I saw a friend today who is undergoing a heck of a lot of stress. In talking about stress and health, she asked if I had read a particular book on meat production. Hadn't. She said she and her husband are now vegetarians.
I was a vegetarian in college, but not since then. I didn't become a vegetarian because of animal cruelty; I was simply trying to balance out my dad. I had read Diet for a Small Planet, and figured that less meat eating was a good thing. As an environmental science major, I thought I should take action. Since my father is a the-more-red-meat-the-better kind of guy, I figured my vegetarianism balanced out his meat eating so that combined we ate in a more sustainable, healthy way. But I am his daughter, after all, and I missed hot dogs. Seriously. I got tired of trying to eat out with no choices (there are lots and lots of choices now). So eventually I went back to being an omnivore.
At first, it was hard to eat meat because I didn't know how to buy it or cook it. I had been a vegetarian since living under my mother's roof, and although she taught me to cook, I didn't know that much. I would stare at the meat packages at the grocery store, pick something, and come home and call my mom and read Joy of Cooking.
It isn't a simple decision, but like Michael Pallin and Barbara Kingsolver, I've given it a lot of thought, and am comfortable eating meats. But I try not to lose sight of what it means. I say grace at dinner, always thanking God for the animal's life. It's the least I can do.
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