I've been volleying the idea of vegetarianism around in my head (and even publicly, here and here) for awhile. We've mastered, in a loose way, Meatless Mondays -- although they're not always Mondays -- but we haven't taken a larger leap than that. I've even recently explained why we're not vegetarians.
But something seemingly small and unimportant made me snap. I was watching a news story about the bird flu in China (which is being spread by chicken consumption) when the background video showed a man grabbing a bird out of a small cage full of numerous chickens.
Now, I'm not an idiot. I know that when I eat chicken, that chicken was once living. But, for whatever reason, when I heard the sound of the bird screeching, I was struck -- not only did it sound like my baby crying, it was screaming for its life. It knew what was coming, and it couldn't do anything about it. My stomach turned and I started to cry.
Since then, I've decided to cut back to eating meat on weekends. This all started earlier last week, so it hasn't been a long adventure yet, but let's just say it's Saturday...and I haven't had meat yet today (or the rest of the week). I've got a freezer full of meat that will need to be used up, so I'll have to get around my guilt to do so, but I've never been good at going cold turkey, so giving myself the leeway helps.
The neatest thing is that when I finally told Dave about it, and found myself getting upset yet again, he immediately agreed and was on board; almost like he was waiting for our family to take the step.
And, much as how we've treated Meatless Monday (adjusting the day accordingly, just making sure to include more vegetarian meals throughout the week), we're going to adjust our vegetarianism according to circumstances. For example, Hadley's birthday party will be on a Saturday, and it's shaping up to probably be a barbecue. Because of this (and because one of our issues is the fact that we've got very much carnivorous families), we'll plan on eating meat this day; there may be other family events that fall M-F, so we'll thus plan.
So, I suppose we're taking flexitarianism up a notch. We're also still lacto-ovo vegetarians, in that respect. Still eat eggs (from humanely treated chickies) and pasture-fed milk, yogurt and cheese. I could never give up cheese. It's my weakness!!
I think the biggest challenge will be figuring out lunches; breakfast is easy, and dinner's getting there, but work lunches can be a bit of a tough time. I'm still researching a lot of websites for meal ideas, but I'm sure I'll be sharing what's working for us. But, seriously, it's become a lot easier to order delicious vegetarian options when going out 'n about.
So, that's an update on our meat-eating. (Side note: Second choice for post title: "Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?")