Freeatarian, Baby

This is a follow up post to two previous posts:

So. Guess what. I’VE DECIDED TO BECOME A VEGETARIAN AGAIN.

Dun, dun, duunnnnnnnnnn.

Bring on the insightful commentary/questions/wisdom my dear non-veggie cronies:

  • No wonder you are so pale, you don’t get enough nutrients. (I have been a vegetarian for exactly ONE MONTH. Looked like Casper a couple months ago as well. Nice try.)
  • How do you know vegetables don’t have feelings? Maybe you shouldn’t eat vegetables either. Poor vegetables. (Come in real close here, so I can cuff you upside the head.)
  • Oh my GOD, what do you eat? (Twigs and bark, obviously.)

It’s a big decision, this whole vegetarian lifestyle thing. For the last 5 non-vegetarian years I didn’t have to be the princess who rsvp’d to weddings and made MY OWN box to check, “no chicken or fish for me please… vegetarian please… so, so, sooo sorry… thank you… please…” Once again I’ll be “that girl.” Good times.

It’s not my fault though, really. It’s Peter’s fault:

Way to go, Pete. With your depressing frickin' facts and figures.

So, I read Animal Liberationand watched this movie and read a bunch of other stomach turning stuff and it turns out that the intensive farm industry is made up of a bunch of assholes.

Too harsh? Sorry, sorry. Let’s define “asshole.” If your definition of “asshole” includes cramming so many egg-laying chickens into a battery cage that they can’t move and their feet fuse to the floor wires*, then we’re on the same page. If you think taking veal calves away from their mothers and any other source of stimulation and keeping them without bedding in a crate so small they can’t even lie down to sleep without difficulty until they are slaughtered at 4 months**… then I’d say our definition of “asshole” is the same.

Remind you of something? Puppy mill maybe? Huh.

WAIT! Don’t leave! I know this is a wee bit political. Sorry. I’ll chill out.

Rainbows! Unicorns! Fricking sparkles and fairy dust!

Ya still with me?

Anywho.

I’m not totally sure if I won’t ever eat ANY meat at all. Right now I am eating dairy and eggs, but I am not overly okay with that after learning more about dairy cow’s shitty deal and, well, I already griped about the plight of egg-laying chickens.

I’m thinking I’m going to call myself a Freeatarian. That’s right, people. I just made up a word. Here is the correct^ definition:

Freeatrian = I’ll eat animal products if I know the animals were free range and were raised and killed humanely 

(too graphic for you? they have to kill it before we can eat it, y’all)

That is a high bar, I know this. I see a lot of vegetarian meals in my future.  I will let you know how things go.

What about you? Vegetarian? Vegan? Carnivore? … Freeatarian, maybe?

* I’m not making this up. Read more in Animal Liberation.

** Read more in Animal Liberation.

^ Just googled “freeatarian.” It would seem that some have messed up the definition to mean “will eat anything that is free.” This is incorrect. Mega wrong. My definition is clearly better.

19 Responses to “Freeatarian, Baby”

  1. Cristol says:

    Read “Skinny Bitch”. Mark and I tried hard to be vegan after reading this book….

  2. My only advice … please read Eating for Your Genotype. Then decide what-a-tarian you are. You know I only have your best interest at heart.

  3. Oooooops That last comment was supposed to be signed “Mom”
    ; )

  4. SkyeHeather says:

    You go girl! Been a strict veggie since I was 8. Tried vegan for a couple years, but it turns out I physically cannot live without ice cream.

  5. I am a completely tortured meat and dairy eater.

    I know the facts.

    I know how bad it is.

    I try to do the right thing.

    But it’s so expensive to eat 100% local, free range, humanely killed meats and dairy.

    And then I start to wonder if you want to get really into it, shouldn’t we also not be eating veggies out of season? I mean, bananas from Chile? Isn’t that just as bad? Strawberries in December?

    • @Ashley- The incredibly important thing about all of this is that there is no reason we *have* to be all or nothing. It doesn’t have to be 100%. Graham Hill from TreeHugger.com advocates being a weekday vegetarian: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/graham_hill_weekday_vegetarian.html. Do we currently eat meat every day? Why not switch to locally raised meat every other day (I think anyone would be hard pressed to find ANY doctor out there who would say we need meat every day, if at all)? Or how about getting a mini deep freeze and buying more @ a time, bringing down the price?

      Regarding your produce point, yes I do think we should aim to eat local, in season produce (check out Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver). But again… we have to be practical. In terms of priority I am more against supporting intensive farm “product” (e.g. meat) than I am against companies that ship bananas from Chile. Ideally I wouldn’t support either industry, but presented with the need to choose I will prioritize the animals and the suffering they go through. Also, maybe I can’t get local/organic every week… but I can definitely swing it once a month.

      John is not a vegetarian. We are slowly switching him over to locally raised meat.

      Oooh- one other thing. Do you know that compared with other countries in say, Europe, we spent considerably less of our monthly income on food? For some reason we have it in our heads that food should be cheap, cheap, cheap and should take 1 1/2 minutes to prepare in the microwave (I’m not saying *you*, by the way, Ashley. I mean “you” as in all of us… you know, the royal sense ;)). Good quality food doesn’t come in a crinkly bag for $1.99. I have been repeating this to myself more and more lately.

      Thank you for your comment!

  6. Sarah says:

    I go back and forth every two-ish years. Basically, I am not a very inventive cook, and can get into a rut either way. Would love to be a vegan full time, but I get so bored. Then again also bored with meat. ADD-eat-a-tarian? Right now I am not eating dairy, chicken, or beef, but am eating pork and fish. Really tried to quit the pork, but bacon is crack and I don’t feel bad when its humanely raised. Too delicious!

  7. spokeit says:

    You know, I have been thinking about this too- I think I’ll do some more research- you are wise so this must be a wise decision.

  8. Kim says:

    EXCELLENT! I haven’t eaten meat or pork for the last 20 years – for the same reasons you are going back to being a vegetarian – I’m just not all the way there, yet. But I’m sure if I could get myself to see the video, I will. What really bugs me is this: why do people feel a need to challenge you when you’ve made this decision? It’s as if they take it personally. I don’t get it! Anyway, wondering if you’ve read “Old MacDonald’s Factory Farm?”

  9. I completely agree with your “freeatarian” definition and idea.
    I’m all for educating one’s self, and I think everybody should do it, but I absolutely despise books that are fueled by negativity (which is why I don’t generally recommend the skinny bitch book to people). If I had my way, everybody would be required to read Jane Goodall, especially “Harvest for Hope”. I’d also require everybody to read anything Michael Pollen writes (especially “Omnivores Dilemma”. Both are unshakable optimists, and I think we can all benefit from that kind of thinking.

    I primarily choose not to eat meat for the most part for environmental and ethical reasons, but I choose not to burden myself with too many rules. If I’m at somebody’s house and they have a BBQ, I eat a small burger and get on with my life. I really don’t ever cook meat at home, though. There is a huge freezer in my house full of meat for my dogs (they are raw fed) and I get as much as possible from either the organic farm just out of town or from hunters who save me the parts they don’t use. I buy organic milk and cage-free eggs at the grocery store because it feels good to support local farmers who are doing the right thing. I make the most informed choices I can when I can, and I choose not to punish myself with guilt when things are less than perfect.

    I also think it’s important for people who are educated and know the truth about meat production to understand that not everybody who is a part of that process is an evil person. Many people in the world do what they do because they have no choice and they know no other way. If we want things to change, we have to be willing to support (usually this means $$) the opportunities for change… and we have to be willing to teach in a POSITIVE and HOPEFUL way.

  10. Anne Good says:

    I think that is awesome! I’ve been a vegetarian for 17 years and I don’t miss meat one bit. I’ve always toyed with the idea of going vegan, but for now I just do free range eggs only and organic milk. I wish everyone would care more.

  11. Peggie says:

    “Freeatrian = I’ll eat animal products if I know the animals were free range and were raised and killed humanely ”

    Me too baby. I’ve been trying to stick to that code for a year – after my short stint as a fishatarian. Unlike you I don’t have the stomach or the heart to get through the books and the films. But in my gut I KNOW it sucks, I’ve caught enough glimpses of assholes and the way they treat animals…don’t eat veal or pork (altho admittedly bacon calls my name regularly) and have increased the level of chick peas and beans in diet. All the meat I eat comes from the kind folks at the local farmers market. They have pictures of their cattle and all — and the folks who work and, yes, slaughter the cows etc are the ones at the market. It’s a living for them and they do seem to treat their process humanely and with thanksgiving for the sacrifice.

    crap. Now I’m a vegetarian again.

    maybe.

  12. Kari says:

    Have fun back in the land of the meat free 🙂

    -Kari
    http://dogisgodinreverse.com/

  13. @Spokeit- “Wise…” Uh oh… 🙂 (thanks, I’ll pay you the $20 I owe you for that asap :)). Several good books have been mentioned here in the comments- I think these are really going to help with my ongoing research. Please let me know if I can help in any way!

  14. @Amanda- I completely agree that in order to make a change we need to do it with our $$$. It’s not enough to say “ooh, I feel so bad” but sneak over to McDonald’s because “I just can’t help myself.”

    As far as how to get the message out- I think different people hear different things. Some people need to know the facts. Some need to watch a video. Some need to have intensive farms likened to puppy mills… I think the biggest problem with this has more to do with people who value profit over animal welfare and less to do with the individual workers. But to know that a part of a certain farmers job is to castrate a cow when he is fully conscience without any pain killer at all… to know that machine operaters are dunking conscious chickens into scalding water… those animals can’t speak for themselves. I think it is okay to scream and shout on their behalf a little.