Musings On Meat

So I was talking with my wife the other day about being vegetarian and whether we should attempt being vegan.  I surprised myself.

I have been really pondering why I don’t eat meat.  At first, it was a health thing.  Not so much that a meat free diet is healthier (it is, by the way) but because part of my ability to lose weight depends on being able to control food. Vegetarianism = controlling food.  Hence I became vegetarian.

But the more I think about it, the more I find that I don’t really need to kill things to eat well.  I’m not sure if its the murdering that I am really finding distateful or the fact that commercial meat is full of fun things like mad cow and salmonella, not to mention cholesterol, triglycerides, and other things which cause a host of diseases.  But there is something about killing to eat that I find unnecessary.

Citizens of developed nations do not need meat to survive.  As a species, all humans once needed meat to have enough food to live.  Even after agriculture came along, we still needed meat.  The problem is industrialized countries (and non-industrial countries if the Developed Nations spent less time blowing up their neighbors and siding with dictators and more time building infrastructure and rooting out corruption) have enough technology and understanding of food science that if they so chose, they could live without meat. 

And frankly all we are doing by eating meat is killing ourselves.  People die of contaminated food (and yes, people died from bacteria in spinach, but that was traced to a pig farm next door…) and people die of the diseases that meat cause.  At the same time, the American Cancer Association is pushing people to eat vegetarian diets because they are healthy and they extend life.

Ultimately, I feel that not eating meat is the logical next step in cultural evolution.  I think it makes us more human and humane to stop killing the “lesser” creatures that live on it.  Yes, God made us dominion over all the land and all the animals on it.  However, the way we use that dominion is akin to me giving you dominion of my bank account and you losing it on slot machines or thousand dollar trinkets.  Yes, you had dominion over it, but wasted it.

So, to my mind: we don’t NEED meat.  We probably SHOULDN’T eat it and there are BETTER alternatives.  To me, it just makes sense that we find a new direction.

I expect a deluge of feedback for anyone who reads this.  I don’t consider myself a militaristic vegetarian, but I do wonder what would happen if we looked past our epicurean ways and tried to live a little healthier.


  1. I have been thinking a lot about this topic as well. I have 2 young children and I do think that they need a minimal amount of animal protein for their development (you don’t have to agree with that). But I will not feed them meat that has been produced at an industrial farm. My husband laughs but we call them happy pigs, chickens, cows etc. I research the places that I buy my meat from and am assured that it comes from free range, grass fed, organic animals that have been slaughtered humanely. Short of me raising my own animals (impossible-I live in a city) this is the best I can do. We really only have about 2 or 3 meals a week that involves meat of any kind. Who know when my children grow up they may choose to eat no meat at all but for now I want them to eat a small amount!

    I liked this thought provoking post and am very surprised that you didn’t get more comments on it!

  2. Judy,

    Thank you for your kind words. When it comes to children, until I have done the research enough to know, I think you are right about children and meat. At least insofar as I have no idea how to get my son what he needs without meat.

    However, I 100% believe you are doing the right thing by researching the practices of your meat providers and only giving them organic meats.

    I hope that my son chooses vegetarianism when he gets older, but that will solely be his choice.

  3. I guess I am a dedicated omnivore, but I see no reason to eliminate meat from my diet. I do try very hard to buy meat from sources where animals are humanely treated and not filled full of hormones and drugs. And like most people, I am eating less meat, trending toward meals where smaller portions of meat are used in dishes as a part of a whole (stir fry, curries, salads,stews etc.) But I must confess, occaasionally I still love a great grilled hamburger!

  4. Deborah,

    I respect your right to eat as you please and the switch to hormone-free and drug-free meat is a responsible choice. I guess my thought still is that we know meat sources are far more likely to carry foodborne disease and they are still high in bad fats.

    I don’t know, I’ve found that I get just as much pleasure from a grilled veggie burger (actually more because I don’t feel weighed down by the red meat), but that’s just me.

    There’s another thing that my wife and I have noticed. Sometimes when we look at meat and thing “THAT LOOKS SO GOOD” it’s because we forgot our B-12 or we haven’t eaten enough protein. I’m not sure if that applies, but sometimes the craving for a burger or chicken is the body’s way of saying “Gimme more of X.”

    Again, if you love meat, that’s great. I just want to provide a (hopefully rational) alternate viewpoint.

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