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Becoming a Pescetarian / Vegetarian
07.12.11

Over the years, I've whittled away different meats from my diet. I think it first started with veal. I find veal, by the way, to be incredibly delicious. Even writing this blog post makes me pine for it. However, one day, I found out what's involved in making veal -- basically tying a baby calf to a post so that it's not able to exercise. I found this too sad for words and gave up veal.

I think I next gave up foie gras. That's not exactly true. I never ate foie gras before, but once I saw a video on how foie gras was made, I was out always. This isn't the same video I saw, but here's one with 150K+ views [link]. 
 
I next gave up beef. There was no animal cruelty reasons for this one -- my family for some reason decided to give it up, and I followed suit. I really miss hamburgers but it's just as well.
 
The latest development when I made a new friend, Cheri Shankar [link], who is an animal rights activist, writer, and a vegan. Once I found out about her background, I was curious to have a longer discussion about food and just to get little more educated about where my food comes from. She suggested a book "The China Study" -- which supposedly turned Bill Clinton into a vegetarian. She also told me a little bit about how certain farm animals are processed -- I knew a little bit about this from watching documentaries like "Food, Inc." -- but it was disturbing to hear it a second time. I think what really got me, though, was her suggestion to look at the website for the non-profit Mercy for Animals. Actually, rather than link to that website, I'll link to the video that I couldn't even watch a full minute of [link]. This video was too much for me. I'm not saying that every production facility is like this -- or at least not like this at the extremes in terms of some of the cruelty -- but I think it would be fair to say that these pigs suffer a pretty bad life.
 
I really love animals. I have a nephew and every time he sees a dog, he'll yell out "Dog!" When we take him to a farm, he'll be absolutely riveted by every type of animal -- from chickens to horses. I feel the same way. I feel like on some level that because we're so divorced from the actual seeing of the production of our meats -- at least for me, it's then easy not to think of where it comes from or what it comes from. 
 
Don't get me wrong, I really miss meat. I think pork is by far the hardest to give up. I love bacon and I was at dinner with a friend last night and they had an amazing sounding ziti with pork sausage dish and I passed on it to get the lone vegetarian dish on the menu. That being said, that dish was delicious too.
 
I've been a pescetarian (meaning I eat seafood) for about a week and a half now. It's been less tricky than I thought and I feel just fine. I miss meat a little and there are certain dishes I'm really bummed that I can't have. I'm kind of confused what's going to happen during Thanksgiving. I'm also not committing to *always* being a pescetarian. If I'm someplace where it's either eating some meat or not eating at all, my guess is I'll eat some meat. That being said, I'm basically commiting to trying to lower my meat intake 80-90%, which I'm pretty sure will happen. Ideally, I'll get it close to 100%. Will I eventually transition from a pescetarian to a vegetarian? I have no idea. I'm going to go in phases for now and see how I feel about it all. I will say that I feel much better about this decision though. I found it quite inconsistent eating meat the way I did and knowing how so much of our meat is processed so I'm glad I made this jump. Again, not a full commitment, but hopefully a large incremental step.

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