I’m not vegan, either: yet another discussion about food

VI. Of Course Thou Shalt Kill. Carnivores Do That. Also, Swatting Mosquitoes, Sort Of Instinctive. But All Creatures Are Alive Before You Kill Them, and So Thou Shalt Respect Them In Their Lives and In Their Deaths. Thou Shalt Not Kill Without Reason.
~The Commandments of Coyote

A wonderful post about “defection” from veganism reminded me of a few things. Namely, that food is still a topic of pseudo-religious proportions, and that what’s good for one is not necessarily good for another.

As I’ve discussed before, I’m a staunch omnivore. While I can certainly appreciate vegetarian and vegan cuisine, I’m happiest when meat is a regular feature of my diet. I can go happily vegetarian for weeks, but not once have I considered doing it long-term. It’s just not right for me.

Part of this is my worldview, but a lot of it I think has to do with the way I was raised. My father, in particular, believes in meat three times a day. My mother’s a little more flexible. But I was raised in situations where I often raised or hunted my own meat. As a child, our “vacations” in the winter often involved spending a week at the deer lease playing with old bones and antlers as we waited for the tell-tale sound of a gunshot. Then we got to sit around and watch as my father skinned and dressed the deer out in front of the camphouse. When we moved out into the sticks, we helped my father turn those deer into sausage, smoke them into jerky, and we raised our own cattle and pigs. Taking care of the stock was primarily my job, and yes, I did happily eat the very animals I had cared for during their lives. While I’ve not ever pulled the trigger myself, I was entirely complicit in the deaths of numerous animals…and those under my care, I can say for certain, were healthy, happy beasts.

And those deer we ate were much greener than someone’s tofu burger. They lived on land that barely supported cattle and would not support crops without the help of invasive farming techniques. It was a very sustainable way to eat. For small groups of people, of course. It’s impossible to feed all of America with our wild resources. To even make the attempt would be folly. No single diet is going to “save” us from our farming practices. Not organic farming, not local farming, not flexitarian or pescatarian or vegetarian or vegan or raw. To advocate one diet over another solely because of it’s supposed “environmental benefits” is also folly.

I have my preferred diet, and you have yours. Hell, I don’t even stick to mine all of the time. I had McDonald’s not too long ago. I am not ashamed to say I don’t cook all my own food. I cook most of it, and that’s important to me. But every now and then I want fucking Chipotle. I don’t beat myself up over it. I’m human and I’m not perfect. Perfect people are boring, anyway.

And that’s always been my biggest beef (pun not intended) with vegetarianism/veganism. I don’t mind the diet. But the dogmatic belief that everyone should subscribe to a particular diet and to do so without missing a beat. No thanks.

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One Response to “I’m not vegan, either: yet another discussion about food”

  1. Thanks for this, and for linking to that post. It’s solidified a few things in my mind. Not that I’ve ever considered veganism, mind. I’m not the sort to commit to something like that; I just find it silly.

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