Yeah, feel free to click on the link and listen to 1/3 of moe.’s 40+ minute monster instrumental ode to MEAT as you read my M post. (Their guitarist was a vegan for many years at the point when they recorded this song, btw.)

This is a born-again meat-eater’s story. Or a recovering vegetarian’s story. Not advocating one way or the other, and I hope to offend no one!

I meandered down the path to vegetarianism in my early 20s. It wasn’t a stretch – I had grown up in a Kosher household (no pork products) and it was a fairly health-conscious household to boot. My parents were reading labels, avoiding BHT and eating tofu way before it was fashionable to do so.

I moved to New York City at age 23, and it was the perfect storm of a) living alone and cooking for myself for the first time b) not really knowing how to cook meat and c) NYC – a bazillion restaurants featuring every cuisine you could dream up. I slowly ate less and less meat, until I wasn’t eating it at all. And that was OK – I hadn’t been enjoying the feeling of über-fullness after ingesting red meat anyway. I knew it was a healthier way to go.

(Oh, here is part 2 of 3 – if you are hungry for more)

So vegetarianism began as a social thing – I was young and busy and wasn’t going to mess around cooking elaborate meat dishes for myself.  No, grab a bean burrito and head out the door to party! Then it evolved into a health thing. And as I began reading more about it, it came full circle as I became aware of the environmental and ethical implications. I found my nutrition niche, I guess you could say, a few years into it: I became a lacto-ovo pescatarian. Meaning I would eat milk, eggs and fish – but nothing else with a face or parents.

My husband – omnivore – is an amazing cook. He probably cooks vegetarian food better than I do – but he also enjoys a big ol’ steak on the grill, so at times, we are often running a restaurant here in our house: 3 different menus between him, myself and our daughter. We rarely eat packaged or processed foods, but we all have our hang-ups, allergies, and things we will and will not touch.

On our 10th anniversary, we went back to the Inn where we were married, and the chefs there wanted to create a menu for us. I knew whatever they made would be amazing, so I told them I wouldn’t be opposed to eating items with meat stock in them.

It was there that I was introduced to applewood-smoked bacon. Or as I like to call it, my gateway meat.  After 16 years of “no thanks, I don’t eat meat”, I was ravenous for…bacon. Don’t get me wrong, I still eat a mainly plant-based diet, but I realized I had been missing certain flavors that just cannot be recreated by meat-substitutes. I am still trying to be responsible and sensible about it – grass-fed and organic when possible, still in moderation.

How about you? Have you fallen off any wagons? Here’s just a little more MEAT (part 3 of 3)


13 thoughts on “MEAT

  1. John Holton says:

    I had never heard of moe. before now, and I’m a huge fan of instrumental rock. I’ll have to look into them.

  2. I grew up in a meat and potatoes house and I love, LOVE Bacon. Seriously, I have a sticker of bacon on my car and my favorite t-shirt ever says, “You had me at bacon.” But, I am now slowly trying to eliminate meat from my diet. When I had my gall bladder removed, I noticed that when I ate certain foods (meat and cheese) I had lots of digestive issues. I started taking digestive enzymes to help, but I have to say that I feel WAY better when I don’t eat meat. About a month ago I watched the film “Forks over Knives” and it made me a believer. I don’t think I could eliminate meat entirely, especially pork, which apparently is the worst meat ever.

    • jesstopper says:

      I hadn’t heard of Forks over Knives, Pam – will definitely check it out. It is amazing how certain foods can really mess with the way you feel. Allergies are just one small part, it seems. So many other factors at work. My friends think the bacon thing is really funny for me – they send me pictures of bacon rolled into bouquets of roses, and ads for chocolate-covered bacon now, LOL

  3. Adena says:

    I eat pork maybe three or four times a year, red meat maybe once a week if that; mainly stick to chicken and fish and try more vegetarian dishes. When I do eat pork, I usually get very sick afterwards so I know it’s not good for me. I even juice for my family to make sure we get our daily quota of veggies.

  4. A.F.E. Smith says:

    Funny that I should happen to stop by on this post – I’m a vegetarian and am probably going to do that for V 🙂

    Your attitude seems exactly right to me, though. I don’t choose to eat meat myself, but I think the important thing is knowing what you’re eating and where it’s come from. And moderation is key.

    As for falling off wagons … well, I’m constantly telling myself I should eat less chocolate (as I said, moderation!). I’m always falling off that one.

    • jesstopper says:

      Thanks for stopping by! Yes, chocolate is a big downfall for me as well. I still think like a vegetarian in a lot of ways, although I was never the type to freak out if my veggie burger was next to a beef burger on the grill, etc. Good luck with A-Z and I look forward to reading your V!

  5. 🙂 I am an omnivore–leaning more and more away from meat as the years go by. We have a lot of different meals cooked here daily–due to preferences of the people in the house. We all draw arbitrary lines about what we will eat.

    You know, vegan and vegetarian diets are a pretty foreign thing to us people out here in farm country. (tongue in cheek). A couple of decades ago I made a friend who turned out to be a vegetarian. I adored (and still adore) him. He was trasnplanted here from anotehr state–due to work. The locals all sort of viewed him as a nice enough guy–but a bit “off” you know…with that refusing to eat meat attitude.

    I have always been a live and let live person. But many of the people I worked with–and our vegetarian friend worked with, felt a need to convert him to omnivorism for his own good. (laughing here).

    One Thanksgiving, he volunteered to drive to another one of our company’s facilities to pick up the turkey dinners that the food service was making for employees.

    When he arrived at our facility at lunch time, he opened up the back of his little car and the smell wafted over all of us. One of our coworkers said, “My god, that smells good. I bet you couldn’t wait for lunch while you were driving back.”

    He looked at her with an expression I can’t even describe. lolol..

    We all sat together in the lunchroom, eating our meals, and this same coworker asked him, “How can you not eat this! Just…yeah…just what do you eat for Thanksgiving? Don’t you miss having turkey for the holiday?”

    He looked at her with a poker face, and replied, “Imagine. I want YOU to come to MY house for thanksgiving dinner. And your reply would be, ‘what are we having?’ to which I would answer, ‘Mashed potatoes and gravy, and stuffed, roasted rat.”

    Ha! lol, her face scrunched up and she looked like she could lose her lunch.

    He added, “That is exactly how I feel at the thought of roast turkey. You all draw arbitrary lines. For me, it is quite simple. If it walked, crawled, swam or flew, I want nothing to do with it.”

    Good post 🙂

    Simple…lol real simple…

  6. Stephanie says:

    I’ve tripped back and forth between vegetarian, pescetarian and omni for the past 15 years. I like being vegetarian, but I find it difficult sometimes with in-laws who are both the loveliest people in the world AND the biggest meat-eaters in the world. They really don’t understand “no”, so I often give in.

  7. cdcoffelt says:

    I’m always tumbling off my personal wagons.

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