Bacon? Are you serious!
I began vegetarian path this past New Year’s Eve day. My husband and I decided to have lunch at Munch, a vegan-vegetarian restaurant in Oak Park, IL. A friend of mine mentioned the owner featured local artists in her restaurant. She suggested I contact her about exhibiting. So I wanted to check out the space before making the call.
Lunch was delicious and the gallery space, though small, was nice. As we were leaving, I happened to see a bundle of small pamphlets; Why Vegan? Help Stop Animal Cruelty! I almost walked by, but on impulse I reached out and took one. On the drive home, I began to read. Through a stream of tears I learned the brutal truth of industrialized animal farming.
In my twenties, I made the decision to stop eating beef and pork. Not for ethical reasons, but cosmetic ones. I needed to lose 20 post baby pounds. Giving up pork was no hardship because I was never a fan, but I did love a good juicy rare hamburger. After reaching my goal, I tried to eat beef, but it tasted like iron, so I never went back. I did eat chicken and fish so I guess you could call me a semitarian.
Then in my fifties I suddenly had an incredible urge for a steak. Uh oh, a mid-life meat crisis? No, it was something more sinister. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had surgery, chemo-therapy and radiation. And to all those fellow Sexy Cancer Chicks, bald is beautiful!
I still vividly remember that fateful June day, after my second dose of chemo, looking at my husband as the sun streamed warmly through our kitchen windows and saying, “I think I want a steak.” After the shock wore off, he broke out in a huge smile and literally ran to Whole Foods to buy the best New York strip he wallet could afford.
He grilled it perfectly rare and I LOVED every bite. At that moment I became a committed omnivore. Steak, chicken, fish, BACON, they all saw their way to my plate, until that New Year’s Eve day, when some energy (maybe a newly born piglet) made me step back and grab that life altering pamphlet. Who knew a 15 page booklet could be so powerful.
That night, I sat down with my husband and shared, why, ethically, I could not and will not eat animals. I didn’t and don’t expect him or anyone I know to change their dietary choices. This is a very personal decision. And I’ve come to the conclusion, even if the animals are humanely treated, allowed to graze in open fields and thrive, at some point we still have to kill them to make them food. And I just can’t go there, anymore.
I do eat fish, so I guess I’m not really a vegetarian, but a pescetarian. And I buy wild, organic fish. I’m still on the path of discovery, so that may change, too.