Please check out this great blog, http://thelazyveganblog.blogspot.com/, which is meant to foster discussion between vegetarians and meat-eaters. I came across a great post, "More on 'to be or not to be' vegan," (http://thelazyveganblog.blogspot.com/2007/06/more-on-to-be-or-not-to-be-vegan.html note: I'm going to relearn HTML soon so I can direct link again) which offers a very smart and nuanced stance on why a vegan or vegetarian diet may be ideal but not practical for all.
As with any impassioned belief, black and white thinking can often overlook the messier daily concerns we contend with when choosing what to eat. A lot of vegan literature I've come across have bolstered their support of veganism by, not only taking to task the very real ethical issues that factory farming and meat consumption bring up, but by completely villainizing eating meat. I do not think that some meat consumption is unhealthy; in fact, I do think there are health advantages to consuming meat. Just as there are various health advantages to eating an entirely plant-based diets. I do not think we know enough about nutrition, or at least I have just seen one too many nutrition trends come and go to say with absolute certainty that one diet fits all. Even the actual, real, day-to-day diets that fit under the vegan umbrella are open to interpretation and debate. Our food choices are shaped by our family and cultural influences, as well as by the quirky personal preferences we're born with that can adapt over time. We are not just the sum of easy-to-categorize and ostensibly objective biological urges. We think and try stuff too. Once I allowed myself to read about factory farming and made the conscious decision to really take that information in rather than blocking it out as I had for years, I could no longer eat meat and poultry without calling that into serious question. But I've also made the conscious decision to continue to eat fish, cheese, butter while still being well aware of the damage fishing and dairy farms do to the animals, the farmers, and the environment.
Why? In part it is because I do feel more satisfied when I consume some meat source. A part of me, even though I know it's mostly silly, is concerned about getting enough of the almighty Protein. A big part of me just likes the damn taste--the mouth feel of real butter and cream from cow's milk, and the crisp, salty-sweet tamarind garlic fried white fish I plan on eating during a family dinner at Origins Thai (http://www.originthai.com/) this coming Saturday Humans surely are not strict carnivores but I'm not entirely convinced that we weren't designed to consume some flesh. I've heard the argument that if we were truly made to eat meat, we wouldn't need to disguise our inherent disdain for flesh by seasoning and cooking it. But this doesn't completely explain why many humans devour sashimi and beef carpaccio. I don't have a definitive answer. I'm rationalizing my decision to eat fish as much as I rationalized my prior meat-eating habits. This blog was designed in part as way to think out loud and share a conversation with others who think and eat.