Monday, October 01, 2007

It's World Vegetarian Day

I think that's a little gimmicky and annoying, but also sorta cool. I find it alternately amusing and annoying that every day is a "holiday" about something now - carrot day, egg day, monster truck day, whatever. It's probably also world side of beef day, knowing how ironic the universe can be.

Or not. In a way it's a good idea - like the great american smokeout or whatever (do they still do that?) I wonder if it works.

I would have tried to be vegan today (and I can still try for the rest of the day, or week) but I didn't find out until I got to work and I had a bagel with (local, organic) cream cheese on the way here.

After 21 years of eating vegetarian, I am getting less and less comfortable with the absolutism of it. Plus I have a crush on a meat eater. (dang)

But it seems like almost everyone has a much easier time quitting something all together than cutting back, or simply paying attention - at least AA thinks so.

There are lots of great reasons to be a vegetarian, or at least eat that way more often - it can be better for you (but maybe only if you switch from a bad meat diet to a pretty good veg one, which is actually sorta what I did - at least a better one), it's obviously better for animals (esp if you weren't eating exclusively sustainably, humanely raised animals), and it seems to me quite reasonable that it's better in terms of world hunger and the environment.

But really, we only need to radically reduce meat eating to attain most of those things (be able to have earth-friendly, small scale farms, where hopefully the animals get a fair shake) - It would be MUCH better all around if everyone switched to eating meat once a week than if a few people go totally vegan.

But, as that's not happening quite yet, I suppose I think of it as making up a little bit for someone who's not thinking about it (which is still most people, I think)

For whatever reason I was thinking about it this morning, about how I wish I had more people in my life who understand why I do it and respect that, but DON'T think I'm better than them or something, or that I think I am. It's surprisingly infrequent to find that.


Plain Foolish said...

I've been thinking, actually, about some of the ways we label ourselves/are labelled. (Recently, someone said that I wasn't as boring as I look... Um, thanks... I think...)

Yesterday wound up being vegetarian even without me knowing that it was a special day. Not vegan, though. I'm working my way through some intense yogurt cravings. The yogurt is local and I think it's organic, though. But I've said before that I'm not entirely certain the labels are helpful - telling someone that I have a wonderful vegetarian recipe can be off-putting for dedicated non-vegetarians, but a good recipe for bean soup made with an onion base might appeal.

Jeanne said...

I actually really admire you for striving to be vegetarian/vegan.

I can say that perhaps my insecurity about the 'shoulds' in my head around eating and food might come across to you that I'm thinking that you think you're better than me.

I wish locally-produced organic meat (and fruits and vegetables) were less expensive so everyone could afford to eat that way. But I think that will require a bigger revolution than everyone eating much less meat.

earthfreak (Pam) said...


Thanks for commenting! And thanks for admiring my attempts at faithfulness in this...

I suppose I must admit that I struggle with the "feeling better than" problem. Not like I feel like being vegetarian makes me a better person (not exactly) but it is something I value (I also value growing all your own food, eating entirely locally, etc - things I don't manage to do much of at all!) so I think the lines blur sometimes. I suppose I do honestly think that I am *doing* better *at that* than some people - but just in the way that I'm better at keeping up on correspondence than I am at going to the gym, it's human variety, and doesn't need to be a judgement bout personal worth. Does that make any sense?

I also don't keep up on correspondence because it makes me a good person, but because I want to, basically. I care less, apparnetly, about the benefits of going to the gym, so it falls by the wayside.

I am interested lately in how we can stay centered in how we are called and what we discren to be the right path, rather than trying to do well on some artificially imposed scorecard, which is what I hear when people say things like, 'you're so good' about being veg or whatever....

earthfreak (Pam) said...

And, I also wish that sustainably grown food (animals and vegetables) were less expensive and accessible.

it will take a much bigger, and broader, revolution, than just changing how much meat we eat, but that will have to be a part of it, as far as I can tell.

One of the biggest things is the fact that, right now, it's being exploited as a "niche market" - the big food producers have an interest in exacerbating the distinction betwen the elite snobs who can eat organic and the regular folk who are both too poor and too "real" or something to bother with that stuff. It's crucial to maintaining an artificial premium, which I'm convinced it is when the food is coming from Dole or something.

Small farmers have to charge more simply because of how things are arranged. I don't understand much of it, but for one organic certification is much more expensive as a percentage of income, most really family-scale farmers can't actually afford it.

I don't know much about it, but I think most of the changes would have to be on a policy level - how we do farm subsidies and stuff.

Thinking of class and how to create change with money, that's one of the things I fantasize about doing if I won the lottery or something - facilitating that sort of change. Like buying up a lot of local farmland before the developers and putting it into some sort of trust, for people to farm rent-free (or low-rent) to give them the ability to compete in the market. But I don't understnad the economics all that well, it might just give them an advantage over other local farmers, which wouldn't be that helpful.