I’ll keep this one (relatively) short because I have lots to do and said most of the stuff in the first vegetarian post, when we just started.
Welp, we finished our month. We ended it with a massive meatfeast, eating (IIRC) about five different animals, so we pretty much undid any good we did for the world. Oops.
Anyway. The month wasn’t too hard at all. I didn’t “miss” meat at all, though I’ll say that my mouth may have watered a bit more than usual when I’d bike past Wings Over Providence on the way to my friend’s house. By far the hardest part was going to a restaurant, as I talked about before, where there would be just very few satisfying vegetarian options.
I didn’t really have meat “cravings” at all, though I’ll say that with certain meals I made, it was hard to attain that pleasant, heavy feeling of “fullness” (that I also talked about before). I think eggs/dairy is a big part of it. Several times I made these big portions of this bean/tofu mixture that should be pretty chock full of protein, and stuffed myself on it, but still found myself feeling kind of hungry, weirdly. Hmm, maybe it could be the lack of fat as well?
My friend Ben went to several vegetarian restaurants in the area and noticed a difference in their styles: one of them went for vegetarian versions of non vegetarian dishes (i.e., a tofu burger or something), whereas the other went for vegetarian dishes that were just their own thing, as if meat never existed.
Another thing I noticed is, it seems like people always associate vegetarianism with being healthy/losing weight, but I’m pretty sure it had an opposite effect for me. The thing is, my typical diet before was basically completely minimizing carbs, going for a lot of meat and veggies. With veganism, it’s pretty hard to get a substantial amount of food without adding a bunch of rice or noodles or whatever. So maybe vegetarianism would make an initially very unhealthy person start eating better since it would eliminate fried chicken and generally things like fast food, but I wasn’t eating that to begin with, so I’m pretty sure it was actually a negative in that respect.
Something I’m pretty curious about is, why haven’t they been able to make truly delicious, as delicious as meat, tofu yet? Yeah yeah, I’m sure you’ve had “tofu that’s just as good as meat”. Alright, buddy. If you say that, I dunno what to tell you, except same thing with vegans and ice cream: you have clearly forgotten. As a person who has recently had both, yeah, tofu can be really tasty, but there’s something about meat that just always wins, so far. But why? Is it the type of protein? Or the fat content? Or the type of fat? Please let me know if you know.
Anyway, that’s about it. I’m back to eating meat for now, but let me say that I plan on making a few little changes. I’ll probably eat without restriction while I travel (more about that soon!) because I want to experience stuff, but I do plan to change some things when I’m more settled. One is that, I’ll consciously think more about the animal that I’m essentially choosing to kill. I definitely have a rough hierarchy in my head: cows/sheep/pigs are probably the worst to kill, then chickens, then people who pee on public toilet seats, then fish, and then things like clams and scallops. A couple problems with the hierarchy, though, is that a) scallops/fish tend to be either more expensive or less available, and b) the intelligence/capability for pain might not matter if the living conditions are a million times worse (for chickens vs cows, for example). But my point is that I’ll try and ask myself more often, “Do I need this meat right now? Is there another dish here that I’d probably enjoy just as much?” For example, I love eggplant parm. I can probably get that when I go out for Italian rather than chicken parm (which is often dry and badly made anyway). Similarly, I’m not gonna notice the difference if I get tofu instead of other meat at Chipotle. Similarly, I’ll really try and get free-range, responsibly raised, college educated meat when I get back and can. As long as it’s not like, absurdly more expensive, it’s really pretty shitty to contribute to pain to save a few bucks here and there. By the whole “meat animal natalism” argument I was making before, it seems like it’s an industry I should really support. To just ramble on for another minute, it’s kind of interesting to me how these industries (like factory farms and sweatshop labor) seem to have this really tenacious grip. That is, I suspect that if the norm for all meat had been animals raised pretty well, without too much pain, and then our current situation was offered to me saying something like “okay, you’ll save 50% on meat costs, but you’ll cause unimaginable suffering for millions of animals”, I definitely wouldn’t have opted for it. But now that it’s the norm, even when people are pretty much fully away of it (as I mostly was), it’s still really hard to get rid of… it’s just normal, and “how it is.” Out of sight, out of mind.