Vegetarianism Revisited

You can see the whole do to here , but I’ve decided to go back to vegetarianism and take a more detailed look at my personal experience as a vegetarian over the last 6+ years.
Disclaimer: I have been eating meat for the last 3 weeks, so if you’re looking for a heartwarming story of one woman’s wavering commitment to her belief system in the face of temptation, and how she overcomes this with renewed vigor, go rent Yentl or something. This is just my personal experience and opinions, that’s all I can really offer anyone.
Anyway, in my blog, To M(eat) or Not to M(eat) , where I was contemplating going back to meat, I said I had been a vegetarian for 5 years. Actually, my calculations were off. It had been about 6 years at the time of that writing, and by the time I quit, I had been a vegetarian for something like 6 1/2 years.
In my experience, vegetarianism is like any other subculture, community or belief system. Just because we call ourselves vegetarians, doesn’t mean we believe the same things, vote the same way or have the same motivations. Some of us are cool, some of us are dicks, and I’m sure that who fits into what category depends on a whole host of factors, not the least of which is the perception of the person making the categorization.
Just to recap, I personally, went into vegetarianism for two reasons: animal welfare and consumer welfare. I felt that the way factory farms doped and tormented their animals was not only cruel to the animals, it was cruel to the people who ended up eating their hormonally altered, unhealthy, stressed carcases after they died. I always felt that I was an omnivore, but I also felt that I would be able to maintain a healthy diet without meat thanks to supplements and soy products. I was wrong.
After a year and a half I was at college, and despite the fact that they advertised great vegetarian meals in the cafeteria, it was inedible to me because the vegetarian option relied 100% on soy meat, which-I learned-made me sick to my stomach when used as a main course. I was extremely anemic, and the entirety of spring break freshman year, I spent sleeping. Completely depleted, and I broke down and ate some turkey. I wanted to throw up, but as soon as that passed I felt like I had never been sick at all. I resolved after that to include fish in my diet to make up for the protein imbalance.
If you want the rest of my story as a vegetarian, you can go back and read my previous blog . Suffice it to say that 6 years after adding fish to my diet, I still found myself frequently sick, tired and foggy headed.
Since I have started eating meat again, I have energy that I didn’t have before, I don’t seem to need as much sleep and when I feel shitty (for example, I was dehydrated this weekend) I have a much greater recovery time than I did before.
If To M(eat) or Not To M(eat) was a description of myself in the middle of that moral quandary, I want this to be a note from myself having come to at least a temporary conclusion on the issue and at least a temporary peace.
At the point that I wrote the last blog, I was exhausted, sick and in a moral fog. I had, over the years tried every suggestion that various well-meaning people on and off the Internet had insisted that I try: rice cookers, lentils, supplements, cook books, time, effort, money, discipline, farmers coalitions, slow food groups, ad infinitum. I bought cook books galore, I threw meal after meal into the trash when I really couldn’t afford to throw away food, but what I had made was inedible. The truth is that either I’m just not that kind of person, or those things don’t work for my life, or probably some combination of the two. In the months between that blog and my first eating meat again, I drastically improved my diet, upped my exercise incredibly and was still falling apart at the seams, taking too many sick days, feeling behind all the time etc.
I came to the conclusion that I have responsibilities to my real life that outweigh my responsibilities to The Animals or The Movement. I have to be able to show up at work, I have to be able to take care of my house and myself. Not everybody is the same, and what works perfectly for one person can be the total wrong decision for others. I gave 6 1/2 years of my life to vegetarianism, and as soon as I stopped there was probably 20 more kids lining up to give 6 more years of their lives. I don’t regret those years, I feel like I got to learn more about myself, my needs and how to take care of myself by having such a greater need that I normally would have had. I also was able to feel a part of something greater than myself for awhile.
People have suggested that because I refuse to do vegetarianism their way I want to stomp on kittens’ heads and suck out their eyes and fornicate with their tiny, furry corpses. There is an extremist faction in the movement that, like all extremists I feel the world would be better off without. If I didn’t care about animals and their treatment I would have never even tried vegetarianism. There are ways that a person can give money to those companies that are taking better care of their animals in order to reward them and encourage them to continue this practice. This is what I intend to do.
Many sites like will give you a list of places where humanly raised and slaughtered, hormone free meat can be purchased which includes restaurants and grocery stores. Specialty stores like Wild Oats, Henry’s Market, Trader Joes and Whole Foods make sure that all their meat meets a certain standard of care. Even though Henry’s was listed as a seller of humane meat, it wasn’t clear on their own website, so I went in and asked the butcher, who confirmed that they had a store-wide standard.
I think that when I dropped out of the market of people who buy meat in America, I gave up my ability to actively choose what kinds of products I wanted to see in that market, leaving those people who didn’t care about standards to make my consumer decision for me. This was better than doing nothing, and a more practical in my younger years when I couldn’t have afforded to buy humane meat if I had wanted to, but my needs and my resources have changed.
After all, there’s no reason I can’t go back to a vegetarian diet if I suddenly come to the realization that I’ve made a horrible mistake.
Despite how I’ve responded to certain comments in the past, I do actually welcome comments. It’s just that when people don’t read my blog, make vastly incorrect assumptions about me and castigate me for who it is they think I am, I’m libel to do the same thing right back. It’s juvenile, I know but I have to get my kicks somewhere.

One Reply to “Vegetarianism Revisited”

  1. I really think your conclusions in this blog are very logical and plausible. I agree with everything in it, and I do not think you should be condemned a moment for ending your vegetarian lifestyle. Best of luck with everything, and thank you for helping me make more sense of the vegetarian world.

    Best Regards,

    PS. I love reading your writing, and if don’t become a journalist or English major of some sort, I would seriously reconsider :]

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