I could cite many reasons that I do not eat meat. I could tell you the terrible things that happen in slaughter houses. I do not use that as an argument because unlike many other vegetarians, I have deliberately chosen not to research that subject. I don’t want to know. I could tell you I stopped eating meat for the environment. I once heard a statistic that if everyone went meatless one day a week it would somehow cut down on global warming. Whatever. My reasons are purely selfish, nothing political or noble here.
I have not always been a vegetarian. I made several attempts to kick the meat habit before I finally gave it up for good in 2007. The first time I wanted to stop eating meat there was a major uproar from Ric. Something along the lines of “who will share a Crave Case from White Castle with me?”. We were driving home from St. Louis and the fight ended in Sullivan, MO at Hardees. I only remember buying the biggest “Thickburger” (as I gag while typing that) and shoving as much of it as I could into my mouth as quickly as possible. I showed him. Sidenote: I am more than aware that we fight over ridiculous things.
The second time I quit meat was when I was trying to lose weight. It lasted two weeks. I lost weight, but was so hungry I took it up again.
The third and final time I stopped eating carcass was after the birth of my middle son. I stopped eating meat and low and behold I felt like a new person. I actually felt 100% better. I didn’t feel bad before, but I felt infinitely better after I discontinued the consumption of dead animal flesh.
After this discovery I was a bit in the closet about my new lifestyle. I remember going out to eat with Ric, the kids and some friends and Ric informed the waitress I was a vegetarian. I indignantely replied “I’m not a vegetarian. I just don’t eat meat. By choice”.
Then there was the awkward dinner invite to a friend’s house. Oh, chicken and rice? Awesome. I would pretend to be full and give Ric my chicken and he graciously covered for me, rolling his eyes the entire time.
During this whole in-denial-about-my-food-choices time, I constantly said, “It’s nothing political. If Ric took me to Flame (which makes the best steak in Springfield) I would gladly eat a fillet. Well, when that time came I ate my cow on a plate. Guess what. It made me sick. My stomach hurt for about 3 hours afterward. I discovered something else: along the way I had eventually stopped liking the taste of meat.
I now feast on vegetable burgers. Fuddruckers makes an incredible one. I love them because they don’t have that meat taste I used to always try to cover up with condiments. And I don’t get a debilitating stomachache.
The rest of my clan are carnivores and I still feed them their daily ration of bird, cow and pig. They would revolt if I did otherwise. When we go to someone’s house that serves meat Ric delicately says, “She’s a vegan” with that same eyeroll. I then say, “I’m NOT a vegan. I am just a vegetarian.” It’s our little routine and it makes people laugh, so then I’m not so self conscious about it.
It’s not for everyone. I get that. It has improved my life, though. I can honestly say I do not miss meat in the least. I get my protien from other sources and I’m not at all deprived. And as for Ric’s Crave Case conundrum, our three carnivorous man children will gladly help him out.