Why I’d eat you but not a lamb… how I gave up meat in 2017

Day 4 of 7 in 7… am I boring you yet? And this is also the second post about the little changes I made in 2017 that have had big results.

Earlier today I sat opposite Lucie, my Renegade Retreat co-hort and watched her tucked into a juicy burger with relish. In the past I would have joined her or watched enviously but this time I felt quite relaxed about not eating meat. Because that’s me now … last year, I gave up eating meat.

I’ve flirted with vegetarianism since I was a teen but always because I felt intellectually it was the right thing to do, not because I felt it in my heart. My husband doesn’t eat meat which means my consumption was very low anyway, so what harm, I reasoned, could the odd steak do?

Personally, I don’t believe that eating the flesh off something dead in order to survive is wrong. Believe me, if we were marooned after a plane crash in the Andes, I’d eat you. But I’m not a starving subsistence farmer in medieval Europe, I’m a well fed modern woman with more than enough non-animal protein options to keep my BMI way above what it should be.

But still … whenever I tried vegetarianism before I didn’t feel it in my heart. I loved the occasional garlic and rosemary infused slow cooked leg of lamb or a juicy sausage sandwich. And then about seven months ago, I caught the end of a news report about animal abuse in abattoirs. The terrible imagery, which I wish I had closed my eyes for, was of a fluffy white lamb. I looked down at my lamb sized fluffy white Mabel, and suddenly I felt it in my heart.

I could have ignored it. As I’d ignored previous epiphanies; perhaps I had felt it in my heart before but I’d just let convention and greediness stop me. This time I thought “I don’t want to be the kind of person who contributes to this’ and so I stopped eating meat.

This post isn’t of course about not eating meat, just as yesterdays was not about having to shop at a specific supermarket. It’s about emotional honesty. If there is something you feel in your heart but are ignoring, try just living with it for a short while. You don’t have to shout about it to the world. It can be private because it’s not about judgement for what a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ person you are. You can just try it and see if it really makes you feels more fulfilled.

My decision to stop eating meat is sentimental, I know that. It’s about listening to my heart and not being apologetic about it. I don’t need to dress it up in high falluntin’ moral philosophy. It’s just the person I want to be.

And off I go because writing about food has left me starving and I have lovely pot of veg chilli waiting for me…

Header Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash. Above Photo by Pratiksha Mohanty on Unsplash