So I did it! I cruised around the bacon aisle at the grocery store for a while, but I chickened out every time, like I was buying condoms or nudey mags :) Then I had a plan to buy a chicken from this great place at the farmer's market, Riverdog farms. I buy eggs from them and they have pasture raised chickens with mobile coops and it sounded so perfect. That is until I discovered they sold them with the heads and feet still on. That was one giant leap for ex-veggie-kind. A bit too much too fast. So I opted instead to take things slower and get some fish.
I cooked it tonight and it was AMAZING! I was so surprised: nothing felt wrong about it. I felt like the pp who was talking about making yummy noises when she ate. In fact, afterwords me and DH talked about how we both felt "high" and sure enough, both our pupils were dilated.
DS was curious and helped me make the fish, touching it and asking questions (like "how do you think the fish feels?" as in the animal not the texture) and seemed curious in a positive way about the whole process, but didn't want to eat any. But he's a picky guy, so that's no surprise.
erratum, like you I am very sensitive and have a hard time killing insects in my house. The other day I tried to rescue a spider who had gotten stuck on some double-sided tape, but I couldn't figure out how to do it without having to pull the poor thing's legs off. So I know where you're coming from. I guess for me, I am having to make my peace with the fact that we are animals and we cannot eat without taking life. Sure, you can eat only plants, but animals and insects are killed in order to produce those plants, no matter what. I used to think I was minimizing that by being mostly vegan, and I was, when you compare a vegan diet to eating animals who are fed grains. But when you compare a vegan diet to one that includes grassfed organic meat, it's not so clear. When I eat beef, I'm eating a very small part of a large animal, and the collateral damage to other animals and insects that comes along with that is minimal. In fact, eating grassfed beef from the ranch by my town is actually a good thing, since that ranch works hard to improve the ecology on their grazing land, which improves the habitat for all the animals who live there, not just the cattle. I guess what I'm saying is that I used to think it was really simple: if I didn't want to kill, I needed to live off of plants. But now I think that there isn't any way to avoid the karmic burden of killing in order to live, so you might as well take an honest look at the complexity of the situation and make the best choices you can. For me, those choices turned out to be pretty different from what I had imagined, but I feel that my personal integrity is better off for having gone through this process and having moved toward a different (more honest, more "real") dietary pattern. I also believe that taking life in a spirit of gratitude and reverence is very different from doing so in a spirit of denial and unconcern. I am so, so grateful every time I eat meat, and to me eating meat with that awareness is better than eating wheat or beans or whatever with no awareness of everything that has been sacrificed to put food on my plate. Your mileage may vary, of course. I'm just sharing what my experience has been.
I don't kill spiders, but for an entirely different reason. Some very small part of my brain is convinced, however ridiculous, that if you smash a spider it will release some sort of pheromone that will tell all the other spiders in the world to come and kill you.
You've made some really great points here. Another point that I've heard that resonated with me, was that if you care about humane treatment of animals, buying beans does nothing to support that. A better way to strike a blow at factory farms would be putting your money/consumer weight into supporting farms/business with humane and sustainable practices.
And I think questing your beliefs is a great (albeit difficult) thing. If something is worth believing in, if should stand up to scrutiny. And sometimes beliefs are appropriate for their time, and sometimes they need updating. And admitting that you are wrong/mistaken/in need of change is really something modern people should do more. Personal growth is a great and humbling force and hardheadedness is it's enemy. For instance, in politics, someone is seen to be "waffling(Sp?) on the issues" if they ever, in the history of their career, change their stance on a subject. Shouldn't we be glad that a politician saw his mistake and corrected it, or grew with the times and circumstances instead of folding his hands, holding his breath, and stubbornly going down with the ship just because he once voted x on y?
At least is what I'm telling myself to psych myself up for dropping the bomb on my family about the whole "meat thing." ;)
erratum-welcome to our little thread! Like you and bodhitree, I have a problem killing insects, too. I totally let the ants live in my house for a while by postponing spraying them and eventually they just went away, weird, huh?
I craved the bone broth first, I think I wanted the bone broth even more than the meat--my body was telling me that I needed that! The good news is that you don't have to crack the bones, you can just throw them in a pot with a little vinegar or lemon juice, spices, etc. and simmer simmer simmer. The jello-consistency I have yet to achieve with chicken broth--I think it is like the holy grail of bone broth and if you do finally get it, by then you'd probably be pretty psyched about it!
I don't know about the dis-membering issue. I kinda forced myself to procure the meat and go through every step of cooking it rather than rely on de-boned chicken or asking my dh to handle it raw--I just really wanted this decision to be MINE, you know? I wanted to own my meat consumption. I felt the same way, that people should be willing to kill it if they want to eat it--I don't know if I could really do that, intellectually, but I always used to tell friends (like you said) 'if I was starving in the woods, I'd definitely kill an animal to eat it' but justifying my vegetarianism that I wasn't in a life or death situation--but maybe we are? I am eating this meat to sustain my own life. For me right now, I am understanding that it is life or death. I don't know if you dig Susun Weed, and this article is primarily about goat-keeping, but if you read through it, she has some really, really awesome insights about "giving death" that I have been pondering since reading it: http://www.susunweed.com/herbal_ezine/July10/healingwise.htm I am still thinking about it . . .
I think if I knew how, I would totally go quail-hunting or something to sustain our poultry consumption. We have been cooking a chicken about every other week (for 3-4 meals from each bird)--that's 24 chickens a year! Wow. Would I personally kill two chickens a month to feed my family? I don't know. But I think if dh or I could hunt geese or duck or quail or smth and stock up the freezer once a year, I would feel really good about it. I have friends that do that, and I've got mad respect for them. Plus, it's much cheaper than buying it at the store!
I took dh to a ribs place today and had my first ribs, non-organic and all. The freedom I have to eat where/what I want is so rich, I really am luxuriating in it--not just ordering sides at a restaurant, kwim?
to you all!
That was a great article. It made me tear up reading it. Thanks.