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.