Excuse the title of this post. I tried to think of something more savory to all ears, but this was the most accurate wording.
Over the past few months, I’ve been going back and forth about our decision to go vegetarian. I’ve never had any doubt that given a little extra time, we’ll be able to easily come up with lots of vegetarian meals that we love. Dexter’s as strongly convinced about our change as I am…and sometimes even more than I am. I’m not even really concerned about wanting to eat meat, although that has entered my head a few times.
Mostly, I’m concerned about offending, distancing, or inconveniencing from other people. What if our neighbors in Hawkeye Court want to share a traditional Korean/Chinese/Romanian/something meal with us that has meat in it? What if we go visit Korea when our friends return home and their sweet Korean mothers fix us a delicious but beefy meal? What about house church meals? (If we made every dish so that everyone could eat them, we would be a no dairy, no gluten, no meat house church. What a challenge!) What about people we see and eat with a lot, like my parents, who are still scrambling to feed my sister meat-free meals when she’s home.
One possible compromise we’re considering is being “at-home vegetarians.” Basically, food we make or choose to eat at restaurants would be vegetarian. And, in settings where meat can be avoided without stepping on any toes, we’d choose extra meat-free side dishes in lieu of a meaty main dish. But, we wouldn’t feel pressure to abstain when there was pressure to eat, like with new friends or in non-vegetarian friendly environments.
Part of me likes this solution because I think moderation is good. And I know that I’m compromising on so many other levels that I feel like the occasional meat-eating would fall under the category of buying milk from farms I don’t know anything about, or buying products from brands like Johnson & Johnson, Colgate, or Suave (all of which test on animals). It really bothers me that I can’t afford to switch to using entirely cruelty-free products, but I’ve been telling myself I have to draw the line somewhere.
However, the other part of me doesn’t want to be a half-ass vegetarian. The vegetarian fad really irritates me. I’ve definitely seen people say, “I never eat meat!” while shoveling their faces with it. I don’t feel like I could really call myself a vegetarian if I was okay with it sometimes, but I don’t know how I’d explain my mostly meat-free lifestyle very easily if I totally avoided the terminology.
Whatever compromise we land with, at least at home we’ll be lacto-ovo-style vegetarians. But, we’ll try to eat cage-free/free-range eggs at home and be picky about our milk (although the milk may end up being frighteningly expensive in itself). No meat-based broths, gelatin, or sneaky bits of meat in convenience foods either. The plan is to start soon, and I’ve actually been cooking mostly vegetarian meals the past few weeks, but I feel like I can’t commit till I’ve decided about where to draw the line.