Something to Chew on — Before You Stuff Your Face with Turkey Tomorrow

Since we’re a day away from Thanksgiving and you’ve probably already hunted out your meal for the evening, I don’t imagine, nor do I expect, that you to take the 20lb turkey you spent $50 bucks on (or got for free at Shop and Stop after a year of racking up points) and chuck it in the garbage by the end of this article.

My job isn’t to convince you to stop eating meat or to start bowing down to the carrot gods as their heads sprout out of the ground. My job (for myself, my business and every aspect of my life) is to learn, reflect and share.

I am consciously deciding to share this with you. The day before Thanksgiving. Yes, I can already sense my carnivorous friends baring their teeth and ready to pounce. And I invite you to do so in the comments below. I love a good fight — when fought fairly. So leave behind the machete, the ax and the sword and let’s use the most powerful tools of all: our brains and our words.

For those of you who don’t know or haven’t picked up on my message thus far, I made the conscious decision to switch to a vegetarian diet about a month ago.

All of about six people know this. I can picture some of my family’s faces as they read this, knowing I will be sitting across from them at the dinner table respectfully trying to keep my life view to myself as we all sit by and give thanks for what we have.

I’m sorry cuz, I love you and your food is delicious. But this year, I’m respectfully skipping the turkey. And all other meats. Indefinitely.

Ironically, my husband was probably the most avid meat-eater I know. So how the hell did the meat-loving boy who grew up on Spanish jamón and lomo, who used to make juicy red steaks that made me gag, decide to do this? And why the hell did I jump on the bandwagon?

Our initial reasonings may differ, but our perspectives boil down to one fundamental commonality: how we view the world and our part in it.

Anyone that knows me well, or has eaten with me on more than one occasion, knows I am a picky eater. As much as my parents tried to force me to eat my veggies, I essentially grew up on bagels, pizza and ice cream.

I’ve eaten meat most of my life and never thought much about it besides that the texture grossed me out. And the blood. And those veiny shits that I could never get out of the chicken, no matter how gruesomely I dissected. I knew from an early age that lamb was simply off the table. Figuratively and literally. My first stuffed animal was a lamb and that slowly morphed into an obsession I’ve maintained in my adult life — seriously, if you want to see me break into happy tears, buy me something fluffy and lamb-inspired (as long as no actual lamb has been hurt in the process).

My entire life, I’ve looked at real-life lambs with sentiments not unlike how the average person views a puppy or a kitty. So why did that never transfer over to other animals, animals that, as science shows us, have the same level of consciousness and suffer the same as our beloved cats and dogs?

I began asking these types of questions after my husband, Giorgi shared Melanie Joy’s presentation: Carnism: The Psychology of Eating Meat with me. Joy identifies, explains and seeks to bridge a gap in our consciousness.

We can blame culture, our society, the food industry and about a million and a half other factors and people. But that isn’t my concern today.

I urge you to watch this presentation and to simply question the way we used to when we were young — endlessly and unapologetically. This holiday season I invite you to question not why others make the decisions they do but rather, how you’ve come to make yours and why you continue to do so.

So when you set up your table with those lovely decorations bought from The Christmas Tree Shop or Michaels, I implore you to ask what we are celebrating and why. And to think about how we can expand that awareness and conscious celebration to the choices we make, the food we put out on our tables and the conversations and company we welcome (and don’t welcome) in our homes and why.

Finally, I’d like to leave you with what I am thankful for this year.

This year, I’m thankful for the power of words and compassion and the potential for humanity when these two sit side by side at the dinner table.

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