I've read a couple of articles and blog posts about vegetarianism lately, which got my juices flowing (ew. Visual.) and my thoughts drifting back to our eating habits. I've talked about my thought process on this before, from flexitarianism to partaking in Meatless Monday (and a follow-up) to my first ever post about our thoughts on Food, Inc.
Our hearts are torn. We're passionate animal lovers. We live in a relatively rural area with tons of active hunters, and we're not altogether crazy about it. Our area's biggest job provider is a gun factory. (Let's just say the governor's abrupt push-through gun control act has plenty of folks up in arms...pardon the pun...around our surrounding towns.) Yet, I'm in favor of gun control insomuch as semi-automatics are simply unnecessary for any non-military purpose and the concept that our forefathers were dealing with muskets when they worked on the Constitution seems telling. So, sure, I'm a bit of a hippie.
So, why am I still a dang meat eater?
I don't crave it. I don't demand I eat it with every meal. I'm not "carnivorous." But, I am stubborn. And a tad lazy.
One thing I've learned about myself, especially thanks to the awesome self-analysis offered by doing this blog, is that I can only change if it's gradual. I'm not able to maintain a gung-ho, all-at-once life change, especially if it's one that involves an immense learning curve and lots o' planning. Exhibit A. Yeah, that didn't work out so well.
I gave up coffee while pregnant (and still abstain), but I wasn't addicted beforehand. Not that I'm addicted to meat, but it's definitely a lifestyle. Definitely.
I'm Irish-American. We were raised with meat 'n potatoes. The only time we didn't have meat at the dinner table was Friday during Lent or when we'd have the rare pancake for dinner (although sometimes we'd have bacon...sometimes not). It was practically taboo NOT to have meat on our plates. Spaghetti must contain its accompanying meatballs, after all.
Not that it was a bad way to grow up. However, as we've learned more about the state of slaughterhouses and the food system in America, it's difficult to eat without considering not only where the food started (and how it was treated), but what it might be doing to our bodies. As it is, I can no longer eat Taco Bell or McDonald's without getting sick in some way.
The meat we do consume is, at its very basic, not given hormones and hopefully humanely treated. My number one priority, above it being organic, is how it was treated. If I had my way, all of our meat and poultry would be grassfed (not given a "vegetarian diet" which could include genetically-modified corn), lovingly cared for, humanely killed, and organic. It seems an easier feat to achieve in Europe (even with its Mad Cow and what not) than America, which is insane. Oh, and don't get me started on seafood; that's impossible to track and it's a challenge to find anything to feed the family. A Mediterranean diet is harder to grasp than you'd think.
So, it stands; we're omnivores. We eat less meat than most, but I still feel like a slave to my routine. I'd love to find still more *simple* vegetarian recipes to try to push out my meat-based meals. (And not the hippie kinds. Ones that I can give to the hubs without him thinking a second thought. Ones that blend in with our relatively traditional usual fare.) I'd also hate to be that daughter or DIL who throws a wrench into the works at family gatherings and stuff.
I don't foresee this always being the way. After all; we've got a kid. And, if I know kids, and if he's anything like this, he'll be a motivator. If he takes after us, he'll be an animal lover, too (he's already nuts about his kitties and the doggies he gets to see at his grandma/sitter's everyday). I can just see the day when he makes the correlation between what we're eating...and the fact that it once moved.
Why is it that I can see changing for him, but in the meantime feel like it's too daunting a task? The things we do for those adorable dimples. Maybe we should start our "slow and steady" race sooner rather than later. Oh, and if we ever take this route, I foresee practicing lacto-ovo vegetarianism -- one that involves consuming eggs, milk and honey (as long as they're collected humanely...not sure if there's a honey standard, LOL) but no meat, poultry or seafood.
Baby steps, though. Hadley-sized steps.