I've been watching a lot of "healthy eating" documentaries recently, from the effects of the American Diet on our health to eating McDonalds for a month straight to growing and eating your own foods. Most of these tend to promote a mostly (if not complete) vegetarian or vegan diet which I completely agree is the healthiest of options, if done in a balanced way. This morning I watched yet another documentary, Vegucated, which follows three meat-eating New Yorkers for six weeks as they switch to a vegan diet. Most of these types of documentaries talk about the cruel conditions under which animals raised for food are kept, the effects on the environment, etc. Vegucated does this as well but part of the six week program for the three volunteers included showing them exactly what happens in feed lots, on kill floors and the brutal slaughtering process these animals are often put through. Normally when things like this come on or I see links to videos/articles on sites like PETA, I ignore them or move onto something else without watching or reading; I know that its not pleasant and that they're treated unnecessarily cruelly. I don't need to watch it again.
And yet, I did. And I was horrified. Revolted. Moved to tears. And sick to my stomach. There's something completely different between knowing intellectually what happens to these animals and the visceral, gut-wrenching reaction you feel when you see it happen. I spent much of my morning in tears, disgusted by what I watched, hugging my cat and dampening his fur with my tears. While I'm sure if he understood the reason why, he'd have accepted my affection but he didn't so he was justifiably annoyed.
For a few weeks now, I've been reducing the amount of meat I've been eating - its been one of those stages where the thought of the texture of meat in my mouth (esp. chicken) makes me nauseous. I go through this sort of thing once or twice a year. And I've been considering doing another week-long veggie challenge - something else I usually do at least once a year. After watching Vegucated this morning? I'm moving to a mostly vegetarian diet immediately. I'm not giving up meat entirely, at least not yet. And I have no plans to become a vegan anytime soon - I'm not willing to give up cheese. Not just yet anyways. Meat will be limited to a couple of meals a week, if that. Bacon's going to be difficult.
|Ahhh Springtime in #yeg|
There is no need for me to eat meat. I ate it because I was raised a meat eater, told it was the best source of protein for my body, and we were meant to eat animals. I cannot justify eating animals on a daily basis to myself any longer. I'm not judging anyone else - everyone is free to decide for themselves. If you eat meat, that's fine. If you don't, good for you! This is a personal choice I'm making for a variety of reasons and one that's been a long time coming. I'm not looking to convert anyone to the "cause".
One slightly off-topic note... The film also follows all three participants on vacation and one of them heads to the UK. While there, she visited a vegetarian restaurant in London that looked and sounded familiar. So, I went to the Google and looked it up. OMG! It was the exact same little restaurant that the lovely and absolutely delightful Ms. Paola took me to when I met up with her on my first full day in the city!!!! If you find yourself in London and are looking for a place to eat that's vegetarian friendly (and has vegan and gluten-free options available), check out Food for Thought.