Friday, February 15, 2008
Carnivore vs. Herbivore
Do you eat big, bloody, juicy steaks dripping in fat, glistening in gristle? Do you gravitate towards tofu and veggies, the light dishes and shunning anything remotely related to any animal byproduct? We have here the classic meat-eater vs. vegetarian/vegan debate.
People get really intense over this issue of what people put in their mouths. Take, for example, the proposed bill down in Mississippi to ban people with a BMI over 30 from eating out at restaurants. Now, totally ignoring the logistical issues (what about people on vacation, or at business meetings, or on dates, where do they eat?) and the scientific issues (there are people who are very fit and have a real BMI of under 30, but taking their weight and height into consideration would be considered obese), and the host of other random objections you could have (and there are many many many), why do people get so up in arms over what people eat? Yes, there are too many obese people in this country, yes they put a drain on our health care system, yes there are things that can be done about it (uh, say, education, or addressing poverty). But people get so uppity about what other people eat (there was a huge thread on The Straight Dope a few years ago where people were bashing a fat person for having had the audacity to buy ONE dough nut at Dunkin Donuts, geez). For instance, I know people on certain diets who insinuate constantly that their way is right and if you eat otherwise, you have a horrible diet.
So this brings me back to the question of meat vs. veggie. Personally, if you want to eat steak or veggies or cupcakes or frogs legs or chicken feet, I don't really care. Perhaps that's because I eat everything (yes, I've had chicken feet), though I do try to keep the fat and refined carbs out of my diet. Basically, I feel like it's none of anyone else's business what I want to eat (now, if I were 300lbs and my health was being impacted and my family and friends were afraid for my life and health, then intervention would be understandable, but I'm taking the obesity picture off the table, nevermind my Mississippi ramble last paragraph).
I've run into several militant vegetarians. I understand that they've gone vegetarian for health and ethical reasons. I'm fully aware of the chemicals in the meat, the horrible slaughterhouse process we have in this country, the sometimes inhumane treatment of animals, and the potential for foodbourne pathogens. I choose to eat meat anyway. Some of my very good friends are vegan or vegetarian, and the reason the it works is that non of us try to convert the others. Then these militant vegetarians come along and it seems like every conversation has to include vegetarianism at least once.
There are people who won't even date someone who eats meat, or who doesn't (see this discussion). And I respect that. I think everyone should make the decision whether it's important for them that the person they're dating has their same diet. I wouldn't have a problem dating a vegetarian, but honestly, since I cook a lot, it would make an impact to always cook vegetarian, though I have no problem with it on occasion). I've even heard the term Vegisexual used (people who only sleep with vegetarians). My problem arises with people who only want to date vegetarians, but they go out with meat eaters and then try to convert them. Same thing with smokers. I'm not a smoker, and I would prefer dating a non-smoker, though I could deal with it if someone did smoke. But I'm not going to try to get them to quit. Smoking, like vegetarianism, is a very personal health decision that shouldn't be made under pressure and should be made for the good of one's own health, and not for someone else.
Can't we all just get along? Live and let live? To each their own? (Fill in your own appropriate cliche hackneyed phrase here)