Lately I've been thinking more and more about cutting back on meat consumption. I don't know if I could ever commit to a vegetarian lifestyle, but several things are making me consider some serious dietary changes.
The first thing that made me seriously consider less meat was watching the documentary, 'Food, Inc.'. Even in you have zero interest in stopping your consumption of meat, I encourage you to see this film. Educate yourself about where the food you put in to your body comes from. The realization that the meat that we eat, either from the supermarket or the fast-food joint is essentially 'factory food', was a real eye-opener for me. Can I give up the tasty bacon? I don't know. I don't know if I can live a life without bacon or a burger or a bacon-cheeseburger. But I think I can live a life with lessbacon, or at least bacon that comes from a more ethical source.
Second was former Vice President Al Gore's appearance on Larry King Live in which he stated, "the impact of meat-intensive diet is a significant factor" in warming the planet, that "the growing meat intensity of diets around the world is bad for the planet," and that "the more meals I've substituted with more fruits and vegetables, the better I feel about it..." Reducing one's intake of meat is the single most significant thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint if you're in to that sort of thing.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is the realization that heart disease is very prevalent on both sides of my family. My father died from heart disease in 2005, and my mother's sudden death last month was most certainly a result from heart disease and high blood pressure. Diets filled with lots of tasty meat are also filled with lots of saturated fat. I like to imagine that at 42, I am much too young to be thinking about hardened and clogged arteries, but that's not my reality.
So, what do I plan on doing? Well, like I said, I don't see myself joining PETA anytime soon. I can't get with any organization that wants to rename fish 'Sea Kittens' in an effort to get people to stop eating fish. The folks at PETA, while I'm sure are well-intentioned, are plainly put, freaks. They are what makes me hesitant to embrace a vegetarian lifestyle, because Lord knows I don't need to be any freakier than I already am. But I do plan on reducing the amount of meat that I eat. My goal is to have two or three meatless days a week, and when I do eat meat, to try to eat only meat that was raised and slaughtered ethically. It won't be easy, and I'm sure I'll fall off the meat wagon (HA!) more than once, but I feel like I owe it to myself and to my family to try.
What about you? Could you give up meat? Could your family go meatless for one or two days a week?