I’m a Vegetarian because I Hate Contractions

Examples of Contradictions:

  1. Saying that you love animals but you’re still eating some of them.
  2. Squirming at the sight of fresh animal blood but you’re okay with it when the blood’s been cooked to tenderness.
  3. Screaming when you see a spider (or some other kind of insect) and then goes on to kill that harmless poor thing, all the while saying that you still love all animals.
  4. Petting cows when they’re out on the pasture and going into a steakhouse to eat with your family after your hike.
  5. Saying that you’re an environmentalist but you’re still eating animals and therefore still contributing to a majority of the environmental problems (and climate change) that we have. Like reality check for a moment, doesn’t that just mean that your environmentalism input is balancing out your output, so you’re still at stage 0if you’re measuring this in carbon/whatever greenhouse gas of your choice? Okay, this is a little more debatable because we all are contributing to climate change STILL in some way or another just because we’re all stuck in a civilization that exploits the earth’s resources. It’s not possible to lead a lifestyle that doesn’t leave behind ANY footprints, but we could still try as hard as we can to mitigate. If you’re an environmentalist and you’re not even trying to cut down the amount of meat you’re consuming, then please, don’t even call yourself one because you’re not one.
  6. Saying that you are conscious of how dire the state of our environment is, yet are not making any effort to make changes to your own lifestyle (if you’re not financially capable of doing so, then you’re exempt). I understand that caring about environmental issues might be the least of the worries for some people who are just trying to make ends meet, or even for those people who are already heavily affected by the effects of climate change. That’s why us, middle-class/upper-middle class people, really need to really step it up and sacrifice some of our habitual luxuries so the humankind lineage can carry on comfortably for a few more generations.
  7. Trump.

So what is contradiction? Answer: It is a lie to yourself and the world.

As a person who’s grown up appreciating of all kinds of animals (yes, including roly-polies, spiders, etc.), I just can’t see myself turning a blind eye to those who had been born into a vicious hellhole of reoccurring trauma, abuse, and finally — death. I won’t discriminate certain species just because “that’s the way it’s always been”. Just because certain animals have been categorized as “domesticated” since the beginning of civilization -a fabricated paradox that covers up the real truth- it doesn’t make the practice any more right. Just because these animals are intrinsically submissive and tamed, it doesn’t give us a ticket to slaughter them for fun. Ok, maybe fun is a little bit exaggerative, but there are certainly a multitude of practices within the factory farming/meat industry that is completely unnecessary.

I understand that there are cultural and financial implications of eating vegetarian/vegan. Coming from a Taiwanese background, with my mom cooking up Taiwanese cuisine for every meal, I really had to go out of my way to make vegetarian dishes for myself. My parents weren’t in support of this dietary transition when I first started testing it out in junior year of school because they were worried about my nutritional intake, a.k.a. “Where are you going to get your protein/iron from if you’re not eating meat?”. I was definitely eating insufficiently back then and I could feel that my body wasn’t adapting to this diet particularly well. Flooded with doubts, I began to think “What if my body isn’t adapted to functioning without meat? Meat has been an integral, if not staple, part of any Asian diet (especially Taiwanese cuisine) since the beginning of Chinese history. What if my body has evolved to a point that it has to have meat, thanks to the choices that my ancestors had made?”. For anyone who’s really taking a leap of faith (yes, I command you, bravos!) and thinking about going vegetarian/vegan, I urge you to do your nutritional research before you start! Take care of yourself first before everything else!

Additionally, I’ve realized that just how hard it is, culturally, to be a vegetarian. If I’m at a potluck dinner where every single dish has a bit of meat in it, am I going to starve myself? No. If I’m at a family dinner, am I going to make a scene and make my older relatives go out of their way to buy something vegetarian for me? No. Thankfully, these kind of circumstances don’t come up too often (maybe 1 each month?), so I still consider myself vegetarian because I am the majority of the time.

I’m a vegetarian because I don’t want to lead a double-sided life. It’s a value I hold dear to my heart. It goes the same for friendships, academics, family, etc. I value transparency.

-Ivy (4/8/2017)