August 10, 2015

Why I Cannot Continue Eating Meat while Crying over Cecil.


When I started eating meat again five years ago (after 10 years of not) it wasn’t an easy choice.

Well taking that back a second, the first bite of BBQ chicken was an overwhelming physical craving.

It wasn’t a conscious choice.

It was a perceived need from some deep rooted place and I could think of nothing else until it was in my hands.

Continuing to eat meat, that was tough.

The meat I ate was ethically raised and bought at local markets from local farmers. I abstained when I went out.

Then life on the road had me slipping. The vegetarian options at restaurants were so calorie laden in an attempt to use butter to cover up lack of skill, that it became an easy choice to just choose the chicken breast, trying not to think of where it came from.

Like anything, after a while, it became even easier to just not think about it.

I ate it all, and relished it, from cured meat platters, to rib-eyes, to foie gras so smooth it melted in my mouth. I told myself I would draw the line at veal, and I did, because in some sort of way eating a grown up cow felt less wrong. I could never eat a baby one, sort of like the right-to-life folks who believe in the death penalty.

Some days I felt fine.

This is what we humans do.

Isn’t it?

We are at the top of the food chain and it’s my right to eat what I want.

When I paused to be mindful and think about it I recognized the disconnect and it felt like sh*t.

The other day I struck a bird while driving. It had been hit by by another car and came tumbling into my lane. The bird’s floundering terror-struck face leaving me no other choice but to keep going.

I spent the remainder of my drive in to work crying.

The irony was not lost on me when I ate my chicken for lunch.

Who am I to say one life is more precious than another?

And all the outrage over Cecil, the beautiful black maned lion killed in Africa started me thinking.:

Why are we so enraged over the killing of one beautiful life, and feel completely okay taking countless other lives every day? How could I live a life that broke my heart and had my eyes wet with tears because I was participating everyday in the slaughter of hundreds of other innocent beautiful creatures?

I felt inauthentic even liking people’s tweets and Facebook posts about it.

I felt like a fraud.

So I began to wonder.

What would happen if I worked on aligning my heart and beliefs with my actions? Wouldn’t the easiest place to start be on my plate?

I have complete control over what I bring into my home and into my body. Why should I choose everyday to go against everything I hold in myself to be true?

I cooked up the meat I had in my house. Portioned it out for meals for my gorgeous hound. Made a stock from the bones I’m giving to my beautiful momma and replaced it all with veggies and beans and pinned countless recipes on Pinterest, all in hopes of remembering exactly how to feed myself with a mostly plant based diet.

Its been only a week (not long enough to plant my flag in the sand and call myself a vegetarian again). I’m only telling people I prefer not to eat meat right now. I’m not ready to make a big declaration that I cannot continue my life eating meat while crying over the death of an unrelated animal just because that animal is not my dinner.

I won’t even pretend I don’t miss meat and that the smell of bacon frying doesn’t have my mouth salivating and my tummy rumbling.

For me I know that my heart sits easier when it feels authentic when my actions and choices reflect my beliefs.

I’m still working on lining up the rest. There’s a whole lot of disconnect in my life but this choice feels easy and obvious and ultimately right.

Now to work on the rest of those actions…



Why Vegetarianism is Sexy.


Author: Meghan Lintner

Apprentice Editor: Kathryn Mary/Editor: Travis May

Photos: Iwan Wolkow/Flickr & DrHobo/Flickr

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