When I was a teenager, I briefly dabbled in being vegetarian. I was a Jehovah’s Witness. I believed in good and evil, in those who were saved and those who were marked.
As such, I was a prime candidate to become a vegetarian. Inhumane factory farming techniques were not on my radar at the time. It was simply right or wrong to eat another animal, and I decided it must be wrong.
I began a short-lived but steady diet of kidney beans, tofu, and brown rice. I had the constant feeling of being “starving, but full” while having absolutely no energy. I farted more than the old guy that sat next to me on my last Greyhound bus trip. Yes, more than that guy, more than all of those guys.
No doubt I also wanted to feel that I had some semblance of control over a world which seemed so unrelentingly cruel, so out of balance. Being vegetarian helped calm me. Surely, we couldn’t actually live in a world where things die, could we?
After about two weeks, I mindlessly sat down on a chair in front of the open refrigerator and like an anemic zombie, I ate every piece of egg out of the potato salad my mother had stored in a Tupperware lettuce crisper. Then I ate all the leftover ham, and I don’t even like ham. Being a vegetarian wasn’t working.
For years I’ve wondered why. “I guess I just hate puppies!” I told myself while chewing on the crispy brown ear-ends of my latest ex-beagle.
Recently I began a modified paleo diet, which means that all my meals basically consist of a salad with salmon and an apple, no rice or bread. Boring, yes. But I feel amazing! It suddenly clicked: Oh, this is why I never became a vegetarian! It’s not for any philosophical reason. It’s not because I don’t love animals. It’s been a survival mechanism all along. My body can’t handle it, and my stomach instinctively knew that.
There were also the philosophical misgivings. I was being made to feel guilty, brainwashed into thinking I was a bad person for eating meat. But I never could make much sense of that argument; it seemed to prey on my basest emotions and not on logic.
Some roadblocks included:
…Vegetarians look down on people who eat meat but love all other animals who eat meat. Hey, you know who ruthlessly tears apart other animals and then plays with them as they die alone in pain? Cats!
…Being vegetarian is a first-world luxury but is treated as a moral imperative. There is no mock duck in Zimbabwe (there are termites and crickets), but somehow it’s the western white people who get treated with condescension.
…The sneering assumption that eating a chicken is the same as eating a cat or dog. Well, if you want to pretend there is no distinction between lower and higher sentient life forms, then I hope you’ve never taken antibiotics, because you are a murderer.
But these philosophical misgivings alone wouldn’t have been enough to keep me from being a vegetarian if I actually felt that it would be a healthy lifestyle for me.
A full day of vegetarian meals will impart on me what I can only describe as a general “wheat malaise.” I appreciate the idea of not eating other living things, but I also—mainly—appreciate the idea of not giving myself chronic fatigue syndrome and severe gastritis. I promise you that absolutely nothing on this planet makes me sicker than a whole-wheat wrap and nutritional yeast. In fact, why not just open up my legs and shove cottage cheese right into my vadge-hole, because that is what my pussy will look like in a week. And that discharge isn’t going to be tofu-based.
I would hypothesize that many vegetarians find it pleasurable to stop eating meat because that way of eating conforms to their body type. They feel so damn good and energetic, they can’t understand why anyone else on God’s wheatgrass-green Earth would want to keep eating meat.
Oh, your vegan cheese is “actually creamier” than regular cheese? Allow me to alert all of France!
It doesn’t occur to the fundamentalist vegetarian that we’re all different. We’re different colors and we’re different creeds and different people have different needs. Sorry vegetarians, but not everyone is vegetarian. People are people.
Yes, I love animals, but I love and respect myself more. I enjoy having a regular menstrual period and enough energy to climb stairs. I suffer from hypoglycemia and, as such, I crave protein and fat, which takes longer to be absorbed by the excess insulin. In order to “cause no harm,” I would actually be harming myself. Yes, I prefer to buy cage-free eggs and sustainable seafood when I can, but not when I’m unemployed and wild salmon is $17/pound. Ya know?
I concede that it is probably more “good” than “evil” to be vegetarian, whatever that means, but only if we are rating things on a some naive romantic movie scale. In reality, good and evil are unfortunately relative.
So instead of judging others by your personal standards, maybe you should just be constantly 100% 24-hours-a-day really fucking grateful that you live in a country where you have the option to be vegetarian.
And you’re welcome, said the cosmic lottery.
I am in no way averse to those who choose to live a vegetarian lifestyle. I have friends who are vegetarian and I respect their choice not to eat meat. I also don’t eat meat in front of them because I’m not a mannerless uncouth asshole.
But when a condescending vegan passive aggressively insinuates that I’m a bad person for eating meat, all I hear is: “Fuck you and how you feel. You should hurt yourself. I only care about birds.”
I don’t judge other people for not eating meat, so why would you judge me because I do? Here, we have reached an impasse. You know who you are!
You: the self-righteous vegan who considers themselves somehow morally superior. You shit yourself and blow your nose and get cancer just like the rest of us. You’re just another person in a long string of disposable people who are alive but mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. In fact, you cause harm to this Earth simply by virtue of being on it. You’re not special. You’re not good.
In reality, all you are currently doing is failing at the one simple thing that humans actually have to do to get along: that is, to be nice to one another. Instead, you are rude. You are selfish. You are full of hate. You impart nothing to this world but negativity and stress. Maybe we should eat you.
Still, the spoiled squeals of this loud, self-centered minority have nothing to do with the reason I’m not a vegetarian. I would eat soyyeasttempehquorn protein wraps day and night if it felt right.
I’m not a vegetarian because I’m just not. I’m an omnivore. I’m a human. And I love animals. But I eat some of them. But not all of them. And not all the time. Like humans do. So stop being a cunt about it on Facebook.