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Monday, December 31, 2012

The Slaw Has Been Slayed!

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.

11 comments:

  1. Tolerance and moderation are best in all things. I have several vegan friends and they are not preachy at all about their diets. And let me tell you, vegan desserts have come a long, long way since the old days -- yum!

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  2. A hamburger gets it's wings. Now I'm gonna have that visual in my head for a while. :)

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  3. Hey - thanks for the shout out. I'm not actually a vegetarian, but I could see how you would think that. I usually post about vegetarian dishes, because they are my favorite things to make. I do not like handling raw meat, so seldom have it at home, but I do eat it out sometimes.

    lol at a hamburger getting its wings. :)

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  4. Huh. I grew up with two key friends who were vegetarian for religious reasons, and many of my other friends later became vegetarian or quasi-vegetarian (prefer not to eat meat, but will eat it if it's the only option, such as at a dinner party). Now I have friends who are vegan and many other food restrictions as well, either for personal beliefs or due to allergies. [Okay, I live in the D.C. area, so I admit this is not probably the typical cross-section of America.] It seems (and has always seemed) perfectly normal to me to ask if people have allergies or dietary preferences before hosting a dinner party or contributing a dish to a pitch-in event. I actually enjoy the challenge of coming up with something good for the hodgepodge of dietary restrictions; while I've only done a vegan dish once, I've done gluten-free many times.

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  5. Cheers! I've never understood why people feel like they should tell other people what to eat. I've gotten all kinds of crap from people (including my family) over the years for NOT eating meat - and I say, "More for you!" Eventually they gave up.

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  6. Debra: As I've mentioned, I got a friend who patiently explained and enlightened me about it. I've also got a few co-workers who have explained it over the years as well.

    I'm sure desserts have come a long way, but sadly, I can't have any of them.

    But I do agree that tolerance and moderation is a good thing. I don't mock people for choosing to pursue a semi/complete vegetarian lifestyle, and sometimes I'll see something that will fit into my offbeat eating habits.

    Charles: Yup.:D

    This is what happens when you write a post around the Christmas holidays, and you want to do a strange twist on a tired quote.

    Lynn: You're more than welcome.

    Even a semi-vegetarian is always good know, 'cause you never know when a particular receipe you decide to share will actually resonate.

    Callie: I can see where that would make sense, especially if you have a wide circle and variety of friends.

    Gluten-free sadly seems to be the wave of the future, and I have had things that were gluten-free, and have not been able to tell the difference.

    M: Like I said, I have no qualms in watching people eat vegetarian, and more often than not, I'll jokingly say, "All for you and none for me."

    I never seriously mock people for having different eating habits, because as most people have said here, it can be for religious reasons (Hindu) or for health reasons (like you've mentioned over the years).

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  7. I'll try anything that doesn't look like the animal when it was alive. So no pig roasts for me

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  8. Bearman: I agree with you on the pig roasts.

    Been to a few and looking at the head on the spit does have a tendency to make me lose my appetite.

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  9. Heys G.B.s!!!

    Didja knows that Yello Bears a vegamateareun?

    Yas, alls i ates is honeys!

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  10. I can't understand how anyone could get upset or even that interested in what another person eats, but then I have no interest in cooking or food really. I eat to stay alive but rarely give it any thought. Interesting post!

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  11. General comment: It seems that I must've struck gold with spammers this weekend 'cause I had almost 60 spam comments in my in-box directly connected to this post. Yay!!!

    Joe: Thanks.

    I think you make a good point. You eat to stay alive.

    A small percentage of people have to change their diet so that they can eat to stay alive, which is why there is so much interest in what people eat nowadays.

    For example, while I don't go to the extreme of completely changing my diet because I am a diabetic, I have nevertheless changed my diet because I'm a diabetic.

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Go on, give me your best shot. I can take it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't have created this wonderful little blog that you decided to grace with your presence today.

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So remember, all of your comments are greatly appreciated and all answers will be given that personal touch that you come to expect and enjoy.

G. B. Miller

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