Vegetarian guilt

I braced myself and watched Earthlings yesterday. Ok, so I watched the trailer, but that was more than enough.  I was 4 seconds in and sobbing, and 20 seconds in I was gagging.  It’s the kind of movie where the images live with you for days afterwards, and part of me wants to jump off a high building because I feel so utterly devastated by the state of the humans in this world.

I’ve been a vegetarian for 16 years and seeing documentaries like this reminds me why I became a vegetarian at 14 and why I still am one.  I’ve never been a preachy veggie, but there are days, like today, where I feel pretty damn militant.  I think the problem is that so many people have no idea where their meat comes from (and it’s not from the meat aisle in Woolies, FYI…) and they remain completely (and mostly by choice) uneducated about the treatment of the world’s animals (and not just in terms of the meat industry: fur, testing on animals, puppy mills, hunting, whaling…it’s an almost inexhaustible list). 

[I get that you like meat, but, really, you like it that much?  And, no, you do not need it. Really.]

And then I get to thinking about my own place in the world, and maybe I need to re-evaluate.  Perhaps being vegetarian is not enough.  I was a vegan for 2 years, many years ago, and damn, veganism is hard work, and shit, I like milk chocolate and dairy products, but maybe that isn’t the point.  Just because it’s hard and hampers my social life, doesn’t mean that I should be eating animal products, or anything that supports the exploitation of animals – maybe it’s about making sacrifices for the things you really believe in.

It also means not buying leather handbags, belts, shoes and flipping gorgeous leather biker jackets; it means being educated about eating locally and sustainably, knowing the lifecycle of the food you consume, recycling, and checking the contents of all the products you use and eat/drink, even if they happen to be products that promise to takes years off your age, or are things you love to eat. 

It becomes completely unnerving if you start to think about the implications of everything you do and everything you buy, and I feel a quite defeated, I have to say.  What impact does my veganism have on the people slamming clubs into seal skulls, or those walking through the litres of terror and blood on abattoir floors every day?

I’m not sure where to next.  Sign up with Green Peace and hope to make a difference in a world consumed by money and small-mindedness, or give it all up and sit atop a mountain in the Himalayas with just the clothes on my back, meditating and living on air and water?
Make the Connection.

Yes, veg-e-tar-i-an. Would you like me to spell that?

It happened again the other day while in the dentist’s chair.  The nurse with the vacuum thing began asking me questions about India and the Indian diet, and raised eyebrows and tut-tutted about the quantity of vegetarians in India and how bad for you a vegetarian diet is … “We really just do need meat and meat protein”. 

Had the one side of my face not been numb I would’ve engaged her in a conversation, as I often feel the need to do, pointing out her ignorance.  And then sometimes I just sigh, nod and smile.  There is a vast proportion of the population that feels threatened by vegetarianism (and, I guess, by any alternative life choices that are different from the norm), and sometimes I just cannot be arsed to point out their misinformation and obvious prejudices. 

The truth is that I DO NOT need chicken, fish and red meat to sustain myself on a day to day basis.  Just look at how I can string words together and type out whole blog posts with my healthy nails tapping away at the keyboard, my shiny hair reflected back at me in the monitor.  I build muscles through my yoga practice (no wasting away here) and should I hurt myself, my wounds heal in the normal amount of time.  I am more well read in terms of nutrition and the nutritional contents of food than most carnivores, and, most importantly I think, I don’t make anyone else’s’ dietary choices my business (I don’t think I’ve ever asked an omnivore if they get enough fibre, eat too many refined carbs, or overdo it on the cholesterol …). 

There are a variety of reasons why I am a vegetarian, and yes I battle with the fact that I have some leather shoes … as far as possible I buy ‘green’ products and faux leather goods.  It’s a work in progress.  I really don’t care if you’re not a vegetarian; I just battle with stupidity and ignorance.  Have an informed opinion and make educated decisions about what you eat, where it comes from, what it’s packaged in and the whole chain of events that got it onto your plate.  And leave worrying about my protein intake up to me.

Mmmm ... looks tasty!

Jen xx

Wood you?

There’s something about these I love (and it’s not just their Green philosophy).  Would you wear one?

Buy online here.

Rhino poaching

I feel like having a big cry today.  There was a discussion on the radio this morning about rhino poaching and the use of rhino horn in Vietnam for medicinal purposes…although the medical efficacy of rhino horn has again and again been proven to be invalid and completely factually unsound!  ARGH!  It breaks my heart.  You just have to see the images of these poor butchered beasts to feel unadulterated hatred for the big business behind the poaching.

Check out these little noodles:

And this furry guy is already extinct:

So sad.  I’m going to donate here.  There’s also a Rhino Foundation blog with lots of info.

This is the kind of image that makes me want to hide under my bed:

Sorry, graphic I know.  Sometimes I feel like it’s a never-ending list; the animals that need saving, the people in distress, the world under attack.

Sheesh, think I need some tea, a rusk and a packet of Chuckles.  (Despite my ‘no-sugar day’ today!)


Images via the International Rhino Foundation, Chud and Ben Parr.