Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Eat Your Veggies

by Aurora Munoz

Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about the vegan and vegetarian diet and its effect on the environment compared to that of a omnivorous diet. And about eating horses at Ikea, but that's a different story about our weird valuation of animal life (cow< horse). 

I’m a vegetarian, a real one, unlike some people. And like other vegans and vegetarians I have to answer the "so, why are you a vegetarian?" question over and over again.

Usually, The Question is asked during a meal. We're having a harmless conversation about salad dressings and chickpeas and then It is asked and I gotta get all serious and start off with a  “let me be straight with you” moment.
If it’s other vegetarians asking me, they want to know what kind of vegetarian I am. Am I the kind that is rational and chose this eating-style for it’s lower carbon footprint, for the disgusting nature of the US meat industry, or for it’s positive health effects? Or am I the kind that loves animals too much and can’t stomach thinking about eating another being’s stomach (p.s. I've had stomach and it can be pretty delicious. I see you menudo (not the 80’s boy band)!

I'm not always certain why non-vegetarians want to talk about it. Either they want to tell me about that time you tried to be a vegetarian and failed. “I just couldn’t do it, I love meat too much.” Yeah, yeah, Carnivore - this is how I see you.
GIF source
Cabbage haters!

Or they want to poke holes into my self-righteous decision. "You know, humans need protein. We have canines for a reason. Blah blah blah." Eyerollz. Or some are genuinely interested in my reasoning and have even considered taking the veggie plunge. 

Honestly, this question is understandable especially because I come from a culture that eats a lot of meat. And my family asks it a lot because some of them sell cows to the meat industry. I've had many awkward family dinners. But it also shouldn’t be so difficult to answer. There are a lot of reasons why one would become vegetarian.

Here is my answer:

I respect animals and believe they deserve to be treated as if they’re sharing this planet with us, not just living to be our dinner. I found out about the lower carbon footprint after deciding to become a vegetarian, which made me feel better about my decision. Plus, meat production is a major driver of deforestation. Now, after 10 years+, being a vegetarian is a part of who I am. I feel pretty good (and old) about being in my mid-twenties and knowing that 10 years ago, I made a conscious and educated decision that still means a lot to me today. It kind of connects me to my more idealistic self. It also makes me think that I can do anything I set my mind to. It's just takes will-power! And a healthy love of lentils and beans doesn't hurt either. 

I'm realistic. I don’t expect everyone to be 100% vegetarian (cough, cough Duncan). However, I do think limiting our meat consumption and advocating for more a humane treatment of animals is super important. I’m not vegan. I eat eggs and cheese. But I know that the production of cheese and eggs is still part of the system that mistreats many animals and that produces way more greenhouse gases than I want to be responsible for. Starting now, I plan to limit my consumption of animal products to once a week. And many experiment with some new protein It’s written on the internet - I’m accountable to you, cyberpeople.

So, who needs more convincing to change their diet?

If you’re a person who’s convinced by charts look at this one:
From Grist
If you’re a person who’s convinced by terrible, Sarah McLaughlin-esque videos, click below this sad, sad puppy.

CLICK!   Photo source
And if you’re the person who needs no convincing because you’ve made up your mind because of my great writing then:

GIF source

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