, he has worked it out in his little head that a hamburger was once a cow. And he's got a healthy pensiveness about it.

I, myself, made a conscious decision years ago to put that inconvenient truth out of my head and just enjoy steak night with a little garlic butter and beer. I do my best not to waste meat, you see, and so I feel better about eating the flesh of another animal.

Thanks to MMA, we stopped eating most bone-in meats because he found it unseemly. I never understood that until now because everyone knows that meat cooked on the bone tastes so much better. But, its a little harder to deny what you're eating when a bone makes your dinner an identifiable body part.

And by that token, it is so easy to reconcile the standard frozen chicken tender in your head. It's just a preformed meat-like substance supped up with hormones, saline solution and encrusted in God-only-knows-what to make it pleasantly palatable. I mean, did an
actual chicken have to die?

virtual chicken. My marketing guy is already working on the T-shirts.

I'm no tree hugger. I'm not even an animal hugger. There, I said it. I don't even like live animals that much. I will not be carrying a PETA card or trading in my leather shoes anytime soon. But it cannot be coincidence that I have been bombarded with such disgusting meat imagery lately. To the point that I must reconsider my diet of probably thirty percent meat. (Don't judge.)

Exhibit A) There is a ziplock bag of turkey left over from Christmas in my fridge. I meant to spin it into some kind of casserole and never did and now I feel too guilty to throw it away. I wish an elf would magically take this problem off my hands. (MMA will not make it easy and throw it away because he told me not to make a whole turkey in the first place.)

Exhibit B) I got the pink slime email...did you? Regardless of what I should have known and/or chose to believe before reading the NY Times article, I now know too much. I heard somewhere that a typical fast food hamburger was literally made from the meat of hundreds if not thousands of cows. I can now fathom how this is possible.

Exhibit C) I also saw the show discussed here about a guy eating roadkill. BY CHOICE. My eyes were tearing up as a precursor to dry heaving before he even loaded the carrion into his car. By the time he served up his badger head and seagull stew, I was asking myself what starvation scenario would it take?

Urp coming on.

Since I'm not really motivated by environmental or moral considerations this must be the weakest embargo ever:

Meat is gross (right now.)


simpledaisy said...

I don't eat meat & haven't for about 20 years!! But I think it's a very personal choice. I tried to go vegan for awhile but I missed too many things, so it didin't last!
Great post & i'm sure you'll do what ultimately works best for you!!

Magic Brush said...

My husband and I have been trying to eat "mostly vegan" since August. I love meat.... I am not a PETA person... but the meat and dairy is full of gross stuff. Here are the big 3 books I read that changed our eating habits:

Skinny Bitch
Healthy at 100
What would Jesus Eat
The Omnivores Dilemma: Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Plants. (the author was on Oprah last week)

Those books... all coming from different angles...all say the same thing.... limit your meat and dairy intake.

Woman Interrupted said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

If you are worried about what is going into the meat you eat then I have 2 suggestions.
#1- Eat only whole cuts of meat, not ground or processed
#2- Try to purchase organic or, even better, kosher meat. I'm not Jewish, but I know they have very stringent rules about how animals are killed and processed.
If you find you are having a hard time giving it up completely then try smaller portions.

Aggie2percenter said...

I am waffling on the meat issue. My stomach is starting to feel better (I've been sick lately) and I think I'm changing my tune.

The Blonde Duck said...

Popped in to say hi! I'm a huge meat eater, but my husband isn't.

chacha said...

Yeah, I kind of feel the same way, but I was more driven by how they kill the animals and also the environmental impact of it. So, it'll be an added bonus if you eat less meat - you'll be helping the environment.

Recently, I fell fully off the veg wagon. I had back-slid into fish, the into chicken, and now, with the training for a half marathon I got crazy beef cravings. So I caved. But I still eat very little pig and cow.

The American Homemaker said...

I like meat :) We typically do a couple of meatless dinners a week, and I'm sure I'd survive without it just fine, but I don't know that I would ever go vegetarian. I think that meat should be eaten in moderation, but I also think that animals were put on this earth for a purpose.

And if you click on the vintage popcorn picture in my popcorn posting it will enlarge and then you can right click it and save it to make labels with :)

Live.Love.Eat said...

We love meat but as with anything else, we have it in moderation. And we buy certain cuts. A steak once a month is just fine by us.

You'll decide what's good for you!