I posted this about a year ago on GDF, but never on my blog. I had a brief brush with *shudders* vegetarianism in my youth.
Grab a comfy pillow or a bean bag chair boys and gals, it’s STORY TIME! 8)
Many moons ago now, I had a brief run in with vegetarianism. I somehow got it into my head at the time that eating animals was ‘wrong’. Of course, my Dad being a lifelong hunter and fisherman just laughed, and told me “Hey, whatever floats your boat, son. Have at it, it won’t last long.” Oh yes it will, says I. This is my ‘new’ way of life, says I again.
This went on for about a month or so with mixed results. I was young, and dumb, and full of crumbs, and couldn’t possibly have any idea what I was doing to myself health-wise. I lost about 10 pounds or so as I went from eating meat and potatoes to eating mostly fruit.
So mother was all concerned and father said “Don’t sweat it, the kid can’t possibly be that stupid. It’s just a phase.”
But mother took matters into her own hands. She called up my uncle and he arranged to take her and I out to dinner. To Red Lobster. I had no idea where we were going, just that we were going ‘out’ to eat, which in and of itself was an incredibly rare occurrence. We were also going out with my uncle, which means it would be a ‘good’ restaurant, and not some place crappy like McDonalds. My uncle also wasn’t ‘cheap’ when he took folks out to eat. It was a time to enjoy yourself, and get something nice that you normally didn’t get. Half the time, he’d order the most expensive item on the menu just to see whether it was worth it or not.
So, anyway, there we were and I’m pretty upset by this time, thinking that I’m getting the shaft by going out to eat at a nice place that has nothing I can eat but a salad.
My uncle tells me to “Order whatever you want, but you have to eat it all, and it has to be some form of meat. If you don’t want meat, then order fish. We Catholics lie to ourselves all the time about that one, since it’s an animal, but somehow not considered meat. Good Friday and all that stuff.” He was of course, just messing with me, as he was wont to do.
Earlier my Mom had told me to make sure not to eat anything so that I was really hungry because we were going out with my uncle, and she didn’t want me filling up.
So, by the time dinner with uncle came around I was REALLY darn hungry, not having eaten since breakfast. I had no idea what to order, so my uncle ordered an appetizer. it was shrimp scampi.
I was so hungry by this time, I didn’t care. I snarfed one and about died in gastronomic shock. Garlic, and butter, and YUM!
I’d never had shrimp scampi before. Heck, I’d never had SHRIMP before. To say it was good would be the understatement of the century. I knew what shrimp were. Sea bugs. I had nothing against eating bugs, sea or otherwise, and my uncle knew this. They weren’t cute and didn’t look at me with sad eyes before I ate them, which was my excuse for not eating beef, pork, chicken, and bunnies. He’d planned this all along.
So, we polished off that appetizer and I ordered the biggest Admiral’s Platter of shrimp they had. Some $30 worth of 3 or 4 different shrimp styles. Butterfly shrimp, shrimp scampi again (YUM!), popcorn shrimp, and beer batter shrimp. Also served on the side was darn near endless snow crab legs with hot melted butter. I think I ate 3 orders of it, as that portion of the meal was ‘all you can eat’.
After this dinner, I pretty much gave up on vegetarianism. I hadn’t eaten any land animals that night, but I was forced to look at the reasons I was going vegetarian to begin with.
They were all pretty spotty. I didn’t want to hurt animals, but I was perfectly OK with destroying thousands of plants instead. Plants who didn’t do anything, but were destined to die to feed me. The only difference was the animals were ‘cute’, and the plants were not. As a human, we still must destroy and consume matter in order that we may live. So, I thought it was rather hypocritical of me to select one ‘favored’ type of life to consume at the exclusion of all others. Life is life. Why should one kind be raised above the other? So, I resolved to eat an equal share of plants and animals as most other humans had done before me since the dawn of humankind. It seemed the most proper, natural, healthy, and ‘ethical’ thing to do.
I spoke with my uncle some time after giving up my whole vegetarian stretch, and asked him how he knew I’d give it up. He said that he’d gone down that path once before himself, for about 15 years, as he was after all a baby boomer and it is the supposedly ‘ecological’ and ‘green’ thing to do. He finished up with the statement that it’s all crap, leads to all kinds of bad health in later years, and that the best thing I could ever do for myself was do my OWN darn research and never trust what some clinical study said about anything. Turns out the old fellow was quite right. Thanks uncle.
Strict vegetarianism is just cruelty to plants. Singling out a particular form of life to kill and consume, because it doesn’t look at us with sad doe-colored eyes, and we don’t have to get our hands all ‘icky’ by cleaning and gutting it. When one large animal (one life) could have sustained you and your family an entire winter if judiciously prepared. But instead, you need to consume hundreds, possibly thousands of pounds of plants instead. Now that leaves one heck of a ‘carbon footprint’. 😉
But really, I have no problems with real vegetarians, as long as they grow their own or forage their own. Knock yourself out. Just don’t make the rest of us subsidize your urbanly unsustainable lifestyle. You want to be a veggie? Move out from the metro and get serious about it and put some effort into it. None of this “I’m too busy, so I have to go to Whole Foods for my dandelions and I’m saving the planet each time I purchase my organic soy chai latte from Starshmucks or Peeberry.” 😛 Bullshit.
And let’s face it…
In a grid down situation, honestly, those folks are hosed. Unless they have a massive storage of their type of food for the winter.
Foraging a plant-only diet through a PA winter? I’d have a very tough time of that. I could do it, but I’ll tell you now, it would NOT be fun, and I’d probably scrape through barely alive and incredibly malnourished by the time spring came around. But I’d never do it. Birds and bunnies and squirrels would be on the menu immediately. Humans need those animal fats. The first thing the ancient peoples went for was the fat and marrow. Not the ‘lean’ cuts of meat.
The Vegetarian lifestyle is wholly dependent upon modern ‘just in time’ supply systems, and as such is neither ‘green’ nor ‘sustainable’. Now, if someone wants to grow their own stuff, or whatever, more power to them. It’s not any of my business. But when my tax dollars are lobbied to make certain things ‘more accessible’ for a minority who wants to live a certain way, and it costs outrageous amounts of resources to do this, it’s sheer lunacy, at best. So in that sense, I have zero respect for folks who can’t seem to figure out that a modern mainstream veg diet is extremely harmful to the planet they purport to want to ‘save’.
Those that don’t forage or grow their own, haven’t a leg to stand on, morally.