Valentine's Day 2018, the day I decided to stop eating meat cold turkey (hah). My current boyfriend was Vegan for some time and currently is vegetarian - something I've thought of for a long time and have always had conflicting feelings on. It has never been that I thought being vegetarian was a bad thing. Actually, I think it's a pretty great and remarkable thing but the call for eliminating meat from my diet based on feeling bad for the living beings was never really compelling. Yes, I have wanted and tried to be vegetarian before. Yes, I think the way we currently house and slaughter animals in the US Capitalist system is abhorred and gross. But no, I did not think that was a reason to outright not eat meat. I thought it was fine if things were done in a more humane way. I wanted to see better conditions but generally I was lost in the crowd of voices that just pushed back against activists - I hate when people push things down your throat with pathos.
Never the less, February 14, 2018 I gave up eating meat. So how did I get here? Well those slaughter houses I mentioned? Are disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. They spray poop over fields after pumping them out of kennels where cows are left side by side with no room to move. They feed animals food that actually isn't good for them health wise but optimized for the way we want to eat them. They're gross in terms of slaughtering the animals they intend us to eat. These animals are covered in their own feces, diseases and germs of those around them. Meat is mixed together in ways that if you saw it individually you wouldn't want to eat it. You'd likely request a different cut of meat because it seems unclean, unhealthy. And that was the catch for me - it's unhealthy.
The Path To Eating Sustainably
Now I didn't get here originally. Actually it took me a lot to find a reason to stick to it. I've wanted to go vegetarian but as anyone who has every dieted knows - if you don't have a compelling why, a reason to stick to it, you won't. Well, it 2018 I grew more compelled to change my actions in terms of sustainability. I've grown up thinking so many things are normal and accepted but forever realizing that they weren't ideal - plastic packaging for everything we eat, disposable containers, single use products, things that people start using and then grow tired of. So I found TED talks about the subject which led me to the #ZeroWaste movement. I love the #ZeroWaste Movement! Which will be an entirely different post and an entirely different video but this led me into merging this new found interest and compulsion with my resolutions for 2018. I want to watch 100 movies this year. Netflix has a massive log of documentaries. This led me to sustainable, which led me to a number of Vegan promoting documentaries.
The health reasons are what pushed me. Health for myself, health of the planet, health of future generations. So I felt compelled. I felt compelled to do something with my life. I hate those who are activists with pathos. I like logos, I don't care much for ethos. I want facts and these facts convinced me to follow this inkling I've had since middle school.
So why Valentine's Day?
Well, this year Valentine's Day happened to be the first day of Lent - the 40 (well actually 45) day fasting period of Catholicism. My father is religious. I was raised Catholic but I'm not actively practicing myself. Though out of respect for my dad I decided to give something up - I gave up meat. So on February 13th I decided I hadn't eaten meat yet that day and I could easily go without. I realized suddenly that the next morning was Ash Wednesday. I wanted to give this up from my life so why not use this period as a push to commit to it? So for 46 days I did not eat meat and it wasn't the worst. I definitely had cravings and I struggled to keep up with it among my hectic schedule and never being home. So after a month and I half, I've gained 10 pounds or so and don't really feel much different but I think I'm going to stick to this and give up meat for good.