Lent – the forty days between Mardi Gras and, Easter – is the only time, so far, I’ve been able to be a true vegetarian. Not vegan (I still eat cheese – still working on that) but vegetarian – no beef, no pork (the easy part for me) and no chicken or fish (the harder part.)
My husband respects my goals on this so much, that he voluntarily doesn’t eat “red meat” at home and doesn’t eat much meat in my presence, besides chicken and fish. A few weeks before lent, he asked me if I minded if he brought home some red snapper someone at work had offered him. Since I’ve occasionally indulged in seafood (except during lent) I said okay. As a tomboyish youth, I took pride in cleaning fish myself, but this time, I was happy to leave that job up to my husband. The night being cold, he scaled the fish and cut off the heads in the kitchen. The smell was not pleasant.
Then I saw it – The eye of the red snapper, staring at me, from my own kitchen sink. The eye’s blank look confirmed that it was dead. But it was still shiny. The fish had been frozen until it thawed in my sink. Could the eye possibly still see me?
I think I’m going to get better at this vegetarian thing. It’s about time. I’ve been working on it for about 40 years. Not eating cows and pigs has been easy. And after watching enough videos of what happens to baby chicks on factory farms….. well… I think I’m done with chicken. Now the eye of the red snapper has given me an extra push toward being a true vegetarian. Even though the taste of its well prepared flesh was flaky and mild, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have, if I had not seen the eye.
On the eve of lent, during my church’s annual Shrove (aka Fat) Tuesday oyster roast, I only ate three oysters – well done and dry, not slurpy. Oysters don’t have eyes, but I wonder: Are they still alive when the heat of the roasting fire forces their shells open?
Sometimes I wish I didn’t think about such things.
Now, for a somewhat humorous, yet honest, look at this issue:
It’s about progress, not perfection.
(The red snapper image is by “Paulk” via Wikimedia Commons)
“Beef.” I don’t miss it. Not one bit. I don’t miss pork either. I stopped eating those things in my early twenties. Maybe I was twenty. If so, I’m coming up on being beef and pork free for 40 years!
I’m not comfortable with today’s stream of consciousness post being “beef.” It does give me an opportunity to share, to encourage, movement toward vegetarianism. But I don’t want people to think I’m being judgmental. I don’t want to force my eating habits on anyone, anymore than I want to force my religious beliefs. But they are mine, and this is my blog, and this is my stream of consciousness post on “beef.”
I have to be honest. I’m not a perfect vegetarian. I still eat fish. Not often, but sometimes I get tired of nuts as my main protein source. I’ve gotten way better at abstaining from chicken. And during lent, I am able to be a strict vegetarian, moving toward being vegan on some days. In case you don’t know, a vegan is someone who does not consume any animal products at all. No eggs, no cheese, no leather goods. I know that it’s quite possible to do. But I haven’t gotten there yet on a consistent basis.
The chicken was a challenge for years, especially barbecued chicken, when the sauce gets a little burnt….okay lets step away from that. It’s also a challenge when there’s a really good casserole with just a little chicken in it. Guess I might need to refresh my memory with some videos about what happens to chickens on factory farms, especially the little baby boy chicks discarded in heaps, like pieces of trash and not living things. But I don’t have to watch the videos. I have a good imagination. I can remember.
Here’s a link that seems to just have photos and words, a little easier than the videos:
If you’re on the fence, the videos help. But they are hard to watch. Interestingly, I never had that much trouble not eating cows and pigs. Because lets be honest, beef comes from cows, and pork comes from pigs.
It all started in the late 70’s, in college, when I read an article by a hunter who wrote that anyone who opposes hunting and eats meat is a hypocrite. I thought about it. And then quit. I am aware that animals hunted and killed quickly after living a natural life have it much better than animals on factory farms. But most of us have enough other options available to us, that neither is necessary.
I’m thankful that there will be plenty of alternatives to turkey this Thanksgiving. Like pumpkin pie. Mmmmm!
Today’s Stream of Consciousness post prompt was the word, “beef.”
If you’d like to jump into the stream, start here:
1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.
2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.
3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.
4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.
5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.
6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!
7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.