Politely respectfully asking that you eat less animal stuff not specifically for animals or the planet or poor people but just for me please.
An almost stream of consciousness public journalling exercise about something that’s been bugging me for a while.
It’s been about 12 years since I first changed my diet away from animal agriculture. I did it because I realized that animals take up a lot more room and biological resources and we don’t have the capacity to keep doing it without wrecking stuff more and more until it’s basically all wrecked and that’ll be super lame for me and everyone. And we definitely don’t have the capacity for the developing world to join the party, but so long as rich people like us are doing it of course they’re going to want to. Can’t blame em.
In all that time not much has changed in terms of how we understand the demands of animal agriculture versus vegetable agriculture. And until recently, not a lot had changed about how people in general see it.
I have been frustrated many times. It has been confusing to me. I have found it hard to understand that people have not seen the right numbers or don’t get numbers easily or don’t pay an interest or whatever it is that means you don’t know. It’s ok I get that actually there hasn’t been a lot of information around about this. But that’s changing now since this whole cowspiracy thing. Which I haven’t actually seen by the way. But I’m really glad. It is a challenging thing to look at. Very challenging. I’m glad for people’s willingness.
I’ve never been a very ‘good’ vegetarian. I’ve never been fully dairy free. It’s pretty tricky to do it all the time. But I’ve also never found myself drawn to those products when I’m in the supermarket, when I’m making my meals. If it’s just down to me, if I am the only factor in deciding what’s going in the food, it’s meat and dairy-free. All the time. Why not? It’s so straightforward when it’s just me. It’s all the other times that it’s tricky. It’s when the options aren’t there or the friends are making this or that.
It’s only a social thing that makes it difficult. Apart from that its dead easy. Honestly. There’s loads of really great food that has no meat or dairy, and eggs are fairly low impact as well since chickens turn out so many of them so fast. You just need to learn a few different recipes and you’re sweet as.
And the whole thing with it being hard to get enough protein or iron or whatever. Well. Maybe if you’re pregnant, breast feeding or have particular difficulties with that stuff or you’re an infant recently off breast milk. Apart from that, it’s just not an issue. Yeah you need to eat vegetables with protein like beans and lentils but I mean whatever you just eat them.
Fortunately that’s coming through as well now. Arnold Schwarzenegger continues to be great and hilarious just because he’s a politician who used to be the terminator and kindergarten cop and he’s all tough and those things.
“When it was suggested it may be hypocritical for a bodybuilder to ask people to consume less red meat, he said: ‘Luckily we know that you can get your protein source from many different ways, you can get it through vegetables if you are a vegetarian.
‘I have seen many body builders that are vegetarian and they get strong and healthy.’ ”
So here’s the thing. It is a very threatening thing to engage with this stuff when we have been practicing eating the way we do for such a long time. But the barriers are mental more than anything.
Remember that for me, its only been hard when other people are involved. That means that when other people are doing it too, it’s easy. Like really, completely, effortlessly straightforward.
Back when I was at Uni and I was still learning what it feels like to be someone who totally gets this stuff amongst a whole lot of people who don’t, sometimes people would do something un-environmental and then say “Sorry Jim”, and I would get so confused — why are you saying sorry to me? Don’t you see that it’s bad for you? It’s your fucking home as much as it is mine. Its your kids that you’ll probably have. It’s your chance to live somewhere nice and look forward to more stuff that is nice instead of stuff that’s shit. I don’t have ANYTHING to do with it!
So confusing! I was so confused. I found it very hard to articulate myself. But I see it a bit differently now.
Now I’m glad that people had the courage to apologize and I accept that apology. It does affect me, personally. It’s my home. It’s my chance to live somewhere nice. It’s my chance to have things like a family that prospers for a long time, happy grandkids. I value that. But it’s not easy to do something different to everyone else, it’s not easy to do something different to what you’re used to, and it has been so hard for people to just get the information about it. Nobody wants to be a part of bad stuff or be told that they are. I am no different to anyone. I accept those apologies and I understand.
And with that, I want to ask you a very personal favor. Please try to shift your diet away from animals if you haven’t already. For me. I will be very grateful. Very happy. I will consider it a thing that you have done for me. Even though it’s for a tiny contribution to an unfathomably big thing, I will know that it’s for me. And I will thank you personally if you tell me. And I’ll do something nice for you in return if I can.