>On Vegetarianism: Round No.2
>There are a few things that people ask you constantly when you’re a vegetarian:
1) Whatever do you eat?
2) Why did you ask about fish sauce in that Thai restaurant or pork fat in that Mexican restaurant?
3) How do you get enough protein?
4) Why did you go vegetarian?
So my personal answers:
1) I eat anything that doesn’t have a nervous system. That eliminates poultry, cattle, swine, seafood, and insects. Everything else is fair game and that only leaves about a million things that I CAN eat.
2) When you’ve been veg for a long time you learn certain foods where animal products are a traditional part of the dish but not necessarily obvious. So almost every Thai dish includes some fish sauce (it’s truly disgusting, you don’t want to know), Mexican refried beans often contain pork fat or the rice is stirfried in that same lard, processed Japanese foods often contain bonito (a small anchovy-like fish) flakes, powder, or extract. And so on. I read the label of every new-to-me product that I buy and I am careful about what I ask for in restaurants.
3) I am very careful to eat a balanced meal for almost every meal (breakfast is often lopsided). I think about a ratio of 4 parts veggies, 3 parts carbs, 2 parts protein, and 1 part dairy. Vegetarian protein is definitely limited. You can get limited amounts of protein from grains and such, but my choices tend to be beans, tofu (kinda a bean anyway), and faux meats of many sorts. Protein is never the focus of my cooking, but is always included.
4) I went veg many years ago while reading a book that described in detail that the amount of grain and water used to feed 1 cow for 1 month could feed a family of 4 people for 1 month. There’s some even scarier numbers, but I think these make the point very clear. If we ate the food our planet produces directly instead of decreasing the productivity by eating that food 2nd hand through animals our planet would be able to feed everyone who lives here.
Okay, what a great hippie sentiment Mari! What does that have to do with me?
Well check out this story from today’s episode of NPR’s Morning Edition:
Experts Warn Senate Panel of World Food Crisis
The article says, “We are in the midst of a global food crisis unlike other food crises that we have faced, one that is caused not simply by natural disasters, conflict or any single event such as a drought. It is not localized, but pervasive and widespread,” (Henrietta Fore, administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development)”
Here’s the interesting bit from that article:
“More and more grains going into expanding world markets for meat and bio-fuels.”
So here’s what I have to say. I have moral reasons to not eat animals, you may not. But I don’t see how any intelligent person can ignore this controllable crisis and continue to participate in causing this epidemic.
This is an interesting stance for me to take, usually I’m of the mind that I’ve made my thoughtful moral decision and that you have made yours. But this is one of those cases where I simply won’t be making enough impact by myself.
There’s a whole other issue in the area of those thoughtful moral decisions. I feel like vegetarians have had that thoughtful moral soul-searching while their meat-eating counterparts have not. If the meat eaters had gone through that process and decided that they could be comfortable with themselves and their own moral standing while consuming animal flesh, then I would be fine with that. But I don’t think most meat-eaters have done this.
And yes, I think if you’d like to fork out for local or wildly grown meat that puts a whole new spin on the whole business.
Think about what you do and what you do it.