Thursday, September 8, 2011

the outcast in a meaty world



I come from a Mid Western Meat Eating Family.  
There, I said it.  
Because of this small fact I have often been the butt of bad jokes, the outcast and misunderstood.  Not just me, but my kids too.  The strange thing about this is that it isn't the world around me...it's the immediate world within my circle.  I decided to stop eating meat when I was around 13.  It was a conscious decision after seeing a propaganda film about veal.  Let me tell you, it was not an easy decision, we lived in the South, and veal was a common meal at our table.  At that time we didn't have Satellite TV and Google...we had Encyclopedia Britannia and the Dewey Decimal System.  I never preached my veggieness and still don't...Although I do teach my kids to be strong and proud of the choice to not eat meat. ( and at this point it is a choice for them...they can eat whatever they want in school).
The vast acquaintances I meet are very respectful and interested in the choice.  During Potlucks they always say, "oh this one is Vegetarian...no cheese too!"  (Proudly)  They ask questions, albeit in a sympathetic, "Oh I tried that and nearly died" kind of way  But they don't scoff and say, "Eat a piece of meat, you will feel better" when I have a cold.
My immediate family on all sides has never been so kind.  From feeding the kids meat when they were little, "because a little bacon never hurt anyone" .  To suggesting we are unhealthy because of our weights.  ( see noted picture of my son in above post).
Here is what I am getting at with this post...There are entire countries who only eat plant based diets.  I know my family is going to feel a bit angry when reading this, including my hubbys family....(or maybe they wont) but I would like to take a minute to say I have high cholesterol on top of all I do...I can only imagine what it would be if I ate meat everyday.  I came from the same parent ( at least one) as you all did, so I am not some weird phenomenon within our gene pool.  People may feel vegetarianism is radical or severe...me thinking about cutting out dairy will surely put them over the edge....But isn't open heart surgery radical? Bowel Removal?  Triple bypass?  Gastric Bypass?  Diabetes meds you have to take 3 times a day?  Those too, are very extreme measures, especially when compared to a diet change.  See?  See, what I mean?  Yet, we roll our eyes at a natural diet and coddle the people who have found their selves sick, overweight and standing in the line at Walmart with a cart full of processed food.  


I see many of my friends and family struggle with health and making healthy decisions but I want to encourage them to try to make a change.  A real change.  Not overnight, but to stop making excuses and saying things like, "I'm addicted to food" or "I DO eat pretty healthy, I had a veggie burger last night".  To pick one small thing and do it...do it so you will live longer, so we can enjoy each other...so the kids can enjoy each other...so I don't have to worry about my friends and family always being sick and depressed...
It has been 30 years for me, I have never once told anyone, " I can't believe YOU only eat meat"  but right now I am going to say, " Please people, if you haven't started to change your diets...do it. Stop the boxed foods.  Stop the sodas and chicken nuggets...Eat something that is fresh, take a minute to prepare it, and teach your family it's ok to be healthy and different.
Let's do it together...I can always use encouragement, and I can always give encouragement.  

xo, m

I love you guys...I just want you to be healthy, and when I have a heart attack from my high cholesterol you can point your fingers...but until then, can't you just give it a try?

4 comments:

Sissy said...

Im family and Im definitely not angry. I don't know if you remember but Zane and I didnt eat me for the first few years of his life. When he was 2 or 3 we began eating chicken every couple of weeks. My mother told me a while back the "flat chicken" they would feed him was actually bacon. They thought it was hilarious.

v8grrl said...

I love the Term "flat Chicken" ie Bacon...only in the South

Jeff Arnold said...

Very cool post, Myssi. I respect and admire anyone who is choosing a healthy lifestyle. Now; vegetarian, raw, vegan, no "red" meat, etc... may seem extreme to some people; or just "not for them," but there is certainly plenty of information available which shows the benefits of those choices.

I have given some thought to trying vegetarian, just to see how it might fit for me. I know for a fact that once I cut out all of the garbage that I used to eat, my entire life changed, and I assume that trying yet another healthy choice could be beneficial also.

My one disagreement with your post - I do believe that food addiction is a real thing. Sure, some people probably throw the term around, but I consider myself to be a food addict. I just choose, and work extremely hard, to manage my addiction. I think that is very different than saying "Tiger Woods was juggling 10 strippers and porn stars and cocktail waitresses because he has an addiction." In my opinion,people can truly be addicted to food -

Wom Talker said...

It's good to know there are some really smart people out there who are at least trying to eat healthy. I've been following Jordan Rubin, author of The Makers Diet. Did you know he now has an 8000 acre Organic Ranch in the Ozarks of Southern Missouri? I can't wait to get my hands on some of his totally grass fed organic beef soon to be available.