Thursday, January 05, 2006
My confession (because that is really how it feels) is that I am no longer a vegetarian. Rick and I started eating fish in December, though we’ve been thinking about it for several months. I never became a vegetarian for health reasons—in fact, I gained weight when I first became a vegetarian (it’s that whole lazy in the kitchen problem that I have). But we are trying to change our diets for health reasons now and are interested in the health benefits of fish. High in the omega-3 fatty acids, good source of protein, yada, yada, yada.
I feel guilty about eating fish, perhaps a guilt that only vegetarians can understand, I don’t know. My main reason for being a vegetarian in the first place is that it feels wrong to kill animals for food when they don’t HAVE to be killed for food. There are plenty of fields around for growing veggies and grains, though they are not used that way. (Another reason to go veggie: if factory farms used their fields to produce cheap grains instead of fat cows and pigs for the rich nations of the world, there could be enough food for all the starving people in the world. Again, I digress).
So, how do I rationalize/condone/live with the fact that I am now eating fish? Well, I rationalize it by saying that I have one life to live and I don’t want to get diabetes in a couple years. I want to change the way I eat, I want to eat healthier and fresher food. I want to eat the things that are supposed to help you not get diabetes and heart disease, like fresh vegetables, soy, and yes, FISH.
I am living with the guilt by really trying to focus on the fish I am eating. I am not pushing away the fact that I have killed for food. Instead, I embrace it and try to feel really grateful for the fish. I say a little prayer that I stole from Living Buddha, Living Christ. It's about being grateful for the food and remembering to live deeply in the moment and to live in a way that is worthy of the food.
I love this little prayer because it really demonstrates the relationship I want to have with food. I don’t want to mindlessly shovel food into my face. I say that I love food. Well, then, how can I eat it without really taking the time to think about it? I want to think about all food, not just the animals, and give them respect while I eat.
I could probably write all day about vegetarianism and mindful eating, etc., but I am particularly interested right now in two things: 1) the ecological ramifications of fishing/farming fish/eating fish, and 2) how I feel about the loss of identification as a vegetarian. So I’m going to stop rambling for now and post more about this when I have something cohesive on the subjects.