April 26, 2009

On being a vegetarian

Recently, on The Meming of Life, vegetarianism came up. Dale McGowan knows all the benefits of not eating meat, but he doesn't want to give it up. I've definitely been there. Eight years ago, I couldn't imagine my life without meat.  Actually, I pretty much only ate beef in some form. I was never a big fan of chicken or other fowl, other than bacon I could do without pork, and I rarely ate fish. More exotic meat was definitely out. If anyone suggested being a vegetarian, I gave the usual answer.

I can't give up steaks!

The funny thing is, I've never really craved a steak since giving up meat. A cheeseburger, sure. Sometimes I miss pepperoni pizza. But a steak just seems like a whole LOT of meat.

So what changed? I guess I was just ready to do a few things differently. As I said in my last post, I was laid off  in March 2004. I'm not sure why now, but B brought home a book that a co-worker had loaned him titled Mad Cowboy, by Howard Lyman.   Since I had all this free time I read it, and it was horrible. Well, not the book itself, but what the book described really was awful. It was written by a former cattle rancher who goes into great detail  about what happens to the animals on a farm before they are slaughtered and turned into ground round. I'd never read anything like it before, and I had no idea. Truth be told though, I never really wanted to know. The author was trying to make the case to go vegan, but I wasn't sure I could even give up steak yet. So I made the announcement to B that I would be giving up meat. I told him he didn't have to, that I would still cook for him, but I wasn't going to eat it. I should mention here that Robotson was three and basically a vegetarian himself. He wouldn't even try chicken, if we bought him a cheeseburger he'd scrape the cheese off and throw the meat to the floor, then he'd eat the bun. No turkey, no bacon, no ribs, no steak, no fish. He just wouldn't eat meat. The only exception was an occasional hotdog slathered in ketchup. I think it was just the best way he knew how to get copious amounts of ketchup into his tummy. So I figured Robotson and I would be vegetarians, and B could learn to live with it. To my surprise, B wanted to do it too! We were going vegetarian, it was decided! Only it wasn't.

We started looking at recipes and they all seemed really weird. Tofu? Why on earth would anyone eat tofu? All these really complicated recipes and fancy dishes were overwhelming, so we just picked a few easy ones and ate less meat. Then one evening we went to Outback for dinner and I ordered the ribs. They weren't all that great, seemed really fatty, and I got to thinking about the book. That was it. I thought I was going to be sick, pushed the plate back, and never touched meat again.   The End.  

O.k., not really.  I have actually eaten meat since then, but probably not for the reason you might be thinking.  There's much more to the story, but I'll save it for another post.  


  1. I never read Mad Cowboy, but John Robbins' Diet for a New America really got me thinking about the larger consequences of our personal diets. (Upton Sinclair's The Jungle didn't hurt, either...)

    When I started eating meatless 20 years ago, there were no veggie burgers at fast-food joints or TVP products in supermarkets...it's so much easier these days, but it's still not a choice for everyone.

    So, I'm curious...what's the rest of the story?

  2. Just posted the rest of my story :)

    Wow, 20 years meatless! That's awesome. I'll have to check out those other books. I don't need more convincing, but I like the knowledge.