Animal, Mineral, Vegetarian

Today’s answer is to PittChick‘s questions:

“How long have you been a vegetarian? How will you feel if your children opt to try animal products one day?”

I stopped eating red meat when I was 18 years old. I just didn’t like it anymore. I wasn’t that picky an eater growing up — I ate everything, with the exception of lima beans (still true, except for the meat thing). But at some point, I just started disliking the taste and/or texture of red meat.

I became a complete vegetarian in college. Part of that was the cafeteria experience — the food they served in the cafeteria was atrocious. To this day, I cannot get cucumbers from a salad bar because of the Towers Cafeteria. The other part of my decision to go totally veg was a persuasion class I took. We had to give a persuasive speech as part of our grade, and I decided to do mine on vegetarianism. Afterwards, I couldn’t condone eating any animals, not just cows. (It’s less about animal rights, and more about environmental conservation.)

I fully expect my children to try meat some day. We joke about how our kids won’t sneak cigarettes or booze; they’ll sneak McDonalds. On a serious note, though, when and if my girls decide to try meat, I hope they do it with the full knowledge of why I brought them up as vegetarians.

I also hope that they won’t try McDonalds; that if/when they decide to try meat or become meat eaters, they will be conscientious ones. To wit, they will steer clear of mass-produced, factory farmed animals, and choose instead to get hormone-free, locally raised beef, chicken, etc. We already do a lot of organic produce and dairy at home, so they are on that path, now, too. When I buy meat or fish for my husband or guests, I tend to look for the organic and hormone-free options.

I think factory farming is incredibly destructive to the environment. (And kind of gross, too.) I worry about a lot of stuff that we pump into our food meat and our dairy cows. I am trying to make choices about my children’s health that are also good for the environment. If I’m going to help them live for a long time, I’d like them to have a nice world in which to live.

I think the best, most cogent (and entertaining take) I have read on this subject is Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. My review on it is here.

Got a question for me? You can leave it in the comments here, or shoot me an email.