May 10, 2010
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Increasingly, there has been evidence that eating vegetarian is more environmentally friendly. The amount of energy it takes to raise commercial livestock for food staples such as beef, pork, and chicken are extraordinarily high. Eliminating meat from the American diet, it is argued, would significantly reduce the environmental impact of agriculture in the United States.
On the other hand, books like Micheal Pollen’s Omnivore’s Dilemma provide convincing evidence that this is not always the case. In addition, there is a seemingly exponential growth of terms used to describe Americans diets. Most people are readily familiar with the term vegetarian as someone who does not eat meat (but still consumes dairy products and eggs). I have a friend at college who is a vegan and she refrains from eating any animal products at all (including milk and eggs). But what about those “flexatarians” or “selective vegetarians” or whatever else people can think of?
I have been thinking about this for a while now. I am aware that eating meat in America produces unprecedented impacts on the environment that ranges from dangerous pesticides, genetic modifications, air quality problems, and climate change. I am also aware of the arguments that renowned authors make regarding the level of consistency the vegetarian argument holds up to.
To be honest, I protest the idea of becoming a vegetarian or vegan. To avoid such confusion about which is more environmentally friendly or which is the most economically sustainable or blah blah blah, I am proposing a new diet for myself that I plan on starting within the next few months. I would like to consider myself a pseudo vegetarian.
Here are my proposed characteristics of my new diet:
- I will refrain from eating meat, poultry, and fish unless it has been hunted or prepared by someone I know. For example, if I am craving a good burger, I would have to go over to a friend’s house who owns a cattle farm. He or she would have to say, “Hey Alex! My family and I are going to slaughter Old Betsy this afternoon. Would you like to come over for some steak?”
- I will avoid eating seafood.
- If I am in a foreign country where it is difficult to access vegetarian food, or if it is for the cultural experience to try some non-vegetarian food, then I am permitted to eat meat.
And that’s that. Leave me comments or suggestions if you would like. I hope my proposed diet will help serve as a model for conscious culinary consumerism in the United States.