I’ve been unable to eat beef for many years. The doctors never figured out why. It isn’t an allergy. It’s not a general digestive issue. Just beef. So the easiest way to deal with it was to stop eating it. Believe me, it caused me so much pain if I did eat it, you might as well just take me out back and put me out of misery. I literally passed out from the pain, it was so severe. Ended up being the easiest food item I’ve ever given up (although I do sometimes miss a good medium-rare steak or a juicy hamburger).
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I was about to bite into a chicken drumstick and suddenly all I could think was, “I’m about to take a bite out of someone’s leg.” I set the drumstick down and haven’t eaten chicken since. Just the thought of it makes me ill.
I was talking with a friend of mine who’s a vegetarian (pescatarian, actually … she eats fish) about my sudden aversion to chicken. I knew she could relate. She looked at me and said, “You might as well become a vegetarian. There’s really only one thing more you’d need to give up. Pork. You already don’t eat beef. And now you don’t eat chicken.”
Well, pork is one of those things I try to trick myself into eating. My friend, Kristina, has a lovely pet pig named Priscilla and if a slice of bacon actually looked like it had been cut from Priscilla’s body, I wouldn’t eat it. But you know how denial works. It’s bacon. It’s not pig.
So here I am, realizing that I think I’ve always been a vegetarian at heart. But with a major case of denial. I know it’s not for everyone and I would never try to convince someone else to live by my personal decisions, but I think it’s time for me to live by my own personal feelings.
But I find that now I can’t even stand the smell of chicken (raw or cooked). It smells like something dead. It had been starting to taste that way to me, too.
I even asked my Facebook friends (many of whom are vegetarians), “How long does a person have to go without eating meat before they can call themselves a vegetarian?” Basically they all laughed at me. Nicely. One said I could call myself a flexitarian.
Anyway, technically I guess I’m now a ovo-lacto-pescetarian rather than a vegetarian. I eat eggs, dairy, and fish. Partly because I can’t eat some meat, partly because I don’t want to eat some meat, and partly to reduce my carbon footprint. Yeah, even my impact on the earth comes into my thinking. One thing I’ve discovered since giving up meat is that it’s nice to not be in denial about eating anymore. I don’t have to have internal arguments with myself about whether I want to eat bacon or sausage with my eggs. The decision’s already made for me.
Honestly, I always sort of thought of vegetarians as being legalistic about their food choices, but I’ve found for myself it’s not legalism so much as it is freedom. Which is sort of surprising to me.
And I want to gently repeat myself, just to make sure it’s clear. This isn’t a message saying everyone should do as I do, foodwise. It’s more of a statement about being true to you, whoever and whatever that might entail. You’ll most likely find freedom in being true to yourself.
And also, it may be time to write another Frozen Assets cookbook since the other books were pretty heavy in meat recipes. Do I see a project in my future? 😉
Until next time!
PS: Play nice in the comment section. This is just my personal experience. Your mileage may (will) vary.