Why aren't you a vegan or vegetarian? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 68 Old 09-18-2013, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would love to know why you are not a vegan or vegetarian! I'll start. So as a young person I worked in a BBQ place as the dessert chef. I was vegan then and tried my bestest to do it right but just didn't feel right, ya know? So I went back to eating fish and eggs. Now I eat meat because of allergies my diet is already limited and to be healthy I need to not be vegan. I eat tons of produce, not much meat and eggs and cheese (YUMMMMMM cheese!)

 

How about you?


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#2 of 68 Old 09-18-2013, 08:59 PM
 
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This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. For me, my body just feels better when I get animal protein. I tend to be anemic and without meat, I feel very low and get headaches and I feel rundown. I've been trying to eat meat from the most humane sources whenever possible, and I switch it up with other protein sources, but I don't know if I could ever fully give up meat.


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#3 of 68 Old 09-18-2013, 11:44 PM
 
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I also tend to have low iron and that makes me feel totally miserable, and eating red meat is definitely the best way for me to get that (non-animal sources of iron are non-heme and not easily absorbed). I have tried a variety of different diets - vegan, vegetarian, and paleo and ultimately I just feel best when eating a whole-foods based omnivorous diet. It's also the least stressful for me since I don't have to spend a lot of money and effort looking for specialty food items, supplements that I think are questionable, and so forth. 

 

Also importantly, I don't have an ethical problem with eating meat. I do have some major problems with the industrial food system and how many of the animals are terribly mistreated, but I do think it is possible to raise animals for food in an ethical and humane way. 

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#4 of 68 Old 09-19-2013, 12:01 AM
 
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I feel better with animal protein. Year ago a Chinese herbalist told me to add animal protein to my died to feel better. My Western doctor tested me and discovered serious Vit B issues. Most likely because I had intrisic factor issues.

 

I feel much better with animal protein but I still have awesome cooking skills with veggies etc and i can make vegan food for friends.

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#5 of 68 Old 09-19-2013, 07:27 AM
 
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Personally, I believe our bodies are made to eat meat. From the vitamins that we need, to the way our teeth are shaped and how our digestive system works, it makes sense to me from a biological/physiological POV.

That said, I eat veg at least 80% of the time; and when I do prepare meat, it's almost always a minor ingredient in the meal and not a standalone entrée. For example, I make a killer turkey sausage which is 1 lb ground turkey and 2 lbs veggies, and then I serve that in tacos (with more veggie toppings) or spaghetti sauce (more veggies and pasta), etc.

Cooking meat is a pain and expensive, and the environmental impact can't be ignored. But I like it and feel that it can play a role in a healthy, modern diet.

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#6 of 68 Old 09-19-2013, 10:19 AM
 
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In my family when we eat meals with little or no meat we are still hungry and binge on carbs and dairy. Then we gain weight and suffer hypoglycemia and inflammation. Also beans and grains have a lot of anti-nutrients and troubling chemicals in their make-up. My husband doesn't tolerate lactose well either.

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#7 of 68 Old 09-19-2013, 04:24 PM
 
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Echoing the "feel better with animal protein". I have really bad digestive problems- meat is something that consistently is easy on it. I buy the most ethical meat I can. I hate the conditions on too many farms- I think eating meat is natural, the way that we treat livestock is NOT.


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#8 of 68 Old 09-19-2013, 05:08 PM
 
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For starters, I firmly believe that humans are an omnivorous species. The fact we can't get at least 1 vital nutrient without animal protein is a pretty obvious sign of that, even if we ignore our teeth and history. We probably did eat a lot less meat, but it was still a vital component of the human diet for all our history.

 

I'm not a huge fan or vegetables in general. I make myself (& my kids) eat them because they're good for us. Vegan and vegetarian replacements for things I do like are generally dry and nasty. We try to avoid soy in large quantities.

 

Then there's my husband's medical issues. He can't eat high fibre foods, except in extremely limited quantities at distant intervals. This sucks because I have a wonderful baked beans recipe. Most vegetarian and vegan meals seem to rely on things like legumes, which are high fibre. Removing meat from our diets would make it impossible for him to get enough protein because everything suggested for protein for vegan diets is also high fibre.

 

Finally, I'm lazy and have serious energy issues until my hypothyroid is properly medicated. Creating a vegetarian or vegan diet that contains the essential nutrients is a lot harder than creating an omnivorous diet that does the same thing. Plus, there's a lot more peeling and cutting required. :flipped I find myself going to processed stuff too much as it is because of not enough energy to make something without adding in all the extra for enough vegetables to make an entire meal (since I'm pretty certain frozen mixed veggies doesn't make a meal, even with some rice).

 

I'm sure I missed something. I am trying to come up with a few meatless meals that everyone is willing and able to eat, but I don't think zucchini parmesan is exactly a nightly meal.

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#9 of 68 Old 09-19-2013, 06:12 PM
 
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Similar reasoning to what was already said above. I was vegetarian (lacto-ovo) for 5 years, then for another several years only ate meat out occasionally, but did not cook it at home - until I got pregnant and was anemic. Started eating meat again. Now our family has three omnivores and one mostly vegetarian. DD eats fish and shellfish occasionally, but is otherwise lacto-ovo. I have dabbled in Eat to Live, but find it very difficult to follow the diet fully. We incorporate aspects of that in our diet. Honestly, if I go by how my body feels, I prefer omni and an even mix of carb/protein/veg (something like fish, rice and salad, or chicken, broccoli and noodles). We now only buy the organic meat from Costco. I also have quite a few vegetarian and vegan meals in the mix since DD doesn't eat meat, or I make the meat on the side.


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#10 of 68 Old 09-19-2013, 06:53 PM
 
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Simple answer:  I'm lazy.  I don't love meat (do like it), don't eat it a heck of a lot, but have never made the effort to wean myself off it.

 

Complex answer:  I see no reason to go vegetarian/vegan.  I see a lot of cultural history in meat and animal products.  While I'm against factory processing of animals, I highly admire the work of small farmers/ranchers, hunters who respect their prey, etc.  I believe one can respect the environment and animals as much as anyone else while still being an omnivore.


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#11 of 68 Old 09-19-2013, 07:08 PM
 
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The short answer is because I haven't found a compelling reason to be vegetarian/vegan.

 

The long answer is that I don't feel it's intrinsically unethical to eat animals, though I agree with many on this thread about the ickiness of modern food production. I'm a Christian, and the Bible tells us that God gave us the animals to eat. I'm also a biologist, and see ample evidence that it is biologically normal for us to consume meat. (On the basis of biology, I would actually be more likely to give up dairy products than meat - what other species consumes milk of any kind, let alone from another species, in adulthood??) Also, I like meat. It is tasty. I don't know that I've ever spent enough time eating vegetarian/vegan to know if I feel better physically eating meat, but I know I feel better eating more protein and less carbs.


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#12 of 68 Old 09-19-2013, 07:15 PM
 
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 Now I eat meat because of allergies my diet is already limited and to be healthy I need to not be vegan. 

Allergies forced me to eat more meat.  I suppose I could subsist on pinto beans alone, with some yogurt and cheese and sunflower seeds, but as far a veg protein that's about all I can eat.  I am allergic to all nuts, soy, eggs, peas, lentils, many other beans, most grains, and mushrooms, plus I am sensitive to lactose, and have an upper limit on the amount of dairy I can consume.  I do eat more meat than I should, but it would be a sorry diet indeed if I tried to be a vegetarian again.

 

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Also importantly, I don't have an ethical problem with eating meat. I do have some major problems with the industrial food system and how many of the animals are terribly mistreated, but I do think it is possible to raise animals for food in an ethical and humane way. 

I have no problem with ethically raised meat, but I also still have trouble with making profit off an animal's death.  So, while I eat organic and locally raised meats, my ideal is to be self-sufficient with the meat I consume, or trade some with my hunting neighbor.  It is important to me that the animals can live a calm, natural life until their last seconds in this world.  I also have ethical questions about animals that are produced and raised specifically for meat production (even if I personally raised them) instead of, say, a consequence of some other animal product (eating cockerels and culled hens, for example, or, to a lesser extent, calves from dairy animals.)  The amount of meat we eat is a sticky issue in my mind as well.  But in general, I have no ethical problem with animals being destroyed so that we might eat them, converting what is inedible for humans (grass, many bugs and snakes and mice, etc.) into something edible.  It's the circumstances of their life and death that I have issues with.


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#13 of 68 Old 09-19-2013, 07:55 PM
 
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I believe it's biologically normal for us to eat meat.

 

My husband would never give up meat; he gets testy when I make vegetarian dishes too many nights in a row. I am not organized enough to make two different versions of half of our meals. 

 

Now that I'm pregnant, meat is practically the only thing that keeps me from being hungry an hour later. 

 

We do try to eat ethically/locally, but I admit we fail a lot. It is a goal. 

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#14 of 68 Old 09-19-2013, 09:04 PM
 
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I hunt for my meat, or help the farmers who raised it kill it, or I fish for it.  I only infrequently eat mass-produced meat.  I have a hard time biting my tongue when vegetarians who consume dairy get on about not eating meat (how do they think they obtained their dairy, if not through the impregnation of animals and the eventual slaughter of their young?)  On the other hand, though, I don't think people should kid themselves that hunted animals necessarily have calm and peaceful lives (a lot of moose where I live, for example, will bear the scars and sometimes fresh wounds of encounters with predators) nor that an animal dying through a rifle bullet will necessarily die a magical and peaceful death (it really does not always happen that way, despite the best intentions of the hunter).  I grew up eating hunted meat, and I hope my kids can too.  It certainly forces a pretty serious internal conversation with yourself when you are about to kill an animal like a moose.  I could never take that lightly, or without a huge feeling of sadness and gratitude.  I feel a greater degree of security in local, known meat sources than I do in a bucket of soybeans from who knows where.  I know for sure beans do not grow well within thousands of kilometers of my home, which to me is an important factor in choosing my protein sources.

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#15 of 68 Old 09-20-2013, 06:14 AM
 
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I have confused thoughts on this issue!

 

I was vegan for about 18 years. During that time, I suffered a lot of health issues including development of a dramatic autoimmune condition.  I have friends who have only recently turned vegan and consider it an answer to all health issues - it was not, so, for me. I think there's an idea that people can completely control "bad" health issues and by eating vegetarian, vegan, raw, etc - it will control and prevent all negative health issues. Not so.   I also find I feel very ungrounded and airy, if I'm only eating vegan.   I need the protein, it seems to temper this airiness.  And, I'm allergic to soy (and fish, for that matter) so tofu is out.    I do eat a lot of vegetables however.

 

My husband is definitely an inflexible carnivore and since marrying him, the animal protein has made it more frequently to our plates.    Like Erigeron, there's a testiness that develops if he's not eating meat. (Sigh)

 

That said, it bothers me we eat slaughtered animals.  However, above in this thread, there are  a lot of interesting thoughts to process so perhaps this is something I can come to terms with, one day. 

 

 

I should mention too: once, when I was vegan, a friend offered me some extra chicken from her lunch.  I declined the offer.  She, being from the Philippines, said, with a bit of frustration, " You know, the country I come from ... people are starving. They scrape roadkill off the ground to eat".  Her point was the act of avoiding certain foods was something one could only do when they had access to much food and wealth.  For a person starving, there is no 'vegan' or "gluten-free' - only eating to survive.

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#16 of 68 Old 09-20-2013, 08:04 AM
 
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1.) To expand my local food options. 

 

We have backyard hens fed largely on our food scraps, so we have a cheap and reliable source of sustainable protein. My husband hunts and fishes --- ditto. (Well, the fishing is MUCH more reliable than the hunting!)

 

I do eat non-local meats, but I try to be mindful. Some months I'm much 'better' than others. 

 

2.) Because I am just much happier as an omnivore. I know I CAN be a veg*n --- have done so, sometimes for years at a time --- but in the end life is short, I ADORE food, and while some people find that their culinary range expands when the become veg*n (can no longer eat meat'n'potatoes every day), I find my food world dramatically shrinks. And that makes me sad. 

 

3.) I'm not perfectly convinced that strict veg*nism is any better for the environment than eating mostly vegetables, but allowing for some flexibility --- ESPECIALLY if most of the flexibility involves local food. 

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#17 of 68 Old 09-20-2013, 08:21 AM
 
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3.) I'm not perfectly convinced that strict veg*nism is any better for the environment than eating mostly vegetables, but allowing for some flexibility --- ESPECIALLY if most of the flexibility involves local food. 

I'm also not convinced that vegetarianism is better for the environment that mindful meat and animal product consumption.  I think the most sustainable farm systems are those that include animals in some capacity, and rotational-pasture based farms are some of the most sustainable.  Of course, this assumes a small scale.  Large-scale agriculture of any kind is problematic.

 

But this is not "why" I still it meat.  It is more how I can feel ethically justified.


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#18 of 68 Old 09-20-2013, 10:05 AM
 
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I like steak. I like it rare. Please excuse me while I bite this cow :eat

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#19 of 68 Old 09-20-2013, 09:43 PM
 
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I think eating meat is part of the human experience and has been forever. I accept that animals are raised for food and don't have objections to normal, pastured animal husbandry followed by slaughter.

 

I also think eating CAFO meat is indefensible. We don't buy it and try to avoid in restaurants. I need to work on avoiding it in restaurants more completely. If that was the only option available we wouldn't eat meat. 

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#20 of 68 Old 09-21-2013, 07:28 AM
 
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Food allergies in my family:  to eggs, soybeans, peanuts, tree nuts, various seeds.  Lots of really good protein sources eliminated from our diet.


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#21 of 68 Old 09-22-2013, 05:31 AM
 
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My husband and I were both raised with meat as the main dish, every single night.

 

As an adult, nothing has convinced me that humans aren't meant to consume meat.  But I have concluded that our standard American portions of meat tend to be much too large and that, as consumers, we ought to be more conscious of production practices (to the extent that we can afford to).  

 

Our parents and grandparents seemed to view a meatless dinner as an indication of poverty.  For my husband and me, a week without at least one meatless night indicates a lack of creativity and effort, with meal planning.  Besides, we're Catholic and we try to be more observant than our parents were (easy for my husband, who was raised by Baptists! :wink.)  We like the Catholic tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays, both to focus on the idea of sacrifice (meat being a very small one), and for health.  (Although the Church doesn't expect abstention anymore, except during Lent.)  Our crew of 3 teenage boys is actually excited when I make veggie lasagna or "Mexican Hoppin' Johns" (layered brown rice and spicy black beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers and onions - a variation of an old southern dish with black-eyed peas and okra).  

 

But they're in the period of peak caloric and protein need, in their lifetimes.  They play physically-demanding sports.  They crave meat and are usually disappointed and carb-loading, if they don't get it.  So, I try to offer smaller portions of meat, using dishes that mix in meat with other ingredients, instead of always having a slab of meat flanked by side dishes.  Eating less meat affords us more choice about what meat we buy - although we still can't afford organic, free-range, grass-fed meat from Whole Foods.

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#22 of 68 Old 09-22-2013, 09:59 AM
 
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I have confused thoughts on this issue!

 

I was vegan for about 18 years. During that time, I suffered a lot of health issues including development of a dramatic autoimmune condition.  I have friends who have only recently turned vegan and consider it an answer to all health issues - it was not, so, for me. I think there's an idea that people can completely control "bad" health issues and by eating vegetarian, vegan, raw, etc - it will control and prevent all negative health issues. Not so.   I also find I feel very ungrounded and airy, if I'm only eating vegan.   I need the protein, it seems to temper this airiness.  And, I'm allergic to soy (and fish, for that matter) so tofu is out.    I do eat a lot of vegetables however.

 

It's good to hear your voice Tuesday! I was vegan for 12 years. For the first 10 years I felt amazing. Then I started getting the airy feeling you describe. Besides being overweight my health appeared to be perfect. I wasn't anemic, my blood pressure was fantastic, thyroid, eyesight, etc. were all OK-- so the airiness didn't seem to have any explanation besides my diet. I began eating eggs, then goat dairy (cow dairy was a big reason I felt bad before going vegan), then fish, then birds, then some red meat. It took quite some time but I finally landed back on earth.

 

I am still seriously struggling with the idea. Being vegan worked so well for me for so long, and I hate the idea of eating the bodies of animals. I don't feel like I have much of a choice these days, unless I want to move to a mountain ashram where I don't have to deal with reality. Part of me wishes I didn't take literally years to come to terms with it... I was running a business that was doing well. Eventually I couldn't focus well and got anxious about small things and the business fell apart. I have always lived in my head and not my body, and it has always taken me forever to figure out what my body needs.

 

I am sorry to hear about your health condition-- are you feeling better? Even when I was an enthusiastic vegan I couldn't stand it when people would suggest that being vegan or raw was the answer to all health issues. Humans are obviously meant to eat meat and eggs (dairy-- that's not so certain). There are also the folks who claim that a plant-based diet is the root of all health problems. The bottom line is that you can only eat for your own body type. I believe you can survive for a long time very healthfully by following a plant-based diet, so I don't want to knock it. But it's so important to listen to what your body needs.

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#23 of 68 Old 09-25-2013, 04:20 PM
 
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Because i know we need proteins from animals. I'm actually invesigating the Paleo, Omni and primal diets. Grains are not good.

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#24 of 68 Old 09-25-2013, 04:34 PM
 
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I feel most happy on a vegtarian, cheese free diet, with lots of greens and seaweed, but I can imagine other people pdo refer eating meat.

It's great that there are so many different ways to feed ourselves and our children!

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#25 of 68 Old 09-25-2013, 09:56 PM
 
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I was born and raised a vegetarian and only within the last 6 month s have started eating meat. I always thought it was better to not eat animal products till I did some reading and couldn't ignore any longer what I had learned. (The Weston A. Price foundation changed my life) Obviously it is not good to support factory meat farms... so we don't. We eat small portions of high quality and humanely treated meat as our bodies were intended to do. I don't think we were intended to eat giant portions of factory farmed meat and most people would agree that that's not very healthy!

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#26 of 68 Old 09-25-2013, 10:01 PM
 
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I still struggle with the fact that another being had to die for our nourishment, but it helps when I remind myself that the food chain is not actually a line, but a circle... We all feed each other. When we die our bodies become food for the plants and animals that need us to thrive and they feed the bigger animals ect.

 

That zucchini NEEDS the blood and bones of an animal to grow tasty and Delicious and full of nourishment to feed a so called 'Vegan'.

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#27 of 68 Old 09-26-2013, 10:40 AM
 
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I still struggle with the fact that another being had to die for our nourishment, but it helps when I remind myself that the food chain is not actually a line, but a circle... We all feed each other. When we die our bodies become food for the plants and animals that need us to thrive and they feed the bigger animals ect.

 

That zucchini NEEDS the blood and bones of an animal to grow tasty and Delicious and full of nourishment to feed a so called 'Vegan'.

 

Don't forget the poo.  Pasture and grasslands do not thrive because predators die and lay their bodies and bones behind.  It grows because grazing animals poo all over the place, and vultures feeding on dead predators poo there, too.  The Lion King wouldn't have been so poetic if the Circle of Life was all about animal feces.  Not to mention the palatability of that zucchini.

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#28 of 68 Old 09-26-2013, 11:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

The Lion King wouldn't have been so poetic if the Circle of Life was all about animal feces.

Lol!

I'm not a vegetarian because I like meat, feel better when I eat it, and don't have an ethical problem with eating it.

We incorporate meat into our dinners maybe 3-4 times per week, mostly because I buy expensive humanely raised meat. I have talked with my kids about mindful consumption, even with produce (buying local/organic when possible).

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#29 of 68 Old 09-26-2013, 01:44 PM
 
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I thought I'd chime in since no one on this thread actually said they preferred a veg or vegan diet. I am not at all opposed to people eating meat, and in fact, my husband eats chicken regularly. But I would like to make the argument that a vegetarian diet can feel great. I've been a vegetarian my entire adult like, and I'm raising my 3 kids vegetarian. My kids eat lots of dairy, but I try to limit my dairy so I'm mostly vegan though not totally. I'm Indian American, so I come from generations of vegetarians (and no, I'm not a vegetarian for religious reasons, but many of my family members are). I know dozens if not more of lifelong vegetarians and they are healthy, strong, and haven't faced any problems resulting from diet, with the exception of those people who eat too much fat and sweets, and that can result in high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. as well. A vegetarian diet is not innately healthy - loading up solely on potato chips and fries would still make you a vegetarian. I think what's most important is eating healthy and feeling good about it, which is entirely possible for vegetarians.

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#30 of 68 Old 09-26-2013, 02:46 PM
 
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I was a vegetarian from the age of 13 til about 16 (I did consume dairy and eggs). Gradually I started to consume meat again. Then at age 20 I married a hunter, meat and potatoes sort of guy. Currently for dinner we tend to have two meatless meals a week. One egg based meal a week (we've got 5 chickens), two meals tend to be meat center dishes and then the others tend to have meal more as a garnish. Sometimes our two "meatless" meals might have some meat as a flavoring but not as the focus of the dish.

 

I'd go back to vegetarian again with little worry, Though I do like bacon a lot.  Vegan seems to restrictive for me personally. As for my whole family I have little doubt that any of them would follow along.


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