My Beef With Vegetarianism

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My Beef With Vegetarianism was originally published on 31st March 2015 and is by 30SecondsToMadness.

vegetarians

While writing this I realised that perhaps it’s not specifically vegetarianism that I have a problem with, but people’s attitude towards food in general. But I feel like someone needs to stick up for the carnivores (well, omnivores) in this debate.

I have a lot of friends who have chosen to be vegetarian/pescatarian/vegan, and it is a decision that I respect; at the end of the day, it is your life choice not to eat meat or other animal products. But it is also my life choice to go ahead and eat them. And to damn well enjoy them.

It is not the choice itself that bothers me, but what happens after people go vegetarian that kind of makes my blood boil like the lentils they are all of a sudden consuming; it’s the conversion cult of vegetarianism. The constant Facebook status updates about why meat is apparently evil, or will give you cancer, or how some animals are kept or treated or killed in a barbaric manner. And I’ve had enough.

As a person who eats meat, I don’t want to see these assumptions that us meat-eaters are all eating discount meat from animals that were kept in 3-inch cages, strangled by the farmer’s own bare hands, and then deep fried in 30 vats of oil. Because that is not true. Nor is it true that all vegetarians eat are split peas and lentils, yet no one posts links online to a dubious news article or blog condemning a meatless diet for cruelty to the workers that pick the vegetables you eat, or any damning health effects of a Quorn-based diet. It just isn’t done.

In restaurants, when a veggie friend orders a bean chilli, or falafel burger, I won’t grimace. Sometimes, I will actually order the same thing you’re eating, or ask to try a bit. Even if it looks disgusting to me, I will not pull a face or turn away at the smell of your marinated chickpea or tofu burger. So please don’t look personally offended if I order a steak; I am not forcing you to eat it, I am just choosing to eat it for myself. Seriously, one more grimace at my food and I will build a fort of raw meat around you and take away your hummus. And you would have brought that on yourself.

But what my problem really boils down to is that people are not enjoying food properly.

Health reasons aside, with no other food group is this done; I don’t like broccoli, but that doesn’t mean I don’t eat vegetables, but I know people that didn’t like lamb or pork and so decided to give up an entire food group. It has suddenly become an all too acceptable option to just ditch meat after seeing one biased documentary about the harsh treatment of chickens. You don’t have to give up meat for animal rights, just do your research; buy free-range, go to a local butcher, buy locally sourced and good quality meat. Tesco Value chicken is not the only option.

There is also some bizarre misconception that if you eat meat then you have to have it in every meal; but sorry, not a big fan of pancetta on my cornflakes. Just because I eat meat doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a veggie lasagne, or stuffed mushroom from time to time, it just means that I could also enjoy a burger with beef, cheese and bacon on it. It means choice.

It also isn’t necessarily healthier to eat meat-free; meat provides essential protein and iron molecules, it can be good for the blood, the heart, muscles, and – for God’s sake – the taste-buds. Sure, it can also be fatty or packed full of salt or processed beyond recognition, but that is not an issue with the meat itself, but what has been done to it. If you cook it properly, and healthily, there is nothing wrong or fattening about eating meat. There is however something distinctly unhealthy about people who go veggie without the right substitutes in place; eat fish, tofu, nuts, Quorn, don’t just cut it out altogether.

Or maybe don’t cut it out at all and just change the way you eat it. Change the way you cook it. Change the way you buy it. And change the way you treat those who haven’t made the same dietary choice as you.

I will respect your hummus, if you respect my hamburger.

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