Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Fair Weather Vegetarian

so, i am just about done with john robbins' book "the food revolution". in it, he gives a lot of compelling arguments for why a vegetarian diet makes sense not only from a health standpoint, but also from the perspective of environmental sustainability.

most people know that eating more vegetables is good for you, but i had never really stopped to think about the effect that factory farming has on the environment. i sent chris a link to the article, "vegetarian is the new prius", and after reading that and watching a link to meat.org (which he said that i shouldn't watch, because it would make me cry), he is on board as well. what we have decided for our family is that we will eat vegetarian at home, and when we are at restaurants, and if possible, at other's homes as well. but, if we are at someone's home where there isn't a vegetarian option, we will eat what is available. and, i still have a few things in the freezer that we will use up, rather than waste. mostly, we are deciding that as far as our food dollars go, we are no longer going to support the factory farm system. thus, the 'fair weather vegetarian.'

now, before you get all worried that i've gone completely ga ga here, let me just say that i am not saying that i think it's somehow morally wrong to eat meat. i think that God gave us many good things to eat, meat being one of them. if i could afford to buy locally produced, small farmed meat, or if i had access to meat that was hunted in the wild, i would eat that without qualms. and, there are times when i will be able to afford sustainably harvested seafood, and we will probably buy that occasionally. the monterey bay aquarium has a seafood watch program, which monitors the status of fishing and helps decipher what fish is a good choice and which ones are overfished or farmed in harmful ways. they also have a little wallet card that makes knowing what to buy much easier.

however, that said, i do think that our typical diet in america is pretty meat-heavy, and i am beginning to realize that there are many ramifications of that, not only on a personal level, but also collectively as a nation. from a peace-and-justice standpoint, there is a lot to link our (and other wealthy nations') consumption of meat with some of the ways that poorer nations suffer. meat is cheap in our country, so we eat a lot of it. but, there was a time not too long ago when meat was a luxury--probably a good way to approach it even now.

on a positive note, this exploration has caused me to find some fun resources for vegetarian cooking. i already have the blog "vegan lunchbox" linked to the left of my blog, which is a website full of super fun lunch food. and unless you are worried that veg food is all hippy and health foody, i have also come across the cookbook "vegan with a vengeance" and the accompanying website the post punk kitchen, essentially full of vegetarian junk food, like lots of cupcakes.

so, what do you think? are you willing to make changes to what you are eating for the good of others, the environment, your own health? do you think it makes a difference?


be_a_Mary said...

hmmm. you ask tough questions.

i was a vegetarian for 3 years in college and i loved it. i love veggies, and i've never been a huge meat lover. We could all benefit from less processed life (foods, activities, etc.) and going back to the essentials.

but for some reason, in the grand scheme of my day, when all is said and done and i'm exhausted from the kiddos and life, having to cater to a very specific conviction of eating (albeit any diet) sounds like another huge addition to my plate. so i do the best to be healthy while convenient, and not too indulgent and try to give myself a break when i cut corners.

and too, i think we move in and out of phases of conviction and different causes. right now i cannot read enough about all the orphans in the world, and i dream of adopting two of them and filling my home with their laughter and giving them hope. and when they get here (which at this point i'm confident they will), i'll probably end up feeding them processed foods, for the poor of the environment, for the convenience of our life, and i'll be so happy to love on them that i just wont be thinking too much about where my chicken came from or whether he was range free or caged or ???

just being honest. i do think its great for you guys though!! these days we fill our lives with so much stuff, including food, and so much commercialism, that simplification seems a good start.

joysnatcher said...

I enjoy your viewpoint. I share it to an extent. At this point in our lives we eat what we can get for a good price. The same things are not available on Bali that are available at home.

I am trying to find a balance between Western and local eating for our family. I am trying to figure out which oil to buy for the menu of fried rice & noodles (better-for-you Canola for $4/bottle, or Minyak Goreng "fry oil" - but what KIND of oil IS that?), and do we eat local margarine (which is undoubtedly filled with trans fats, but cheap), butter (expensive), or Aussie import Margarine-substitute (expensive)?

But we're eating more veggies!

And I am trying to decide what's vitally important, what's worth spending money on, and what's just going to have to "be" for now.

I, too, am being honest, at the risk of losing all healthy credibility.