Last Saturday, Brian and I were scurrying around to feed my dog, Luckie, before heading out to visit Brian's co-worker's home and then to the 30th birthday party of his dear, old friend. My dog hasn't eaten dog food in nearly a decade, after a case of retinal detachment caused Luckie to go blind out of nowhere for nearly a week. I had read about the horrible, disgusting crap (the flesh of diseased animals, plastic, uh, other dogs) that goes into pet food and the health-related conditions that go along with eating it. But it wasn't until my seemingly healthy 4 year old dog went BLIND that I finally decided to stop feeding him the stuff. Now he's 13 years old and, other than some arthritis on his right back leg, he still runs, jumps and loves, just with a bit of a limp. And while he used to leave his dry dog food untouched for days, he always licks his bowl of real food clean. Anyways, this meandering introduction leads to this: on Saturday, I had to buy the dog a chicken.
I bought him one of those readymade grocery store rotisserie chickens that I used to pick up for myself when I couldn't be bothered to cook after work. They are convenient and pretty tasty. Brian and I are hungry ourselves so we pick up Amy's Organic roasted veggie pockets for 2 for $4. But I buy the dog an $8 roasted chicken. Brian is floored.
While cutting up the dog's meat--with a knife and then shredding it with my hands and fingers--I tell Brian that it doesn't gross me out to handle meat but that I no longer have the urge to eat it. That wasn't entirely true. For about five seconds, I wanted to eat a little wing, something I used to snack on while cutting up the main pieces for my dinner. I just wanted a little bite. I didn't have one and the urge passed quickly but I had the thought: a life without ever eating roasted chicken again. Can I do it? Well, I do. For now.
I'm still in one day at a time mode. It's been three months since I've ingested chicken, beef, or pork. Perhaps this transition has been made easier by my "fish are vegetables" stance, but that too is starting to wane. Life without shrimp? Maybe.
I sometimes think, one day I'll eat "humanely" raised meat every once in a blue moon. It's not that bad. Or, when I finally get over to Spain, I have to eat meat. I want chorizo. Sometimes I think maybe I do need to eat meat. Not just want to but need to. Need the protein, after all. But I know I don't. I know I'm tired because I'm a sleep-deprived insomniac, not because I didn't eat a steak. I was an insomniac when I ate meat and I'll probably be one for all of my days. Besides, I get plenty of protein from beans, cashew butter, veggie burgers, quinoa and kamut pasta spirals, soy milk, cheese, cow's milk, eggs, and yes, fish. If anything I suffer from a vegetable deficiency. My health is not being compromised by an overabundance of broccoli.
I've been reading less vegetarian literature lately. In the first month of my dietary and belief transition, I ordered back issues of Veg News, read vegan cookbooks on my lunch break, read excerpts of Slaughterhouse, and I listened to the Compassionate Cooks' podcasts, Food for Thought. That last tool really cinched it for me. So much so that I stopped listening, that's how effective the podcasts are. I can read a vegetarian cookbook and still think about the eggs I'll use in a cake. But listening to Food for Thought makes me feel guilty for not being vegan. Because Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is right. Her discussions are imapssioned, thoughtful, well-researched, thorough, and incredibly persuasive. I currently have "The High Costs of Cheap Meat" on pause and will play it once this post goes up.
One bad, bad day last when I was just angry at the world, I really wanted a bacon double cheeseburger. I thought, fuck this, I'm eating one. I want to eat all the fat and grease there is, make myself feel as sick physically as I feel emotionally. I planned on picking one up for lunch. While opening my e-mail that morning, the Compassionate Cooks newsletter was in my inbox. The picture on the top of this post was in the newsletter. I just couldn't eat a burger. The thought of eating one just made me sick.
picture courtesy of the blog, Food For Thought