Being a nutritional consultant, I think that vegan or vegetarian diet is very unhealthy. I live in Boulder area--the heart of vegans and vegetarians so to speak--and I have a lot of clients whose health gets damaged by the myth of "meat being bad for you". In reality, eating a good daily amount of organic preferably grass-fed and free range meats, good quality animal fats, liver (twice a week), bone broths, wild caught fish, are just as important as eating green leafy vegetables and low glycemic fruit.
I am not vegan or vegetarian because everyone in my house loves meat. I could live without it, but I do like it... pork chops, chicken, steak, BACON!!!!! I am intrigued with the thought of becoming vegan or vegetarian though, but it is not practical in my house. I refuse to make more than one meal at a time. Don't have time for all that fuss. The only time I would be ok with fixing multiple meals at a time is if someone has an allergy or intolerance, etc. That is not the case with us.
I could easily go without meat and did for about ten years. My husband and daughter are NOT INTERESTED at all and have made that clear. I will still usually skip the actual meat I cook or when ordering out and I seriously dislike handling it. I don't mind eggs or milk or butter in things (too lazy to avoid them), but if cooking for myself would gladly use substitutes. I guess I'd miss cheese, but I can get awfully grossed out about cheese if I give it too much thought.
I have more of an ethical issue than health issues. I try to at least be responsible about where I buy animal products and I'm VERY careful about body products but it's expensive and sometimes ethics are a luxury I can't afford :-(
This may turn into a rant.
We aren't vegetarians or vegans because trying to get cross contamination free grains is a joke, unless you grow them yourself. My children have lots of food allergies (the oldest has the least & the youngest eats about 5 things right now, no kidding at all, & nurses - I'm so scared for him & am really clueless about what to do at this point ) and trying to find food that is free of cross contamination could be a full time job.
The rant part: I think it must be nice to be able to choose to eliminate whole groups of food on your ideals/whims/whatever. We are omnivores, like it or not, world population or not, allergies or not. My dd wants to participate in a regular group activity. They have rules about food & you can only bring food that meets their rules. So, if dd participates, she has to follow even more food rules, barbecue of what people want. Must be f)%^#(*g nice.
If I tried really hard to find meat substitutes that tasted decent and spent the time preparing them, etc. I could probably go veggie. Meat never really was that appetizing for me compared to veggies.
I have always been picky about meat. If it is prepared well, tastes amazing, and doesn't resemble something that was once alive, I can eat it. It has to have no weird consistencies, like fatty pieces, tendons, gritty pieces, bloody or bruised areas, etc.
I think of the tender, pounded out beef that my European aunt would prepare with all the right herbs and spices, rolled into braciole with a toothpick...my mouth waters. It's comfort food. Old world recipes, cooked with love from scratch...now THAT I can eat! The stuff they try to pass off as "Italian food" at chain restaurants... I don't bother. Soups and salads it is.
I think the meat I would miss the most would be bacon (more for the flavor than the consistency). I also love clams like I can't explain....and marinated squid salads, etc. I crave salty foods over sweets. Oh how I would miss ceviche...mmmm lime and cilantro soaked fish! I'm getting hungry!
Also, I too have been anemic on and off all my life, probably because I usually don't eat red meat. Don't remember the last time I ate red meat.
Today the only meat I ate was 3 slices of turkey bacon, 2 turkey meatballs and 2 slices of Boars Head Ever Roast Chicken. I had other sources of protein like some nuts, an egg, a slice of cheese, half and half and some beans.
Siblings and I have been having an argument with my mother. My mother is very much against cruelty to animals, though is a meat eater. She means well, but there is a bit of hypocrisy. She doesn't want to hear about slaughter houses (considers them evil, with every right to think so) but also can't stand her brother-in-law's tendency to raise his own meat. We are all trying to convince her it's so much more humane in most circumstances to raise your own meat than to buy it from your standard grocer where it probably did come from a plant, but she's fighting it.
I think it boils down to the fact that she would know the animal. Sigh.
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