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Monday, October 25, 2010

The Rational Vegetarian

Yes, Dearies, I am broaching a topic you have probably heard about more times than you can count on both of your hands. A subject we have all encountered and possibly quarreled over with someone at some point in time by either huffing and puffing about how we just don't get it or defending its honor. This is the ever loved & ever hated topic of vegetarianism, hence it would be fitting to start with a definition:

Vegetarianism-is the practice of following a plant-based diet that includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts & seeds, and fungi. A vegetarian does not eat any kind of meat including beef, game, poultry, fish, crustacea & shellfish. A vegetarian may or may not include dairy and eggs in her/his diet.

Sounds like a pretty healthful diet, doesn't it? Well, it is if done properly. However, I am not here to simply argue the idea of 'Health & Wellness', nor am I here to convince anyone to be a vegetarian or a vegan. I also do not want to make anyone feel bad about their present choices. Instead, I am simply writing in defense of vegetarianism and calling out to all of you who have ever dissed it huffing and puffing about how you-

1. Just don't get it?!
2. Think it's not normal or how people were 'meant' to eat.
3. Believe it's not healthy for humans to not eat meat.
4. Haven't even thought much about it & are just annoyed by difference.
5. Feel something else...?

If you fit into any of these categories, I really hope you will continue reading. You can even argue with me in the comment area below, but please don't do so unless you actually read on and enjoy the next few topics as to why being a vegetarian is really such a very thoughtful, healthy, and rational way to eat for the following reasons!

A Love of Animals

Who out there has never loved an animal with a big part of your heart? Probably someone. I would wager though that most of you do understand the idea of love towards the animal kingdom. This is often due to some extremely adorable tail wagging by a loyal canine or maybe that independent purring puff ball that perches itself on the back of your sofa making your house look that much more inviting and wonderful. Yes, most of us do understand love beyond all things human.

However, we humans have a tendency to divide animals in our minds. I've noticed this at least. Some are for loving and having around our houses while others are meant to be a part of our dinner. Now, this last statement has its flaws. I know. For example, it's natural for most people to not want to snuggle with a snake or even have it for dinner. Animals have their differences, but please keep reading;)

Whether the aforementioned divide exists in your mind or not, I simply ask that you all contemplate the idea of someone who does love livestock or birds the way most of us love dogs and cats. In fact, I have an example. My mother loves cows. Her father had a small farm in her early childhood, and my young mother developed a love for the cows she saw born and reared. I remember going to the petting zoo at Stone Mountain in Atlanta, GA with my mother as a little girl. Her reaction to a young cow is still with me today, as she said 'just look at how sweet and adorable this baby is'. I looked down at the little cow noticing that it was indeed very cute. At the time though, I was taken aback at how my mother felt towards an animal that could be considered food.

Today, I'm different. I have little problem with the idea of loving an animal and, therefore, just not wanting to eat it. I love my dog, so I'm not eating him. I love cows, pigs, goats, sheep and deer too, so I'm not eating them either. It's really simply about love, Dearies, and I can't imagine why someone would be irritated about that?!

A Concern for The Earth

Did you know that livestock farms produce more harmful carbon gases than all of the cars across the earth on a yearly basis? It sounds unbelievable, but it's a fact. Indeed, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported in 2006 that the raising and producing of cattle, hogs, poultry and other animals produces 18% of greenhouse gases yearly while cars produce 12%. More recent reports maintain these findings, and some believe it's getting worse year by year. I'm not going to cite this information, but I encourage you to 'Google' it if you have any doubts. Livestock farms are also a major cause of land and water degradation.

In light of the very serious and changing state of our own world and habitat, being a vegetarian or a vegan is quite an eco-friendly way to eat. In fact, it is an enormous contribution to the earth on the part of the individual who eats this way. Oh, and even non-vegetarians can be more earth friendly by simply cutting down on meat and animal products while buying the ones they do eat from small, organic farms!

A Nutritionally Superior Diet

Despite popular belief, human beings do not need meat to survive. The main components of meat nutritionally speaking are protein, saturated fat, cholesterol, and B Vitamins. The plant kingdom provides plenty of healthy fat options. In fact, plant based fats like avocado, nuts, and olive oil offer protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals while leaving artery clogging cholesterol to the wolves.

A legitimate health concern for vegans is B Vitamin deficiency. However, for vegetarians this is quickly solved due to the consumption of things like eggs, milk, cream, yogurt, and cheese. And even for vegans this problem can be solved by eating vegan foods that have some natural B Vitamins while supplementing in the form of taking a vitamin or eating fortified foods like soy milk, nutritional yeast, and fermented soy products.

I'm sticking to the idea of vegetarianism here though, and vegetarians get all the good stuff with less of the bad. Indeed, so many studies have been done showing that vegetarians live longer while also suffering from less heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Just do a Google search on the benefits of eating vegetarian and you will find a plethora of legitimate studies showing that eating this way can benefit one's health and even the waist line...

I could go on and on here, Dearies. However, I have some gardening to do today, and I know you're busy too. I do hope that you will consider (if you don't already) vegetarianism and beyond as something that is simply 'good or maybe even nice' rather than 'annoying or weird' even if it is not what everyone decides to do in the realm of diet and lifestyle. And please do remember that there is such thing as being a 'responsible omnivore', which in my view is someone who eats less animal products while sourcing the ones they do eat from small, organic farms that are animal and eco-friendly.

Anyway, I will leave you with a quote I saw on Namely Marly. Ms. Marly wrote a great post on 'How to Become a Vegetarian', and the quote she started with seemed to help me understand a bit better my own choice to be a vegetarian and part-time vegan. Here it is...

A vegetarian is a person that will not eat anything that can have children-David Brenner


  1. I am 99% vegan and have been for some time now. I stopped eating meat for a variety of reasons, mostly stemming from the fact that I read "Skinny Bitch" and it totally turned me off of meat. I immediately felt better mentally and physically! And then, when I read something gross about milk and where it comes from I suddenly stopped having that too.

    I will admit to having cream in my coffee (both of which are rare) and I suppose the ocassional egg in a baked good but otherwise I am a changed eater forever!

  2. A good defense, Stella. I will likely never be a vegetarian or a vegan, but I see nothing wrong with someone choosing to be one. I would like to eat more responsibly, both healthwise and ecologically, and I am working towards that goal. I just like meat too much!

  3. I feel a long comment coming on. This isn't one that I want to write on my phone so when kiddies actually "allow" me the time to sit down, I'll come back and reply on my laptop. Chit chat later, my friend :-)

  4. Excellent entry, Stella!

    You left a comment on one of my entries recently that I have been meaning to respond to - you mentioned that you thought I was vegetarian. I eat vegetarian most of the times... but my husband is not on board with that so I usually make him a protein to eat on the side with what I make for dinner (so that chicken in the post you commented on was for him). I also eat meat when i'm in a social setting and don't want to raise a big stink about the dining options...

    I know... I'm still eating meat but I am working my way over to the other side! :) Hopefully my husband will be on board one day - that would make it A LOT easier.

    PS If your entry doesn't get everyone, that cute photo at the end will!!!

  5. This was a well-written post on a difficult subject. It's interesting just how much huffing, puffing, annoyance, and defensiveness are generated by this issue, but you broke down some of the reasons for vegetarianism in a very reasonable way!

    I would consider myself in the "responsible omnivore" category, and I'm always interested to hear how other people have made their decisions about what they will and won't eat!

  6. ok let me just start with...SIGH. i'm not vegetarian or vegan, but i don't have any problem with anyone being one either. i do have problems with people who look down on vegetarians or vegans. i just don't understand why people cannot accept that what other's choose is their choice. if anything, we should be praising vegetarianism and vegans for all the reasons you stated in your post.

    to be honest, ive thought of going vegetarian many times. i really do enjoy eating fruits, plants, and vegetables much more than meat, but i do have my occasional meat craving. that paired with my love for seafood are the two main reasons why i never went vegetarian. vegan was never a choice for me as i love my ooey gooey cheese too much...haahaa. when i eat meat i can only consume a certain amount before my body doesn't feel like containing it anymore, wierd. it's almost like my veggie loving side is fighting with my occasional crave for meat side and saying that's it, that's all the meat i can handle in one sitting. i really do enjoy the taste of veggies much more than any meat, and can have as much veggies as i want without my body wanting to reject it. now seafood is a whole different story though. i know i could never give up my seafood, so that's why i've never gone the vegetarian route. i remember even as a child my parents would always say to me , "you should just go live with the monks". that then got me curious what monks ate...lol. so everytime i visit Hong Kong, i make my relatives take me to their famous temples and enjoy their vegetarian food. oh what delicious vegetarian food they have in the temples. sorry, got sidetracked, food does that to me a lot...teehee.

    anyways, yay to all the vegans and vegetarians out there. i would love to go that route, but i know i just don't have the will power to carry it through. more power to all those who have chosen to be vegetarian and vegan. i am in total support of it, but shamely, selfishly, and honestly, just love my seafood too much.

    lastly, i wanted to thank you for taking the time to drop by Monet's blog and send her your kind warm words. i knew i could count on you dear sweet Stella. it warms my heart to have found such a caring friend like you in the blogosphere. thank you thank you for your warm friendship and your support always :-D. i realy hope you and Cauldron Boy are having a much better week than you were the last time we spoke. take care and huge hug! (sorry for the essay)

  7. I was vegetarian for awhile, and vegan for another while :-) I agree that if everyone cut back on meat consumption the environment would be in a better place, there's really no arguing that. But I'd also add that during a person's lifetime, different diets may be appropriate. What works in your 20's may not work in your 30's or 40's and so on. We are so blessed to be able to even HAVE this discussion because we have SO MANY choices when it comes to food. In other time periods and other places, people are not so fortunate to get to choose what they eat, or if they eat!

  8. Hey Stella~ excellent post! You didn't come off as pushy at all! Just a good source of knowledge.;)

    You know I'm not a vegetarian, however I do have strong feelings about responsibility toward animals and the environment.

    I feel that we are a natural part of the food chain. Yet our diet should show restraint and compassion--and pretty much every other area of life should as well! We try to eat meat from local sources that hold the same belief system. That's my two cents!

  9. A beautifully, well-written, well-thought out post! Thank you, Stella.

    Even though I'm no longer a Vegetarian, You have addressed all the issues that I ran into when trying to explain myself to others. If only I had had you around a few years ago! :-)

    I think this post will surely give people somethings to think about the next time they feel a need to belittle a vegetarian diet.

  10. What a very intersting post.
    I am not a Vegetarian, but I could easily live without the meat. My husband is a true meat lover and so are my sons, so...
    My mother died in the early 70s, way before Vegetarians were popular; from the time I was born, I NEVER saw her eat any meat. She always said her stomach couldn't handle it. In those days there were not too many alternatives to replace meat. She would be happy to see we have evolved since then.

  11. What a wonderful post Stella! I must say it was the love for animals that convinced me of going vegan. I just wish I made the connection earlier that I was eating an animal. I know it sounds dumb but I just saw meat as meat. Never thought that it was an animal that had a personality, that felt pain and that could make a really good friend.

    I see vegetarianism growing immensely out here in Los Angeles. There are so many veggie restaurants to eat at and I am loving that I now see "made with free ranged eggs and grass fed beef"..it means we are definitely making progress. I hope this post touches someone..even if they can just give up meat once a week, that would be success on our part : ]

  12. I agree with you. All the reasons you listed are all the reasons why I was vegetarian. It's kind of ridiculous how much meat is consumed. I read somewhere that we only need to eat 2 ounces a day! And don't get me started on the meatless days off!

    I eat fish now, and occasionally some bad meats at ball parks and when the relatives push it on me but at home, it's always meat free.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  13. Well, Stella...once any of your readers gets through digesting this very important post...they'll certainly never question what side of the fence you stand.
    This is a very touchy subject...somewhat like Religion is to some. Therefore, although I do agree with a lot that's been said in your post...I personally am very careful about the fine line between offering info and preaching. I do not think there is any real right or wrong because both sides will always be argued intensely and leads to a very divided population.
    Therefore, I try to do what's best for me and hope that what I decide is the path in a better direction without harming others.

    Very thought provoking ;o)

    Have a great evening,

  14. Stella, thanks for stating your point of view so succinctly. While it's unlikely I'll ever become vegetarian, it's good to understand the reasons why others might. Good work, sweetie!

  15. I have never thought vegetarianism was odd, nor would I ever challenge it. It is healthy and best for the planet. I am practically vegetarian... but, I do love to eat meat. I do it sometimes. I have not made it a political or "religious" choice, but a smart one and a "be careful" one. I do what I feel good about for now. I am definitely trying to work at getting my carnivorous husband to learn to appreciate alternative foods. I have explained many health and planet aspects to him. He just laughs... but, little by little, I see him trying. Great post, Stella!

  16. An excellent well-written post! I'm not a vegetarian but I do think it's a very nutritious and healthy diet and we try to eat vegetarian at least two or three times a week.

  17. Um...me again.Three times the charm? (wink)
    I had to google what a pescatarian was...teehee. Thank you for introducing that term to me. I never knew that category even existed. Something to think about for me. I might be able to give up my meats, but I could never give up my "no brainer" dishes ;-). Ok, I've bothered you enough today. Have a wonderful evening, Stella.

  18. Stella, I love your post. Your are so right. I have been struggling with eating animals for a while. I already stopped supporting the "animal factory farming industry" a long time ago. I only buy at local farmers, where I know that the animals are kept well. I have also reduced our meat consumption. Still, this doesn't relieve my heavy thoughts. I love animals and I could never eat my dog, so how can I justify eating a cow I don't know? It is just terrible.
    I did not feel your were preaching at all. I am gald you are addressing this subject.
    If we all would just think more about what we purchase and consume our world would be a lot better!

  19. Stella, very nice post...as you know I am not a vegetarian, but I greatly respect people choices...like many, we try to eat more veggies and less meat and stay in the healthy side :-)

  20. What an amazing well thought through post Lady Stellarina. I for one come in under the category of a responsible omnivore but having said that I probably only eat meat a few times a week. I love the things that make up food for people, through all stages of its life & have never judged others for their food choices & am absolutely not 'one of those' chefs who have issues with vegetarians or vegans. My thoughts about these issues & many other life choices & decisions is to follow your heart & do what you think is right for you.
    Great post Stella :)

  21. What a thoughtful and well explained argument. I'm going to be sending this to some of my carnivore friends and family. Thank you for presenting your opinion with such clarity. And Ms. Marly's quote is great (she's another amazing vegetarian that I love) Thank you for sharing, and thank you for your kindness!

  22. I must say that I applaud your stamina for taking on this often incindiary topic Stella. You managed to do so without coming across as holier than thou or militant...which are two states of consciousness I often see in vegan/vegetarian circles.

    We are a society of disposability...sadly. Years ago in my grandparents time (and before) people raised their animals and killed them for the food they needed and that was it. There was a connection to their food. In an odd (odd to my way of thinking anyway)sort of love and appreciation for what that animal provided. This is not how animals are raised and slaughtered today.

    When American slaughterhouses are dispensing 400 cattle an hour to meed the demands of a society that has glutted itself on animal flesh...something has gone terribly awry. I do not presume to tell others what they should or should not eat. This is a personal choice. But 400 cattle an hour...all day, everyday is out of control. That, by the way pales in comparison to the number of chickens.

    Vegetarianism is not for everyone and I realize that. However,I think you touch upon a very salient point when you mention responsible consumption. FOUR HUNDRED CATTLE AN HOUR...

    At the risk of starting a cyber space riot...I dare to mention that Adam and Eve WERE vegetarians prior to the introduction of "sin" into their garden paradise. No blood was shed until they disobeyed God and were commanded to repent by shedding the blood of an animal as a sacrifice. God's admonition was something to the effect...I've given you all the fruits, berries, vegetables etc that you could ever want...but this one tree is off limits. You ate it and from this time on...the shedding of blood must be the sacrifice for the remission of sin. (Im paraphrasing obviously).

    I say all that in response to the statement that some people make about the fact that we have "canine" teeth because we are supposed to eat meat. Uhm...you ever tried biting into a raw rutabaga? Who says those teeth are for tearing meat? I am certainly no religious scholor...Im just sayin...there is just evidence that the "ideal" dietary plan started out to be vegetarian and the plans got changed because man chose to deviate from it.

    That arguement aside, I'd like to make one more point that comes from an ayurvedic perspective. Suffering (of any kind, of any species) leaves behind negative energy. Negative energy is absolutely transferrable. Cruel death, abrupt death, senseless death...of humans or animals is like a rip in the cosmic fabric or something. When something dies so cruelly (and btw if you think food animals are not raised and killed cruelly...watch Meet Your Meat or Food Inc.)some of that suffering MUST be left behind in the flesh. I know...most of the people reading this have just slapped a "kook" sticker on my forehead and thats okay. The best description I can give for this concept comes from the Harry Potter books. The followers of the "bad guy" were called "death eaters" because the thrived on suffering. They became stronger by making others weak. I don't want to be a death eater. I don't want to fill my stomach on the suffering of a creature whose entire life from birth to death was sad and filled with cruelty.

    I hope no one has a big fit about my comments because I'm not a militant vegetarian. You eat what you wanna eat and I eat what I wanna eat.I was just expressing my probably unpopular take on it all.

  23. OMG I am so frustrated right now! I just took half an hour to write a comment and the send failed! I will try to do it over tomorrow. I dont have the patience right now...LOL

  24. Stella, this is truly thought-provoking entry. I am going to post this on my facebook.


  25. Thank you Stella for an even and balanced presentation of vegetarianism. The most wonderful thing in the world is free choice and I choose to eat largely vegetarian :)

  26. awesome post luvie! very well said! thanks a billion you are way awesome and inspiring <3

  27. Dearie Stellina!
    This is a great post! I totally adhere to it and advocate for vegetarianism, too!
    I would add that being a vegetarian is a wonderful way to be/ become creative in the kitchen!!
    Sending you a virtual hug for a happy early/belated bday :-)

  28. This is such an interesting post. While I am a meat eater, it's always interesting to read another point of view (especially one so considerate of others' beliefs). I'm trying to incorporate Meatless Mondays in my house, and I like the idea of cutting down the meat we eat in general. Thanks for your thoughts!

  29. Great post Stella..pushy never my dear. I am not a vegeatarian, but never would I look down on anyone's life or food choices...I was raised to let other's live as they will, We are meat eateres, but I have been noticing we really do not consume much meat...we are huge bean lovers so we do alot of meatless meals and in the winter we focus more on sopas or caldos. I love living here, but truly am disappointed in not having a great selection of organic meats available to us. I have to say that I see you commenting on different blogs of all cuisine and applaud you for taking time to comment when we meat eaters make something you would not normally consume....hugs and have fun in your garden..


  30. Hi Stella,

    After not having the time to read any of my favorite blogs for a few weeks now, I finally had the chance to visit yours again. :) Apart from the delicious new recipes (of which I already made the amazing pumpkin bread!), this was such a good post on a touchy topic. I also enjoyed reading many of the good, thoughtful comments.

    I grew up in a half-vegetarian family, and have been "fully" vegetarian since my early teens (today I eat 90% vegan). My reasons are purely ethical - I just started to feel sick of the thought of eating any kind of animals - but the other points in your post are certainly a good bonus, and I'm always happy when people give up meat, whatever their personal reasons. For this reason, I would never judge anyone buying vegetarian "meat-substitutes": fake chicken, beef-flavored vegetarian steaks, or anything else (a criticism I often hear among vegans/vegetarians - and even meat-eaters). Although I don't like the taste myself, I'm sure there are many vegans who still "like" meat, but choose not to eat it for different reasons. I think it is wonderful that companies are bringing these things on the market, if it helps people make animal-friendly choices (of course, it is just an added bonus if they are made using organic, healthy ingredients).

    I never had any trouble finding vegetarian options or saying 'no thank you' to meat before, but it has been a bit of a challenge since I moved to pork-loving Denmark. ;) This post is actually a perfect explanation to show to those sceptical meat-lovers, instead of explaining the whole thing over and over again. :)

  31. Dear Stella, you are such a sweet soul and likewise, this post was very lovely. I am not a vegetarian, although I was one for 10 years (and vegan for one of those years). But honestly I never felt very good. I had a myriad of health problems that looked like thyriod disease and hypoglycemia. I started adding meat back to my diet before I went to live on the Navajo reservation, with traditional sheepherders. I learned so many lessons there, that really changed my life. For one, I learned about the love, respect and good life given to animals who in turn give their lives so that they could live. Sheep and goat meat makes up a large percentage of a traditional Navajo diet. They live in the dessert with little plants, so they eat what can survive in that arid climate. These animals could not survive and live such a pampered life without human intervention. Plus, the winters are very harsh there, and so they would harvest the "weakest" links in the herd for fall and winter eating, since it is likely some of those animals would get sick and die anyway.

    I believe in responsible meat eating. Buying only from sustainable, humane farms that do love and care for their animals. The statistics that you quote with regard to the environment have to do with CAFO or industrialized "big ag" farms. Not with small family farms who do proper grazing rotation, etc and care for the animals and the land to support those animals.

    Personally I am a hunter, because I really believe in responsible meat eating, knowing where you meat comes from, how those animals lived, etc. I think wild game best describes my standards because those animals truly do live their lives to the fullest. In terms of the environment and land management, some percentage of deer would die every winter anyway, from starvation. In cold climates like where I live, in the winter months, resources like food and shelter will be radically reduced from what was available in the summer. So if they weren't taken by hunters to feed their families, they would die of starvation.

    So I agree with a lot of what you say Stella, and I think your post is great because it makes people think about the food they eat, and why they eat it!

  32. OOPS! Posted twice - I am sorry! You can remove my two parts! Sorry!

  33. No argument from me. I applaud vegetarianism when done in a healthy way. Cheers to you!

  34. I'm all for going Veg. I wish my family would get on board! I think my son would be all for it, he doesn't really even enjoy meat. My husband is a hard sell. There is a blog I sometimes visit that is far from vegetarian and she often puts a photo up of a sweet little lamb or calf before posting the meat recipe. I have to tell you, it makes me sad. It just seems wrong to me. Thank you for the great info!

  35. Wow Stella, you have really stirred some folks to leave long thoughtful comments. I just want to add that I think your post was well written and informative and that how people eat is their business. Sometimes when I dine in a restaurant with someone who orders everything on the side I think to myself maybe they should eat at home, that's about as judgmental as it gets. Best wishes to you:)

  36. This is such a great post Stella and I really hope that it opened the minds of lots of people out there. I'm not a vegetarian but I do eat vegetarian a large portion of the time. And I always keep my vegetarian friends in mind whenever I'm preparing food for parties and such. In fact, I'm usually inclined to just make all vegetarian food to make things easier for myself.

  37. Stella this is such a great article. I have toyed with the idea of a Vegetarian diet, for many of the reasons you state. But honestly the thing that has kept me from it is the fear of not creating a proper diet for myself. You bring up great points that have me toying with the idea again. The thing that I have done is try to eat meat less often as a way for me to possibly go vegetarian, I don't want to say that it will end this way but at least I can try to see what happens.
    Oh almost forgot I have an award for you and TAG your it!

  38. I am not a vegetarian but I do believe more vegetables in the diet is good. I try to go by the 80/20 rule - 80%-90% vegetables/grains/fruits and 20%-10% seafood or meat(less meat, more seafood). ;p

  39. It's clear from the recipes that I post that I rarely eat meat, and most of the time I don't even eat any animal products at all. I'm very much pro-animal rights and now don't eat any animal products if they came from an animal that was inhumanely treated.

    Some people don't even understand the idea of love between a human and an animal. I've spoken to people who think those who act like their dogs are their children are pathetic... I feel sorry for those people, because animals can be such sweethearts and if they can't see that then that's their problem.
    My main focus is respecting life as much as possible, but I have to be realistic here. I'm not going to avoid killing a mosquito that's trying to bite me just because it's something that's living, so I'm certainly not one of those hard-core people - like some vegans who won't even eat figs because of fig wasps.
    And as much as I think it is rather cruel to kill an animal, I think it's too late to turn back. Cows, chickens, turkeys and pigs are way too domesticated to just turn them free. They'd never survive in the wild and would probably be eaten by wild animals fairly quickly and they'd die out soon enough (yes, there are wild versions of these animals out there but they're not common and I'm talking about the ones we'd be setting free who are not used to such conditions). I'm sure there would be a few super-rich people who would keep farms with a few of those animals just for the hell of it and let them live their lives, but for the most part it would be financially impossible for most farmers to keep their livestock without making any profit from them. It's a sad but true fact - the only thing keeping most farm animals alive is the fact that they're being raised for food.
    This is why instead of banning the whole practice of raising animals for food completely, I choose to specifically support the practice of humanely and safely raising animals for food. At least it's not supporting the practice of abusing animals until their death. (I almost said "at least it's not supporting the practice of animal cruelty" but as I said earlier, it IS pretty cruel to kill an animal... but, it's also nature - I won't get into that this time, though!)

    An argument I take issue with is the "raising livestock hurts the environment". So does raising humans! We all produce greenhouse gases, particularly CO2. I know cows produce a lot of methane, but A) isn't the immensity of their methane production somehow related to the ill-suited food that they're fed? and B) even if it doesn't have to do with their food... what are we supposed to do? Kill them all so they stop producing greenhouse gases? I know that cows are ruminants and they have digestive bacteria that produce methane gas. Most cattle ranches (if you can even call them ranches) already give cattle antibiotics, so clearly trying to kill the bacteria isn't an option (and even if it was - then the poor cows would have even more trouble digesting their food than they already do!)
    The production of greenhouse gases is definitely an issue, but what the heck does not eating meat do for the problem? So long as they're alive (which is the point of vegetarianism), they will produce greenhouse gases, just as we will produce greenhouse gases. I say focus on being as environmentally-friendly with how we manage our livestock and on human production of greenhouse gases, and I don't mean the ones our bodies produce and emit. I'd much rather focus on things such as driving, because that's something where if you drive less, you DO make a difference. It may be a tiny one but it's less gas trapping heat.

  40. I do want to say that I definitely don't have a problem with vegetarians or vegans - very strong-willed and caring individuals they are! But to me, becoming vegetarian or vegan doesn't help anything. I, so far, don't have any qualms about eating organic, well-raised meat (however, as a guest I ate some run-of-the-mill sausage in some spaghetti this past summer, and felt awful about it after), but I completely understand how animal-lovers would have a problem with it. But that's a personal choice, and in the end it doesn't really do anything to help animals. Their fate and effect on the planet is poor whether or not everyone became vegetarian or meat-eaters. We either keep raising them and, in the end, killing them, or let them die off on their own. The best we can do for animals is fight for more humane raising and management of livestock, instead of trying to get everyone to stop eating meat altogether. I completely agree that it's unfair to livestock to raise them for our own selfish purposes, but domestication is what it is, and it's hard to take that out of an animal once it's there (Actually, there's a really adorable example out of this - I'm sure you've heard of Christian the Lion. If not, search for him on YouTube!) and we've basically made their only purpose to be food. It sucks, but it's true. =\

    Thank you for posting this, Stella. I've been out of school for the week because my sister gave me a virus so it's been good to exercise my brain a bit. Sorry about the length (jeez, I just wrote an essay, didn't I?) but I really do feel strongly about this. :)

    Hope you're well and getting accustomed to your new home!

  41. Stella -

    I love this post - so very well written, and I love the pictures!

    While I would like to think I am open minded at different peoples choices on their diets, I am probably less tolerant than I would like to think I am.

    I applaud anyone that is strong enough to remain vegan. I was a vegan for 3 years, and it was hands down the hardest thing I had to do. I changed my mind for several reasons, but mainly because it just didn't work for me. I've always said that I would be a vegetarian if chicken were a vegetable...poor joke, I know.

    I think it all comes down to personal choice. My personal choice is to eat as much as possible from meat that I know, when I chose to eat meat. I don't need it to feel full, or for a well balanced diet, but I do like it on occasion.

    Do I have an issue eating beef that I fed hay through out the winter? Actually no, that was the way I was raised. We always had our own pigs, chickens, and the occasional cow.

    I personally like to live by the saying - everything in moderation, even moderation.

  42. Hi,

    Beautiful post...well explained...great job..



  43. Stella
    Your blog is very well written and thought provoking. I think you have written this in such a way that there is no offense to those who do eat meat, while providing valid reasons to cause some of us to reconsider our eating habits.

    It has certainly prompted me to re-think my own reasons for returning to the "meat eating" population. I was a vegetarian and spent some time as a vegan.

    During my son's senior year in high school, I decided to take the opportunity to re-evaluate my life. I felt that his leaving for college was, for me, the right time for this. So I began preparing my mind & body for this. Part of this preparation was becoming a vegetarian. It did not take long at all for me to begin feeling better. My plan was to camp and fast to cleanse my mind and body. I did succeed in fasting for 21 days. After that part of my journey was over I decided to return to GA. Being back home with a roommate and children who did eat meat, it became very difficult to maintain the vegetarian lifestyle. Since I was always the cook, I slowly began re-introduce meat into my diet.

    Interestingly my body has had a very difficult time processing meats, red meat in particular. I think after training my body to eat in a more healthy manner it caused a sensitivity to certain foods.

    At this point I will say that I am probably 70-80% vegetarian. I do make a point to buy organic, free range chicken. On rare occasions I will eat some red meat, but my body always pays the price.

    The largest problem I am encountering (which you may be able to help with)is that I am now diabetic. I have been unable to find the proper balance of protein. I do eat beans and nuts, but truthfully I cannot eat them as my main source of protein. Unfortunately I have lost most of my vegetarian recipes. Do you have any suggestions as to where I might find some good main courses as well as side dishes?

    You have presented your viewpoint in a very clear and concise manner and I am happy to have had the opportunity to visit this site. You have certainly sparked my interest and feelings about the possibility of returning to complete vegetarianism. Thanks so much. Laura

  44. Wonderful post Stella...
    I am not a complete vegetarian as I eat seafood now and then. I became a vegetarian at the age of 7, when I found out that animals had to die to feed me. Later I added seafood back into my diet and do enjoy, but I consider myself to be responsible in my choices :)
    My young brain was stuck on the fact that if the fish etc were wild caught, then at least they were not raised to die for my meal.
    So even though it is not often that I eat seafood, I am a pescetarian or pesco-vegetarian. But I never remember to say that,lol.
    The thing I really don't understand is why people spend time worrying about others choices anyway...
    P.S. If there are people worried that a vegetarian diet is a problem for children...Just tell them that your friend Alisha is 6' tall and perfectly healthy :)
    So if it stunted my growth, I am more than thankful, lol

  45. Its hard to believe that other people would knock someone for being a vegetarian. In my family, eating 'meat' (which means eggs, fish, and chicken) is seen as a little shameful.
    Being a Hindu and living in California, I know many many vegetarians and even was one during my teens (but now I bake so often that I use eggs - I consider eggs to not be part of a vegetarian diet 'cause eggs are considered life- as you said, if they have children - and the objective is to preserve all life because we believe animals have souls - and we do drink milk because milk/clarified butter are integral to several religious rituals).
    I personally think that another nutritional concern with vegetarianism is iron - I know it can be combated with dark green leafy vegetables but I think its still a concern. Its been a problem of mine since childhood.

  46. Stella,
    The recipe would work for a 10-inch circular pan too. Thanks :)

  47. Great post, Stella! I have people in my own family that think I'm some kind of a freak so it's reassuring to see so many people in the comments who agree with you. Hmmm, maybe that means that these members of my family are the real freaks. How do I break that news to them? Ahh, I'll just let them think they're normal. The thing is, it really does make me sad to see them living such an unhealthy lifestyle.

    Loved your post and all the wonderful comments too!

  48. Stella

    what a great post!! so much information, and you do present a wonderful case into understanding why you wouldn't want to eat living creatures. We do try to eat less meat, and some days I wish I could go full vegetarian, but I just don't see it happening....sigh.....But I do agree with what you say, and the way you presented your material. Well done Stella, and keep on us, you have made a great impression upon me and how I eat. I do try and a lot of it is because of you!

  49. What a well thought out post. You've stated what is only dangling on the tip of my tongue all too often.


  50. Oh wow...lots of long comments here. I just want to say that I have no problems with people who choose to be vegetarians or prefer a vegetarian diet. I myself am not a vegetarian but I certainly do prefer a diet with more fruits and vegetables. I often get comments at the grocery store check out counter that my cart is always so full of produce :)

  51. I am not a vegetarian, but eat very little meat. Most of my meals are vegetarian as I try to have a balanced diet (lots of fruits and veggies) and try to control my budget.

    I respect your choice and understand your point. I would much rather be a vegetarian than a vegan, but I prefer to continue eating meat once a week....



  52. Oooooo! Stella I just saw this post. I love all these animals. So adorable.


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