Losing the Moral High Ground – A Vegetarian Fall From Grace

I have been a vegetarian for most of my adult life. The prevailing winds of ethical eating and all other things just and right swept through university campuses ten or fifteen years ago. An encounter with a dismembered deer carcass in the back of a pickup truck (and I’m sort of embarrassed to admit it but this also helped expedite the decision making process) provided the impetus I needed to take a break from eating flesh. Unable to differentiate between human flesh and that of our animal counterparts, eating meat seemed unimaginable. I could not be tempted with bacon or chicken wings. I even abstained from gelatin. 

Years passed. My NDP youth membership lapsed. My faith in humans legitimately tested by mounting environmental and humanitarian crises. Despair and hopelessness tempered by work routines and alcohol consumption (or was it the other way around?) mellowed into apathy.  

Human and animal flesh remained indistinguishable, with one critical shift. Losing faith in humanity, it became apparent that human body itself is not sacred. Nature is indifferent, humans are despicable and all flesh is disposable and essentially worthless.

Wow.

Well… with that unsettling revelation gnawing at the back of my mind, I was ultimately enticed to consume a small amount of meat through the irresistible gravitational pull of family ritual. Turkey first, then potato sausage. The world did not end.

Incrementally, I began sampling the occasional bird or beast. Calamari opened the door to pork belly (delicious Christie), a bite of fried fish, a chicken wing. A New Year’s Day family dinner introduced me to the beauty that is my mom’s braised lamb shanks and last night I celebrated my neice’s first tooth at Weczeria with a bite of Elk and mashed potato with marrow and truffle (amazing).

Beginning of the end

Of course, I’m still sorting it out – I continue to buy soy alternates from the grocery store and I hesitate to cook the stuff.  Yet as I give myself up to this that is simultaneously new yet ageless, disgusting and delicious, I feel a strange sense relief. Resistance, though not futile, is often lonely and in my experience most certainly boring. 

2 Comments

  1. todd says:

    Good riddance. I’m sure I’m(and you) are not the only ones who become attached to something then have trouble letting them go. For the example: the scads of rusting vehicles in my yard. Fuck that! Some personal inventory and spring cleaning is cathartic. Make room for what you want in your life, and this time (I’m) a little more carefully with what you(I) choose!

  2. Crust says:

    I’ve always wanted to know the reasons why you were a vegetarian. It has always interested me so much. I try and only eat meat that is raised ethically and naturally and killed humanely and I eat it in moderation, because of my beliefs and because natural, ethical meat is the best product, flavor and texture and everything. Maybe you should do that, so you don’t totally lose hope in the good. But, what ever you want is good. Thank you for sharing.

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