Saturday 31 January 2015

Food For Thought

I made the decision about a year ago to become vegetarian, or more accurately, a pescatarian, not just because the cost of meat is getting ridiculous and I usually just shoved it in the freezer and forgot about it for months, but because I realized when eating a bag of chicken wings, that an animal had been tortured in for me to enjoy food, but there was no enjoyment in eating it anymore. I felt sick and immensely guilty.

I remember looking at the chicken bones when I was done and thinking that I'd just eaten an animal. Sure everyone knows a chicken is an animal, but when you buy meat in a box, it just looks like meat with an animalistic name, you don't usually associate something formerly cute and fluffy with a consumable product.

I'd done a bit of research on it and knew that there were a LOT of horrors when it came to animal sacrifice and slaughter, and not just in the abattoir.

I think it was part of my 'getting into the uni spirit' that made me become so invested in animal rights, I mean I'd always been passionate about helping them, but knowing there were so many organizations available who believe in the same thing just made it that much easier and more inspiring to do something about it.

I also figured since I was so lazy when it came to cooking which saw me eating processed and more unhealthy foods, cutting most of the products out of my life would force me to source more appropriate foods for my diet.

When I advised my parents, mum didn't really understand it, telling me that animals were meant to be killed for us to eat, according to the bible. I told her I saw where she was coming from and I wasn't going against that, but I didn't agree with animals being mass-murdered to keep up with demand. Nothing deserves that kind of a life.

Luckily for me a close friend of mine was a vegetarian for a while a few years back and gave me plenty of tips and recommendations. She quit for health reasons which I thought was fair enough, and made perfect sense. She told me of various things she'd heard and read about the vegetarian or rather the vegan community and how they had very strong beliefs that their way of life was superior to others. We both thought it was completely stupid.

I told her that me becoming a vegetarian who only eats fish (pescatarian) is for my own reasons and I completely respect everyone else's choice regarding what they choose to eat. My dietary decisions are my business and everyone else's are theirs, I really don't care any other way.

Another close friend of mine was a vegan when I first met her. She told me she'd been one for quite a while and for the same or very similar reasons as me. She said she'd met a group of people who did have the pretentious attitude of thinking they were better than everyone else for not eating meat or animal products and she didn't take too kindly to it.

I told both of them that if the main reason someone had decided to alter their dietary choices was so they could claim they were better than everyone else for having done so, they weren't doing it right. It became more a game of power and superiority and less about being kind to animals which I saw as the entire point of it.

I've been incredibly fortunate that although my family aren't completely on par with my choices, they've supported me in them and even occasionally tried something they wouldn't normally, and surprised themselves by liking it.

A couple of other friends that I've talked to about it have reminded me of the resource argument, that if everyone became vegan or vegetarian, the planet wouldn't be able to survive because supply and demand would be too high. There would also be an excess of animals in the world and the land they eat and graze in would be used for human crops. It makes complete sense too which is why I've never pushed my choices onto anyone else. I've become a little bit more relaxed in my eating habits too. Occasionally I'll have takeaway with a variety of meats in it and don't guilt myself about it since the rest of the time I eat according to my new dietary choices.

I think for some people food is a very personal thing. It's also got to do with health choices and religious factors which sometimes people forget about. For me, it's just about being kind to animals, making sure I at least try to eat healthier and ultimately not being a pretentious douche about it.   

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