J500 Media and the Environment

Meat me in the middle by jmuselmann
Photo courtesy of onsugar.com

Tobacco-less cigarettes. Non-alcoholic beer. Decaf lattes. Low-carb bread. Fat-free desserts. Assuming you haven’t thrown them down halfway through, all of these in the end leave you wanting. Aside from robbing themselves of their fundamental and sought-after components, they render you unsatisfied, a mere shadow of the real thing you were after.  And I suppose this has been my beef with vegetarianism.

I don’t remember quite when, but I even tried it once without telling anybody. There were a couple of reasons for the self-imposed meat fast. I didn’t want colon cancer, and veganism was the sure-fire way into the hip, Nietzsche-reading, artsy subculture in high school, where the coolest parts of “granola hippie,” the college-bound political fact-heads, and the urbane came together. And besides, I had just came to terms with salads as a legit self-contained meal.

Before that time, I had mocked vegetarians for their self-righteous crap about changing the world with their tiny stomachs (and big mouths), and there was always plenty of fodder. I had been a proud meataholic my entire life. But getting on in years, I’ve grown tired of cycling through my meats (turkey for lunch so it’s beef for dinner; ham for lunch, then I guess it’s chicken for dinner) and the dull exhaustion one gets each time after eating animal muscle.

So when I tried cutting meat cold turkey, I fell flat on my figurative face. I lasted only a few days before my energy level became so scant I nearly fainted. This problem isn’t unheard of, (and the reason for it is quite gross) but I felt like a bit of a freak for needing some foreign flesh to sustain my own. Still do.

Now I know how bad meat is for the environment, the desire is welling up in me again. And yes, I know about tofu, and how taste-wise, it’s like dressing up a corpse for a party. If we are to be less meaty as a people, we’re going to need some more viable options to fill that fried chicken-shaped hole in our hearts—and I’ll tell you right now, it’s gonna have to be really, really good.

—Jacob M.


7 Comments so far
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Interesting post! Do you think that having a different reason for becoming a vegetarian would make your effort last longer? Did you find anything else difficult about not eating meat during your experimental stages? I have never tried, and honestly I don’t think I ever will. I am not a huge fan of meat, but I like my turkey and chicken and I don’t think anything could make me give that up!

Becca N.

Comment by beccan

Thanks Becca! I have fasted before, and it seriously felt the same—great at first, and then weakening to the core. Chicken and turkey are mainly what I eat too, and it’s like a whole different category.
—Jacob M.

Comment by jmuselmann

What sort of stuff did you try and eat while flirting with vegetarianism? I’m a meat-eater as well,but I know plenty of people who have made the switch successfully, and I think if you do plan on trying it again, you may look for more dedicated vegetarians for a little guidance. ~Ben C.

Comment by Ben

I actually got into Quorn chicken in a big way. That chicken substance is not chicken, but it’s delightful. I think substantiative vegetarian options are out there, but would require a little more time and effort on my part to seek out and make. Not very easy to do right now.
—Jacob M.

Comment by jmuselmann


I too am wondering what you did eat for those few days while you were a vegetarian. Also, have you ever considered doing a meatless Monday and then building yourself up to eating meat only a couple of times per week instead of going cold turkey? -Kristina B.

Comment by kristinabev

Baby steps are a great way to approach a change in diet, and one that I have not considered before. I forget that just eating less meat is a great thing, too.
—Jacob M.

Comment by jmuselmann

When you say you’d need better options, would more “ethical” meat be an option? Since it seems like you REALLY don’t like eating vegetarian (I’m with you on that), are you willing to just switch to the sustainable/organic meat practices we’ve been talking about in class?

Comment by Kelly

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