I've always had a curious relationship with vegetarianism and veganism. Waaaaaaaaaaay back in the day when gas was 65 cents a gallon, I experienced vegetarianism first hand during my late father's annual staff Christmas party. He had a staff member who was Hindu and thus would always bring a rather nasty smelling (to me anyways) cooked vegetable dish.
Throughout the proceeding three decades, the only other contact that I had with vegetarianism was a couple of classmates from a 8th grade Catholic school (don't ask how a Methodist me was going to a Catholic school). In fact, my knowledge of vegetarianism was so limited that when I was having a casual conversation with someone and I happened to mention that I don't drink milk* and they called me a "vegan", I had to ask what that meant.
*I don't drink milk because I do not like the taste of it. I will consume other dairy products like cheese and ice cream, but I will not drink milk.
However, as with most things that I initially have no opinion about, I soon developed an opinion of vegetarianism. While I had no beef with those who practiced and pursued and didn't try to impose their beliefs on me (actor Dirk Benedict came out with a memoir that wound up being a thinly veiled paean to the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle), I did have a beef with those who held a holier-than-thou/egotistical drama queen/severely militant attitude about it.
Example of this holier-than-thou/drama queen attitude was found by me watching an episode of "The Real World" in which one of the participants went off into a deep blue funk because not only was a goat slaughtered, but she didn't want to go near any grass that was tainted with goat's blood.
However, I did not see true militancy about vegetarianism, which often goes hand in hand with animal rights, until I hit the chat rooms in 2007.
There, people were so blinded by their twin beliefs that no matter what reasonable scenario any of us came up with that could be applied as an exception, it would be torpedoed as cruel and inhuman. Perversely, this made everyone else more determined to cut this person down to size and show the world how narrow-minded and bigoted they truly were.
There was one memorable individual, who every Thanksgiving would write a letter to the editor decrying the slaughter of turkeys for a holiday meal. Which is fine by me. But she instantly became cannon fodder, as she was so rigid and inflexible in her beliefs that even those where were initially sympathetic to her viewpoint would often turn against her because of that rigidness.
After a couple of years of slamming this person for her views (and certainly not for her vegetarian lifestyle) I moved on to more adult pursuits, namely blogging.
In the blog world, I did come across a few bloggers who either wholeheartedly participated in that particular lifestyle or made it an integral part of their overall health. And the thing that was/is most refreshing about these bloggers, is that they don't try to force it down your throat or mock you for being a meat eater.
With one particular blogger (and you know who you are), I was able to have a very informative conversation about it. She more than answered my questions about it and gave me a somewhat better understanding of why someone would choose to become one.
I'm still not a fan of that particular lifestyle, but as I gotten older, I have gradually introduced certain kinds of veggies into my diet (i.e. peppers, onions and salsa). I've also redeveloped the attitude of so long as you don't mock me for mine, I won't mock you for yours. Tolerance you might say, which for someone my age (47), is actually a good thing.
So remember folks, for every bowl of coleslaw that you slay, a hamburger gets its wings.
And for those of you whose curiosity might be piqued, please check out the following bloggers, who either wholeheartedly pursue that lifestyle or make it an integral part of their overall health.
Riot Kitty at Riot Kitty.
Lynn at Good Things Happen.
Elsie at Integrated Memoirs.
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