Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Where's the Beef?

Well it's certainly not in 2012, at least for me.

Disclaimer: in this post I have shared my views, thoughts and opinions on why I have decided to stop eating meat. If you feel that you would not care for this information, or to learn about what actually is happening in food production in our country I would discourage you from reading.

So far this year I haven't eaten any meat. I have had seafood though, so I guess you could say that I have become a pescatarian. On December 30th, Mr. Charming and I were staying at a Bed & Breakfast in NC (which I just realized I never posted about...maybe more on that later!), and with no good TV we decided to pick something from Netflix to watch on his iPad. We couldn't agree on any movies so I went to the documentary section and decided on Food Inc.
I had heard a lot about this film and had wanted to watch it for a while. And they were right, I never looked at dinner or any meal the same since. To be perfectly honest I shed quite a few tears that evening, not just at the cruel ways the animals in our meat farms are treated, but at the absolutely horrid rules and regulations that are in place in this country regarding meat production. The "filler" added into ground beef, the fact that our cows eat corn and not grass, and seeing hundreds of chickens crammed into one chicken house just sitting in each other's waste took only mere minutes to remove the taste of meat from my mouth.
The next morning at breakfast I quickly took my sausage and put it on MC's plate. At least he was happy with the results of me watching this film.

Now, why am I still eating seafood? Because I saw nothing about seafood production in this film. Is it probably just as bad? Yes, but I don't know about it yet. The film did show a company (I believe from VA) that locally raised and and produced meat in a small business. If I knew where my meat was coming from, how it was handled and how it was raised, yes I would eat it. Unfortunately I'm a little wary of anything that I would now purchase at the store.

It's been an interesting journey so far learning how to adapt my diet. What I've learned the most is that I almost feel disadvantaged by not eating meat. It's hard to find decent choices in some food places, and I refuse to eat a grilled cheese, pizza or pasta just because I don't want to eat meat. I've been finding new sources of protein and also exploring many fake meat products. So far some of my favorites have been Gardein's crispy tenders, Boca crumbles and Morningstar buffalo wings (which I'll probably break out this Super Bowl Sunday!).

I must say what's been most interesting is the reactions and questions I get from friends, family and even strangers when they find out I am not eating meat.

Q: "Well then what are you eating?"
Ummm food? There's only a million other foods on this earth besides meat. What are you eating? I probably ate that...minus the meat.

Q: "Aren't you hungry all the time?"
No, I consume the same amount of calories as I did when I wasn't eating meat. Trust me, I am someone that will never go hungry...

Q: "What will you eat at Pawley's Front Porch?"
They actually offer a veggie burger, and fish tacos. 

I'm learning how to handle all of the questions. Will I stop eating meat forever? Who knows, maybe, maybe not. If I can find a great place to get meat that I know has been handled in a way that I care for, great. Will I stop eating other things that are processed and probably just as gross? Until I am a millionaire and can either buy all local organic food, or have my own garden and farm, most likely not. Unfortunately in our country that's a difficult feat.

Things I would like to do are to learn more about how to support to change in our food industry. Especially with the policies that let companies get away with doing the most foul things to our meat before shipping it off the local Publix.

For now I'll continue with my seafood and fake meat products. Don't worry I'll have something to eat and won't be hungry all the time. If anyone out there has great sources of information for vegetarian living and recipes please feel free to pass along!


Andrea said...

Hey Anna-
Great blog and great movie..It wasn't enough for me to give up meat but I do buy organic chicken, grass-fed red meat (which I eat sparingly) and wild fish (avoiding corn-fed/farm-raised) I do LOVE fake meat products because I avoid pork like it's poison..The Morningstar veggie sausages are ahh-mazing! Just be careful because the fake meat is almost ALWAYS made with soy (also not good for the body)

Anna said...

Good tip, thanks Andrea! Just went to your blog looks like your'e doing some big things, where did ya move to? Hope all has been well for you lately!

Royar said...

I've been a vegetarian since July and I don't miss it at all! I haven't seen Food Inc, but I have read Skinny Bitch, kind of the same thing without the visual! Congrats! XO

Anna said...

Thanks Royar, I read that book too and have the cookbook, it has some pretty good stuff in it! If you have any great recipes or tips on staying healthy as a vegetarian please do share!