Vegetarian. A little over nine years ago, I stopped eating meat and became an ovo-lacto vegetarian. I'm not a militant vegetarian; I don't care what others eat. My decision is right for me, and I can trace my progression from meat lover to not. It began when I read an article in The Sun about how some scientists think that antibiotics as medicine are less effective because of the traces of antibiotics in commercially produced meat that so many Americans eat. From there I read about hormones in meat, and as a woman in a family that has been filled with breast cancer, I felt that it would be healthier to purchase my meat and poultry from a local farm that raised it organically. For a while that worked well for me. I liked supporting the farm, and I liked the feeling of being more in control of what I ate.
Stop reading now if you have a fragile stomach.
One July day, my ex and I went to the farm to pick up our CSA allotment. As I selected some eggs and flowers to add to my produce, there was a shriek unlike anything I've ever heard before. The farmer's daughter rushed to shut a big metal door, and I realized that the back room was where butchering was done, and that what I'd heard was a pig being slaughtered. As an animal lover, this saddened me, but my father had been raised on a farm and hadn't been shy about telling the odd stories about skinning rabbits; I knew the reality of where my meat came from...I just had never been so close to the source.
The shriek stayed with me. A few days later, F. placed a bowl of his "ace-in-the-hole" meal in front of me, a pasta dish made with chirizo sausage and spinach. It was a great dish, one we often served to company, and one that I loved. I ate a few bites, and I had what I can only explain as a waking dream. I saw a calf, a specific calf that had suckled my finger once at a fair, look out of that bowl at me and bellow. I put my fork down, came back to my senses, and told F. what had happened and that I wanted to stop eating meat.
Some people give up meat only to later find that they miss it; either they crave the taste, or their body craves the protein. I'm not one of those people. I truly don't care what others eat, but I feel like I was led to a decision that is healthy for my physical and psychic well being. That's not to say I won't feel differently someday, but for now, I remain a happy veggie!