Reevaluating my Vegetarian Decision

Confession: I ate bacon last night. It smelled so good even when it was raw. It was from a local farm that raises non-confined pigs. It tasted amazing.

I don’t feel like a good vegetarian.

These are the reasons I am a vegetarian, in order from most to least important.

  • I care about the treatment of the animals we use for food.
  • It makes me sad that animals die so I can eat.
  • Cooking meat is kind of gross, and I have to be so much more careful about cleanliness when I use it.
  • It is (or can be) healthy.
  • Vegetarians are cool.
  • I don’t want people to think I’m flaky because I quit.

Gets a little shaky at the end there, don’t you think?

Last month, I started craving meat. Not one time, but all the time. When I think, “What do I want to eat?” my answer is meat. Not even a specific kind. I’m not missing the crispy coating of fried chicken or the saltiness of bacon. I just want meat.

Since my craving for dead flesh hasn’t gone away (can you tell I’m trying to chase it away?), I’ve decided to take a couple of steps.

First, I’m going to evaluate my diet and see if my craving is caused by a deficiency of some sort. Maybe I’m not getting enough protein or B vitamins. I was tested for anemia in November during a trip to the ER (did I write about that?), so it’s not anemia. I may try adding more real-food protein (like beans or dairy products), adding protein powder to my food, or taking a multi-vitamin.

Second, I’m going to research. I’m not crazy about animals dying so I can eat, but I believe God permits eating meat.* However, I do have some personal convictions* about eating meat, so I don’t want to ignore them. I’ve chosen two books that I hope will provide a variety of information to help me make an informed decision. I expect The Compassionate Carnivore by Catherine Friend to address why factory farming is harmful to animals and the earth, how cruelty-free livestock raising works, and how to find trustworthy sources of meat. Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals was written by a father-to-be who, having spent most of his life going back and forth about vegetarianism, decided to find out once and for all what would be the best dietary choices for him and his child.

Wish me luck as I do my research and make my decision between omnivore and herbivore. I welcome any resources or helpful thoughts!

*I should note that these verses are not about vegetarianism. Acts 10:9-16 gives permission to eat animals which were unclean under the old covenant. We can infer that God has not made any animals off-limits for his children to eat. Although the passage in Romans talks about meat, it talks specifically about meat sacrificed to idols. We learn that in ethically gray areas, we should prayerfully and humbly follow the convictions of our heart and intend to honor God with our decisions.

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19 thoughts on “Reevaluating my Vegetarian Decision

  1. I love, love, love, love, love Compassionate Carnivore. It wasn’t so much what I learned {cause I knew several of the things Friend brings up}, but just the freedom to know that it’s okay to eat meat. That it’s a part of the circle of life {wow, that was cheesy}. But seriously, it released me of my guilt for not being vegetarian and forced me to say “if this is my path, let it be the most loving path”.

    Also, if you decide to buy meet, don’t forget the grass fed at New Pi is free range and 100% grass fed. And I know a guy who sells bison meat that is super. Finally, there is a farmer in Kalona who follows after this method {can’t remember the name} who sells all sorts of meats.

  2. I think it’s good to research and find out why you’re craving meat, but when it comes to bacon, isn’t it the fried, salty part that is so addictive? I’m glad you can look at both sides of the issue and make an informed decision. I won’t even touch the God/meat issue, but I will say that it’s important to consider the cancer/meat/heart disease etc link–I suppose that’s a science vs. Bible issue that I really don’t want to start, but there it is :)

    • and the reality that our bodies don’t digest meat well…or dairy…

      but i understand you kelsey! when i had a similar moment, i ate some deliciously prepared beans, and new grains, and was cured. at least for awhile.

      • oops forgot to add that though the beans helped me out, that may not work for you, and i think that you are taking the right approach in evaluating & researching. that is admirable.

        and i am only a not-much-meat-atarian usually, anyway.

      • Woah, woah, woah…I didn’t know you were a vegetarian? How long have you been? How did I not figure this out?

      • Yeah, I don’t know that they’ll work for me. I’ve been eating beans all week…

        Also, not-much-meatitarian makes more sense. Probably doesn’t require as much announcement, which is probably why I didn’t know.

      • well cause i’m not a straight vegetarian, i just fantasize about being one. i havent learned how to cook tofu yet.

        for lent last year, we went all-natural and pure vegetarian, and it changed our lives. now we rarely cook meat, but we eat it at other people’s houses or sometimes when out to eat.

        our reasons are more environmental & global/economic, with a dash of holistic health reasons.

        My sister, some books & blogs we read, & other things got us started down this road.

  3. I’ve had so many of those questions myself. I am curious to see where you end up. I don’t think meat eaters are wrong. But for me it always boils down to the death of an innocent life. It just always feels wrong. But I’ve also craved meat. What’s up with that? When I dated a hunter, I had fewer conflicts because the end of life for the animal did NOT include a long ride in a cattle truck and death in a slaughter house. But still the animal died. You’ve given me some “food” for thought, though, with the possibility of humanely raised and processed meat.

    • I hope so! I’m having dinner guests tonight and serving bacon cheese burgers–real bacon for the carnivores and Morningstar fake bacon for the vegetarians. I don’t have a whole lot of experience with fake meats–I tend to avoid them since they don’t fit with the whole foods philosophy that goes with being a vegetarian. They’re often pretty good imitations, though.

  4. I’m really interested to find out what you learn. I grew up eating meat and have never felt badly about it, but I know many vegetarians and it makes me wonder if I should re-evaluate things. Anyway, I look forward to hearing your thoughts after reading these books and spending some time examining your conscience. :)

    • It’s definitely worth a look, but I recommend not looking unless you’re prepared to do at least a little changing. You might not be compelled to give up meat entirely, but you’ll never look at the average cut of grocery store meat the same again. Hopefully I’ll review both these books so you can see if either of them sound interesting.

  5. Hey there, I just wanted to say that I really appreciate your clear and thoughtful perspective of being a vegetarian. I’m married to a self-proclaimed lettuce-hating carnivore, so vegetarian is not really an option for our life, but I like your biblically sound reasoning and convictions. I will be checking back to see more! :)

    • Thanks, Cindy! My husband was vegetarian with me for a while, but enjoys meat so much that we’ve switched to humanely-raised meat for him. It’s definitely more difficult to be a vegetarian when your husband isn’t! Also, my husband hated salad when we first got married, and he actually enjoys it sometimes now, so there’s hope for you and your lettuce-hating-carnivore!

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  7. I know lots of people who have gone back and forth. I haven’t eaten meat in over a decade but I can’t say that I’ve ever craved it – even when pregnant with each of my boys! (I’m not really a vegetarian, I do eat fish, some shell fish and gelatin occasionally. I don’t eat mammals or poultry. I don’t eat it because I don’t like it.)

    You have to make the decision for you. I don’t think that biblically there is a reason to be vegetarian but we do have to take care of the temples that we have been blessed with.

    Do you know your blood type? I’m reading this book about the different foods for different blood types and there are some blood types where meat is good and others (like mine – A) where it isn’t.

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