It started when my husband and I followed a truckload of crated pigs on a North Carolina highway. The cute little guys poked there pink snouts in between the slats and looked at me with their sweet little eyes.
“I don’t even want to know where they’re going,” I said.
“Yup, bacon, ribs and pork chops, “ he answered.
Living near New York City, where the wildlife mainly consists of squirrels, chipmunks and deer, it’s fairly easy to ignore the true source of the meat displayed in the grocery store. It’s sealed and stamped, no sign of feathers, hooves or tails. Drive around North Carolina, however, tomorrow’s dinner is everywhere.
Rather than gross you out with stories of what’s in our meat, or how it is raised, let me tell you some positive reasons I chose to try vegetarianism. Climate change is one. Did you know that ruminant animals (cows, goats, sheep are included in this category) produce significant amount of methane gas when they expel gas via their mouths and rectums? Swapping a beef burger for a bean burger just once a week is estimated to have the same climate impact as if you were to take your car off the road for a month, according to the Environmental Working Group. Another significant reason I chose to give this new way of eating a try, is because I love animals.
A friend who has been a vegetarian for years suggested I read Alicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet. Silverstone nicely outlines many reasons to choose a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. She also gives tips on how to convert and recipes. I started eating a few more meatless meals here and there until before I knew it, I was meat free. I still eat eggs and cheese, but only that which comes from our local farmer’s market.
So, how is it going? It’s been nearly a month now and I’m surprised at how great I feel! Sugar cravings that used to plague me are gone. My mood is calmer. Our grocery bills are less expensive and the meatless meals seem easier to prepare. I questioned if I would be able to go without family recipes I grew up on, but so far, I don’t miss them. I also feel better in my soul now that my actions are more in line with my values.
Will I go to the next level and become a Vegan? I admire people who do. It seems to me almost a different spiritual level to commit to that way of life while living in a culture where using animals for food, clothing, furniture and more is everywhere. Anything is possible, though, as long as I don’t have to give up chocolate!