Monday, February 21, 2011

Vegan, Vegetarian, and Meat-eater, Oh My!

I just finished watching Oprah's episode about her staff going vegan.  I know it's been almost a month since it aired, but it's been sitting on my DVR since then.  Honestly, I was scared to watch it because I wasn't sure how it would affect my eating habits.  I watched the episode a couple of years ago when she first featured Michael Pollen, who made the documentary "Food Inc", and I haven't shopped for food the same since.

The vegan diet has never been something that appealed to me because it seems like it's too much to think about.  How would I get my calcium and protein without milk or meat?  Do I have to start eating things I can't pronounce, like quinoa?  Will I lose so much weight that people will think I'm anorexic?

So, after this vegan episode, I must say it wasn't as scary as I thought it'd be. What I got from it is that you should be conscious of what you're eating and where it comes from.  I buy only organic and free-range meat when it's available at the store, and I try not to buy too many boxed, processed foods.  As Michael Pollen suggested, I try to shop in the perimeter of the grocery store where things are fresh and refrigerated or frozen.

So the ethical question is this: Can I be an animal lover and an environmentalist if I like to eat meat or animal products?  I know for a fact that I will never be vegetarian or vegan.  I like steak, chicken, and cheese too much to give it up (and don't get me started on bacon!).  But I am conscious of where my food comes from and buy from local farms or free-range sources when I can.  I also only eat red meat once a week and make at least one vegetarian meal a week.

I know the environmental impacts of factory farms are detrimental to our water supply and contribute to global warming, but if the farms are smaller, treat the animals humanely, and are more conscious of their impact, then maybe it's not that bad.  Last year, I learned about Temple Grandin (thru the HBO documentary about her life and contributions to the way cattle farms are run) and am relieved to hear that many farms, and even McDonald's, use her methods to treat the animals more humanely.  If more farms were run that way, with more consciousness of how they affect the planet and the animals, we'd all be better off.

In my opinion, I CAN be an environmentalist and animal lover AND eat meat and animal products.  I respect veganists and vegetarians as well.  To each his own, right?  Who said there's only one right way to eat anyway?  Bon Appetit!


  1. I like the "shop the perimeter" motto. A good baby step for someone like me. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Sue, check out my link about planning your weekly menu. That'll save you time, money, and food from going in the trash. Glad you can use the tip!

  3. I agree; I think if you shop for your meat from responsible farmers, then you can't feel guilty about eating it or supporting it. After all, what about veggie/fruit farms that use tons of pesticides? They are just as detrimental, so even someone vegan could be contributing to pollution and harming the planet if they aren't careful about where they get their items from.

    And I'm a big supporter of using my canine teeth. Our bodies were designed to eat both meat and veggies, so while too much of anything is bad, I don't feel eating meat is in any way "bad". It's all about moderation.

    BTW-LOVE the logo :) And this is Michelle :)

  4. Thanks, Michelle! Thank Fab. He did all the work!
    And I agree. Our bodies were made to eat meat, fruit, vegetables and grain. And it IS all about moderation. Thanks for reading!