Monday, July 30, 2007

To Veg or Not to Veg

Is that the question? No. What is a vegetarian?- that is the question.
When I was growing up, I pretty much knew there were animals, minerals and vegetables. That is not really the case anymore, but for most things it still works. I think yeast is in some other class now, but I don't spend much time worrying about it. SO, I always thought that a vegetarian was a person who did not eat meat- no chicken, fish, or animal flesh. But I did think that milk and eggs were OK, since they were not flesh. OH, NO! I was wrong. It is NO ANIMAL PRODUCTS- because little boy cows are killed to keep the milk flowing and little eggs are chicken embryos waiting to hatch. Hmmm.
This is a bit harder for me because I really like cheese and eggs, and because the soybean is pretty yechy to me unless you go to extremes to make it taste better. I can eat young soybeans- well cooked with a bit of salt- but the other stuff like soy milk and soy cheese, tofu, etc. Well I just don't like it all that much. It could never be a big part of my diet. Also, there is all that balancing of proteins that has to happen to make sure you get all the essentials. Eggs would make it so much simpler, and not everyone of them is a little embryo waiting to get out. But then...
I found out that it isn't just about vegetables, but they must be RAW vegetables. Not steamed or stir fried, but very raw and fresh. The life force of the plant is transferred to your body to sustain you when you eat raw fruits and vegetables fresh picked now. Every minute they are off the plant, they are losing their life force until they are pretty much useless after three days. Grocery stores are bad because the fruits and vegetables are like little mummies by the time they get to you. I have to admit that fresh fruits and vegetables taste the best, and I like a lot of them raw, but I also like them cooked. And I am not so sure about that life force thing. Part of me still believes in calories and my own ability to use them.
So, lets go back to that Ovo/lacto Vegetarian concept (eggs and cheese and veges). This is probably the most common of the vegetarians I know. I can cook a lot of these foods and love them, even though I eat meat, too. But lately, there is another type of vegetarian- Pescatarian. This is eggs, milk, FISH and vegetables. And then there are some that just don't eat RED MEAT. They claim to be vegetarian, too. I mean Chicken/egg what's the difference. And Buddha thought oysters were OK, so all fish must be fair game.
And to make it all worse, everyone changes their minds every year. If you want to lose weight you can't be eating all those vege/fruit carbs. People you thought were one way, gain five pounds and become the other way at a drop of the fork. Just as I get a great bunch of recipes for my friends and family, I find they are flapping the steaks on the grill and eating store bought mixed green salad.
The definition of vegetarian seems to be "I think I am, therefore I am."
So I offer no pretense, I have no convictions, I am not making a statement. I eat animal flesh, animal products, vegetables and fruits that have been processed, grains not sprouted, and yeast. But I do try to minimize my impact on the earth as best as I can. There are many meatless meals. I am not wasteful- the carcass and bones become soup. I make the next dinner with the leftovers. I compost as much as possible. And I am grateful for every little animal and plant (and yeast) who gave its life for my meal.


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Rebsie Fairholm said...

A good overview of the terminology and the dilemmas!

I've been vegetarian (that is, an egg and dairy eater type) for 16 years and I don't miss meat. It bothers me that milk and egg production is not humane, but for me giving those up would be a step too far. I try to buy them from sources that promote responsible farming and animal welfare, but that isn't always possible.

Personal choice and individual conscience has to be the way to go, I think!