On My Return to the World of Carnivores


The passengers in the back seat were nodding off. 2 hours into our drive to Tahoe, the excitement had worn off and the sleepiness of a late Friday evening had set in. I was in the front seat with my mind still running, unable or unwilling to doze off. Then the bomb dropped.

So… I’m going to be vegan.
              -Brian Skinner

This was the scene 7 years ago when I first admitted to my closest friends I was getting out of the meat game. It awoke the whole car instantly. Shock slowly gave way to confusion, which led to the first of my many forthcoming discussions about meat.

2 months as a vegan, 7 years as a vegetarian, and now it is officially over. Before getting into my decision to give it up, why did I start in the first place? There are so many factors: environmental, personal health, disgusting factory farming, antibiotics, the list goes on. Any one of these should be reason enough, but in combination it should be overwhelmingly obvious.

However, one powerful reason is more effective than 3 powerful reasons and 5 pretty good reasons – if all the top reasons are equal, pick one that is most equal to focus on. For me this is the long-term personal health benefits by avoiding the daily poison that is the factory farmed meat America consumes.

I am proud to have bucked the norm and consciously developed a habit that provides lasting benefits to myself and the world. But 7 years is a long time, maybe it is time to examine the results and see if there are ways to improve.

The first 5 years of being a vegetarian I was incredibly healthy. More energy, less fat, just 2 common colds the whole time. The last 2 years have been disappointing on this front. Random minor health issues including semi-frequent colds. Weight creeping up 4 pounds a year. Less energy despite plenty of sleep, less stress, more exercise, and happiness at an all time high.

This might be normal for Americans, but that doesn’t mean I have to accept it in my life. Instead, what changes can be made?

I concede that some meat is healthy. The health benefits of being a vegetarian come from avoiding the 99% of US meat that is factory farmed. But it is extremely hard to make the decision every meal “is this healthy enough?” I don’t have infinite willpower. Without going 100% vegetarian I would surely find myself in situations where I would backslide into poor decisions. “There isn’t another vegetarian meal on this whole airplane, guess I don’t have a choice and will have to go with the chicken meal…” or “Chipotle advertises that their meat is naturally raised, it is probably good enough…” or “well I’m hungry and this place only doesn’t have anything vegetarian on the menu…”

Instead I set rule to avoid all meat. Until now. The new rule is vegetarian out in the chaotic world and carnivore at home where I have 100% control.

Photo: poppy

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